If you don’t know, I spent the month of June at the hospital to fight my eating disorder which was getting out of hand. While I was there, they talked to me about my anxiety, about my cyclothymic disorder but also about my OCD. I was very surprised to hear the last word as no one ever told me I was suffering from it as well. As soon as I could, I started to research as much as I could about it and it all made sense. That’s why today I wanted to talk about the importance of getting the right diagnosis.
Ever since I heard about OCD, I couldn’t stop reading about it. I had to keep looking for articles, blog posts and even fiction books. I needed to know more about it and the more I read about OCD, the more I started to understand myself.
It’s funny how I spent 22 years of my life thinking that I was just crazy, even a monster at some points, when in the end it was all linked to my OCD. Even things I never knew went along with it, such as many things related to sexuality, and I can’t express how amazing I felt after reading all of that.
Being misdiagnosed can be very dangerous. I have been once – they used to tell me I was bipolar when I actually suffer from a cyclothymic disorder. As Courtney Lopresti, M.S. neuroscience, said in an article about Why a mental health misdiagnosis can be dangerous, “both misdiagnosis and missed diagnoses can make living with mental illness even more difficult than usual.” You can either get medications you don’t need or the therapy you will follow will worsen the illness and make you loose hope, thinking that you’ll never get better.
If you ever think that you have been misdiagnosed, then please try to do your own research (you know yourself better than everyone) and don’t hesitate to talk about it to your doctor or to another one. Madelyn Heslet wrote a blog post about it, in which seh gives some tips on What to Do If You Think Your Mental Illness Has Been Misdiagnosed and I wish I would have read it when I have been told that I was bipolar at 16 years old. They put me on medications but it wasn’t helping at all. It’s only after trying to commit suicide that new doctors what was really going on with me and my mental health. I have already talked about it on another blog post, telling how I always felt as if I was Living In the Middle, but knowing really helped me to know and love myself better.
And that’s what happened again with my OCD. I always had this naïve and extremely wrong image that OCD meant washing your hands all the time, when it’s clearly not about that and is so much more than just doing so. Getting the right diagnosis made me realise how normal, as long as normal is a thing, I am. I used to have all these thoughts in my head, convinced I was the only one thinking that way and that I was just insane to behave the way I did, when it all had an explanation. Now I can finally fight against it and learn to live with it, which I am already doing.
I have to say that reading about characters who suffer from OCD is also helping a lot. Representation matters so much in literature, which is something I already knew but felt right to repeat here. I have only been reading about it ever since I came out of the hospital but it has made me feel so much better already. It made me see how okay it was to not be okay, that we can always be loved and that we should never be ashamed to be who we are. Yes, I suffer from several mental illnesses and no, they don’t define me – but they still are a part of me and I can live with it. I will live with it and prove to myself that I can fight back, that I am stronger than I think I am.
It all started with a late right diagnosis, but it will end with me being strong, confident and incredible. So if you ever feel the need to put words on what you are feeling or going through, always trust yourself and research, ask for help, see other doctors… Listen to yourself – you’ll know when the diagnosis you get is the right one, and then you’ll be able to fight it because you too are strong as hell.
If you ever want to share a part of your story or if you just want to talk about what you are feeling, please feel free to do so. I am here to spread awareness but also to listen to others, to make everyone at least feel a little less alone. You can always send me a private message over Instagram if you don’t want to talk about it where everyone can see it.
Some posts I read before writing mine: