Healing toxic shame is a process; it takes a lot of time, self-awareness and a willingness to confront the sources of shame in your past, but it is definitely possible. Personally, I have been working on healing toxic shame a lot in therapy lately, because it's impossible for me to truly recover from my issues with anxiety or depression if I believe the toxic shame from my past that tells me I'm not good enough.
Recovering from Mental Illness
I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder type II for five years. Last year, I found out the diagnosis was incorrect. Before I realized I'd been misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder, it really did seem like the most accurate diagnosis. However, as time passed and I learned more about myself and about mental health in general, it became clear that bipolar was not the right diagnosis for me. Looking back, I can pinpoint three reasons I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder.
I frequently struggle with my hot head, my anger, which feels a little embarrassing to admit. I'm a very anxious person -- something I address in a lot of my articles -- and my anxiety often manifests as anger. I try not to make my anger visible when I'm around others, but it's an all-consuming emotion that's hard to hide. I'm angry about wasting time and energy being so hot-headed, so I am searching for ways to ease my mind.
Mental illness in pregnancy can be tricky to manage for several reasons, but the most frustrating thing for me has been that I can't tell what's causing my symptoms. Last weekend, I slept for 13 hours each night and took a two-hour nap each day. Usually, that would be a classic sign of my depression, and I definitely noticed that my mood was down over the weekend, but pregnancy has also made me absurdly tired. Plus, I'm pretty extroverted and I spent a lot of time alone over the weekend, so I may have just been sleeping out of boredom. How am I supposed to find out what's really going on with me when there are so many overlapping factors?
I am a different person than I was before my mental illness. The year was 2004. I knew I needed help and my parents invited me home. My mental illness was paralyzing, and although I had big dreams, my life was at a standstill.
Self-acceptance in recovery and self-love in recovery are both great goals to strive for, but for people like me, with deep-seated self-loathing issues, self-love oftentimes feels far out of reach. That's why I'm learning to turn to self-acceptance in recovery.
Mental illnesses are devastating. Even when the dust settles after your initial diagnosis, it's hard to see how there can be anything positive about mental illness. However, recovery is full of surprises.
Bad mental health days hurt, in no small part because they make me feel so alone. It's hard for me to ask for help, but I'm trying to get better at it because it turns out, having some support can make a world of difference on bad mental health days.
There are five types of fear I associate with psychosis. Although, since my diagnosis 15 years ago, I have often been told that my illness doesn't define me, it's hard to separate myself from the types of fear psychosis brings out in me. Having schizoaffective disorder has had a huge impact on how I see and feel about the world around me, particularly when experiencing psychosis. My psychosis primarily consists of auditory and visual hallucinations which are sometimes terrifying. Experiencing hallucinations has felt differently pre- and post-diagnosis. Here are five different types of fear I've felt with psychosis. Good or bad, these fears have been an important part of my life story.
I typically use distress tolerance coping skills several times a week to get me through intense feelings that threaten to completely overwhelm me. In the past, I have tried to deny these feelings, as if I could will them away simply because I didn't like them, but I've recently learned that this approach can actually intensify distressing emotions. Now, I am learning to tolerate these emotions while they last, and encourage them to run their course through me. I'm realizing that even though this is uncomfortable and scary, it's typically quicker and less painful than trying to reject the emotions entirely. Everyone has different distress tolerance coping skills that work for them, but I thought I would share a few of mine in the hopes that they might be helpful for others as well.