One in five people will be diagnosed with a mental illness but it is how you choose to live with your diagnoses that will set you apart from the rest. I struggled since childhood and was not diagnosed with anxiety and depression until age twenty-three. It was seven years later that I was officially diagnosed with Bipolar II disorder. None of it came as a surprise to me though. I had always known I was different but haven’t let my diagnoses define me. My illness is something I have, not who I am. I view it as a super power, because its takes enormous strength to live with, but I also don’t use it to take advantage of anything.
For World Mental Health Day, I asked others to share their feelings on their diagnosis and how its affected their lives. Did their diagnosis surprise them? Or was it a relief, like for me when diagnosed as bipolar? This year, we have had to shine an even brighter light on mental health than ever before due to the pandemic. Read from our followers below:
“I had been fighting depression most of my life before receiving an official diagnoses. For five minutes, there was relief because there was an explanation, then fear and shame took over. I was supposed to be the strong black superwoman like my ancestors, and here I was, locked in a psych ward because I failed to hold it together.”
“When I received my diagnosis of anxiety and depression, I was surprised and confused. I had gone to my doctor for chronic pain due to underlying and undiagnosed genetic conditions, and they brushed it off as anxiety and depression. The antidepressants sent me spiraling down into a deep depression. I actually planned my suicide and started saying goodbye to friends and family. It was really hard at first accepting the diagnosis of Bipolar, but therapy has helped tremendously and I’m honestly not longer ashamed to to admit I have Bipolar. I can say I have mental illness easier sometimes than I can say I had an aortic aneurysm! I’m proud to be me.”
“My immediate thought was that I was being improperly diagnosed, because my psychiatric evaluation did not adhere to DSM criteria. I remember feeling confused and offended. Having a mental health diagnosis changed my life in ways I never would have imagined. It was and continues to be one of the most adverse experiences I have ever faced.”
“I didn’t feel surprised as that’s the reason I went. It made me feel better because I finally admitted it and started to get help.”
” The first time when I was diagnosed I was stunned because I checked off all the boxes. The second time, I was relieved because I now knew what was causing my weird walking and not walking, w/conversion disorder”