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The 5 Stages of Accepting My Mental Illness Diagnosis

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1. Relief 

Once I got my diagnosis for my personality disorder, everything became clear. I understood why I seemed so different, so marginalized. My diagnosis meant a group of people had the same symptoms in the past, and more people with those symptoms will be diagnosed in the future. I was no longer alone. It was no longer my fault.

2. Worry

A lot of worries then started going through my mind. How will people react when I tell them? Will I scare them? What if people will try to change me? Is there a procedure to make me “normal”? I don’t want to be “normal.” Why can’t anyone understand?

3. Anger

I don’t want to have to tell people about my condition unless I want to. People can see I’m different, and sometimes that is scary to them. Sometimes my reaction to this is anger. I hate when people make me feel weird or like a freak. I know I should be educating them, but that’s not my responsibility. I start resenting everyone.

4. Action

I feel the need to express myself about my disorder so people know it’s OK, that I’m OK and that different is OK. Just because I think differently doesn’t mean I need to change. I started writing about my disorder and getting a lot of support. I needed to know there were more open-minded people out there.

5. Moving On

I finally feel I can forgive the people who made me feel horrible about myself, but I do not forget. Everything I learned about people and mental illness will be remembered for future reference. There are a lot of uninformed people out there, but I am willing to forgive their ignorance.

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Originally published: November 26, 2016
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