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Redefining ‘Normal’ After a Mental Health Diagnosis

The sudden diagnosis of a psychiatric condition can completely change a person’s life. Following a mental health diagnosis, normalcy is often the primary goal of those trying to get better. Maybe the onset of their condition was sudden, or maybe it was so subtle that they didn’t even notice their unhealthy behaviors. In either case, a return to normalcy is possible.

Of course, some people have to find new normals after mental health diagnoses. Perhaps their old job is too stressful for their anxiety disorder, or maybe they have friends that aren’t helpful in their battle against addiction. It may not always be necessary to find a new normal, but when it is, it’s important to not fear what’s in store. “New” never has to mean “worse.”

If you’re having trouble finding normal, contact us today at Transformations.

What Is ‘Normal’ After a Diagnosis?

The major focus after a mental health diagnosis — and the reason redefining normal may be necessary — is getting to a state of mental wellness. In many cases, this simply means returning to a state that existed before psychiatric illness invaded your life. Of course, it’s possible that a person’s “normal” is exactly what led to their condition. This can alter the path to wellness.

This is easy enough to understand by looking at the causes of trauma disorders. A person could develop this condition due to years of childhood abuse. They may not even recognize that their current behaviors are unhealthy and linked directly to this abuse. Finding a new normal after this mental health diagnosis can prove difficult, but it’s far from impossible.

Sometimes, redefining normal may involve changing crucial parts of your life. Getting out of toxic relationships, quitting stressful jobs, ending the use of self-medicating drugs and many other adjustments can be significant tasks. You should always remember, though, that treatment won’t merely focus on your health. Your happiness will always be a major consideration.

Redefining Normal with Mental Illness

It’s important to discuss how you’ll deal with treatment and medications after receiving a diagnosis. Before delving into this take time to figure out what you want your normal to be. In some cases, this involves letting go of expectations and even your “old self.” Consider the following steps that many people have to take when returning to or finding a new normal.

Letting Go of Your Old Self

It’s not always necessary to let go of who you once were, but in some cases, it’s the only way to heal. An obvious situation is the earlier mentioned trauma disorders some people develop, but there are also times when individuals have to let go of perfectly healthy lives to get well. For instance, you may discover after years of medical school that being a doctor is too stressful.

That’s certainly a hard lesson to learn, but if a certain career is a major trigger of anxiety, depressive episodes, panic attacks, and other issues, the smartest thing may be to move on. A job or a person’s previous self doesn’t have to define them. Instead, focus on what makes you happy and strive to make it a part of your new normal.

Take Your Time

Everyone wants to rush to get back to normal — or find a new sense of normalcy — after a mental health diagnosis. However, we’re taught from an early age that it took longer than a day to build Rome. If treatment is working, it’s okay to ease back into your routine. This is the case even if you have to make an entirely new routine.

Celebrate the Small Wins

Depending on the severity of a person’s condition, reaching a sense of normalcy may seem like an impossible task. Among Americans living with depression in the past year, for instance, 4.5% experienced severe impairment at least once. This means they could not engage in normal daily activities due to their condition.

This makes it important to celebrate small wins. While it may seem normal to only acknowledge major breakthroughs, doing this can make it seem like you’re not progressing. Finding normalcy after a mental health diagnosis requires positivity, and by celebrating the smallest victories, you’ll be better able to maintain a positive outlook.

Reconnect with People

If a mental health disorder stemmed from substance abuse — or if you self-medicated to deal with such a condition — there will probably be people you shouldn’t associate with. This doesn’t mean you can’t associate with anyone. Social connections are still a vital aspect of getting back to normal or finding a new normal after a mental health diagnosis.

If your main social connections are at work, it’s fortunate that the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) typically protects your job. If you have supportive loved ones who became estranged recently, reaching out to them can prove therapeutic. Whether it’s time to make new connections or reestablish old ones, finding normalcy will always require social support.

If you’re the loved one of someone diagnosed with a psychiatric condition or dealing with addiction, take a moment to review our Family Member Support Guide.

Achieving Normalcy via Therapy

More than half of people living with mental illness do not receive treatment for their condition. This can lead to worsening symptoms and even the development of co-occurring disorders. Regardless of whether your “normal” is what life used to be or something entirely new, seeking treatment is a vital aspect in reaching that point.

The following therapeutic approaches are all about helping you become more open and discover what wellness means to you. Transformations offers each of these approaches. While they may not all be right for all our guests, some combination of them may be exactly what you need to reach normal.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy.
  • Emotional regulation.
  • Managing social relationships.
  • Individual, group, and family therapy.
  • Self-esteem groups.
  • Sand tray therapy.
  • Anxiety management.
  • Animal-assisted therapy.

Each of these therapies can help you find or redefine normal after a mental health diagnosis. Each of these offerings are available at each of our locations — including Transformations at Mending Fences — where you can discuss the best treatment approach with a mental health professional. “Normal” is a relative term, and its meaning can change for you over time.

The important thing to remember is that normalcy — and a sense of happiness to go with it — is possible when you’re willing to reach out for help.

Don’t Be Afraid to Reach Out for Help

Far too many people fail to seek help for mental health conditions because they fear what it could mean for their lives. Will admitting there’s a problem cost them friends? Will starting medication make them feel less creative? Will entire aspects of their lives need to change to achieve healing? These are all valid concerns, but none of them are excuses to not reach out for help.

At Transformations, we understand the best form of treatment is the one that leads people to happiness. Returning to or finding a new normal after a mental health diagnosis isn’t always a simple path, but it’s always one worth taking. Contact us today to learn how we can help take your life back — or how you can find happiness in a new normal.