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Why Your Illness Doesn’t Define You

          Why Your Illness Doesn’t Define You

                                 Guest Post Written by Elizabeth Jett a PR Specialist at the Charcot-Marie-Tooth-Association

Living a fulfilling and productive life is possible despite illness, disability, or disease. Let’s face it—no matter our socioeconomic standing, life has its fair share of hurdles. It’s hard to deal with a chronic illness without hearing judgmental remarks and negative attitudes from family members and friends. Disease, disability, and condition have crept into our modern world, but we needn’t let them define us. It is inherent in human nature to categorize and label. But when it comes to mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, the media goes to great lengths to portray those with these afflictions as a danger to society. However, viewing those with a mental illness as different, we as a society are setting up barriers and hindrances to recovery. Illness does not define us. We define ourselves. When we stop thinking about our condition and focus on our strengths and accomplishments, we can start to feel more positive about ourselves and our lives. More importantly, we can make a real difference in the world.

 

Whether it is a Mental Illness or a Hereditary Disease – a Diagnosis is Just a Label.

 

Viewing a diagnosis as a label rather than identity is essential. The moment a label is placed on a person, all of a sudden, that individual is viewed in one light. If someone has a diagnosis of schizophrenia, for example, people start labeling that person as crazy or dangerous. This could not be further from the truth. All individuals are unique and complex.

 

A person with a diagnosis of schizophrenia is likely to have the exact emotional needs as anyone else and might even more so because of the emotional burdens accompanying mental disorders. Others need to see not only this individual as a person but also as an equal. The stigma placed on mental illness is harmful

 

The stigma surrounding mental illness is harmful to everyone involved. When someone has a mental illness, they mustn’t feel as if they are alone. It is equally important that others do not make a person with a mental illness feel like they are to blame for the disease. These individuals have often endured so much pain and loss that is made feel responsible for their condition can be highly traumatizing. This can also cause significant life disruption.

 

Just as severe physical injuries can cause people to feel like they are different than others, so can mental illness. If people with mental illness feel alienated from the rest of society, many of them will not seek treatment or support. But when people with a mental illness feel supported, understood, and accepted by those around them, they are more likely to not only seek treatment for their condition but also to take steps to overcome it.

 

Having these factors in mind, it is essential that people with a mental illness feel as if they are being viewed as an individual rather than as diseased ones. Society should therefore stop viewing people with a mental illness as sick—they are simply ill. When someone is ill, they can recover and get better. But when society views them as unworthy and something “to be feared,” they are less likely to seek treatment. The ill person should similarly take confidence in the knowledge that they are not their illness. They should consider themselves deserving of love, respect, and opportunity in life like any other person. If you feel like you are having trouble finding your identity, reach out to friends or groups that will assist you through the process.

 

You Can Befriend People Similar to you and Share your Experiences Through Things You Love to do

 

One of the best ways to regain control over your life is to start building relationships with others. You are less likely to feel isolated or alone when you try to do this. You are not alone because others think as you do. You are not alone because you can always find comfort and solace from those who have been there. It is the small things that can make all the difference.

 

You can build a strong relationship with others by finding things you love. Support groups provide a valuable platform for this. They are a great place to interact with others experiencing similar things. Plus, they offer areas to talk and socialize—places you can go when you need guidance or support without feeling different.

 

You can also find places to volunteer. Volunteering can provide excellent experiences where you meet people like yourself and those who have been through similar things. This will help you feel less isolated and be a perfect way to gain experience for future projects and job opportunities.

 

Attitude change can prove to be extremely powerful when it comes to recovery. When you approach your illness or disability as something that is not you, things begin to fall into place. Sure, you might not be able to change the condition itself, but you can change your perception of it and how it affects you.

 

A diagnosis does not define a person. It is an external label that serves as an opportunity to learn the true nature of ourselves and to celebrate our individuality and many strengths. When we view things this way, we come to appreciate life’s many opportunities rather than feeling stuck.

 

 

 

 

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One Comment

  1. We have to do all we can do to help ourselves. Like I say, take care of yourself because you’re the only you that you have 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up at the #UnlimitedLinkParty 115. Pinned.

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