The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

The Assumptive Worlds of Psychopathy VIII: Embracing Shame and Guilt—Unraveling the Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

This disease has left Kendell stigmatized, ashamed and often ridden with guilt. It is guilt for not being strong enough to fight the “disease” and shame for spending so much money on a disease that doesn’t exist. There is also stigmatization by the medical community and friends alike—who deny any real existence of the disease and its long-term effects.  Kendell remembers being in the hospital on one of her many visits and meeting with a doctor who was extremely dismissive. As she sat there shaking and barely able to function—trying to explain to him that she had “Chronic” Lyme disease—he looked at her and said: “Lyme is a Red Herring, and Chronic Lyme does not exist, so do you and your family a favor and get on some antipsychotics.”

As he finished saying this, Kendell looked over at the nurse’s station and the 3 or 4 nurses standing there were snickering at her. The humiliation she felt at that moment was crushing! She started to think about her family, her two- year-old son, and how she was unable to take care of them. Her mother-in-law had flown up to help because Kendell could barely function. As the doctor threw this insult in her face, the guilt that Kendell felt for not digging in deeper and taking care of her son was unbearable. She thought, “How could I be such a horrible mother? Maybe the doctor was right? What if I really am just crazy or as he had insinuated, histrionic? Was I doing this to myself and my family?” Even though her symptoms had come out of nowhere and she knew herself, it was interactions like this that placed seeds of doubt in Kendell’s head and made her even start to hate herself. Kendell remembers leaving the hospital that day with a feeling of utter hopeless and humiliation.

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About the Author

Lewis And MunzerChristy Lewis holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and has counseled for a combined 17 years in several clinical and medical settings and has offered career/life coaching for an additional 10 years. Christy is also Board Certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback through BCIA, the Biofeedback Certification International Alliance organization. Prior to working in private practice settings, Christy worked in Psychiatric and Rehabilitation hospital settings. Additionally, she worked in career transition/outplacement settings helping clients with their career transition needs. Christy Lewis currently works and is the director at her own private practice setting, The Biofeedback, Education, & Training Center, PLLC, where she combines counseling with a variety of training modalities to individuals of all ages who need help with issues ranging from severe emotional turmoil to people who are working on taking their personal growth to a higher level. Specifically, she has extensive experience working with kids, teens, & adults who have anxiety, depression, ADHD, frustration/anger issues, behavioral issues, and pain management. Kendell Munzer was born in Peekskill NY in 1973. In 1997 she earned her Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice from Curry College. In 2002 she earned her M.A in Counseling from Mercy College. She is currently pursuing her Doctoral Degree in Psychology at The Professional School of Psychology. Kendell works as a part time substitute teacher for the Charleston County School District. The majority of this work is spent working with behaviorally challenged students. She also works part time growing a local Kitchen and Bath business she and her husband have recently opened. Kendell has an extensive background as a Behavioral Specialist and has conducted many staff trainings and seminars. Presently she resides in Mt. Pleasant SC with her husband and two children. When Kendell isn’t at work she enjoys, photography, travelling, skiing, and spending quality time with her family.

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