Getting to the point where you finally have a diagnosis is often a hard fought for moment. It usually requires a visit with your primary doctor and then a referral to at least one psychiatrist, several questionnaire type forms and a lot of deeply personal questions. Then a diagnosis, which may or may not change over time and a game plan as to how to best treat your anxiety, depression, PTSD, combination, etc.. It is exhilarating, scary and euphoric, all at the same time. Just remember though, your diagnosis is personal and really, you don’t have to share it with anyone other than your medical team. But you may come to a point where you want to share it with those who love and care about you.
Before sharing your mental health diagnosis, take time to reflect on your own journey. Understanding your emotions, thoughts, and feelings surrounding the diagnosis is crucial. Self-awareness will help you communicate your needs effectively and prepare you for both positive and negative reactions from others. Accepting your diagnosis will empower you and increase your confidence in seeking the support you deserve.
Choosing who to trust with this deeply personal information is a decision that should be made with careful thought. Every person’s situation is unique, and the individuals in your life can have differing capacities to support you. The right person can provide understanding, compassion, emotional support, or even practical assistance when you need it most. So who can you trust? Here are some considerations to keep in mind when deciding who to trust with your mental health diagnosis.
Sharing your diagnosis with close family members or those you live with can help them understand what you are dealing with and support you within your home. However, it's essential to consider their capacity to provide the kind of support you need. Some family members or roommates might have a strong stigma towards mental health issues, which could make sharing a diagnosis with them more challenging. Be ready with information, websites and handouts to back up what you are telling them. They may not immediately be supportive of you, but with time and understanding, there is hope that they can learn to be a part of your support system.
Sharing with friends can provide a source of empathy and understanding outside your family circle. Friends can offer emotional support, care, and sometimes a fresh perspective that family members might not be able to provide. However, it's crucial to consider the level of trust, mutual respect and understanding within your friendship before sharing your diagnosis.
Joining a mental health support group, either in-person or online, can provide a safe, supportive space where you can share experiences with individuals who are going through similar experiences. These groups can offer valuable insights, coping strategies and a sense of community.
If you're in school, a trusted teacher, school counselor, or disability services coordinator may be able to provide support, accommodations, and resources. Similarly, if you're working, consider sharing your diagnosis with a trusted HR representative if you feel it could affect your job performance or require accommodations. It's important to remember that there are legal protections in place, like the Americans with Disabilities Act, to prevent discrimination in these situations.
Remember, sharing your mental health diagnosis is a personal decision that depends on your individual circumstances, including your diagnosis, your relationship with others, and the level of support you need. Whether it's with a family member, a friend, or a support group, it's essential to share with those who can provide understanding, support, and respect for your journey. It may be helpful to have these discussions with a therapist or counselor first so they can guide you through this and ensure you are adequately supported as you navigate this delicate process.
Food for thought:
Who will you choose to trust with your diagnosis?
Or, who have you trusted? Was it a good or bad experience?
What is one thing you would do differently?
What is one thing you would do the same?
Please let us know in the comments below.
Wishing you all the best,
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