This post is inspired by a chat I had with a very close friend about how I felt about my mental health labels and how I feel about knowing my diagnosis and how people reacted knowing about my conditions.
I was first diagnosed in 2008. Back then I was only diagnosed with Depression. My anxiety diagnoses came later. I was diagnosed and put onto anti depressants. I didn't really know how I felt then I think I was just relieved that I knew what was wrong and that I was getting help and I was not seen as crazy, And that I had someone that understood how I was feeling and that were willing to help me.
I saw counsellors and had regular appointments. But I found that people found the label depression difficult especially in my old job. I got a lot of comments like "Oh but you have nothing to be depressed about" and "You are young and seem so happy why do you have depression?"
I found that people can also use the labels against me too. I later found this out when I lost my job before this and also when we had a big family fall out(which I will get into later)
I don't know if I feel comfortable with my labels or not. I do on one hand think it helps me. But I feel these days too that anxiety is used when people don't really have it, I have heard people use it and joke about it. I had someone say to me that "Oh all you youngsters have anxiety these days" No! I struggle some days even getting to work, I can sometimes step off the bus and a panic attack can trigger, It isn't something everyone has. I have generalised and social anxiety. I find being around people I don't know eg parties and social gatherings difficult. I don't really go to any work parties because they make me feel uncomfortable. I don't really drink and drunk loud people make me really panicky.
Now I will get onto why I feel labels are dangerous. I had a big family falling out that has led to me not allowed to speak to my mum's side of the family apart from a couple aunts and uncles, My auntie used my label of depression and anxiety to tell everyone I was dangerous and I should of been sectioned and that I am mental. All I did in self defence was push her away from me, Because she was all in my face screaming and she actually went for me. So yes labels can be used to slander and cause trouble as I found out. It only stopped when we threatened her with solicitors and suing her.
I also suffered at work with my ex boss telling my dad that I was too mentally unstable to hold down a full time job let alone a job with people. I had worked for that company 9 years and the only reason I wasn't coping was because I was being screamed at constantly and the manager refused to help and stop it happening. I am in a job now with people and I love it and I will admit I am the happiest I have been for a long time. All it takes is the right team of people that are supportive and understand. My manager is fantastic and it is because she understands Mental Health and how it can affect you.
Also I found that applying for jobs, I heard back from applications if I didn't put my conditions down. I don't know how it affects job applications, Has anyone else found that if they didn't put that they had depression etc they heard back? Is it really that important if we don't put it down? I know at Primark they did ask about it and wanted to know how I was coping and that they would support me any way they could and they was glad I had told them about it so they understood why some days I could be down and they knew they had a reason and could help me and be there for me if I needed it.
So let me know in the comments on how you feel about being diagnosed and has it helped you or affected you?