Not everyone with mental health concerns will go through the process of receiving a formal diagnosis. To some, the idea of labels can be intimidating. With mental illness awareness week being just around the corner, we want to help support you on your mental health journey. If you have recently received a diagnosis and are struggling with taking your next steps or how to cope, keep reading!
Overcoming the Stigma of Labels
There can be a significant amount of stigma associated with mental health diagnoses. It is important to recognize how some of this stigma can become emphasized by ourselves, even if it’s not intentional. It’s not uncommon for individuals with a diagnosis to misattribute a label to a sign of personal weakness or that it should be something you can control. When we allow stigma to perpetuate self-doubt, shame, and judgement, we are likely to experience reluctance towards seeking help or treatment. Learning to accept your diagnosis as a sign of strength is what will make the largest difference in overcoming barriers towards your recovery.
Join Support Groups
Receiving a diagnosis does not have to be an isolated experience. Connecting with others who share a diagnosis with you can invite a sense of unity and help you remember that you are not alone. Support groups are a great way to assist you in your recovery, validate your struggles, and fill any gaps between your treatment and the need for emotional support. The function of support groups is to bring together individuals with a common purpose and similar experiences, and to talk openly and honestly in a safe space. They can improve your own skills to cope with the challenges of your diagnosis, keep you motivated, and help you gain a sense of empowerment, control, and hope.
You are not your Illness
One of the most important pieces of advice we want to provide around diagnostic labels is to not equate yourself with them! When you receive a diagnosis, it is crucial to understand that you are so much more. The purpose of a diagnosis is to explain your symptoms. Giving your symptoms a name allows shared language amongst mental health professionals to determine the best course of treatment! Having a name for what you are experiencing is also beneficial for explaining it to others and providing context around some emotions or behaviours you might have difficulty expressing.
There is no one-size fits all approach when it comes to treatment. There are many different types of therapy and resources that will benefit everyone differently. It can often be beneficial to work with a mental health professional who specializes in populations you identify with. If you are seeking therapy and would like to browse the different types of modalities that we offer, you can click here to learn more and book a free 20-minute consultation with a therapist that interests you.