Wednesday, 29 June 2016

What It Feels Like To Be Diagnosed With A Mental Illness

What It Feels Like To Be Diagnosed With A Mental Illness mental health support help OCD anxiety depression

This post is going to be very subjectively written. I can't sit here and tell you what it's going to be like for you because I simply don't know. Just like anything in life- the experience will be different for everyone, and I can only tell you my story, from my point of view. What it feels like to be diagnosed with a mental illness, depends on many different factors; how severe your mental illness is, how aware you were of what it could be before you went, the support you have from friends and family and how comfortable you feel speaking openly about it.

I don't really know where this post is going to go if I am honest. I don't want it to be a big old ramble but as I write this, it's been like two hours since coming back from my doctors and I haven't done anything! Everything is everywhere at the moment, but I thought getting my feelings and thoughts down on paper or on a screen at least would help me out a bit.

I hope you enjoy this post. I mean, I don't think 'enjoy' is the right word but I hope it educates you in some way or provides you with reassurance if you are about to go through a similar situation. 

Last Friday (otherwise known as doomsday, black Friday or the day where the UK made the worst decision ever to leave the EU) I was diagnosed with OCD. Well, I think I was. And that's the first point I would mention, doctors don't say "You have ..." because they know how uncomfortable that can make you feel. They may ask you if you have any ideas of what it may be. This is the point where I lied a little because I didn't want to say that I was very aware of OCD, I just said I knew of it. You don't have to lie, doctors will still help you regardless of your prior knowledge.

To me, one of the biggest things that I couldn't quite get over is how quickly it is done. I worried, fretted and went nearly insane for three long weeks, for it to all be over in 10 minutes. Yet, I felt like everything was discussed thoroughly and the important plans were put in place. Although I didn't discuss everything with my doctor, the main symptoms were talked about and I was provided the help and reassurance I needed.  

I wish I could sit here and tell you I felt like a massive weight had been lifted off my shoulders, which is what you may think would have happened but it didn't. Although I was given medication to help my OCD, I then started to panic about it. The medication I was given, is not usually given to people under the age of 18 because of the side effects it can have. I am scared of the effect it is going to have upon my body and if it is going to make things worse or make me very, very ill.

Alongside this, therapy is often given to people with mental health problems, such as CBT. My doctor wanted to speak to someone about it but couldn't at the time, so said he would ring me back later! ANXIETY!!! OMG, I hate speaking on the phone, more than anything! So that also put me on edge for the rest of the day.

I mentioned at the start of the post, how you deal with a diagnosis of mental illness depends on many different factors. For me, I didn't feel like I had a lot of support at home. I know that my parents care about me and love me lots and lots, but I just felt like my OCD was just a burden upon everyone and it's better if I didn't speak about it. This just added to the stress and worry for the rest of the day, as I went to the doctors alone and spent the whole day on my own, while they were at work. I didn't really want to talk about it over the phone because it's not easy.

What It Feels Like To Be Diagnosed With A Mental Illness mental health UK lifestyle blogger UK support help OCD Bipolar anxiety

For me, it didn't change anything internally for me. I knew beforehand what was wrong with me, I knew I wasn't mad and I knew about the chemicals and reasons behind it because I had done a lot of research prior but also because I have had a general interest in mental health and psychology for a long time. However what it did do for me was it opened my imaginary doors to let me talk more openly about it with you guys like I am doing in this post!

Due to the stigma that surrounds mental health, in particular, OCD I found it really hard to talk about it because I didn't have a formal diagnosis. People just assume, that when you say you have OCD you like to be neat and orderly or you double check things, but this isn't the case at all. I didn't want you guys thinking I was trying to claim to have something, which at the time I did have but didn't have a formal diagnosis for. I found it hard writing posts like 'My Letter To My Future Self' where I touched on some of my symptoms but I couldn't say I think I have OCD. Now I can talk more openly about it.

Being diagnosed with a mental illness is never going to be fun or easy. Once you put a label on yourself that immediately puts you in the firing line for comments and questions, which are often negatively associated with that label. You are sadly more at risk of discrimination and ignorance from uneducated people. You, of course, don't have to tell people about your mental illness, but sometimes going through it alone makes the whole experience a million times worse but so can telling people, who don't understand.Who should I tell? What should I say? Should I tell them everything? or just parts?  These questions are firing around in my head as a right this.

