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Dual Diagnosis

Hey friends, Carlee here. I wanted to discuss something that is near and dear to my heart. Mental health is one of the biggest struggles that people in recovery face. Most of us know that addiction and mental health go hand-in-hand, but what does that mean?

When I first heard the term “dual-diagnosis”, I was scared. I thought I was damaged and that I caused the illness. This is far from true. There is nothing wrong with being diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or any other ailment. It simply means that there is an imbalance of chemicals. It certainly isn’t your fault either (which is something I remind myself daily.)

I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and bi-polar disorder a little after I had one year clean. It was suggested that I get a mental health evaluation after the drugs had left my system, so I did it. I am so glad that I did because I was able to address another factor of my life. Physically, I was feeling good at this point because I wasn’t poisoning myself anymore. But mentally and emotionally I was stuck. I had no hope and wanted to escape from life.

I didn’t get clean to live a life of misery. I wanted to experience life to the fullest which meant that I needed to advocate for myself and my health. Going to the doctor when I was at my lowest was a real turning point in my recovery. I demonstrated that I can take care of myself and take positive action. In the past, I would have ran away from responsibilities like that.

Today I am living my life to the best of my ability. I will say that I am on medication because it was advised by a doctor that I take it. I do not suggest taking ANYTHING that isn’t prescribed by a physician that you trust. It is critical that you feel comfortable with your doctor. Psychiatrists have a great responsibility, so it is important to be able to entrust them with your mental health. Also, if you’re new to this whole thing, give it time! Unfortunately, depression and anxiety don’t go away overnight. Just remember that there are better days ahead. And if I can experience the better days, you can too!