I am not my diagnosis

Last week, in her post, Lauren Haley asked her readers the question, “How many people know about your diagnosis?”At first blush my answer was to say that I’m an open book; anyone who bothers to engage with me knows my dog is a psychiatric service dog and that I have a mental health issues. Doesn’t that make me an open book? I sort of feel like I wear my diagnoses at the end of a leash as a visual reminder. I left a comment on Lauren’s blog and moved on … At least a part of me moved on.

The question grabbed hold, dug deep into my psyche and has been churning around ever since. I have a name for it – gerbalizing -I’m running round and round on that wheel and I can’t seem to stop. Something about the question and my response didn’t sit right with me; but what?

The fact of the matter is that I work very hard to shift focus off of my diagnoses and onto this notion of a journey. I take it to heart, the old adage about nothing to do or fix, merely a journey to take … so much so that it’s the tagline for my site.

It’s a forest for the trees kind of conversation and I’m particularly susceptible to losing the distinction. My diagnoses are information. They inform my journey, they inform the choices I make and my needs be proactive and better prepared in the situations that will challenge me.

I’ve had my psychiatric service dog, Rosie, for six years and that has been her greatest gift. She has helped me to reclaim life as journey and put me back in the driver’s seat navigating life’s challenges.

Sometimes I feel so clunky and inarticulate trying to express myself, so I’ll leave you with another poem that expresses far better than I ever could.

 

AUTOBIOGRAPHY IN FIVE SHORT CHAPTERS

by Portia Nelson

I

I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
I fall in.
I am lost … I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes me forever to find a way out.

II

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place
but, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

III

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit.
my eyes are open
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

IV

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

V

I walk down another street.

7 thoughts on “I am not my diagnosis

  1. Great Post – I like your information that “diagnoses are information. They inform my journey, they inform the choices I make and my needs be proactive and better prepared in the situations that will challenge me.”
    I use all the resources available to me to inform my journey, the things my body is telling me, the daily horoscope and the tarot. Accepting all the information we can get, not only prepares us, but leads us gently forward. Have a beautiful day. Veronicah

    Like

    1. You have reminded me of the medicine cards and runes that used be part of my ritual. Somehow I lost filed them away and lost track of that valuable habit. I dug them out last night and have already used them this morning. Thank you.

      Like

  2. Mandi and I are new in our journey to becoming a psychiatric service dog team. I love your description of wearing your diagnosis in a lead. I’m glad you’re sharing. It makes this part of my journey less lonely to see others on similar paths.

    Liked by 1 person

Don't be shy. Tell us what you think ...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s