If you’ve been struggling with a mental illness, getting a diagnosis could be your saving grace. But, just because you wanted answers doesn’t mean accepting your diagnosis is going to be easy. Having a mental illness is not something to be ashamed of; unfortunately, society still isn’t as aware as it should be. Still, your health is not about how others view you or your mental illness. Accepting your diagnosis is the first step in getting treatment and recovering. Without acceptance, the rest of the process becomes more challenging and can even halt.
Although it is never easy to admit that you aren’t “normal,” whatever that means, accepting that you have a problem is the first step in accomplishing a goal.
No matter what illness you suffer from, getting a mental illness diagnosis means you are on the right path. So far, that path may have been paved with bumps. Whether you sought help or your support system encouraged you, you took the right step. Hearing from a professional that you have a mental illness can be challenging to accept. You know your reality, which is a significant change that you need to adapt to. And with a mental illness, adjusting to that new reality may be even more complex.
There are a lot of negative thoughts that arise when you receive a mental illness diagnosis. Accepting those emotions rather than denying them can help you take the next steps. According to an article published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, “acceptance has been linked with greater psychological health, which we propose may be due to the role acceptance plays in negative emotional responses to stressors.”
You may not want to have a mental illness, but it doesn’t mean something is wrong with you. It just means you need help. Accepting that helps you cope. Mental health treatment requires change and work. That can be a scary thought. Accepting your mental illness means accepting that work. Engaging with that and coping allows you the skills to move forward. When you can’t accept something, you don’t do anything about it. So, if you can’t accept your mental illness, you can’t change anything. It is crucial to accept to engage in the work.
Acceptance can be vital because it is tough to do anything constructive about something when we don’t accept it. A degree of acceptance can be an essential requirement for genuine engagement and change. When you can learn to accept something, even something shocking or unpleasant, you choose to cope healthily. When you deny, you aren’t facing the problem. Accepting lets, you come to terms. Acceptance is also key to confidence. It is easy to get down on yourself when you get a mental illness diagnosis, but accepting it, allows you to heal and work on yourself. It would be best if you had compassion for yourself.
Instead of thinking of yourself as someone who should be mentally healthy, acceptance allows you to realize that your mental illness does not define you. You are worthy of love and attention from others and yourself. Accept reality as it lets you settle into your new routine and make changes. Of course, mental illness comes with a stigma, myths, and completely wrong assumptions. Some perceive it as weakness, but working through your diagnosis and enduring the work makes you strong and capable. Try to see your diagnosis as clarity. You have an answer. You are one step closer to treatment. You can’t work on something until you know what it is. Now you can see your mental illness as a part of your life, not something overtaking it.
Now, acceptance is not something that happens immediately. You don’t just say you accept it and move on. It is a process with steps and hurdles. Even if you don’t start with denial, facing the shock can be challenging.
One of the first steps of accepting a mental health diagnosis is awareness and knowledge. Research and ask questions. Understanding what the diagnosis means will give you clarity. Learn about the symptoms. This can help you understand your thoughts and behaviors linked to your diagnosis. Understanding all you can about your mental illness prepares you for treatment. Next, do not let your diagnosis define you. You have a mental illness. You aren’t a walking ball of contagious conjunctivitis. This is only one part of you and working on it helps you grow as a person.
Treatment for mental illness is varied. Sometimes there are medications, therapy, group meetings, and lifestyle changes. Before jumping into treatment:
Even inviting loved ones to therapy sessions or offering them literature on your mental illness can help them accept it too. Knowing that your life isn’t going to change dramatically or negatively with this diagnosis enables you to realize things aren’t as bad as they may have initially seemed.
Unfortunately, mental illnesses often produce shame. Of course, you should deal with all the emotions that come with your diagnosis, but focusing on hope and growth over shame allows your positive outlook to overcome stigma and focus on your wellbeing.
Receiving a mental illness diagnosis is not the end. It may feel shocking or even make you want to hideaway. But, mental illnesses are treatable. When you learn to accept your diagnosis, you can feel prepared to get treatment. When you are in denial about your mental health, it prevents you from asking for help, seeking treatment, or living your life. Mental illnesses do not stop your life, but treatment for mental illnesses can make it the best it’s ever been. Sure, you have to face the stigma and lack of knowledge in the world, but it is your chance to find balance and feel healthy physically and mentally. At California Care Detox & Treatment, we encourage our clients to accept their mental health issues as a part of them that they can grow, not something to ignore or deny. We want you to live your best life. Call us now at (949) 281-0632 to get started.