Are you facing an identity crisis?- Who are you really?

Are you trying to find yourself?

That was my goal for this year. I spent all of last year struggling with my health, and I knew I needed to change.  On top of those challenges, I was becoming lost in my struggles.

Have you ever had that happen to you? Maybe you’re experiencing that now.  You struggle with relationships, or health, or work, and you forget who you really are.

“It is one thing to lose people you love. It is another to lose yourself. That is a greater loss.” ― Donna Goddard, Waldmeer

I wanted to share some super helpful tips for rediscovering you when it seems like a lost cause. I hope they inspire you to appreciate yourself a little more.

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Also, I am not a doctor or mental health professional. Just someone who has lived with anxiety for many years who is passionate about sharing her experiences and tips for success. If you are in crisis call your doctor, then click here for some good mental health resources.

Who are you?

I’m someone who lives with bipolar disorder, fatigue, and anxiety.  Do you see how it’s kind of easy to get swallowed up by that?  It becomes your identity.  It becomes everything about who you are.

You begin to live every day with each symptom acting as a stepping stone to the next.  They become how you keep time, living one panic attack at a time.  One freak out at a time.  You lose awareness of the hour of the day, and the day of the week.

Thoughts of your illness consume you.  Instead of feeding your soul, you feed your disease.  You give it what it wants so that you can have a moment’s peace, without stopping to think about what it is you truly need.

Is this really benefiting you?  Is making your mental health issue your identity serving you in any way?

Sometimes mental health labels bring us comfort.  It helps us make sense of the things we’re going through.  But they aren’t who we are, and we are doing ourselves a disservice if we forget that.

finding your identity

Getting past an identity process is possible

It really is possible to figure out who you are in the midst of a mental health crisis.  Not only is it possible, but it’s absolutely critical.  It’s the best action step we can take for becoming stable and productive and happy again.

How do you do it?

Check out these key pieces of advice for figuring out who the heck you even are anymore.  They’ve helped me, and they can help you too.

Start a journal

The best place to start is to adopt the daily habit of writing in a journal. (internal link)  If you think you will forget, set a reminder on your phone.  That’s what I do, because I tend to be scatter-brained with things like that.  (Thanks, depression!)

Not sure what to write about?  You can start as simple as you want.  Here is how I got started again with journaling, and it only takes about 5 minutes a day.

Every night, I end the day by writing 3 things I am grateful for.  I try to think a bit deeper than “I’m grateful for food and oxygen.”  Obviously.  I shoot for something more along the lines of “Today, I’m grateful that my husband stepped up and took the kids for a bit so I could rest.”  Being as specific as possible really helps you connect with yourself and your gratitude.

Then, I write down an intention for the following day.  Something like, “Tomorrow, I will work hard to be playful with my kids, and enjoy the chaos.”

Finally, I jot down a couple positive affirmations.  These can be about anything that you might need to hear.  If you are unfamiliar with the benefits of positive affirmations (internal link), check out this linked blog post.

If you want to really get creative, here is a free PDF that you can use to get your brain cranking.

Download your free copy of this PDF here.

Get started with a gratitude journal here: Good Days Start With Gratitude: A 52 Week Guide To Cultivate An Attitude Of Gratitude: Gratitude Journaljournal, gratitude journal, finding yourself

Look back at old photos

I think taking a trip down memory lane can have really positive benefits for you. You can reminisce about times when you felt happier and more positive. You can see moments in time when you were surrounded by laughter and unburdened by depression and anxiety?

Why is this a good idea?

I think this can help for a few reasons. First of all, I’m not a doctor, but I’m sure looking at these images release some feel good chemicals in our brain when we look at them. It can also serve as a reminder that we’ve done it before. We’ve been well. We’ve laughed. Smiled. Hugged. Kissed. And if we’ve done it before, we can do it again. It no longer seems impossible, because we see it right in front of us.

Download this free PDF here

Ask a loved one

This is another really great step toward figuring our who you are: Ask for feedback! Talk to someone who really truly loves you- whether it be a spouse, parent, sibling, or even your child- and ask them the following questions:

  • What am I really good at?
  • What do you like the best about me?
  • Is there anything I could stand to work on?
  • What memory of us makes you the happiest?

I guarantee their responses will make you feel more centered and at peace. They might even bring a smile to your face! And you do not have to “believe them” right away. These things take time. But if you write them down and reference them often, they will feel truer over time.

Work on your negative thinking

Negative thought patterns tend to plague those of use who live with depression and anxiety, and they need to be corrected. If not, you are doomed to a life of feeling sorry for yourself, and not loving who you are. It’s not an easy task, but the concept is simple. Learn to challenge negative thoughts with positive ones, and sift through the garbage in your mind.

How are you supposed to find your identity if all you do is sit and think about what a shitty person you are? How are you ever supposed to find “the real you”?

This book really helped me deal with some of my negative thinking, so check it out here: The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)the four agreements, finding your identity

Who are you really?

Who are you on the inside? Are you a depressed shell of a person? Or does something else sit below the surface?

Are you empathetic? Kind? Smart? Good at technology? Crafty? A pop culture expert? A good spouse? Awesome at baking?

Tell me all about you in the comments below (positive qualities only!) And please, share this post if you found it helpful.

Find yourself, and find some inner peace.

