July 2012: Accepting Diagnoses

RubyWe’ve had a lot of activity within the past 24 hours, but I thought it might be nice to get July’s topic up. . . well, in July.  So.

James was on the spot, and he thought something that deserved our attention was the idea of accepting a diagnosis/diagnoses.  I think he is on to something with the importance of discussing this.  He points out that accepting diagnoses is a process, and it doesn’t just happen overnight.  In his own words, it “takes time and adjustment.”  And as he wisely brings up, the newly diagnosed, and also families of the newly diagnosed, could really benefit from our experiences with this.

So how long was it after you had been diagnosed before you could honestly say you accepted it?  Or do you, even yet?  And I’m not speaking to identifying with your diagnosis, or wearing the label, or integrating it fully into your personality.  I think more what we should be talking about is loosely, how long was it before you were comfortable enough to own your diagnosis?  To say (at least to yourself), “Yes, I have bipolar disorder/borderline personality disorder/an anxiety disorder/insert whatever fits your case and I need help to be happy and well.”

And how about your family members?  Was there a lag time between when you told them your “labels” and when they came to terms with them?  Or have they, really, at all?  (That question can also be answered if you are someone who has a family member, friend, etc. with a mental illness.)

I really should get the ball rolling by answering these questions myself, but I think that in this case, as is often the case, I would be a poor standard-bearer.  I had my diagnoses down before anyone professional did.  And as for my family, they might have had a few moments were they were mildly surprised when I told them, but those passed quickly, because a) I had said it was the case, and my word is the accepted law when it comes to myself with my loved ones (for good reason), b) I had months with an excellent psychiatrist before I disclosed things, so they knew that something was up, and c) did I mention that I am always right about myself, and my family knows it?

So what about the rest of you?  What was the path to acceptance for you, personally?  Let’s share our stories, in the hope that we may help one another.

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