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

After every one of these interactions, and there were many along the way, Kendell was flooded with a deep sense of shame and despair. Over and over again, she faced and felt the stigma surrounding this disease. Each time she found herself falling further and further into the abyss of self-doubt. The worst was what she faced in her personal life. Since there is a wide misunderstanding that Lyme is easy to get rid of, she was expected to just bounce out of it. When it took too long for her to recover, she was told by many close to her that maybe she did have a mental illness, or that maybe if she did dig a little deeper, she really could control herself and her psychiatric symptoms.

Kendell was being stigmatized everywhere she looked. She was facing her own witch trial. If she had a more recognizable and accepted disease, such as a broken leg with a cast, or even cancer, things definitely might have been easier. Instead, she had this physical and psychiatric illness that was disguised, and in turn acting as her own private and invisible torturer. Finally, she got to a place where the shame and guilt and self-hatred became too much. She knew she had to make a change. She adjusted her mindset and started to realize that only she could save herself. Kendell looked inward and started to dig deep. Not out of shame or guilt but driven out of the necessity to take back her power and finally show this disease who was boss! She was able to do this by assimilating one transformative word into her vocabulary: Hope. Kendell and Christy co-wrote a previous essay titled Is Hope the New Antibiotic for Chronic Illness detailing their personal journey’s about hope (Lewis and Munzer, 2019).

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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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