Thursday, 12 July 2018

The dangers of framing mental health issues as an identity

Closeup of yellow flowers in a summer field

Sometimes I have too much time on my hands and it’s both a blessing and a curse. Time is finite, however for me – it triggers an irrational response of thinking. The cycle of thought is difficult to escape yet sometimes re-evaluation is needed for improved growth, awareness, and understanding. In this case, I have been pondering about the dangers of becoming ‘an issue’. Perhaps you have experienced hardships in life – so have I, so have others.

I have been guilty of creating an identity out of negativity because I could not see myself beyond those problems. I had no sense of who I am (and I still have no idea). Consequently, using my mental health issues as an adjective for ‘me’ has been the easiest option. After all, being ‘the one with the irrational mind” brings you into a family of struggling individuals, a place where you can belong.

Honestly, I have been hitting a wall of “I am my problems and nothing else”.  It’s easy to become a victim when there is so much acceptance for weakness.  Instead of catering to the beast inside my mind, perhaps I should go against it. Prove myself that I am not my past -  behave contrary to what has been ingrained in me. 

If you are like me and mental health issues have been part of your identity – reassess yourself. It’s all good to use these problems as an inspiration for others, but do you really want to be stuck in the past for the rest of your life?

Ask yourself:
Do you want to refuse self-improvement for safety and stagnation?

Do you want to struggle with understanding yourself?

Do you want to drown in self-pity and weakness?

Do you want to forget self-love?

Do you want to become a self-fulfilling prophecy

Whatever your answer is – this is your decision.

Hills and summer fields

  Let me know what you think about this topic – is it wrong to become a mental label or is it part of self-acceptance and recovery?

Laura is staring at some flowers with a smile on her face


  1. Hi Laura,

    Your recognition that one's mental health should not lead or frame one's identity is something that should be vocalized more. This was such a refreshing post, I appreciate your bravery in writing it:)

    1. Hey there, i'm glad you agree with this. The topic itself with mental health and identity is quite controversial and there's so many different opinions on it!

  2. I love this post. I personally hate using my mental illnesses as my identity but for me it is a part of my identity just like being a mom its not all I am but it does have an effect on who I am (I hope this makes sense)


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