Do you have it, and if you do, how do you deal with admitting it?
I spent a lot of time in denial. Especially when I was given the diagnosis of bipolar. When I was diagnosed with PTSD I was glad to have a name to the hell I was going through and was able to at least learn about it to know what more to expect. That did not take it away, but it helped to accept it. Since the PTSD and bipolar affected each other constantly I got to a point that I was ready to accept it all. The illness was just to powerful at the time to deny I had it and in order to move on to wellness I had to accept it. . We who suffer with mental illness also suffer from the stigma (defined in the dictionary as a mark of disgrace or shame). We feel that shame self loathing because society has looked as mental illness as a mark of disgrace. The mental healthcare community for decades, really hundreds of years, looked at us as less than as well. They assumed the position of "you need us to care for you because you are not capable." Because we believed it all, we fell into letting them do it without realizing we have a voice and most of the time the ability to make decisions in our treatment and life, that we could take part in our recovery, to accept responsibilty for it. Seeking God finally helped me to see myself through the eyes of Christ, who when he looks at me (us) he does not see "Mental illness) he sees Lori, child of God, created in His image, precious and of great value. We are of great value to Him because He made us and has a lot invested in us.
I would say to you to focus on discovering how God sees you and you will come to see yourself differently. Having a diagnosis of a mental illness does not define you. We must quit finding our value in things we have or do, and rather in who we are in Christ. Sister praying for God to reveal to you who you are in Him, and not your illness. Hope that helps.
Well, that was so well said, Lori- daughter of the King- who could have said it better? I shared it and the NAMI walk is coming up! It's a walk in Boston, MA to raise awareness and fight stigma for the National Alliance of the Mentally Ill.
Having Jesus Christ is the icing on the cake. He does define who we are in EVERY way, including what you said. You are beautiful and wonderful and so so blessed and thank you so so much.
Hugs and love and have a great day!
Maybe it's just the company I keep -- personally and professionally -- but it seems to me most of the people I know have or do suffer from mental illness! Lots of depression. Lots of bipolar. Lots of anxiety.
We all seem to take it as just part of us.... because it is!!
On the professional side, it's exhilarating to be working with organizations and initiatives that are
working to erase the stigma and increase widespread acceptance.
There is an awesome public awareness campaign going on here. Billboards that depict regular people. The wording reads (for example) "Tribal leader, grandfather, suffering from depression." Or "artist, retired schoolteacher. Suffering from PTSD."
Good for you for doing the NAMI walk. NAMI has some great programs and resources!
Wow That's very cool, MM.
I like how they incorporate the whole person, Abraham Lincoln would be: American President, Freer of slaves, sufferer of suicidal depressions.
Great way of seeing the whole person!
MM, you and I have many life parallels.
SGFR, my mental illness is something that troubled me terribly when it was diagnosed. I went through denial, told mental health providers to screw off, tried praying it away, etc. It wasn't until I began taking medication (and I don't say accepted, because it still took me a while after starting meds to do that) that I actually began to feel like a normal human being again. What's more, I realized quite quickly after my meds started working how much more miserable my life was without them.
What I finally realized, and what led me to accept it and discard the shame I felt about it, was that I would rather be someone with a well managed mental illness, who took medication regularly - than a self-medicated drunk, drug addict, manically crazy individual on a path to self-destruction.
Sure, I have Bipolar Disorder, and I take meds to manage it. My life is stable and I know how to handle my ups and downs. There are people out there who refuse to accept their diagnoses who are miserable. I'm not. Decent trade-off in my opinion.
"I would rather be someone with a well managed mental illness, who took medication regularly - than a self-medicated drunk, drug addict, manically crazy individual on a path to self-destruction."
That is such a good and obvious point. I wish I had seen it before I went down that road. I am in recovery and in a good place now, but man, it sure got crazy.
I appreciate your comment, lambservant. I have to say this: I come from a long line of alcoholics and addicts. Fortunately, the Lord preserved me from going down that road. BUT, I didn't avoid the manic craziness that comes with Bipolar Disorder. As I've journeyed through recovery for my mental illness, I've seen SO many parallels with my family members who suffered addiction, and I think many of them were self medicating an illness that could have been successfully managed by therapy and/or proper medication. People thought my mother was "crazy" when she was drinking, but they never said that after she was successfully treated for major depression.
It's like living in hell by choice when you know you could be happy - but choosing not to be because you don't want to be "crazy."
When I first heard the doctor say I had a mental illness I had a lot of mixed emotions it was hard to take all of that in at first. Later on in life as I grew older and wiser I learned how to manage my symptoms and not feel ashamed of myself because I have an illness.
I decided that I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.
And also . . .
Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.
And also . . .
As I let go of my feelings of guilt, I can get in touch with my Inner Sociopath.
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