(Quite accomplished for 20 years old, I’d say!)
Do you ever wonder what to do with all your diagnoses? How do you get on that elusive journey to recovery? How do you get to a place where you don’t need a diagnosis? Because, funnily enough, the issue with mental health is that, although the psychiatrists mean well in being orderly and efficient, these labels stick like mud. Once diagnosed we are branded with stigma for life. Oh, the shame!
Shame? Maybe once but not any more. Stigma fighters, survivors and mental health advocates such as myself have been tweeting, sharing, liking but above all communicating with the unified mission of eradicating stigma on a world wide scale and promoting recovery. I am doing so through my autobiographical writing which you can find on Wattpad: read my work in progress BPD & Me: Confessions of a Drama Queen
Something which I have discovered on my own journey of recovery is that these multiple diagnoses definitely do not define me in any way shape or form. I am not my mental illness. I am Emerald Grace, daughter, sister, mental health activist, author and poet, etc. I am me so why don’t you be you?
Break The Mold: Choose Recovery
It is dangerously easy to take these diagnoses at face value. Some would accept the information and drift into a state of learned helplessness, completely resigned to the fact that they are ill, not attempting to recover. However, you and I are not among the ‘some people’ who would fall into that trap.
You want to get better. You want a new life, free from depression, anxiety and any symptoms of mental illness. You want wellness and recovery. I am completely serious when I say that you deserve these things. I know I have not met you, personally, however I am a fellow human being thus I know that we are all equal and all deserving of a worthwhile, purposeful life – a life you can get excited about rather than dread!
So be prepared to make changes. Worth it to reep the rewards of the future, these changes are not sacrifices. Once you have accepted that, to move on and let go of your mental illness, you have to adjust and change, the actual process of healing, positive change and recovery follows naturally.
Trust Your Resolve
At this point, you have discarded your diagnoses which are really there for the consultant and MDTs’ benefit, acknowledged your need for change, healing and growth as an equal and therefore worthy human being, and are wondering where I am leading you with this ‘resolve’ business. Well, let’s first define resolve. It is, as a noun, the firm determination to be set on a course of action. Its synonyms include determination, will-power and intentness.
I have resolve as can be seen by my strategic focus to get myself out of a rut of almost two years of hospitalisation and become reintegrated with society. I clawed my way out of a deep dark hole and fought my way through the system and found my way to some degree of recovery. You, also, have the courage, fixing of purpose and determined resolve to make this decision. Because this is a decision. Do you choose to stay in a safe but emotionally exhausting rut or take a leap of faith into the world of being ‘well!’
Own Your Decision
Are you ready to leave your psychiatric symptoms behind you? Own your decision to recover and get better. Shout it from the rooftops! Let absolutely everybody know that you are in recovery and have resolved to get better. Not waiting for the help to find you, you are actively seeking the help and support. You are choosing wellness rather than letting mental illness choose you.
Never Struggle Alone
As a survivor, you will be faced with many opportunities to make a difference. At other times, you will have to create those chances to help, see, not everybody wants saving. Some people need some gentle encouragement and persuasion to begin their journey of recovery.
Allow me to take this moment to assure you that, no matter what your diagnosis/es may be, you are not alone. Draw on the strength of others and they will be your scaffolding as you climb out of the depths of depression and despair. Family, friends and fellow human beings, we are all here to stand by one another and see each other through the bad and good, and the peaks and troughs of life. I would never have come this far on my journey, with the successes I have found, without my cheerleaders.
However, some negative in life, so long as you are equipped to deal with it, is both inevitable and necessary. After all,
stars can’t shine without darkness!