This has been one of the hardest posts to write. Mostly because my diagnosis is still my reality, not something I have overcome or “gotten over”.
It has been so easy to see the bad. SO easy.
But seeing the light through the struggles has helped me immensely.
In college, I finally decided that it was time to go speak to a therapist. (I wrote a whole post about the reasons I went here.)
Once I had met with her for long enough, my therapist helped me to realize my specific struggles through a diagnosis.
I have GAD, which is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I also have PDD, Persistent Depressive Disorder.
And so much started to make sense.
Mental health disorders are different for each person. But there are specific things that each person with a diagnosis must experience in order to be diagnosed in the first place.
And it brought so much clarity and understanding to my mind.
Now I can notice feelings and thoughts in a way that also highlights each diagnosis.
When I find myself in a low period of unexplained depression, I know that it will not last forever, and that it is due to my PDD.
Seemingly irrational thoughts and fears can be attributed to my anxiety disorder.
Having this understanding of WHAT is happening in my brain in the first place has been such a blessing.
Patience with myself
Most days, I am really patient with others. But not myself.
I’m not sure why I hold myself to an impossible standard of perfection, but it is so detrimental to my health, both physically and mentally.
Learning patience with myself has been an incredibly hard thing to do. I am not perfect, but I have improved immensely since understanding my diagnosis.
I do not use my diagnosis to justify my behavior. But I can cut myself some slack for the emotions and feelings that I seem to have no control over.
I often beat myself up for having completely normal, as well as confusing, emotions. But I no longer need to do this.
Love towards others
Before I was diagnosed, I would never look at others with mental health struggles and judge them.
However, now having a diagnosis myself, it helps me to have so much more compassion towards others who experience mental health struggles (diagnosed or not).
Experiencing depression and anxiety means that I can truly relate to those around me who also experience them.
And I am so grateful.
I can better relate to others, and can better understand them and their struggles.
It’s important to feel
Before receiving my GAD/PDD diagnosis, and before seeing a therapist, I would experience a frustrating emotion and fight it.
Whether that was loneliness, intense anxiety, sadness, emptiness…I would fight them all. And it got me no where.
In fact, it kinda pushed me into self-destruction mode.
But now I know that noticing and feeling all emotions is important.
I have found ways to work with and through my emotions rather than against them.
In turn, this has helped me to embrace myself and the experiences I have.