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identity after diagnosisFacing addiction is one of the hardest things many people have to face. Rarely does addiction occur without some other mental health challenge or trauma. When you initially sought treatment for your addiction, you may have received other diagnoses as well, diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder. These disorders are all things you have probably heard or talked about. You may have even received one of those diagnoses and begun to work through the challenges you have.

Continuing life after addiction is great but also challenging. It can be easy to get consumed in your sobriety and mental health issues. One vital lesson to learn is that you are more than your diagnosis. You are a complete person that has strengths and weaknesses. Remember the fact that you are for more than your diagnosis. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you come to terms with your diagnosis.

Learn Your Diagnosis

When you receive a diagnosis, the mental health professional you are working with will probably take the time to explain it. Then you should go home and do your own research. Try to learn as much as you can. Figure out how your mind works, your triggers, and your patterns. 

When you can understand what you are feeling, it can be easier to create a life post-treatment. When you were in treatment, you worked hard on your mental health. Now in recovery, you need to navigate your life and understand that your diagnosis is not who you are; it is simply a part of what makes you unique. 

Change Your Wording

How you speak to yourself is incredibly important. Your diagnosis is simply a part of you, not your entire identity. You are not a depressed person; you have depression. You had an addiction in the past; you are not an addict. Learning to speak to yourself in a way that builds you up is important. 

This is something we all do, without even thinking about it. We speak as if parts of us are our entire identity. Break that habit by being mindful. Think about who you are and what makes you special and unique. The way you speak to yourself impacts your mental health. Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend. If your best friend had a specific diagnosis, would you think of them as only that diagnosis? Of could you wouldn’t! You would help remind them of all of their strengths and talents and what a great addition they are to the world. 

Embrace Your Talents

You are far more than your diagnosis. You are a complete person who has worked through some pretty tough things. Living a sober and healthy lifestyle can be difficult at times. However, you persevered and learned how to ask for help when you need it.

When you learn to embrace your talents, it can help you to realize that you are more than simply a person in recovery. Being a person in recovery is part of who you are, but it is not your full identity. Learning to recognize this will help you to move beyond your diagnosis. 

Share Your Story

Sharing your story can be very beneficial for many people in recovery. When we share our stories, it can help us to view our progress and our accomplishments. Often we overlook our achievements. Maybe we do not want to acknowledge our growth for fear that it will all go away. Maybe we struggle to see our progress. Take the time to acknowledge your journey and every aspect of your life. 

Fight Stereotypes and Stigma

Stereotypes and stigma are powerful, and they attack even the most secure journies. Often, individuals come to treatment thinking that they will not need to face stigma or stereotypes once they are sober and living a healthy lifestyle. Sadly, for most people, that is not the case. Stigma can follow us, and being vigilant is important to ensure that stigma does not affect us.

Facing stigma can be hard. Your recovery is unique, just like your goals. When we face stereotypes, it can make us second-guess who we are based on our diagnosis. Learning to work through the stigma and stereotypes will be a lot easier if you do not let your diagnosis be your identity. The great thing about being in recovery is that you can educate others. You can share your story, which will ultimately help to fight stigma and stereotypes. You can help those who do not suffer from an addiction or mental health challenges to understand what it is like. Often individuals do not even realize they are perpetuating a stereotype. Your experience can help educate many people. 

Finding your identity after recovery is a process that takes time. Addiction took over your life, along with mental health challenges. You became the things you probably never even liked. You probably made choices that hurt yourself and others, and ultimately you slowly faded away from the real you. Re-learning who you are is a wonderful process. One aspect that you will work through is understanding that you are far more than your diagnosis. Your diagnosis is part of you, but it does not create your entire identity. Many times working with a mental health professional is helpful when going through challenges in your recovery. Here at The Guest House, we know that every recovery is unique and needs different levels of support and guidance. We are ready to help you face any challenge regardless of where you are in the recovery process. Call us today to learn more at (855) 483-7800.