I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you don’t have to be ashamed of your mental disorder. You can be proud of who you are. It’s perfectly fine to accept ALL of who you are. This isn’t a one-step process. It takes more than just saying you’re going to accept your flaws, for it to happen. You have to really reach inside yourself, dig down deep.
Admit you have a mental disorder. This seems obvious, but trust me, it’s really not that simple. I lived in denial for like, YEARS. I wanted to be “normal” so badly, I just ignored it, and hoped it would just go away on its own. Spoiler alert: it didn’t. Here’s what it DID do: kept heating up inside me until it boiled over. Eventually, it was spilling out everywhere. Once the pot boils over, the water goes all over the place. It makes a huge mess, and it smells bad. The thing I’ve noticed is… most people let it get to that point before admitting their disorder exists. But, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can admit that the disorder is real, and keep all of your water in the pot.
Don’t panic. Now, that you’ve admitted to having the mental disorder, you may start to freak out. The bad thoughts will probably start to creep in. You may worry that your life won’t be the same anymore. You may feel like a freak. You’ll more than likely feel alone. But, you’re not. You are not alone. And, your life doesn’t have to drastically change. You are the same you as you were before the diagnosis. The fear can try to take over, but don’t let it. You are stronger than your disorder. Believe that. It may be a part of who you are, but it is not ALL of who you are.
Talk to someone. Keeping all your fears to yourself isn’t healthy. You never need to feel like a burden for talking about your disorder. Keeping it in can eat you alive. Trust me, this is coming from experience. At the very least, write it down. Get it out of your head and on to a page. It helps.
Accept it. This is a cliché thing to say, but it’s important. Knowing you have a disorder, and accepting it, are two very different things. You can live a healthy life, alongside your disorder IF you accept the fact that it’s not going anywhere. You WILL have bad days. You WILL feel hopeless sometimes. You WILL have the disorder forever, because there is no cure. And, you WILL also have good days. Embrace the bad, and cherish the good.
Love yourself. This is the last step. And, the most important. Your disorder does NOT define you. You are valuable and should never doubt your worth. It is not lessened because of any diagnosis you’ve received.
Will following these steps make all your problems go away? No. But, they can help. Sometimes, all you need is to be reminded of how important you are. You need to know that a diagnosis on paper, doesn’t change the person you are on the inside.
You are going to get discouraged sometimes. You’re going to feel scared, and sometimes alone. Some days will be harder than others. Just don’t forget about the good days. Hold onto them. Look forward to them. Thoroughly enjoy them.
And, above all, always remember to remind yourself that you are not alone.