Losing your identity
Posted by
17th Sep 2014

Triber Lucy Roberts speaks openly about the feeling of losing one's identity when living with a mental illness.

The image on this post is trying to represent me. When I was diagnosed with depression, everyone (including myself) thought that’s who I’d become for a while. It defined me for a short time, but I realised it didn’t need to…

There's one thing no one seems to talk about when it come to mental illness, but it can be a major issue for those suffering: losing your identity.

It's often the case that when someone become diagnosed with a mental illness, people forget who they actually are as a person.

For a long time, the person dealing with their mental health issues may lose their own sense of identity, and become overwhelmed by this illness.

One major thing you can do to help them is DO NOT forget who they are as a person. I remember when I was diagnosed with depression, those who knew could have not a conversation with me without mentioning it, or bringing it up in conversation if it wasn't already the main focus. I hated this so much.

Those who care are always going to make it their main focus to try and help. They'll alter what they do, say, and try to encourage you to try certain things that may help, but sometimes, this can be so frustrating.

When you're diagnosed with a mental illness, so much can change. It's so easy to lose a sense of normality as you try and adjust to dealing with improving your mental health. One thing I desperately needed (and most people need) is to be treated like a normal person.

Yes, please be aware of how they may be feeling, but don't treat them like a complete stranger, or completely differently. Despite most people doing this with the best of intentions at heart, it alienates and isolates the people with the mental illness further.

It can be counterproductive, despite it being done with all the love in the world.

I used to say 'my mental illness isn't who I am. It's prat of my being, but I don't let it define me, why should you?' to friends.   It doesn't have to define you. You are still the beautifully imperfect, unique human being you've always been.

Start a conversation with Lucy on Twitter @LucyRoberts04.

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