Accepting You Have A Mental Illness - HealthyPlace Mental Health Newsletter

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

The Difficulty Of Accepting You Have a Mental Illness

No one I know is happy about receiving a depression diagnosis, or diagnosis of bipolar disorder, OCD or schizophrenia, or any of the other mental illnesses spelled out in the DSM IV. In fact, the way we protect ourselves, our mind, is to deny it. "It just can't be true. The doctor got it all wrong."

What got me thinking about this is today's post from Holly Gray, author of the Dissociative Living blog. Holly discusses the difficulty of accepting her Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis. DID is closely linked to childhood abuse and Holly couldn't remember being abused. So "how could I have DID?"

The road to acceptance of a mental illness is not easy. Bipolar Vida blogger, Cristina Fender, visited three psychiatrists before accepting her bipolar diagnosis. "It shattered the small amount of self-esteem I had left," she says.

Does Acceptance Matter and Is There Anything That Will Help?

Acceptance does matter. As Natasha Tracy says in her Breaking Bipolar blog post, Denying Bipolar, "learning that you have a debilitating lifetime illness is a nasty pill to swallow and a period of grieving, including denial, is normal and expected. This denial has to go away; however, for us to get better."

But what if you have trouble accepting your diagnosis? HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, says psychotherapy addresses the issue of acceptance of a mental illness. "Many people do not take the diagnosis of bipolar disorder, for example, seriously. They may take prescribed medication for a while and then go off, precipitating a relapse or worse." According to Dr. Croft, psychotherapy helps a person accept that they have an illness, that it's likely to be recurrent, and that they need to learn to manage it both behaviorally and medically.

Some people are so afraid of being diagnosed with a mental illness, they haven't even gone to the doctor yet. If you or a loved one are concerned about psychological symptoms, take one of our free online psychological tests. Print out the results and share them with your doctor. The results are not a diagnosis. They are meant to be a starting point in discussing your concerns with your doctor.

Follow-up on Ketamine for Treatment of Bipolar Depression

In last week's newsletter, we reported on Ketamine, an anesthetic that when given to patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression significantly relieved their depression symptoms in 40 minutes. Shortly thereafter, Stephanie called our "Share Your Mental Health Experiences" line to talk about her son's experience with Ketamine. He, too, was part of a clinical study. Listen to her comments on Ketamine for treatment of bipolar depression.

Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Share your thoughts/experiences on any mental health subject, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).

You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.

If you have any questions, write us at: info AT

"Navigating Schizophrenia and Living A Better Life" On HealthyPlace TV

Despite being struck by Schizophrenia at age 25, psychologist and mental health advocate, Dr. Fred Frese, went on to live a better and successful life. How he did it and his life nearly 45 years later - on this week's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

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Watch the schizophrenia video interview with our guest, Dr. Fred Frese, currently featured on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show website until next Wednesday; on-demand after that.

Coming in August on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • Irritable Male Syndrome: Why Some Mid-Life Men Turn Mean
  • How to Cope with Bullies in the Workplace

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share your personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

For previous HealthyPlace TV archived shows.

From HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

Your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2010, August 13). Accepting You Have A Mental Illness - HealthyPlace Mental Health Newsletter, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 24 from

Last Updated: September 4, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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