Getting Diagnosed Changed My Life

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about the way that having a diagnosis has changed my life and the way that I see the world. It is important to know that it doesn’t matter which diagnosis I am talking about, I have found the over all experience was the same for each diagnosis.

There are some diagnoses that I have received that I have never sought medical treatment for such as autism and gastroparesis. This isn’t to say that these diagnoses have effected me any less than the other diagnoses, but rather I didn’t feel that the treatments that the medical field can offer me would benefit me enough to be worth the risks and costs of those treatments. However, even for the diagnoses that I haven’t had medical treatment for, I have felt that getting the diagnosis was really important and has been of a benefit to me.

The diagnosis serves as a validation for me. Not everyone will need this in their lives. But, for me, this is important. Having a specialist in the area of relevance declare that there was something going on and giving that something a name was saying that everything that I had been reporting was real and valid. After having been told by family and health care providers for years that there was nothing wrong with me it was very important for me to hear that there was someone that believed me when I said that I was struggling. Being heard went a long way to being able to move towards healing.

The first life changing diagnosis that I received was the diagnosis for abdominal migraines. These were something that I had been experiencing since I was a child and I wasn’t diagnosed until I was in my mid twenties. Prior to that, I had pretty much accepted that all my medical problems were in my head and that I needed psychiatric care to get better. I had given up the hope that anyone would ever believe that I was really experiencing symptoms and was so desperate to feel better that I was willing to believe that all of these medical problems were nothing more then delusions. Then this neurologist diagnosed me with abdominal migraines while I was there for something unrelated. It was the first time in my life that I felt that a healthcare provider had really seen and heard what I had been telling them. I felt seen. Beyond actually getting treated for abdominal migraines for the first time in my life, she also gave me hope that things could become better. That diagnosis was hope that completely changed the direction that my life was going. It is the single most life changing diagnosis I have ever received because it led to the mindset change that led to me getting every other diagnosis that I have gotten.

Since I got the diagnosis of abdominal migraines, I have received numerous others. Those around me have always responded to the news of another diagnosis as though it were bad news, but that was never how I received them. Before I got the diagnosis, I knew that there was something wrong with my body or my brain that was making it hard for me to properly and safely function in my life. The diagnosis wasn’t new in my life. These diagnoses weren’t a sudden overnight surprise that popped into my life. These were nameless foes that had been plaguing me for years. I felt like I was finally being armed in the fight to live my life. A fight that I had been fighting all my life without any tools because I never knew what it was I was fighting against.

Having a diagnosis offered me a foundation of understanding what was happening with my body. It allows me a way of understanding myself that I would not have without the diagnoses. I can research my diagnoses and make decisions for self care or to seek medical treatments based upon that research because I have those diagnoses. It allows me to know what kinds of things are helpful and what kinds of things can be harmful to my body. These diagnoses give me access to knowledge that I can use to make informed decisions regarding how I want to live my life and how I can improve my symptoms. They are keys that unlock a host of tools that I can use to manage my chronic illnesses.

In the context of my mental disorders diagnoses, they have allowed me to give myself grace. Rather then always comparing myself to something that I am not (neurotypical) and can never achieve, I can compare myself to others who are like me (neurodivergent). I now know that there are things that I struggle with and always will struggle with because of the way that my brain works rather then having some personal failing. This has allowed me to consider my inability to perform as expected in a different light. I have shifted away from thinking of myself as being a broken failure and instead think of myself as being wired differently. This comes from having a diagnosis. These diagnoses have allowed me to find self acceptance and self understanding.

The last thing is that getting these diagnoses has given me the option to get treatment if I want to. Once you have a diagnosis, you can choose to seek out providers that specialize in treating that diagnosis and get treatment. You can also choose to continue without treatment. But it gives you options and choices that you didn’t have before. When I am struggling I also have the option of seeking out others who share similar life experiences. Because I now know the names of these diagnoses, I can seek out others who also have them. It is really amazing to know that you aren’t alone in whatever struggle you are having that day.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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