“You take Tylenol when your head hurts. You take those pills to stop your tummy from hurting when you eat ice cream. How is it different to take medication to make you feel better when you’re down?” My boyfriend said this to me today after I told him about the conversation that I had with a school psychiatrist.
This past week, I experienced one of the darkest periods of my life which has left me in a pile of medical bills, lost friends, and rash behavior. It had been going off and on for years but was never bad enough to the point where it affected each and every part of my life negatively. I was not able to go to work, my friends were getting tired of my antics, and I lost way more than I ever could have imagined. As a result of this, I consulted a new doctor who told me the news: I had been misdiagnosed for years and was in fact bipolar.
Ever since I was a toddler my mother has described me as anxious, but ironically enough this is one of the few illness I do not have a diagnosis for. Sure I have anxiety especially social anxiety, but I do not care if I do not have an official paper saying I have it or not. Although my psychiatrist may have diagnosed me, I do not really care to look through my medical files to confirm. It is debilitating at times when I am too afraid to order my own food or am unable to talk to a new person. I’m a champion at crying in restaurants. A diagnosis likely will not change that for me, but it might for you. When I am in therapy they’re usually aware right off the bat that I’m an anxious person so I do not need a diagnosis as it does not change my own quality of life.
A common mindset among those who are diagnosed with mental illnesses is wondering if it’s something that they brought onto themselves. There may be guilt associated with it, like the person thinking they did something wrong or ashamed that they didn’t handle past situations well enough.
Every year, millions of people deal with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and I happen to be one of them.