Is Your Diagnosed Mood Disorder a Life Sentence?

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

You’ve been told by a mental health professional you are have a diagnosis.  Is this a life sentence?

It depends. We do not yet have the “penicillin” for mood disorders such as bipolar depression and major depression. No medication has been made available that will perfectly control symptoms of schizophrenia or without fail maintain brain chemical balance for each person. By that definition, there is yet no cure.

Still, we are in control of managing our wellbeing. My experiences and those of others I’ve met indicate we have much more input than is often perceived.  The question might not be “Is my diagnosis a life sentence?” but rather, “What’s next? How will I live life to the fullest possible?”

To start, a person has to become aware of a problem and accept the need for help.  Statistics show that only about 60% of persons with a mental disorder seek or receive treatment, while as many as 90% of treated cases move on to enjoy healthier and more satisfactory lives. If there is no medical cure, why the massive numerical difference between untreated and successfully treated patients? The answer is complex, but a person’s ability and willingness to learn and apply healthy coping skills play a large part. 

From this insider’s viewpoint, diagnosable depression and anxiety are restrained from taking over one’s life by the practice of management skills. These skills, I might add, are spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental in nature. I can grow weak in the fight; most days are better.

It is in the slow process of awareness, learning, and applying, that I have gained more control over how depression and anxiety interfere with my goals, relationships, and daily functioning. Being as each human is unique, the strategies that work for me are not one-size-fits-all solutions.

Ultimately, no diagnosis is a life sentence. We seek treatment. We try new coping skills and deepen our relationship with God. We learn to function within the challenges, to make choices within our control and allow for limitations.

We move beyond feeling like perpetual victims and become contented victors.

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Comments are always welcome (see tab below) NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help are yours.

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