No one wants to hear those words you have an illness. But outside of cancer there are few diagnosis that trump a mental illness label. It can be very depressing. So now that you have it -what do you do next?
Here are some common answers to that question:
1. Deny it. Belief the doctor or therapist is wrong and you are perfectly healthy. It is everyone else who has the problem.
2. Cry. It is a sad day to get told something is not quite right and that maybe you will need medications for the rest of your life. That’s no fun to hear. Grab a box of tissues and let it all sink in.
3. Rejoice. Well a little dramatic but if you were looking for something to explain how you thought or felt or acted and now all of a sudden things made sense that’s a pretty good day.
4. Question. Is the doctor right? Get a second opinion.
5. Accept it and start learning how to recognize warning signs of the illness. Become a student and learn everything you can so you manage the illness and it does not manage you.
6. Ignore it. Pretend as if the doctor has not just told you you have a severe mental illness and you will need treatment most likely for the rest of your life.
In my personal journey I have done each one of those responses. #6 is by far the worst choice in my personal experience. But I do understand all the choices and know everyone has their own reasons for choosing how they react and deal with it.
No matter where you are in your process think about what worked the best for you. In the end #5 gave me my life back. It is my choice and recommendation for others confronted with this challenge.