Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Master your Mind Hypnotherapy Northern Beaches, Eating Disorder Treatment Sydney
I have accumulated a few different labels throughout my 20s- anxiety, depression, insomnia, bulimia, anorexia. I never expected to be hit with one, let alone 5! This left me feeling overwhelmed not knowing where to start and also just fuelled the guilt and shame I was already experiencing, trying to avoid and get rid of all these unwanted thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Labels are given to us by society, but we also willingly take them.
Now, I get it, some people may NEED a label to help them identify what is going on, but it also allows people to either shift blame onto their label or associate so strongly they identify as ‘being’ their label. How many people say. BUT it doesn’t teach us HOW to solve them.
I found that being given these labels made me rebel against them even more and drove me into even more denial- this is when my ‘imposter syndrome’ really took force- in an attempt to convince myself and everyone else around me that I was ok.
THE PROBLEM WITH labelling mental illness
1. They are generalised for everyone
Labels tend to be words that can seem general to others, but to those of us who actually identify with those labels, it’s not so nice all the time. Often this makes us overthink and stress about the label we have been given. We don’t want to, but we can’t help it.
When I see clients, I don’t look at their labels at all! What I am concerned with is how they do their problem, whether that looks like anxiety, depression, anorexia or obesity. I am interested in the context, process, structure and how they want to be instead. Everyone does their ‘anxiety’ differently for example and if I were to generalise their issue and like many therapies get out their ‘anxiety treatment’, it may not hit the mark for that particular client. Tailoring my treatment to the HOW not WHAT their problem is, makes success a whole lot more likely.
2. People can end up becoming their problem
How many times have you heard someone say; “ I am depressed”, “I am anxious”. These labels can cause being to become so associated that it leads to them becoming their identity.
If you identify yourself as overweight, you will think, feel and behave like a fat perdon. If you identify yourself as a lazy person, you will think, feel and behave in a lazy way. If you identify as a depressed person you will feel depressed.
Your belief system becomes your reality.
Once this label has moved from behaviour, to feelings, to beliefs and right down to the core of identity it can be much harder to treat. Especially for people who have been attached to their label for years, it can become a case of; “who am I without my anxiety”.
3. labels can lead to stigma and discrimination
I know for me I felt so ashamed of myself that I couldn’t even say the words ‘I am bulimic, I am depressed.The lives of people with mental health conditions are often plagued by stigma as well as discrimination. Stigma is a negative stereotype. Stigma is a reality for many people with a mental illness, and they report that how others judge them is one of their greatest barriers to a complete and satisfying life.
We must free ourselves from all labels and move past those definition that have defined us. This removes any limits on what we can achieve!
Become flexible In your view of what you are capable of. Your flexibility will hold you in good stead when changes happen. Change is going to happen whether you like it or not. It is inevitable.
If you remind yourself that you are more than just your label, then you have the opportunity to be passionate about all the different aspects of your life. Removing these labels from your identity will open you up to everything that is possible for you.
HOW TO LOOK BEYOND YOUR LABEL
Write a list (be descriptive as possible) of all the different people you CAN be. Are you a loving mother, sexy spouse, caring son, loyal friend, average golfer, beginner runner. An avid reader?
My unique identify
Characteristic Why is it unique
The purpose of this task is to discover all the different parts of who you are and who you can be- NOT the part of you who is stressed, anxious, overweight.
One way of performing this task is to think about work colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances and asking what role you play in their life and identifying the activities you enjoy.
Once you complete this task, the answers to the following will unfold:
Who are you really?
Who are you really beyond your label?
What is at the very core of who you are?
Labels are so common in today’s society and many people feel like they need a label in order to understand what is going on with them, but it can cause them to attach so strongly to their label that they end up becoming it! How many times have you heard someone say; “I am depressed”. Note the ‘I am’ here. There are 3 main problems with labels:
1. They are generalised for everyone
2. You can end up becoming your problem
3. They can lead to stigma and discrimination
You must look beyond your label at all the different people you can be outside of the part of you which is anxious, depressed, anorexic. Removing these labels from your identity will open you up to everything that is possible for you in your life.
Master your Mind Hypnotherapy Northern Beaches offers support for the following:
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