A Letter To Anyone Recently Given A Mental Health Diagnosis

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If you have just received a new mental health diagnosis (or have had one for a while) this letter is for you...

Dear You,

Today (or recently) you had some news. I don't know how you felt about it. I don't know how you feel about it. However, there are some things I know to be true:

You are no different to who you were prior to the diagnosis. You are the exact same person you were yesterday. You are still that same person who has lived your life, has had your experiences, who knows what it is to be you. You are still the same person that has made it through life, has created memories for yourself and with others, who has the interests and loves that you have. Maybe those aspects of your personality feel a million miles away right now but I promise they are still there.

You are not your diagnosis. You are not defined by it. You are not less good now. You are not less anything now. 

Instead you are multiple things, many, many different things. You may be experiencing significant levels of distress right now but this does not mean you are not normal. 

In fact, maybe this diagnosis will help make sense of things a little? Maybe it will mean you can receive the support you would like to have?  Maybe it will connect you with other people who have experienced similar things to you, people who have led a good life, and/or have recovered. I know it can feel really bad right now but there is hope. There is. No matter what your inner voice is saying to you about the future… IT IS NOT RIGHT (unless it is telling you that “you are marvellous and will get through it all!” - if it is telling you that, listen to it!). When we are distressed our inner voices often become inner critics, telling us we have failed or worse. It isn't true. It is better that you listen to this note over a negative inner voice.

Maybe today you could spend some time creating a list of things you care about, things that soothe you, things you like to do, people you care about and who care about you, people who you can call when you feel alone or overwhelmed. Keep this list near by as a reminder of your multi-faceted self. Then choose one thing off the list of soothing activities and do that for yourself. Do it knowing that you deserve to be taken care of and to be soothed. Because this is true.

If you aren’t sure what soothes you, you could try reading this article and this one to see if these suggestions work for you.

Also, please don’t go through this alone. I hope you have someone you know who you can trust and who you can talk to. If you do, please get them to read this article, which will give them some ideas on how best to support you too.

Yours,

Sophie

Dr Soph x

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I am a Clinical Psychologist trying to get psychology out of the therapy room and into everyday life. I do this by offering free advice on my Blog and on Instagram. I also offer private therapy online over video link.

Please share this article if you found it useful, or think it will benefit someone you know.

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Disclaimer: Please note, the information in these posts is not intended to be therapy and does not constitute a therapist/client relationship. If you are in need of support, please contact your doctor or mental health provider.

Dr Soph