More than a Label – How I Handle My Mental Illness Diagnosis

More than a Label – How I Handle My Mental Illness Diagnosis

Hey there, I’m just putting labels on myself
so that I can severely limit my life and potential. When I first went to see therapists, several
of them diagnosed me with OCD and Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and when they did this they
told me that these would undoubtedly be things that I would have to work my life around.
They told me that I should take school slowly. They told me that I shouldn’t get involved
in work that’s too demanding. And I believed them… at least in the beginning. Then slowly I started to question these labels,
and I started to test the limits that were set around me. As I slowly learned more about
some of the different skills and methods that I could use to maintain and boost my mental
health, I also came to realize that those labels that I was identifying with didn’t
have to define me, and started to break through some of those limitations I was putting on
myself. The tough part about this was realizing that I could have broken through those limitations
years before I actually did, and that I had let those limitations hold me down when they
didn’t have to. Although I still use the OCD label to communicate
with others, it’s not something that I let it define me. Now, this isn’t to say that
I won’t have varying degrees of mental health as I move through my life, but I just found
that this label wasn’t helpful for me. Plus, when I’m engaging in actions that I know
will continue to boost and maintain my mental health over time, OCD isn’t really something
that impacts my life, and as long as I’m doing those things, I really don’t have to worry
about it. Now, this isn’t to say that medical diagnoses
aren’t useful. It can be really helpful to know and understand what kind of patterns
and conditions you are experiencing, but that’s not a reason to put unnecessary boundaries
on yourself. With that being said, maybe it’s time to start pushing the boundaries that
have been set around you. You might actually find that these boundaries weren’t boundaries
at all. And ultimately, pushing these boundaries and these limitations is what eventually leads
us to find out what we’re really capable of. The bottom line here is that what you believe
about yourself really matters. If you firmly believe that you have a chronic mental illness
and that recovery is impossible, that greatly increases the odds of you having that very
experience. On the other hand, if you believe that you can and will recover, then that tips
the scales in your favor towards actually recovering and getting better. It makes it
so that you handle the situation differently than you otherwise would. Also, if you plan
on working with a therapist, you want to find one who shares this approach, you want someone
who believes that you can recover, and is going to help you get there. So, here are the key takeaways for today.
Believe that you can recover, because it really is possible! Whether you’ve been labeled
with an anxiety disorder, depression, or even something like general shyness, be very careful
about the labels that you accept about yourself. It’s important to clarify that this applies
to labels that have been put on you by people like therapists, or even the labels that you
put on yourself. Next, If you’re working with a therapist, find someone who believes
that you can recover and will help you get there. And last, push your boundaries and
limitations. This comes down to accepting the discomfort
and uncertainty that comes with life while you pursue the things that you value in life.
In the end this is what really matters, and it’s ultimately what is going to improve
your mental health over time. And that’s all for today. Thanks so much for
tuning in. Please consider liking and subscribing if you found value in this video, and we will
catch you next time!

About the author


  1. We love your humorous examples and creativity in many of your videos. They really help us "see" what you are talking about. (Did I just do air quotes?- loved that comment from your other episode)

    So keep doing that and if possible we give you permission to add even more humor! So helpful!

    We also love it when your dog shows up! or just your real and raw unedited stuff in the videos.

    It makes talking about anxiety with my daughter fun and bareable.

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