I mostly write about ADHD. I write about the quirks of the thing. I write about how those quirks might be used to our advantage. If there is no way of that happening, I write about ways of coping with those quirks, overcoming them.
Sometimes I get indignant, I climb up on a soap box and I write about being marginalized, talked about, labelled by people who have a degree in the dual majors of blithering and stereotyping.
I’m sorry if my getting upset about this leaves anyone else upset, but stigma is such a huge issue to me. I see it as the biggest barrier to betterment. And stigma originates without.
And stigma is, to some extent, the issue I’m discussing again today, but only partially. Today my focus is on self esteem. Self esteem originates within, but is affected greatly by stigma.
No matter whether your mental health issue is entangled with your self perception or not, your image of yourself plays such an important role in whether or not you recover from or thrive in spite of that mental health problem.
Here’s the question
The big question that people who realize they have mental health problems ask themselves is often one of these two: “How can I cope with this illness or disorder?” or “How can I recover from this illness or disorder?”
The problem here is that within these questions, there is a catch 22. “How can I cope with or recover from this illness or disorder when it is I who has this illness or disorder? It is I who have to cope or recover and I have a mental health illness or disorder therefore I am less than I need to be to recover or cope so I need to recover or cope in order to cope or recover … ”
In short, the primary tool for repairing my broken brain is my broken brain. Okay, it isn’t broken so much as it works differently and, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve misplaced the manual.
So what do I do?
I used to make excuses, I used to blame others, and I used to claim bad luck. I bumbled along thinking all was well and that soon my world would right itself and things would finally get better.
Now, I accept myself for the bumbling fool I am. But something has happened. In my acceptance, I’ve cultivated observation and self awareness. And in my observations, I’ve discovered some cool things about myself. I’ve discovered things I like, things I like a lot.
Can we accept ourselves?
People often love us when they meet us. We are energetic, we know where the fun is, we say the irreverent yet oh so funny things.
I have gotten to know myself a lot better since my diagnosis, and I like me. I don’t like all of me, but I like some damned big chunks of the complex entity that I am.
Now you see it, now you don’t … do … don’t …
So how do I cope with, or recover from a mental health issue when I have a mental health issue? I play a game of hide and seek. I hide the issue away from me so that I am not critical of my tools, while I seek out the ways that will help me deal with the issue that I still know is there, even though I’ve hidden it from myself.
It takes a great deal of mental gymnastics, but, I’m capable of that. There’s nothing wrong with my mental abilities, well, you know, other than …