The part about counseling that I look least forward to is the diagnosis portion. No matter how many times I have challenged clients to view the diagnosis as a separate thing from their personality, it never fails – many of them view themselves as the diagnosis. Sometimes the clients will use the diagnosis as a pessimistic barrier. “I can’t do ____, because I am bipolar”, “I will never ____, because I am schizophrenic”, etc. There is nothing wrong with limited thinking, but how great would it be to be optimistic about a diagnosis?
I am currently reading Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson. She is open and honest about her battle with mental illness, with a funny twist. I find myself at times laughing out loud with her descriptions of thoughts and plans of action. The book is refreshing because Mrs. Lawson shows that mental illness does not need to cripple you; if anything it is about embracing the differences and finding joy in knowing that you are not like everyone else. She views the term “crazy” as a good thing, opposed to bad. I have mixed emotions on finishing this book, because I have yet to find another author with the same perspective as hers.
If you or someone you know is viewing their diagnosis as a burden instead of grace, I would highly recommend this book. Not only will you or they be deep belly laughing, but it will broaden your/their view of mental illness. Enjoy reading and let me know your thoughts!