Don’t Look Down on Your Diagnosis
Guest Blogger: Zachary Mountain
Every day, thousands, if not millions, of people get a diagnosis of some kind relating to mental health. Depression, anxiety, OCD, Asperger’s – the list goes on.
Most often these disorders clump together, so you get more than one. I’ve been diagnosed with the following:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Learning disability (fine motor skills)
But if there’s one thing I learned, it’s this: I do not need to use my diagnoses as a label.
Instead, I use them as a way to navigate my world better, with less fear and with absolutely no shame about who I am, or what makes me unique. Not different – unique.
Here’s some more about how I use my disorders as my superpowers.
If there is one thing that a lot of people who have disorders think, it is that because they have a diagnosis, they’re not going to go anywhere in life, succeed, or do the things they like.
They might be afraid that others will treat them differently because of their disorder, such as picking on them, or making mean remarks. Worse, they might think that because they have a disorder they won’t be able to have a job.
People start to think of their disorder as something that keeps on pulling them down and not letting them do all the things they love. However, if people were to look at their disorder as something that can pull them upwards and in a sense, be a kind of superpower, then instead of constantly thinking “I can never do this because of what I have” they can instead think “I can do this because of what I have”.
There are millions of people with disorders in the world, but the same thing goes for people who wear glasses. A lot of people have them. You’re not alone in your diagnosis. If you look at it as a curse, then you’ll let it bring you down.
But if you look at your disorder as something that makes you unique, then you can learn from it and succeed without being afraid that your disorder will cause you to live an unfulfilled life.
You CAN get what you want, no matter how your brain and body have been put together.
Having a disorder doesn’t separate you from others; it doesn’t make you any less of a human being. In fact its something that makes you more human.
Someone with Asperger’s might be afraid to be social because they have a harder time interacting or communicating. But if they were to instead look at this as just a challenge to overcome and give it their best shot, then slowly the person with Asperger’s would feel more comfortable in social environments.
It’s all about being aware of how you interact with others. Instead of expecting a negative interaction, anticipate a positive conversation.
The attitude you take going into a situation ultimately determines the outcome.
Another example: Let’s say someone has anxiety and one of their fears is to go outside because they’re afraid something bad will happen. Something that can help this person out is conquering this fear one day at a time.
It’s called “Step Laddering.”
One day the person will step outside for 1 minute, the next day 2, then 4, then 8, eventually an hour, then 2. By overcoming the fear one step at a time, it’s easier and the person gets used to it more and more until they are no longer afraid.
Meeting with Others
If there is something that can help you and others understand more about a disorder you might have, it would be telling them what it is along with what it means.
Telling someone you trust that your disorder causes you to be more anxious in crowded areas, helps them understand more about yourself and in some cases, they can even help you.
This way people know how to act, so if you struggle to “read the room” or have anxious moments, they’ll understand what’s going on, or even work to help prevent you from becoming uncomfortable.
If you don’t ask for help, or don’t seek to help others understand who you are and how you tick, then the people who can make a difference in your life never step up.
Never feel like your disorder makes you less intelligent, or that people won’t like you because you have it. It’s what makes you, you and it doesn’t make you less than anyone else.
A diagnosis is a recipe card, not a life sentence.
It’s up to YOU to figure out how to make something amazing with it.