Don’t be stigmatized by incontinence

Don’t be stigmatized by incontinence

For people who have physical disabilities or serious health impairments,  it’s understandable why they may feel stigmatized.  This type of stigmatization is usually related to the fact that these individuals cannot participate in a normal social life, and as a result can become depressed, which in turn feeds on itself to enhance the phenomenon of stigmatization.  Stigma comes in many different forms and can affect a person in many different ways.  Psychologists and sociologists usually define stigma as “recognition of difference as a result of having a unique and distinguishing characteristic”…this recognition of difference can result in a person devaluing him or herself.  When one feels stigmatized because of some distinguishing characteristic, the result could be reclusiveness or a voluntary restriction of participation in social life patterns. This can result in depression, which, in turn, results in more isolation.  That being the case, it’s very important and necessary for one to guard oneself from feeling stigmatized.

As you know, if you’ve been reading my blogs, my messages are always of a positive tone with the intent of uplifting people who are dealing with an incontinence condition. My first priority is to teach my audience how to successfully manage their incontinence condition. I’m always stressing that in order for people to successfully manage their incontinence, they must, most importantly, recognize and understand their personal symptoms. Then, and only then, can good decisions be made when buying incontinence products . 

So why has the subject of stigmatization crept into a blog that I sign-off with the slogan…Follow our blog and be Happy!”?   Allow me to further explain.  Only two days ago, I came across a research article written by the President of an organization that is dedicated to helping people who feel stigmatized because they have incontinence.  The name of the organization is the “Simon Foundation for Continence”.  One of its prime missions is to “remove the stigma surrounding incontinence”.  I never looked upon people feeling stigmatized because they had incontinence.  Maybe it’s because I’m associated with a business that, over the years, has sold literally millions of dollars of incontinence products to thousands of customers. I can safely say, a single day doesn’t pass without customers visiting our retail store to purchase an incontinence product.  And, that’s the reason why I was in disbelief reading the article on “removing the stigma surrounding incontinence”.  Never once did I see the look of stigmatization on any of the customers who frequent Careway Wellness Center for incontinence products.  However, thinking about it further, I questioned myself whether or not those customers who are doing the shopping for incontinence products are actually doing the shopping for themselves…or could they possibly be shopping for a family member or loved one who may, indeed, be stigmatized and, therefore, does not want to face a clerk or walk up to the checkout counter holding a package of incontinence briefs. 

I’m old enough to remember years past when incontinence products were never openly exposed in a store.  Instead, they were overwrapped with plain wrapping paper and located in an inconspicuous area of the store. Incontinence products were only sold in drugstores and not in grocery stores or chain stores.. I suppose the reason for that was because being incontinent carried with it a degree of stigma.  But, and this is a big BUT, today there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to be stigmatized.  We might say, “you can stop being a closeted incontinent person”…no one really cares!  Times have certainly changed…and, thank God, for the better. 

tena-twist-dance-large-3Today, you can walk into most any drugstore or food store and easily locate absorbent incontinence products in an aisle prominently marked “Incontinence Needs”.  Also, we view advertisements about incontinence on TV and in magazines. These ads and TV commercials are sponsored by TENA, DEPENDS, TRANQUILITY, ATTENDS and other well respected companies.  As you can see, taboos of the past are being erased.  Replacing those taboos are commercials depicting happy, humorous people behaving as perfectly normal and well adjusted individuals.

It’s taken a long time for the stigma to be erased.  However, because of the good things that have happened over the years, there is absolutely no reason for any person with an incontinence condition to ever feel stigmatized.  And, therefore, no reason to be ashamed to go into a store and purchase or ask questions about incontinence products. So, if you felt stigmatized in the past, get over it today and become yourself…a normal person with a condition shared by 40 million others in the USA.

A special note to those who use TENA products.

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