Labels: I am NOT my Mental Illness

I am a person with obsessive compulsive disorder, but I am not obsessive compulsive. My former friend, Manic, has bipolar, but she is not bipolar. If you do not understand the first two sentences, read it slowly, and maybe you’ll get it. If English is not your first language, I apologize. What I’m saying is I am a person with OCD, but I am not my disorder.The same goes with my former friend. She is a person with Bipolar, but the illness is only a part of her.

I admit I have used labels when identifying people because it was easier to do rather then use the appropriate  terms. For medical practitioners, its easier for them to identify patients as  bipolar or schizophrenic because since they see many patients, they fall into the trap of seeing them as illnesses rather than as individuals. But people should not be just a label. Identifying someone as a mental illness diagnosis is degrading.

  There is a stigma when someone has mental illness, I can’t reiterate that enough. They are seen as erratic, unstable, and unpredictable. It’s hard to have that description when trying to find a job or go back to school. No one wants to deal with a person who has a predisposition of going off the rails.The thing is not everyone who has mental illness is out of control. Many of them go to therapy and take medication to alleviate the symptoms and to function in everyday life. That’s what I do, and my life has greatly improved.

A label is degrading. Would you like it if someone summed you up only on one thing? I doubt it. So don’t do it for people with mental illness, they’re more than their illness.

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