Receiving treatment for your mental health condition can be overwhelming, regardless of where you are in the process. This can be true whether you are actively receiving initial treatment or working to integrate what you learned from treatment into your daily life. While attempting to incorporate all this new information, it’s easy to overlook one of the most critical aspects of this journey: self-discovery.
You can lose yourself while struggling with an untreated mental health condition. The line between who you are and your disease can blur, and your disease can become your identity. You might start to see yourself as a depressed or anxious person instead of who you are at your core.
During treatment, you will slowly begin to rediscover your authentic self. However, it’s not always as simple as you might hope. This person you find underneath the veil of your condition may feel like a stranger. The process of getting to know yourself again begins with treatment and continues lifelong.
Listen to the Voice in Your Head
Everyone has a voice inside of their head. This voice creates your inner monologue. It can become muffled or silenced by the brain fog of an untreated mental health condition. Sometimes, it may feel like your disease has its own voice that overshadows your own. During treatment, you begin to find your voice again.
Listening to this voice can pay dividends in discovering your identity. It’s your voice, and it will tell you a lot about yourself if you are receptive. It will tell you who you are, what you like, and what you need. For some time, you may have been living at the mercy of the wants and needs of your untreated mental health condition. Now, with treatment, you can begin to put yourself first.
Be Gentle With Yourself
Getting treatment for a mental health condition and readjusting to life after treatment can be challenging. Like anything in life, there are going to be ups and downs. Some days will go smoothly. On other days, it may feel like you are fighting a losing battle. It’s important to be gentle with yourself during these challenging times. Remind yourself that your condition does not define your identity.
Make self-care a focus in your life. Even when you don’t feel like you deserve it, reassure yourself that you. Positive affirmations can be highly potent medicine for the mind. Even if you can’t find anything positive about yourself, write down something positive you wish was true. Each morning you can tell yourself it’s true, and with time it will develop into a genuine part of your identity.
Expand Your Horizons
People often define themselves, at least partially, by the things they do for fun. This may include activities such as reading, playing video games, or running. While struggling with your mental health condition, you might’ve lost touch with these aspects of yourself. Returning to leisure activities that fulfill you is vital to rediscovering who you are.
Revisiting old interests and hobbies is an excellent place to start. However, it’s important not to feel too demoralized if some of the things that used to fulfill you no longer ignite the same spark. Regardless of whether or not you have a mental health condition, people change, and so do their interests.
View this as an opportunity to explore other avenues, such as trying a new hobby or sport. Perhaps something you always wanted to do or something that paints you in the light of the person you always wanted to become. Defining what you do can also be an opportunity to redefine who you are. Only this time, you are calling the shots instead of your condition.
Get Reacquainted With Others
Your mental health condition might have isolated you from others. Whether that was physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually, you may begin to recognize this disconnect during or after treatment. The desire to be more social might increase, but the hesitancy to do so can prevent you from taking the next steps.
There might be inherent anxiety about letting friends and loved ones get to know you. You might wonder if it’s even possible when you don’t fully know yourself yet. Putting yourself out there and meeting new people can be good practice for discovering who you are. Telling someone about yourself forces you to put your identity into words. This can solidify some aspects of your identity that you might not have thought about or that you haven’t yet decided on.
Your Unique Journey
Ultimately, figuring out who you are will take a lot of work. There is no clearly defined timeframe for how long it will take. Self-discovery isn’t something that you complete and move on. It’s an ongoing process because identity is a constantly evolving part of existing. Yet, like most things in life, self-discovery is about the journey rather than the destination.
Listening to your inner voice, being gentle with yourself, finding activities that fulfill you, and putting yourself out there with others are great ways to start this process. With relief offered by receiving treatment for your mental health condition, there’s no limit to who you can become.
While getting treatment, it’s essential not to overlook the importance of rediscovering who you are. While a mental health condition can seemingly consume your life, it doesn’t have to define your identity. At Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center, we understand the importance of becoming reacquainted with yourself during and after treatment. We encourage this self-discovery during treatment and provide clients with the tools needed to continue this work outside our facility. If you have a mental health condition and feel like you’ve lost your identity, we want to talk to you. Call us at (714) 942-4143 to speak with a staff member and learn more.