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How Mental Health Issues Can Cause Identity Issues

How Mental Health Issues Can Cause Identity Issues

Our identity is inextricably tied to us, a combination (in most cases) of how we perceive ourselves and how we believe others perceive us. Identities can inform mental health, and vice versa, with our mental health issues, possibly leading to identity issues.

Identity Crises

Your identity, or sense of self, is multifaceted and constantly changing in minute ways. This is normal. You don’t have to constantly think of your identity to make changes or revelations about the sort of person you are. Identities are malleable, changing with time, though those changes are sometimes hard-fought or out of our control. Not every aspect of who we are can be changed, even with tremendous effort. An identity crisis is not a diagnosable condition. You may never notice that you’re having an identity crisis if you’re not actively thinking about it. So what changes in our lives inform shifts in our identity, and what can lead to these internal crises? Massive external factors like divorce or loss can trigger an identity crisis. Sometimes, certain ages or cultural thresholds can make an identity crisis more likely, for instance, a mid-life crisis is an often-discussed identity crisis. Mid-life is a complicated number, so what it tends to mean instead is a crisis of identity that a person has in their adulthood.

How do we really gauge whether we’re having an identity issue? It’s perfectly natural to wonder about your place in the world, and to question whether you’re reaching personal, professional, or spiritual goals. But when this preoccupation becomes an everyday thing, and you are struggling to find meaning in your life regularly, you’re most likely experiencing an identity crisis. But it’s not just major, disruptive lifestyle changes that can bring about identity issues.

How Mental Health Issues Can Cause Identity Issues

Mental health issues can also lead to identity crises, and we’ll explore just how that happens. Consider issues like depression, eating disorders, or ADHD. These conditions are all life-altering, and can all greatly impact a person’s identity. It can be easy to start to identify with your mental health issue, or to notice that your personality is changing because of the difficulties your condition causes. In cases of depression, your identity can suffer immensely because of your diminished sense of self-worth.

Since depression can make even simple tasks difficult to accomplish, you may struggle to maintain work or keep things clean and orderly at home. We can start to view ourselves as lazy or worthless, only further feeding the depressive thoughts and emotions. If you find your productivity is negatively impacted by ADHD, your sense of self may literally lose its focus. ADHD is common, but still incredibly misunderstood. It’s an immensely alienating experience to suffer from any mental illness, and ADHD is one of the more outwardly obvious problems. Since our society is so productivity-driven, either in school in our early years or in the workplace during adulthood, we may feel inadequate when comparing ourselves to others. A person with ADHD who has to try harder than others may feel like a failure and begin to believe their own worst misconceptions about who they are. Doubting yourself, or finding yourself unable to trust your own abilities can be very troubling in relation to identity. Mental illness and identity issues are intertwined, and can negatively interact in either direction.

No matter your concerns, there are various options for treatment available in behavioral health. Ready to explore your identity and mental health? Give us a call at The Collective for a free consultation today.