How to Accept Your Mental Illness Diagnosis

I can remember when I was in the hospital. It was after a long week of hitchhiking along the east coast thinking I was a prophet and I had just gotten home and told my parents about my mission. I can remember breaking down completely, emotionally unable to process the fact that I was actually certifiably insane. It was a constant struggle between me telling myself that things I was thinking weren’t real and trying to come to terms with the notion I had always had of crazy people being dangerous and unhinged. I was one of those people. I was crazy.

The point is, it took me a long time to accept my diagnosis and to put in the work I needed to do to get better.

I’ve been there and I know what it’s like to lose yourself completely in the idea that who you are as a person is flawed.

I thought before I educated myself that craziness was a character fault but that’s not true. It’s biological, it’s chemicals and it has nothing to do with who you are as a person. That notion still stuck with me though and I was afraid for a long time about what people would think and why I had done the things I did.

My brain wasn’t working correctly and because of this I thought that I was a defect.

I thought that I had failed my mission and that my life was essentially meaningless because everything I had been experiencing, all the secret messages, all the connections, all the paranoia was in my head.

To accept your diagnosis you have to be aware on some level that the things that are happening to you aren’t right. You have to know somewhere inside of you that this stuff doesn’t make sense despite every piece of evidence your brain puts in front of you.

I knew things weren’t right and I’ll admit, I only started taking my meds so that I could get out of the hospital but then something funny happened, I started to feel more normal, I started to get a little better and I liked that I wasn’t so plagued by these strange thoughts.

There have been times I thought about stopping my meds and times I actually have if just for a few days but then something my brain tells me will scare me and I’ll realize that it’s not good to be unstable.

You have to accept your diagnosis and there are several things that may help.

First of all there’s the simple fact that you are not alone nearly a quarter of the population will, at some point in their lives face some iteration of mental illness whether it’s depression or anxiety or something else. There are literally billions of other people that are having problems. There are millions who are having the exact same problem as you. You are not alone no matter how alone you feel.

Secondly it’s important to know that recovery is possible, a normal life is possible and if you work hard at getting better you can get to a point of stability. It’s a rollercoaster ride but give it time, give it experience and you’ll learn how to deal with your illness. Think of mental illness like a huge badass scar, it gives you a level of character most people wouldn’t even be aware of.

If you know things aren’t entirely right, and I’m pretty sure you do, give recovery a try. Know that you’re not alone and that a normal life is possible.

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