What I Did After I was Diagnosed with a Mental Illness
After I was first diagnosed with a mental illness, I was a little lost. I had almost no interaction with the medical system and didn’t know where to start. Honestly, what do you do? How do I know I’m doing what’s right for me? I’ve learned a lot over the years. See [Link to the previous blog] for more info. Here are five things I did right away.
- I met with my psychiatrist and scheduled recurring appointments as far out as I could. I knew that if I decided to take medications, I had to have ongoing communication with my psychiatrist. So not only did I schedule my next appointment, but I scheduled regular appointments.
- I decided who I was going to confide in. Not everyone is going to get it. I tried my best to make informed decisions about who I should trust with what information. Having boundaries around what I share with whom is one way I keep myself safe.
- I let myself feel sad. Getting a diagnosis is a complicated experience. I didn’t try to push those feelings away. I let myself sit with them and really feel what I was experiencing. I had to grieve some of the ways I thought my life would go. This wasn’t easy, but because I took the time to feel my feelings, I was able to pull myself out of it and address my condition head-on.
- I googled everything. Sometimes you’re told not to google your symptoms. I understand why. However, I think it’s important to be an informed patient. Reading articles, blogs, and other people’s experiences and advice was a lifesaver. Having done a lot of my own research, I knew which questions to ask my psychiatrist.
- That said, I asked my psychiatrist any and all questions that came to mind. If I thought about it, I asked about it. This is an excellent way to verify the information you’re getting from other sources and get any concerns taken care of.