Challenging and Changing What We Hear About Mental Illness

“You are (diagnosis).”
I’m not.

“Your condition has no cure.”
It doesn’t.

“You will be on medication for the rest of your life.”
I am (at least for now).

“Your doctor is the best expert on what you are dealing with and what you need.”
My doctor is an important member of my recovery team, but I am the leader.

“You will need to learn when you need to go to the hospital. You can expect this to be part of your life.”
My last hospitalization was 13 years ago.

“Going a mainstream school would set you up for failure.”
College and graduate school didn’t.

“No one likes to admit they are not a whole person.”
I am a whole person. I am a worthwhile person.

“Many people with mental health conditions recover.”
I will recover.

“You are the expert.”
I am the only expert on me.

“You know what you need to recover.”
I am creating my recovery.

“You have strengths and experiences not everyone has had.”
I have learned from this.

“Your insights can help us help others.”
Thank you.

“You can choose whatever path you’d like with your life.”
I want to be a therapist.

“It takes courage to share your experiences.”
My experiences will help me relate to and help others.

My recovery has been a journey. It is one I am still on. It is possible I will have these challenges for the rest of my life, but I am coping. I can do the things I want to do anyway. I am able to use my own experiences to empathize with others. I am able to share my experiences to influence the messages others with my conditions receive. We do not have to believe every message we receive about our conditions. We can change these messages.

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Thinkstock photo via naruedom

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