Written by Taylor Jones.
For most of my adult life I was diagnosed with an illness that I was supposed to have been born with.
It’s difficult to understand that you are born with a mental illness.
It’s difficult to understand that you are born with a mental illness. It felt like a curse. I felt like I had done nothing wrong in my life to deserve this, yet here I was, hexed with this awful illness that I would be stuck with for the rest of my life. I felt bitter towards other people who didn’t have a mental illness. They were the lucky ones; which was really an unfair way to think of others, because I didn’t know their backstory. My life was forever going to be awful, and I would forever have this curse. However, eventually, I came to terms with my illness. It was part of me. I researched it and realized it wasn’t as bad as it seemed, and I could control it, So I learned the in’s and out’s, I became educated, and I took control of my mental illness.
I learned the truth; I was not born with a mental illness, rather it developed from trauma.
There were times, however, that I didn’t feel like I was properly diagnosed. Parts of my mental illness didn’t make sense, or fit my diagnosis. I started noticing different things that I hadn’t noticed before, and taking notes. I started losing big gaps of memory; including moments like my wedding. I started acting less like myself, and more like someone else. I went in for re-diagnosis, not expecting a drastic change of what I’d been told. That’s when I learned the truth; I was not born with a mental illness, rather it developed from trauma.
I felt weak.
Maybe it’s the fresh re-diagnosis, because this was a very recent event, and the constant pondering if this is the proper diagnosis, but learning that I wasn’t born with a diagnosis, but that it was developed has been harder for me to grasp. I have felt angrier. I have become bitter towards myself, and felt weak. I could have been a stronger person, I could have fought this off. This is simply not the truth. There was a small glimpse of hope, in thinking maybe, just maybe I would grow out of this, but just like my first diagnosis, this is a life sentence. I wanted to scream knowing I wasn’t born this way, rather I was made this way.
You are not your diagnosis.
There are times I get really hung up on my diagnosis, whatever it may be. That’s when I try to remind myself of something every therapist has ever told me; You are not your diagnosis. While I try to stay educated on my diagnosis, it’s important to not let it define me. It may be part of my DNA, but it’s not part of my identity. There’s a fine line, and it’s so easy to fall into this sinking pattern of I am this way, I will always be this way and hate yourself for it. I try to remind myself at these times one thing. I have a mental illness. I am not a mental illness.