Gemma P's Story

Gemma at the Scottish parliament

The stigma I faced after experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder mainly involved people asking if I was crazy.  Rumours about why I wasn't in school were that I was in a nut house.

Someone asked if I was dangerous.  It was as if they were accusing me of craziness, not just asking. They didn't understand and they didn't try to.

I was going through the most terrifying period of my life and they thought it was my fault.

People at school were awful to me.

They would call me crazy. I have a twin sister and people would come up to me and say ‘are you the crazy one?’ That is how people would work out which of us were which.

I was also off school for a while, not related to my mental health, but when I was back people asked me if I had been in the looney bin. They just didn’t have a clue what they were on about.

I had an argument with a girl once and she ended it by saying, ‘at least I don’t hear voices.’

How does she know that I do?

Anything that happened was just instantly linked to my mental health.

The stigma and discrimination made me feel really angry. It really made me angry that people thought they could have an opinion on something that they knew nothing about.

Having a mental health problem is really scary but people just don’t seem to care about that.

I have found that people don’t understand that this is a really big deal, they just take the Mickey while not having a clue what you’re going through.

It seemed to be ok to make fun of someone in a lot of pain.

I try to talk to people and enlighten them, though it is easier when I know someone to talk to them, otherwise people like to avoid talking about it.

I have even met people who say that mental health problems don’t exist.

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