Life Before the Diagnosis of Mental Illness
> Is terrifying–not knowing what is ‘wrong’ with us
> We fear we will not get better, find stability
>Life can quickly be ripped out from under our feet;
>We wonder if we will ever be able to function again
>We fear people will leave us;
>Afraid that they are as frightened as you are. And they probably are.
The feelings that come with mental illness, before treated, are akin to be locked in a room, a black room, without a key.
Fun stuff right? Not really. I try not to remember it–but I also work to understand that my past does not define my future, no, but it does shape it. And this isn’t always a bad thing.
Life After the Diagnosis: Fearing the Future
Let’s move ahead: You have obtained a state of recovery. If your illness is chronic, and it probably is, you now understand you will take medication For The Rest of Your Life. Appealing? Not really. Not at all. But that’s part of the deal. Recovery involves accepting the illness but, often, we worry about becoming ill again. We spend so much time analyzing our mood, fearing relapse, that our lives can slip through our fingers.
Years might pass, years that could be the best of your life, and you cannot move forward because the diagnosis has come to define your life.
We might fear the future because we believe that trying to move ahead in life will end in disaster. But it won’t. And we won’t ever know this until we embrace our lives—as difficult as this may be.
Embracing Life After Being Diagnosed With a Mental Illness
I am not asking you to embrace your illness, although this might happen at some point, but I do believe that allowing mental illness to define your life is terrible. It’s terrible because it does not allow us to move forward, to enjoy life on life’s terms, and live less in fear but in anticipation.
It’s a complicated topic, the feelings surrounding it even more so, and I struggle with it. I spend a lot of time writing about mental illness and living with it. It’s hard, when times get rough, to separate myself from it but I try, and you should too.
Our illness does not define our lives, no, we define our lives.