Mental Illness Labels

My list of mental illness labels is a long one. I have been diagnosed with postpartum depression, bipolar 1 disorder with rapid cycling and mixed episodes, PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder and borderline personality disorder and I am a suicide attempt survivor and a former self-harmer (cutter). The labels used to define my mental illness are a mouthful, but they are only labels. Words used to diagnose a person (me) who is so much more than this long list of words and labels. Those words helped treat my mental illness, but they should be used for nothing more and nothing less.

I must always remind myself how my mental illness labels helped me become a better person. They taught me so much more about life. I learned more about living and dying, and life and death from living with and surviving my mental illness labels than I could have ever learned in any other way.

My labels taught me to look for the positives in life and to appreciate the smallest of pleasures. Those labels helped me see another side of life and people I could not have learned without the labels I was given. Those labels helped me see the good in people.

My mental illness labels showed me how strong I really am. They give me the strength and understanding to know I can conquer anything I put my mind to. Those mental illness labels helped me to be resilient and persevere in ways I could never have ever imagined and in ways most people could not even fathom. Those mental illness labels helped me become the person I am today and reach new goals in my life.

I am happy and thankful to be alive. I appreciate the newness of my life. I appreciate having a new beginning and a chance to start over. I must make a positive difference and become a better person—the person God always intended me to be.  I am on my way. Thank you, God.

The labels I prefer to use for myself are:

  1. Mother (my favorite)
  2. Christian
  3. Survivor
  4. Sister
  5. Friend
  6. Aunt
  7. Daughter
  8. Cousin
  9. Former Special Education Teacher
  10. Mental illness advocate
  11. Writer
  12. Blogger
  13. Good
  14. Kind
  15. Compassionate
  16. Honest
  17. Resilient
  18. Healthy
  19. Well
  20. ALIVE

Can you think of any other labels? What labels do you prefer to have or use to call yourself? What labels best help to define or describe the great person you are?

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22 thoughts on “Mental Illness Labels

  1. I like having a label to describe my experience of bipolar because it immediately lets other people know the set of symptoms that I might experience in a quick way. But it also might flag to them that I might be unstable or unreliable or dangerous, depending on their prejudices if they have some. So there are pros and cons, like you say. I love telling people I’m a Sister, Social Worker, Biracial and Future Neuropsychologist. Really great post x

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much. I am happy you liked my post. It is too bad we have to be careful who we tell and that we still have to face stigma with mental illness. Thanks for sharing your labels with me. They are very impressive labels. Much love and hugs, Sue.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and for your kind and encouraging feedback. I appreciate it greatly. That is interesting that you have been thinking of this topic as well. Hmmm… I guess great minds do think alike… lol. I look forward to reading your post on labels as well. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful writing. Labels used to make me miserable, yet now that I realized I do not deserve them and I can always switch them into a positive view of myself, I’m feeling way better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and for your kind words. I appreciate them greatly. I am very happy you are doing better. It is hard to accept these labels and takes a while to overcome the stigma and understand that they are not really us, but only a very small part of who we are. I hope you have a happy, healthy and fabulous weekend. Hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Stop it I say … I cannot possibly cry any more this day. I am so moved by your writings that I can barely contain the tears as your truths resonate within a soul that seems to be disappearing more each day. I am stirred by your words, grasping for what I feel like a drowning woman. Gosh, it’s so intense, these emotions that tug at me, yet with each word I am moved into an emotion even I am at this moment unable to put a label to. You are an exceptional writer and your words ressurect … you should know this. Your words bring life. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    • I must tell you that your feedback and words are probably the best compliment I have ever received on my writing. Your words made me very happy. I even read them out loud to my daughter. I am in awe at your kind and encouraging words. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am sorry my words made you cry, unless there were happy and necessary tears. Sometimes it can feel like a beautiful cleansing from my soul to cry. I hope that is the case for you. I pray you will not feel like you are drowning anymore but will soon come out of the water and soar. I pray you have a happy, healthy and fabulous weekend. Thank you for reading and for writing the best compliment I ever got. Honestly, I appreciate your words greatly and they made me HAPPY. Your words brought happy tears of joy to me. Sometimes when I write I am not sure if I am touching anyone. It is my passion to help others so thank you again for your absolutely gracious kind and encouraging feedback. You are awesome. Much love and hugs, Sue

      Liked by 1 person

      • Necessary tears I’m sure, though I’m reluctant to admit that. Never doubt your writings again for indeed “touching” someone in my case is greatly understated. I have been in search of that deep place that you so easily touched yet I cannot even find on my own. Yes dearheart, you touched my soul and I’m unlikely to be the same, which is a another necessary thing I’m sure. I will be reading though perhaps occasionally in silence. Not quite ready yet for another explosive reaction such as this was necessary or not. Greatly humbled am I with much gratitude. ~ Cindi 💔

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you so much dear. I am sorry you are struggling. It is so difficult when you are right in the middle of it. I am sorry you are there. I pray you will be well soon. Keep on keeping on and keep fighting. Thank you again from the bottom of my heart and toes. I will stop by your blog soon. I am behind on finding time to read but I miss it and I want to stop by and read yours. Hugs, Sue

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I once had a therapist talk about the dangers of “alphabet soup”, when people start collecting so many labels (ADHD, ADD, PTSD, SAD, DID, BPD, RAD, and so on and so on) that they lose sense of themselves as a person or even worse, those treating them lose sight of their humanity and just see them as a list of diagnoses. I even wrote a poem about it after our conversation, which ended up in my book about foster care.

    Liked by 1 person

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