The first few weeks of a new diagnosis are some of the hardest.
You've been struggling to put words to what's happening to you and even though now you have them, it all still doesn't make sense. If anything, a definitive label is harder to face due to so many stigmas that come along with it. After dealing with an anxiety disorder and depression for 13 years, I was also recently diagnosed with having both borderline personality disorder and bipolar disorder.
From this, I've compiled my top seven healthy coping mechanisms that have gotten me through these diagnoses.
1. Words of AffirmationGiphy
Words make things real. What goes on in your head sometimes doesn't feel real until you say it out loud. Find sayings that resonate with you personally and keep those close to you. Repeat them in your head and aloud until you believe it yourself. Waking up and thinking that "Today's a great day to have a great day," can be so powerful in maintaining what portion of your mental health you control. Telling yourself positive sayings can really help you get through tough mental blocks.
No one understands your diagnosis like you. When your thoughts are racing and you start to feel the onset symptoms, it's important to stay active. Go for a run, go lift weights, go to a yoga class—anything to get you up and your endorphins going. It's so easy to be alone and feel bad about your situation. Many people do this. Many also end up gaining weight from both new medications and new eating habits that they using to cope. Taking this time to better yourself, not only mentally but physically, is an important step in processing this new information.
Taking time to sit and to think is very healing. There's so many unanswered questions still that really can get you down when dealing with a new diagnosis and it's impossible to find answers for them all. Meditate, pray, or sit silently in your room for even a few minutes and you start to feel at peace with yourself and your situation.
4. Turn Off the NotificationsGiphy
Screens are detrimental to our mental health. Comparing, judging and envying people online has never made anyone feel better, especially when you're already feeling low. Go to settings, turn off notifications for social media and watch how much less time you spend on your phone now. This will help you to focus less on the actions of others and more on yourself. Put your phone down for a little and see how much better you feel.
5. Try Something NewGiphy
Self-improvement is one of the best feelings. During the adjustment period of a new diagnosis, you tend to see your flaws and failures. It seems that everything you're not good at jumps out and overshadows your true passions and accomplishments. Pick up a new hobby, try a new food or do something new that will make you feel good about yourself. Whether it's buying flowers to start a small garden or making a new meal at dinner, you will feel better about yourself and it serves as a positive distraction.
6. Call a FriendGiphy
Call someone when you're feeling anxious, depressed or manic. A lot of times symptoms start off small and gradually grow bigger, so talk to someone you trust and find something easy and non-stressful to do. Color together, watch a funny show on TV, play board games—anything to make sure you're not dealing with your symptoms alone. Your friends and family will grow to understand and be patient with you, so it's important to keep connections and be supported through these changes.
You're going to feel so many new things you've never have before with new diagnoses. There's so many questions, so much built up anger and frustration and sometimes the only thing to do is cry. It might hit you when you're driving or even at the grocery store, but take the time to sit and cry. Don't cry for too long, just enough so that you can carry on with your day. Crying relieves so much stress and emotion in a short period, and it's okay to let it out every so often.
The most important thing is that you don't shut down or give up—there's a world of support of there for you. Go find it!