Getting the right diagnosis | Mental health awareness

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Dear reader,

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.

Love always,

Clara

thebookwormofnotredame (1)

Some posts I read before writing mine:

11 thoughts on “Getting the right diagnosis | Mental health awareness”

  1. I’m glad you’re figuring things out and finally have the right diagnosis! ❤ My best friend's sibling has really bad OCD, but it wasn't diagnosed for a while because it wasn't very action-oriented. It was all in their head (obviously lol) where they had obsessive thoughts that would spiral out of control. Their family doc thought it was just GAD for a while, but now that they've figured out it's OCD, they've been on medication that's been really helping. Hopefully things keep getting better for you! ❤

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    1. Thank you so much, Ally! 💛
      I have the exact same problems with my thoughts and as I never talked about it (I really thought I was crazy and a monster woohoo) they never have been to diagnosed it 😔 I hope that your best friend’s sibling is great now, and thank you again for everything! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for writing this post ! I think it’s really important to talk about mental health and you do it super well !

    I…Well, after what I’ve been reading in books, on the internet, after all my research, I may have anxiety. But I…I’m so scared to see a doctor wh can actually tell me if I suffer from anxiety or if I have other mental illness , and I really don’t know if it’s normal or not, and what to do about that.

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    1. First of all, it is normal! Mental illnesses don’t define us and having one doesn’t mean you aren’t normal. 💛
      Second of all, you know yourself better than anybody! You can self-diagnosed yourself as long as you are careful. If seeing a doctor scares you too much for now, then maybe put that away and try to understand it more on your own or by talking about it with a friend! Living with anxiety isn’t easy but you can do it, I promise! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a post that everyone needs to read. Thank you so much for being so honest, it can really inspire other (and me, ahah) to do the same, share their own story, to talk about it. I guess when it’s shared it might be a bit less scary, right? Or at least knowing that you are probably not alone in that case.
    Anyway, I’m really happy that you finally found the right diagnosis that will probably help you feeling much better!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Eva! I’m really trying to do my best to talk about mental health and I’m glad you found it inspiring 😊
      It sure feels good to realise that you aren’t alone! Being able to talk about eating disorders, OCD or bipolar disorders really help on a daily basis. 💛

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  4. I don’t think that you realise it, but you are so inspiring and incredible! Do you have any advice for loving yourself? I’m trying to love myself more and more but it’s sometimes very difficult…Especially when it comes to pictures; I looooove photography but I really can’t stand my face and this is making me feel really bad..
    If you have any advice, I would be glad to know them !
    Anyway, keep believing in yourself,
    Kind regards,
    Eva.

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    1. Eva, thank you SO MUCH for your words! Really, you just made my day ten times better!
      To be honest I don’t really love myself and seeing myself on pictures is very hard as well, but I’m fighting this every day. What I do to help is that I have post-its on my mirror with some inspiring quotes, notes from friends or simple words like “hey you’re pretty!” Even if I don’t believe it yet, seeing it every day helps a bit.
      I also force myself to recognise when I’m doing something great. Like I used to really believe everything I was doing sucked, now I’m really trying to realise that I don’t entirely suck and that some things I do are great! I’m proud of my blog and Instagram and try to get better at it.
      Also I changed the way I dressed to wear stuff in which I’m comfortable AND feel pretty and learned to do my make-up! It may seems superficial but it’s working so well.
      And finally seeing myself in pictures help, even though it’s hard. It pushes me to see myself how other look at me and to trust my friends a bit when they tell me I’m pretty. It’s all about putting yourself out there and it’s hard BUT YOU CAN DO IT!
      Love always,
      Clara x
      (Hopefully this was useful!)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Clara! I was referred to counselling following my GP appt, in the initial assessment she said anxiety, I agree but I also think OCD is more fitting/also right. I didn’t question it as, to be honest…I don’t feel that confident. Now I am more open with my counsellor and told her my thoughts related to OCD and why I thought anxiety wasn’t quite right. I want it to be reassessed as they also noted depression even though I explicitly said I didn’t feel that way, but I feel as though nothing will change (will they offer me different therapy? They refused to offer me any medication that wasn’t AD’s or beta blockers when, again, I didn’t want ADs. Will they offer me different medication?). It’s frustrating! Will anything change if I went for a second opinion? I hope this makes sense, it’s hard to explain.

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    1. Hey there! First of all congrats on seeking for help and trusting your guts. You are doing amazing! Second of all if you think that OCD fits better for you and that your counsellor doesn’t really think so, then you can definitely ask for a second opinion somewhere else. It’s very important to get the right treatment and the right meds for you. If you do ask for a second opinion, maybe your counsellor would finally understand what you are saying or maybe you can simply see another doctor who will understand?

      Like

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