I’m Still Me

I wasn’t diagnosed with anything “scary” to other people until I was in my mid-20’s. They accepted the PTSD because it made sense with what I had been through. They accepted the Generalized Anxiety Disorder because they had seen me go through the attacks. They even accepted the incorrect diagnosis of “clinically depressed” because they knew that I had times of dealing with extreme depression.

But when labels of “bipolar” and “schizo-affective” were added to the list, people who had known me all their life began to see me and treat me differently. It breaks my heart. It feels like a deep cut to me that doesn’t heal. The relationships with family and friends are gone now. And the only thing that changed was a label.

They had been through the changes of moods, paranoid thoughts, fears, hallucinations, uncomfortable times, and seeing the highs and lows of it all. They had comforted me and helped me through it all. Yet, when the label was placed on it, suddenly I was a whole different person.

I’m not. I’m the exact same person! I the same person as I was before a label was added to a chart in a doctor’s office. The whole reason that label was added was so that insurance companies would pay for my medicine and treatments. I’m still me.

I still cry. I still love. I still breathe. I still hurt. I still feel. I still get excited over silly little things like getting sesame chicken after craving it for 3 days. I still love opening emails or text messages that just simply say “Have a great day. I’m thinking about you”. I still laugh when I hear a baby laugh. I still cover my eyes when I know a scary part of a horror movie is coming. I still walk my dog. I still love to cook. I still pray. I still protect the people that I love. I still act, think, feel, respond, and live life the same — well maybe a little easier.

I got a little better because I started getting the correct treatment and medicine. But suddenly others see me differently all because of a label.

In a way, I might understand. I might get it. And who knows before labels were added to me, I might have done it to others. (But I hope not.)

We need to remember to share our stories and stop hiding behind a mask pretending we are what people expect us to be labeled as. We need to allow people to see that we are the people they interact with them every day. We aren’t the people that they see in the media (who are always quick to point out that someone had a mental illness when they do something horrible). We need to show them that the books, movies, and television shows don’t tell the full stories.

We are still human. We still feel. And most importantly we still need to be seen and have the chance to be loved.

Tabbi

Photo Credit:

unsplash-logoJuan Davila

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42 Replies to “I’m Still Me”

  1. I love this. Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with you that it’s important for all of us to share our stories of mental illness and remind others we are the same person they have always known. But now we are better equipped to manage our lives because we have sought out help. Thank you for bringing light to your story so that others can not feel so alone. Sending my best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I still haven’t decided if I’ve pushed people away or if they just don’t care to understand what my anxiety disorder entails. But I’ve also found that I’ve changed since I started devoting time to understanding the “me” coupled with my anxiety. Growing stronger everyday. Happier to be me than I did when the disorder initially manifested itself. Loved this post. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Losing a support system over a label isn’t fair to you. I hope you meet people who are more understanding.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. I will. I’m learning to just be me and let things play out the way that they do.

      Like

  4. Wow! I was totally moved by this story! You are in my prayers and I know God WILL heal you in Jesus Name and continue to be strong and sending much love and blessings to you! God bless! Xxoo 😇💛

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Throw away the labels. Others have them too….the ones who are judging you. You just don’t know their labels…..unkind, afraid, no compassion, and anything else that fits. We all have labels. Some are just not as visible and some of theirs are unmentionable!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There is a profound quote by Eckhart Tolle which says “to reduce a human being to a concept is a form of emotional violence’. Labels attributed to the ‘mentally ill’ if designed to put us in boxes erase our individuality, humanity and complexity. Everyone hears voices inside their head on one level, I know its not in such an acute form as schizoid disorder but even in that case those voices exist for a reason and would make complete sense if you knew someone’s history. I am a zealot for fighting for reducing stimgma of so called ‘mental illness’ most of it is a result of complext PTSD anyway and isnt even a ‘disorder’ but a valid response to suffering. You are you, special unique beautiful if others are blind to it just give them a wide berth. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  7. It breaks my heart to see the rejection you are experiencing from people who you once were close to. It must be devastating to have a label change people’s perception of who you are. They may have disappeared out of your life because they know very little about mental illness, and fear what they do not understand. I’m glad you are making a whole new network of family and friends, and I think going public about this experience is the best way of combating the stigma by saying, “No, I’m not a different person.” I hope you will always find sources of encouragement.

    Liked by 1 person

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