You are more than your label


Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder is life changing. It's something you can never be prepared for let alone know how to deal with. Sometimes these labels take over and become us and that isn't right. The truth is you are more than you label


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When you look at mental health most of the time it's the only thing you can see. You might be having a bad week with your OCD or you have hit the low with Bipolar. No matter the disorder it's a easy habit to get into where you are your illness. Mental health a lot of the time takes over you and your personality. You feel depressed so you are a depressed person. These labels mask what is behind and what was there before the diagnoses and they become us and it isn't right. I think after years of struggles and then getting a diagnoses it does become a part of us but it's when it takes over who we are, that is the problem. You have OCD but you are not OCD, you have PTSD but you are not PTSD.

Labels are sometimes a blessing and a curse. It's brilliant that we have our diagnoses so we can have the right medication and treatment but we and others make the label bigger than who we are. Years ago when I was diagnosed with my labels I became them. I was depression, anxiety and OCD. I couldn't see past them and all the little parts of me were gone. I had become my illness and that wasn't healthy.  Even now I'm still consumed with them a lot of the time but it needs to change. I'm more than my labels! When you look at yourself and your labels you need to try and separate yourself from them because they are an added part to you and your being. I'm not saying forget them but become more than them. 

When you look at your self as a whole you are made up of so many aspects such as your sense of humour, your style, work ethic and what you like doing. How does your labels fit into those things? They don't! Your mental health doesn't define you as a person. It's not "my name is blah and I'm ___" Lose the label in a way where it's your disorder not your make-up. Put you before your label and I promise it will make you feel better. If you feel low because you have mental health you need to remind yourself of who you are. You might be a sister, wife, husband. You might be a hard worker or an amazing cook. It doesn't matter how small, it's something that you are before your illness. When you define yourself I know your mental health is a massive part but it's not as big as you, always remember that.

Sometimes it's other people that define us as our labels. They might not be able to see past the diagnoses and when ever you are having a bad day they will put it down to your mental health. It's important to remind people that just because you have depression it doesn't mean every down day you have it's that. When others put such an emphasis on our mental health it can make us see it in an unhealthy way. Remind others who you are aside from mental health. I can remember once I was starting some new tablets and a family members first reaction was "are they antidepressants". They were for a hormone imbalance but because of my mental health it was expected to be for it. I was at that time Stacey with mental health and I hated it and then I only saw myself as a person with mental health. I remind people now that yes I suffer with my mental health but I'm also so much more than it and it's been a massive help. I don't want to be defined as the family member who is ill. I want to be Stacey, the silly one with a good sense of humour and the hair dye lover NOT the depressed obsessive. I don't want people to forget my mental health I just want them to remember the good bits.

When you look at yourself with your labels try to separate them from yourself and you will feel better for it. It's normal to get yourself into a rut regarding your mental health, who wouldn't. Remember you have .... but you are not ....

Stacey Barber