A mental illness diagnosis can be devastating, especially in a world filled with stigma. Mental illness. They say crazy. I say gifted.
Mental illness is defined as a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment on daily functioning. There are various diagnoses, for example: ADHD, Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Postpartum Depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Autism, personality disorders, etc. There is a large array of diagnosis and the DSM V is currently the diagnostic manual that is used by mental health professionals for determining diagnoses and treatment plans.
Those of you who struggle with mental illness or know someone who does, I must say are warriors because it is one of the hardest battles known to man! Unlike physical disabilities and diseases, in many cases one’s minds are not heavily affected, if at all. However, when the illness is a disease of the mind, the mind is biochemically imbalanced which affects everyday cognition, judgment, processing, driving, eating, and all basic functioning–which in turns affects us physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Mental illness affects various systems of the body which further affects other organs and such causing a whole body shift.
A mental illness not only affects the way we think and perceive reality, but our physical, emotional, and spiritual health as well as introduces the likelihood of other co-occurring disorders or chemical dependencies such as substance abuse and addictions. These things can often go hand and hand which can be tricky to treat because which do we treat first? What comes first? The chicken or the egg? Tough stuff!
Bipolar disorder (earlier known as manic depression), OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
When I received my diagnoses, I had heard various different diagnoses along the way because sometimes I wasn’t being honest and open about my symptoms, sometimes I didn’t even know that my symptoms were ‘abnormal’ and other times I was in denial and didn’t want to admit their was a problem. Because that meant I was weak. Crazy. And broken. But who isn’t? LOL!
Anyway, I had a hard time swallowing these diagnoses, mainly because bipolar disorder is a heavy diagnosis to acquire. It is considered one of the more severe mental illnesses. I thought my life was doomed. I thought I would be stigmatized and discriminated against for the rest of my life. Although this isn’t uncommon, within the mental health field, this is the furthest from the truth as mental illnesses as normalized as any other disease of the physical body.
Mental illnesses, especially bipolar disorder, can be very difficult to manage without medication and/or psychotherapy. Personally, I have found that the combination of the two have saved my life. I struggled a lot, even earlier last year, with suicidal ideation and active suicidal attempts, which could have very well have been fatal. Only by God’s grace, did He save me and stop me from every attempt. It gives me goosebumps to think that exactly one year ago, I was trying to plan my death because I was done with life. Hopeless. Lifeless. Careless.
BUT, this is not my identity and it is NOT yours! If you have a diagnosis it is just something we live with. It doesn’t make us any less of a person. It doesn’t make us weak. It makes us strong. It doesn’t make us crazy, it makes us mindful. We aren’t named by our illness. God doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called!
BUT GOD. BUT GOD. He is always so faithful! He always come thru!!!! I have to soak myself in His truth and remind myself of my identity in Christ!
“For You have rescued my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling.” [Psalm 116:8]
“For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” [Colossians 1:13]
“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” [Matthew 4:16]
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” [John 8:12]
OUR IDENTITY IS IN CHRIST!
We are children of God.
We are His beloved.
We are His precious son/daughter.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made.
We are loved.
We are the apple of His eye.
and so much more….look to Jesus for your identity, not in your diagnosis!