I'm in Recovery for Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues

November 3, 2020 Megan Griffith

Having undiagnosed mental health issues is really hard; I'm not going to lie. For so many years, I have craved having a distinct, definitive mental health diagnosis, but it just never seems to happen. I've had several diagnoses over the years, but none of them have ever really felt right. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the problem, if nothing will ever feel right for me.

Why I Have Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues

As I said, I'm not undiagnosed for lack of trying. I've been in therapy for years, and, in that time, I've received several different diagnoses, from bipolar disorder to depression and anxiety and more. But after a few years, it became clear that bipolar wasn't right. And unless I have relatively unusual forms of depression and anxiety, those aren't my main diagnoses either. Nothing I've been diagnosed with so far has really encompassed my most problematic symptoms, which are self-loathing, emotional instability, and a disconnect between my emotions and my behavior.

I've looked into different diagnoses over the years, and even though I strongly identify with things like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), and complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), I'm not officially diagnosed with any of them. And I don't even know if they would feel right if I was.

How I'm Recovering with Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues

For a long time, I wasn't sure how to even start with recovery without an official diagnosis that felt right. I mean, if I have ADHD, the treatment is going to be very different than if I have C-PTSD, BPD or something else entirely. So how is it possible to move forward without a solid idea of where you're starting from or what you're dealing with?

I wasn't sure at first. And then I got tired of just surviving, waiting around for the right diagnosis to appear and magically fix everything. Even though I logically knew that wasn't going to happen, some part of me really believed that I couldn't make any progress without first finding the right diagnosis, but eventually, I got tired of feeling stuck. I got tired of not moving forward in a meaningful way.

That's right around when I started writing for HealthyPlace. I realized that, diagnosis or not, I was ready to start healing. So here's how I've been doing that. First and foremost, I am trying to make peace with my trauma. Some days I make amazing strides in this area, but other days I have trouble believing that what I've experienced even counts as trauma. I try to simply accept how I'm feeling from day to day, but usually, I try to shame myself into feeling the "right" thing.

Beyond trauma work, I'm also doing work in therapy to reduce my excessive inhibition. I am afraid to do almost anything, which leads to me feeling stuck, unsatisfied, and bored most of the time. So my therapist and I are working on little ways I can get unstuck and start acting, even if I'm not 100% sure it's the "right" thing to do.

How to Cope If You Have Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues

The biggest piece of my therapy for many years was trying to figure out a diagnosis. And in that time, my actual mental health barely improved. Now that I have loosened my grip on the idea of a diagnosis (I can't say I've let go entirely), I am making so much more progress. Some days, I'm shocked at how much better I'm able to feel, even without the correct label for what it is I'm recovering from.

If you're undiagnosed, my biggest piece of advice isn't to give up on a diagnosis or search relentlessly until you find one. Instead, I recommend finding a way to hold two realities in your mind at once: first, a diagnosis is important for my healing, and second, a diagnosis is not a prerequisite for my healing. Accepting that both of these are true at the same time will help you make so much more progress toward mental health recovery, I promise.

Do you have a mental health diagnosis? What was your journey like to receive that diagnosis, and if you live with an undiagnosed mental health issue like me, how are you coping and recovering? Share your story in the comments below.

APA Reference
Griffith, M. (2020, November 3). I'm in Recovery for Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Megan Griffith

Find Megan on Facebook, Tumblr and her personal blog.

Saskia Ulbricht
November, 11 2021 at 3:27 am

I've never been diagnsed except at thee age of 15 as a neurotic. I`m now 62 and have suffered from eating disorders and severe addiction to illegal substances, and now I guess I sufferr from chronic depression and anxiety, I've been in and out of therapy for most of my life. I'm now medicated for anxiety and depression and seem to be doing 2okay" Ive come to the conclusion that a clear diagnosis is not even necessay. How would that make feel better?

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