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Related posts for finding your identity:

Tips for Anxiety: 9 Simple Ways to Find Hope in a Mental Health Crisis

Reading and mental health: 5 ways that diving into a book can dig you out of depression

Taking Control of Your Health: Only YOU Can Make You Better

50 Must Have Mental Health Resources

A great goal setting guide

92 thoughts on “Are you facing an identity crisis?- Who are you really?”

  1. I’m an empath. It is hard being an empath because I always want to see the good in people even though they might not be good for me. This is one thing I have learned since I divorced my ex. I’m still learning.

    Also, looking back towards the end of the relationship, I realized that my ex was slowly killing me. I wasn’t in a position to escape and was stuck in a toxic situation. I’ve suffered from depression most of my adult life but this depression was very dark. I was living in survival mode. I’m thankful that I am out of the toxic marriage and moving forward. I’ve accomplished a bunch of things since the spilt and it feels amazing,

    1. Hey there, I’m glad you are in a better situation now. That sounds terrible! Being an empath is unbelievably hard, especially these days. Hang in there and keep taking care of yourself. Thanks for reading!

  2. I can relate to this. When I had kids, I became a mom. But even now, it’s being a mom 24 hours on the clock — those are the tough days when there’s nothing left of myself. Sometimes I think about how I don’t even know what I like any more. I don’t have hobbies or time to read.. I’m not the person I was just because we are so busy. I love being a mom but life is also too busy.

    1. Hey Marysa, I can relate! It’s hard especially when they’re little and demand so much of you. Hopefully you are able to rediscover some ways to connect with yourself. Thanks for reading!

  3. You’ve got some wonderful tips here. I know some who have gone through this. It can be pretty tough too. I’m glad you were able to share this post with everyone.

  4. Journal is a great companion specially when you need to vent things out. I’m a journal user too and this helps me alot to many things. I agree with those suggestions about the journal self identity.

  5. I have a friend that experienced trauma after trauma. It’s unfortuante that so many people associate her with these traumas. Almost as if she’s not really herself without them.

    1. Hey Melissa, I can see that! Becoming a SAHM threw me for a loop too, and sometimes still does. Being in mom mode 24/7 is tough. Take care, and thanks for reading!

    1. Hey Sarah, BPD always sounds so tough. I feel that way as an empath at times, because I spend so much time absorbing people’s emotions. Hang in there, and thanks for reading!

  6. Maricar Rodriguez

    This is absolutely true! I think this can help us to find more time to ourself especially in our busy world. Thanks for sharing with us your knowledge.

  7. After reading it, I realized what should I want to do before what I want to do now?? Maybe a lot of changes or some I didn’t do or I did. It’s so fun to know what is you point of view as of now and comparing it before. Thanks for the tips that make me thinking now.

  8. In today’s world everybody is going through difficulties find positiveness in us is only hope. Thanks for sharing this positive printable. We need to find out who we are.

  9. I like the idea of journaling but never seem to put it into practice. I think I should really start. I also like your tip about looking back at old pictures.

  10. Hi Jen!
    I always underrated journaling and I stopped with ‘my dear diary’ when I was at the end of primary school! I may definitely start writing my owe thoughts as I tend to forget the good things that happen in my life and I feel rather blueish.

    Thank you for the great tips!

    1. I was the same way for a long time. It seemed “silly” to me I guess, until I did a bunch of reading about the benefits. Worth a shot! Thanks for reading. Take care!

  11. Journaling is such a great tool. Those prompts are really helpful, especially when you’re trying to accomplish something like finding your true self.

  12. Identity can be something people struggle with often. I can’t even imagine dealing with this while having challenges such as bipolar disorder. Great tips on how to find yourself.

  13. Thanks for sharing. I’m currently mentoring a girl that is trying to find her true identity after a difficult childhood experience. She has just started to keep a journal as she keeps a lot inside, and the journal helps her to open up more.

  14. Identity can be a challenge for everyone – and when you add in the mental health concerns, it just blossoms into something so much bigger! It’s easy to lose your way and forget who “you” are. Your suggestions are really great – I especially liked the idea of going through old photographs. Well done, thank you!

  15. I struggle with my identity – it’s not that I don’t have one, I do. But I can also absorb that of others if I am around them too much which is a pain, it is something I am trying to become more conscious of.

  16. This is such a well written post. I love the tactic of writing down three things to be grateful for followed by an intention the following day. They seem to feed into each other well. You’ve also linked to some great resources! I too enjoy looking back at old photos. It really helps you to remember who you are now in relation to the photo.

  17. Wow what an amazing read! There’s a lot of great tips in here. I think this brings a lot of value and insight… I love the journal prompts too! My fav part is asking a loved one, sometimes when we are stuck in our own heads we need an outside source!

  18. I’m finding it very hard to separate the eating disorder from me at this point in my life. I know I am not my illnesses but when you’ve lived within them for so long, it can be hard to let go.
    But like a toxic relationship, I have to at some point.

    1. I hear ya. From the way you describe it, it’s all consuming. Sending hugs and tots and pears that it gets easier as the years pass. Hang in there, friend!

    1. I wish I enjoyed baking more. I’m not bad at it, per se, I just hate the kitchen lol. I envy those that are passionate about it! Thanks for reading!

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