Hi, I’m Angela, I have a husband with bipolar 2 disorder, my kids have ADHD, and I myself have struggled with depression—YOU’RE NOT ALONE! This week’s mental health tips are about restoring a healthy identity.
Last week we talked about the danger of over identifying with a mental health diagnosis. This can have a profound impact on our self-image and even the ability to have a hopeful outlook on life. The great news is that we all have the capacity for change and transformation.
Ask yourself these questions:
Is the primary way I define myself as a mentally ill person?
Do I identify first with my struggles over my strengths?
Am I internalizing society’s stigma about mental illness?
It might sound simple to start by asking questions, but so many times we unconsciously created thought patterns, just like a rut in the road. In order to change our thoughts, we must be aware of them and challenge them.
Back to our questions…
If the primary way we identify ourselves is as a mentally ill person, we can challenge that with several statements:
I am child of God. My identity is more than what I do, the roles I have, what I accomplish, or what other people say about me.
If we are identifying with our struggles over our strengths:
We can start restoring our view of ourselves by accepting our struggles, and learning more about our strengths, placing an emphasis on them. I’ll put a link in the notes below for a great resource to discover your strengths.
If we are internalizing society’s stigma:
We can start by talking openly about mental illness.
Choose education and empowerment over shame and isolation.
Be proactive about treatment—see a counselor and a psychiatrist if appropriate.
Show compassion to yourself and others who are struggling.
Over our lifetime we will experience changes in roles, careers, and even our health status, but our purpose remains steady as beloved children of God. Hebrews 13:8 says…
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)
What are your thoughts on identity and mental health? I’d love to hear from you today, comment below.
No more confusion or wondering how you’ll face the roller coaster of life with mental illness. Mental Health Academy is here to take the mystery away, and give you the knowledge and the tools you need to have relationships that last! The time is NOW to get our first course: Trauma.
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Connect to a counselor:
Strengths Finder 2.0