Is it really just our diagnoses?


Stop me if you’ve heard this before. “I understand you’re upset with me, but I’ve been in (fill in the diagnosis) mode and I’m not well. I think that in some of the information that groups us to promote their services, they tell people that we are more than our diagnosis. I did not find my diagnosis very helpful. It was many years ago and I have gained a lot more insight and support. So maybe when you see me, I’m acting a certain way because of something completely unrelated to my diagnosis.

Let’s list a few.

  1. I started a new relationship.
  2. My car broke down.
  3. My car repair cost a lot more than I expected.
  4. I got a check from work that I did not expect.
  5. My check from work was eaten up by an unexpected expense.
  6. I feel like someone misunderstood what I was trying to say.

All of these are things that happen to people every day and they don’t involve mental illness. In fact, all of them have happened to me this fall. Not all at once but what if they did? Let’s look at them.

Starting a new relationship: great. I can understand how you might began acting differently. You might have less time available for friends. Sometimes you might be a little tired from spending so much time with the person you are dating. Do you work in the same field or (horrors!) with the same company.

Car broke down? that’s a nuisance. Were you hurt? Who helped you? Was anyone hurt? What’s your next move? Throwing so many questions at once about a touchy subject like car repairs could set someone off. Wait to ask.

Car costing more than expected? Who hasn’t faced that dilemma? My car seems to have more costly repairs because of the placement of certain items. They’re positioned so that it takes longer to get at them. I also think some of these parts were the original ones that came with the car and are simply wearing out.

An unexpected check is great. This is a welcome change from my previous work in which I always seemed to receive less than I expected. I used to struggle in order to reach a certain number of hours only to find my hours being reduced.

The check was eaten up by the expense. That’s one of those good news/bad news deals. It’d good that I had the money because otherwise I would have been stuck. Creating a reserve will make it easier to ride out those expenses.

Finally, misunderstandings happen every day. All you can do is talk things out. And when the person explains what they thought you meant, then you need to accept that and move on. By holding onto resentment, we can impact our performance in ways that can be to our disadvantage.

So we need to beware of attributing too much of what happens to us to our diagnosis and look at what else might be happening.

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