In the first segment of this series "Claiming A New Paradigm For Myself" I discussed how I became empowered to find my own answers when I let go of "illness" and began to embrace "wellness".
In Part 2 I shared some of the information that has influenced how I view the paradigm of "mental illness" and how I began to make that mind-shift from accepting “illness” as my focus to claiming this new paradigm of "wellness" for myself.
And today, in Part 3, I wanted to bring this series to an end with looking at tying this train of thought together and suggest that we can make room for a new paradigm, a different view - a view of "wellness" that we can add to our “toolbox”.
Claiming A New Paradigm For Myself – Part 3 (conclusion)
The issue for me as I have traveled this journey is that while I was accepting “illness” as my “paradigm” - and the offered solutions as the only solutions available - is that I felt helpless to change anything about my life because I felt hopeless that there was anything more that I could have outside of “illness”.
And what I’ve realized is that this “paradigm” of “illness” required me to be dependent on someone or something outside of myself…
And that I felt very dis-empowered.
And that there are other options.
“Mental illness” is often compared to things like diabetes or heart disease.
And in this paradigm of “illness” we as a society have learned to view these “diseases” as unavoidable, “genetic”….and scary.
A lack of knowledge had led us to believe that the only solution was the pills and surgeries that would “manage” these issues; but there was no “cure”. We were destined by “genetics” to be “sick” and dependent on people, places and things outside of ourselves for our solutions.
We believed that there was nothing we could do to change this; that we were "powerless" over "genetics".
Yet today, there has been a “paradigm shift” as we have come to understand through new knowledge that both diabetes and heart disease are often related to an unhealthy lifestyle and are very manageable…
And can even be overcome and turned around with lifestyle changes such as how we cope with stress, by eating fewer processed foods and consuming more whole foods, by getting off the couch and incorporating activity into our daily lives and so on…
So as I began to look at this “paradigm” or accepted way of viewing the issues of cognitive and emotional distress and its relationship and influence on how I “coped”…
I realized that Psychology had already given us much to work with and that I could learn to live differently.
That I could use labels like “diagnosis” and “symptoms” as a guide to show me the path to living in a state of “wellness”.
And although I didn’t set out to do this - what I ended up with is my own paradigm that took me from “illness” to “wellness”.
A path that helped me to find my way “through the darkness to get to the light” at the end of the tunnel - but I hadn’t yet seen as I’d been stuck on managing “illness” and blind to the idea that there was a light that truly existed.
This mind-shift – letting go of “illness” - empowered me to learn to live in a state of “well being” instead of medicating “symptoms”, managing a “disease” and existing day to day, surviving – but never “living”.
Part of making this mind-shift was realizing that by hanging onto the labels of “mental illness”, disease, disorder…I felt “powerless”. There was nothing I could do about an “illness” that I had accepted as “genetic” and therefore “unchangeable”.
It was when I chose “wellness” that I truly understood that I held the power to change my life within my own being.
Thank you for reading along as I dissected the process that I followed in my discovery that there truly were more options available to overcoming the emotional and cognitive distress that we have come to call “mental illness”.
Just as I learned to begin to ask the questions that empowered me to make that mind-shift from “illness” and instead choose my own paradigm of “wellness” – I hope you will begin to ask your own questions, search out your own answers and find the freedom to create and live your own “best life” – and that very simply, is the life that you choose for yourself each day.
I'd like to invite you to join me on the first Thursday of each month on Blog Talk Radio as I host the Heal My PTSD program “Empowering Solutions” where our goal is to offer you information, tools and resources that will empower you to create - and live - your own “best life”.
Q: What are your thoughts? How can you claim a new story for yourself?