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Home: Writings: Essays & Rants: Stigma Stomper

Stigma Stomper

by Audrey Schwartz


Hi, Guys! I'm now a certified Stigma Stomper.

I was at a strip shopping center getting some computer stuff and I saw a Color Tile next door which had an advertising poster "Perello Mania" promoting some Perello [sp] product. After I made my computer purchase, I walked into the Color Tile and asked to see the manager. An older employer emerged from the back and said he wasn't the manager but could her help me. He was wearing a bright green vest that had "Perello Mania" on the front pocket area and a big MANIA across the back.

I asked him if that statement was to promote a product. He began to tell me about whatever this wonderful stuff was and I cut him out. I said, "How come you don't promote it as Perello Alzheimer's Disease or Perello Diabetes?"

"Huh" he said.

"I have an illness called manic-depression. I get that illness mania that you are using as a humorous advertising slogan. Why don't you use other illnesses such as Dementia, Alzheimer's, Schzophrenia, Diabetes, or Cancer? These are all biological illnesses, and it isn't funny to use them as an advertising come-on.

"Yes, 'mania' means 'crazy' to some folks, like ad executives," I continued. "But it is not a bit funny to people who have this illness. Millions of Americans suffer from mania and it disrupts their lives and the lives of their families and their careers. Mania and depression can be fatal illness through suicide. And it is not a stigma. People like Patty Duke, Art Buchwald, advisors to several Presidents, have this illness."

I told him I was angry at him or anything, but I that I was offended by that sign. I asked him to please inform management that Perello Mania wasn't politically correct....the M word.

As I left, several big burly guys (one look like OJ) came out of the back room and gathered around the customer service area where I was leaving. They said, "Now be sure you tell the management, Jim, about this offense." Yes, they probably were laughing at the "crazy" person, and yes they probably sent out the heavy guns to stop any manic reactions, but I felt very good about it. I like the word Offensive. I think I will use that and discriminatory when I attempt Stigma Stomping again!!!

As an old advertising/marketing person, I really don't get too upset when the words "Madness" and "Crazy" are used for an event. They are after all perfectly good words and describe someone who is "doing odd things." I've even used it myself, before I new better in another life, for our mall's Moonlight Madness sale. So, I kind of let that go by. Mania is demeaning the illness, and I find that Offensive!

Yours in Stigma Stompin'

audre

Modified December 11, 2002

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The information at this web site is for consumers, family members and mental health workers to make informed decisions about the care and treatment of bipolar disorder, AKA manic depression. These pages are not a substitute for consultation with your counselor, therapist, doctor, or psychiatrist.

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