This weekend I was on a research binge when I came across this comment on one of posts on Your Rainforest Mind.
Once someone has an identity rooted in a disease or disorder, to recover means to lose their identity. If they spend 8 hours a day online with their fellow sufferers, then to recover means to lose a) the main focus of their identity and what they get sympathy and attention for b) their main entertainment/distraction and how they spend their days c) the group of people they have bonded to.
It made me think about how much my own identity is rooted in mental illness. Will I be resistant to getting better?
I decided, quite quickly, that no. I’m not really part of any disability community, although I hope to learn more about disability issues. The idea is that knowing more about the specifics and some of the theory may actually help me advocate for myself better.
I’m not really bonded to people over mental illness. Nor do I really talk about it for attention and sympathy. It is what it is. It impacts my life therefore I will talk about it. Like with birding – I’ll disclose it to let friends know that I may have to sit parts of it out.
So. Why am I writing about it, especially if I’m pretty sure it wont impact me?
There is a strong possibility that things will get better. I’ll find medication, stressors will reduce or I find a specific type of therapy that works. It may take years but life will get better.
When that happens, there will be a period of disorientation. While I’m not attached to my identity as an anxious person, I have had to do a lot of work to become at peace with my limitations. I’ve had to do a lot of self talk, research and other stuff just so I could get through day to day life without beating that up. An improvement of symptoms would mean my reality would change, and so must the narrative I tell myself.
I’ll probably need to be aware of that and maybe even get support throughout the process.