While some people discuss the ins and outs of being diagnosed, I am talking about the positives and negatives of having a diagnosis. More along the lines of mental/emotional health after being diagnosed.
The bottom line is that its just a diagnosis. I view it as a tool only. It is the means in which you figure out whats going on, get the resources you need to deal with it, and then MOVE. ON. WITH. YOUR. LIFE. It is a diagnosis only. It does not define you. It does not tell you who to love, who to hold close to your heart, what you like to do, what your passions are. Those people who choose to stand by you throughout it all are your “support people.” Your diagnosis may help you figure out who those people are, because many people will cut and run when they find things are too tough for them. Those who stick close, are the ones you count on. Your diagnosis may influence some of your future decisions, to identify what would be good for you in the long run, or challenges that would exacerbate your disability. Ultimately, you are you. You have these experiences to build on that have created you as a person. The diagnosis is just a tool. This is where you say,
perhaps years later, “Okay. This sucks, but its just a diagnosis. Now what do I do about it?”
Don’t get me wrong. If you had asked me about this 10 years ago you would have gotten a different response. It has taken me 15 years (holy crap! Has it been that long??!!) to figure some of this out.
I know that there are always nay-sayers who read a blog and disagree vehemently with what a person says. You have that right. However, people have the right to write and express their opinions in a blog. And that is just what this is. My opinion. This is just my view of having a disability, and as a professional who has helped many students and adults identify their disabilities, and how to go about continuing on with their lives afterwards.
What I have learned is that there is a fine line to my mental illness and how it has challenged me, caused me to rethink some of my decisions, and influenced me to make some really poor choices. My mental illness has created in me a creative spirit that I think is intuitive to seeing and experiencing life passionately and deeply whereas others may float along in life never truly exploring life’s adventure. That fine line is so difficult to discern where my disability ends and where the “me” truly resides. Whatever and wherever that line leads me, I like who I am. I may not like some of the things I do or say (as my mouth tends to spit things out that are random and stupid), but I ultimately like WHO I am. This may take years for others to figure out. It is a journey that each person takes. A person with a disability takes a whole different path, one of struggle, one of finding your “support people,” and one of ultimate redemption and happiness in knowing and liking who you are.
A diagnosis is a tool. Whether the tool leads you to taking medications, avoiding large crowds, getting a new piece of software to do your job, modified school or work schedules, accommodations and what not…. it is just a tool to help you get what you need so you can be successful. You are who you are based off of your experiences. Having a disability or diagnosis is just one of those experiences. That disability may color the hues of your final life’s painting, but it is just one aspect in the whole of your life’s masterpiece. You get to choose whether to let the diagnosis make you, or for you to remake it into something beautiful in your life. To me, it is all about perspective.