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Who gets to decide who YOU are?

& what can happen when you get labelled, BEFORE a Mental Health diagnosis.

As my first contribution to the Thrive Global community, I’d like to address one of the biggest problems I faced with my own Mental Health struggles.

IDENTITY

What do I mean by indentity in this case? 

A collection of the labels I was “gifted” by others as a result of my own struggles – struggles I didn’t even realise I was having (GAD etc), until I saw a therapist…

By this time though, it was too late – Rich, a hot-headed, bad-tempered man, who held very little sway in serious situations, because, pretty much as soon as you raise your voice (especially to anyone looking to ignore their OWN behaviour, in favour of concentrating on yours), you lose positioning in discussions or arguments.

It’s just you being a hot-head again. Credibility goes. Biases further increase, along with resistance to your points, no matter how much sense you may make.


You can largely be ignored, or belittled – and that just builds up frustrations more.

Throw anxiety into the mix, and you have a cauldron of toxic thoughts & frustrations just waiting to explode. Which of course, just exacerbates the negative in any situation – which poisons relationships, both externally, and internally with your own mind…. and so on, and so forth – I’m sure you get the idea by now.

It’s a truly vicious cycle. 

I still don’t hear this side talked about enough!  About having to accept a moniker that is in fact, born of a mental health issue, and in real terms is entirely unrepresentative of your deeper values! 

I am astonished quite honestly, especially retrospectively, about how far I would compromise that value system when in the depths of inner despair. All whilst trying to crack on externally. Pushing hard. Doing my affirmations. Going through the motions of what others were using to haul themselves into prosperity and success.

This mental health issue was getting into so many areas of my “personality”, another example, my CBT therapist, asked me each week to write things down – she didn’t know, and I was too embarrassed to tell her, that I was SCARED STIFF to write anything down because of my OCD – in the fear, I would make it worse by committing it to paper.

I never wrote anything down! I couldn’t. I froze up! 

I just made up excuses for not doing it!

Ultimately, I got myself out of that hellhole of a mind-space. But the moniker stayed for some. When you behave as I did, you give others an excuse for their behaviour, you become an enabler of the poor choices others around you make, not just yourself.  

However, when YOU break out (and you’re ultimately responsible for YOU), you must leave any monikers people have given you behind. It is not easy, there’s no point sugar coating this. But it IS possible. 

Understand, whilst you are healing:

  1.  Others may not be ready to heal themselves. 
  2.  Absolutely no one is perfect.  
  3.  You cannot change the past. 
  4.  Ask for forgiveness, understanding & compassion…
  5.  … but don’t always expect to receive it! It’s not compulsory, and you must carry on your healing journey irrespective of this!

DO NOT let that (especially No.5) stop you from being a healthier minded person anyway; if we wish to make a more valuable contribution to our world and our own lives – we must accept what has been and move forward – lest we be doomed to make the same mistakes, over and over again!

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

Understand that others may not understand your struggles and that no one is under any obligation to grant you forgiveness etc – you must continue your healing journey regardless!

Let go of labels etc others place upon you, as you evolve, and as you heal from any mental health struggles you have had. They will only serve to hold you back.

The chances are when in those struggles, we can hurt people around us (and vice versa). Do your best to forgive yourself, as well as them, learn, build your internal strength and peace, and slowly you will become a beacon of hope for others!

STAY THE COURSE, and of course, if you feel yourself slipping – seek support!

GOOD LUCK on your recovery journeys!

Richo

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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