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Accepting a Diagnosis of Mental Illness

I can remember when I was told that I was crazy. It was an apex in my life resulting from nearly two years of skewed thinking and symptoms so bad I could barely leave my house.

The diagnosis came three days into my week-long stay at the Boulder Community Hospital after a spur-of-the-moment trip to the U.N. where I thought I was a prophet.

9 Comments to
Accepting a Diagnosis of Mental Illness

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  1. You have such wonderful insight into yourself and your story. I have been a psychiatric nurse for 35 years. I have seen some of the most interesting people anyone can ever imagine. You are so blessed to know what you know now and you are able to articulate it so well. Good luck to you and keep up the good work.

  2. I just wanted to drop a note to thank you for sharing. I really appreciate your journey and I thank you for this quote;

    Perhaps the one piece of advice I can give, though, is don’t give up. Set a goal for yourself for how you want to be, for the type of person you want to be, and for how you want to be seen by the world and keep working at it.


    Jon Foote

  3. Many thanks for this brave and illuminating piece, Mr. Hedrick. For those of us who diagnose and treat the kind of illness you describe, it is heartening to hear that you have been able to come to terms with your condition and still find meaning, dignity and self-acceptance in your life.

    Best regards,
    Ronald Pies MD

    • ..and even better that a doctor is reading this site!

  4. I also had a need to be, and a belief that I was, special, and that I had some important task to carry out. In the course of psychotherapy I discovered what the real, psychological meaning of that need was, how it related to my actual childhood life. To have had this understanding dismissed as being of no significance would not have been helpful at all.

  5. Thank you for writing such an honest and inspiring article. I hope you continue to do well. I worked as a case manager with mentally ill adults for many years. I respected and liked my clients. I admired so much all the work they did each day to try to have good lives. One young man who was diagnosed as schizophrenic did not want to accept his diagnosis and I could understand that. Who would want that? I told him that as I encouraged him to do what was best for him as I really wanted him to have a good life. I watched him going in and out of the hospital and it really did break m heart for this young man. I hope that he reaches the point you have one day and can live a satisfying, even happy life. I asked a couple of my older clients, in their fifties and sixties who had the same diagnosis and were doing well if I could ask them for advice in how I could help him. They were very kind to give me advice to just keep trying and being supportive. They told me not to give up because it took time to accept the diagnosis. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think it can help others to understand and inspire others. I wish you all the best in life. Take good care of yourself. I hope you never give up.

  6. The best day is when you learn to remove your mental illness “label”. Strive for your health and know your diagnosis does not define you.

  7. Great post which is sure to give hope to all those who suffer from brain disorders. Wishing you all the best!

  8. Thank you for a great story! After over 25 years of a misdiagnosis of unipolar depression, which I accepted because it was ‘okay’, I was correctly diagnosed with bipolar type II illness. The anger, shame, embarrassment, stigma lasted for quite a while.

    Then I began to do research on the illness and I got a great education. After accepting the diagnosis, I patiently waited for my doc to find the right meds cocktail for me. I was blessed, as it took just four months. I had been in a deep depression for over a year and the feeling of coming out of it was the best ever. Prior to that I had had an episode of hypomania that bordered on a true mania.

    Today, instead of the peaks and valleys, I only have small bumps along the way. Thanks also to CBT, I recognize them for what they are and use the skills I was taught by my wonderful therapist.

    I have my life back!



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