Are you afraid to be labelled? Do you find, you sometimes feel or wonder if something you are doing is ‘different’ and others may be ‘painting you with a brush’ that you don’t feel is your colour?
I believe there are many of us out there (me included) who would rather be silent, than admit to having something peculiar we may be dealing with. Sadly we are all afraid……even if we don’t admit it, of stigma that may come with admitting a perceived ‘weakness’ and being labelled as a result!
In the last couple of weeks I have been super challenged in this area. In the writing of my book An Arrested Heart over 4 years ago and my blog (when I get to it), I have tried to be open and vulnerable with my life, and the feedback I get is generally positive. However there is still a reticence within me to be truly transparent. But this area of ‘labeling’ has been bothering me especially recently, as I personally have experienced a form of unintentional (I am sure), ‘labeling’ and, in a separate issue, embracing a ‘label’ that will most likely help me tremendously in my days ahead. Allow me to explain.
1. Last week I was challenged to the core of my faith as well-intended, loving and faith-filled folk made comments that, for me, ‘segmented’, what living out my faith, encompasses. Whilst I realise there are hundreds, if not thousands of different ways people embrace and live out ‘faith’, it surprised me how deep this issue struck in my heart. I am ‘different’…I’ve known this for sure….and the way I live out my faith follows that trend. Being confronted with it was probably a good thing for me, and whilst it’s different, I wear the label of my faith with pleasure and purpose.
2. Not long after the above experience, and following a series of ups and downs the last couple weeks I found myself passed out on the couch of my ‘study with a view’. I was pretty much exhausted…but with nothing really significant to cause it. I awoke with a concern that this doesn’t feel right! Being an action person…I did that….took action! Had a heart to heart with my wife Sue, prayed, went to bed, woke up the next morning and phoned my doc…who just happens to also be a friend, peer and mentor.
As good docs do…he listened…..listened some more and asked a couple of pointed questions. His diagnosis……not Bipolar Disorder as I guessed from my research but adult ADHD.
I can hear the outcry now…not another label….there’s that ADHD again….over-diagnosed, didn’t have such a thing in our time…..etc etc. Let me say here that I too am in the ‘school’ of skepticism around labeling conditions in this day and age. However……..
I diligently followed my trusted doc and friend’s advice and ordered my trial period of Methylphenidate…yep the very same med at times whispered as a curse word…..Ritalin! I also took his advice and researched around the ‘management of adult ADHD’ and began this latest journey.
On my personal marathon journey to this day (it has been a lengthy one as I celebrate the big 60 later this year), I have experienced a number of ‘conditions’, episodes and ‘labels’. Among them is diabetes, severe loss of hearing, attempted suicide, depression, burnout etc. Now with the latest diagnosis of ADHD a few of the other ‘labels’ I’ve worn fit in….rebel, maverick, risk taker, restless warrior etc.
My point is, I’m thankful for my doc…bless you Charles…and the ‘label’ he’s supplied, that has helped me to hang some of these other labels onto. I have a name to explain what I’ve experienced most of my life…and you know what…..I’m thrilled…not upset that I have been ‘labelled.’
I understand, some (maybe even the majority), who read this, will have differing opinions to what I’ve written and your own ideas on whether there should be any types of labels. However I somehow ‘feel in my waters’ I will be exploring and sharing more on the subject of labels…and helping those living with them in how to deal with them.
A post thought.…this week I got the gender of our ‘grandie to be’ wrong according to ‘my waters’..but hey..that’s one!
My faith is strong and I don’t discount God’s intervention and healing power and I hope, in some way, my sharing would help others not to be afraid of ‘labels’, as they could very well help on your journey.