I spoke to a women yesterday who called me looking for help.
She described herself as socially dysfunctional and shared with me that when she was in a situation where she felt awkward, she would go manic.
She also said that she had ADHD and had been told she had Border Line Personality Disorder.
That’s a lot of information to absorb!
But instead of addressing these labels, I got curious.
I asked what she meant by ‘manic’ and how that ‘manic’ behaviour showed up in situations.
She replied and told me that if she felt uncomfortable or awkward at a wedding for example, she would start clearing glasses, or getting things for people, or focusing on the children at the wedding and having fun with them instead of interacting with the adults.
I suggested to her that I didn’t hear anything ‘manic’ about that.
Instead what I heard was someone who has developed some coping mechanisms to get her though an event when she feels uncomfortable or awkward. I then asked her what was the difference between that and someone having a cigarette or going to the bar for another alcoholic drink when they needed ‘something’ to take the edge off?
The woman went very quiet on the phone and after a few minutes I asked her what she was noticing.
She replied, ‘I’d never thought of it like that’.
This beautiful women has led her life through a label (multiple labels!) and no-one had, until that moment, tried to suggest anything otherwise to her.
She may have ADHD, (About 4% of American and UK adults over the age of 18 deal with ADHD on a daily basis) however I also know that she was seeing the ADHD through the lens of something being ‘wrong with me’ instead of all the gifts a person has with ADHD (they are super creative!).
The mental health world is sadly full of labels and those labels create an identity for people.
Learning to look beyond the label is crucial. A label is not the truth of who you really are. Looking beyond the labels of mental health (even the label of stress or anxiety!) brings love and understanding.
Looking beyond the label allows you to see yourself as already whole and complete and know you are not broken, instead you’re simply wearing the wrong glasses 😊
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