I was relieved to find out that I had bipolar disorder, if I’m being completely honest. It finally made sense. I could put a name to what I had been feeling for so many years. But I know it’s not like that for everyone. Sometimes it’s unexpected, or even scary! Everyone has their own unique experience.
Because not everyone knows how to deal with this important event in their life, I put together a short list of the main ways I think you can learn to accept your mental health diagnosis.
1. Stay Calm: When your doctor gives you your diagnosis, try not to freak out if you can help it. You WILL get used to it and you WILL be okay. A word does not define you. Schizophrenia or bipolar or depression does not mean crazy. You’re still you. All a diagnosis really is, is the first step to healing, recovering, and managing the situation at hand.
2. Do Your Research: Ask your doctor what some healthy ways to research your illness are. WebMD isn’t one of them. They may be able to recommend some books of videos that can give you more information. I like to watch people’s stories on YouTube. It makes me feel less alone, and I find it interesting how each person’s story varies. Remember, the more you know about your illness, the less scary it becomes.
3. Remember Who You Are: This is the final and most important step. When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I sort of let it take over my whole identity, and lost myself in the process. It’s really important that you know who you are outside of your illness, because your illness does not define you. Continue to go about your normal routine and do the things you like. Integrating therapy or medication or both can be great! But that’s only part of your life. You can do whatever you want with the rest of your time. This doesn’t have to take over. You can still reach your goals.
I believe in you.