Not Everyone With the Same Mental Illness Diagnosis Is the Same

When dealing with mental illness and different mental health diagnoses, some people look for support from others with the same diagnoses. You can see that by the way many groups are diagnosis-specific or addiction-specific.

One thing that has really stuck out to me recently is how different I am from others with the same diagnosis. While it is great to be an individual, it makes it that much more difficult to connect with others. My friend (who I met in treatment) and I have the same diagnosis, but we couldn’t be more different when in the midst of a mental health relapse. As she quits a job, doesn’t answer text messages and has a spotless apartment, I can’t pick up anything at my place, hate myself if I have to take any time off from work and couldn’t imagine not answering a text.

Just because “J” — who has major depression  — reacted well to exercise and didn’t need antidepressants, doesn’t mean that it’ll be the same for “M” who also has major depression. It can be frustrating for someone who wants to connect with others, but feels so different. The base of the illness might be the same, but the symptoms and manifestation could be very different.

This can also be difficult when you’re receiving unsolicited advice. Whether that’s when your mom gives you an article about how bananas helped others with depression or when someone says “Oh, my cousin has anxiety and he takes melatonin to sleep, have you tried that?”

I am glad to have this community I can find others to relate to. Remember that we are all different and please be sensitive to all of the ways mental illnesses are experienced.

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Thinkstock photo via Michael Blann

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