In all honesty, I am glad I went to the doctor on that very bizarre Friday morning. Not only does it mean that I am closer to receiving the help I need to control my OCD it also means that I can tell people I trust I have a mental health condition and reach out to people in similar situations, hoping they will be able to understand. Although the diagnosis is just the beginning and the road ahead is very, very long, it's the right road to be on.

What It Feels Like To Be Diagnosed With A Mental Illness mental health blogger UK OCD anxiety depression support help


I am still me. I am still Nicole. I am still the weird, over emoji user, blogger who blogs about just about anything. Except now I have something that makes my life a little bit more stressful and more difficult than it needs to be. My mental illness is something that does not define me. My mental illness is something I can beat by staying strong. 

No matter what mental illness you are going to the doctor to talk about, it won't be easy but it's the right decision. Being diagnosed with a mental illness can be a big point in your life, but it doesn't have to be the end of your life. I hope this post has provided anyone about to go through a similar situation with some reassurance.

I hope to document my mental health, journey, as a way of therapy for me, on my blog over the next couple of months providing support and advice for those going through similar situations to myself but also those wishing to be educated more about mental health and help break the stigma! It's a lot easier talking to 1000 of you than anyone in real life.

If you ever want to talk to me about mental health or need any more help, support or if you have any more questions, please feel free to email me: thriftyvintagefashionbusiness@mail.com or DM me on Twitter and I will be there for you! I know how it feels and I wouldn't want you to be alone!

Thank you for reading, as always x

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35 comments

  1. thank you for sharing this, it was such an interesting & helpful read. I hope that the diagnosis will lead to things becoming easier for you xx

    bethmay75.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much, let's hope so! xx

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  2. Mental health is a hard thing to talk about and you do it so brilliantly. I hope the diagnosis brings you any help you need.

    Ellen xx
    https://thatonlinegeek.blogspot.co.uk/

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    1. Thank you so much Ellen, yes it's never going to be easy but I do my best x

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  3. You're so brave for speaking out about your own struggles and educating others! I too suffer with mental health, so never think you are alone :) my messages are always open (email or Twitter) if you need someone to talk to whenever :) all the best Nicole and good luck with your recoverey xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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  4. I don't even know if this is going to sound right, but reading your blog and seeing you raising awareness of mental illnesses, I feel almost a sense of pride for you plucking up the courage to talk about it and get a diagnosis. It can be so so hard, and from personal experience things got better for me when I was disagnosed and felt able to talk about it

    Emily x | emilyclairewrites.com

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    1. aw thank you, that's so sweet of you! I am glad getting diagnosed helped you talk about your mental health more x

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  5. Thank you for addressing mental health, it always makes me feel reassured when I see people speaking out about it - I suffer with anxiety and low mood and take Fluoxetine for it, and it messed me around for the first few weeks which sucked I felt so sick and anxious which doesn't help as I have really bad emetophobia. I can't wait for you to document more about it as its nice to have someone to relate to, although I do wish you the best and hope things go up from here!

    Lucy | Forever September

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    1. aw thank you! I am sorry to hear that Fluoxetine messed you around- it's not a nice drug!My post about emetophobia is going up next week so look out for it xx

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  6. Very proud of you Nicole!!! Well done!!! Such an amazing post and very trueful! You are an inspiration to us all, well done again! Xx

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  7. This has encouraged me to go and talk to my doctor for the 4th time. Every single time I've been to talk to the doctor they've just shrugged me off like i'm nothing, " come back in 2 weeks and if you feel the same we'll discuss something then" So then I've never ended up going back to them in 2 weeks because it made me feel stupid or like i'm over reacting etc but deep down I know somethings wrong with me. If you'd like to speak to me on twitter I wouldn't mind, it'd probably help me out loads and make me feel better x

    Claire ❤ | My Little Memoir

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    1. I am so sorry to hear about your bad experiences! Please do go back your mental health is so important! If you ever want to chat, you know where to find me x

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  8. I would love to hear about your experience with OCD (if it's not too upsetting), as there's so much stigma about what ought to be classed as OCD! I did a course of CBT for my depression/anxiety and I actually found it fairly helpful - it was over a year ago and I still use some of the techniques now.

    Steph - www.nourishmeblog.co.uk

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    1. aw that's great to hear! I plan on doing lots of posts about my OCD, as ending the stigma and educating people about what it really means, is something I am passionate about x

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  9. Great post and I'm happy for you that you have a formal diagnosis. I think sometimes people can dismiss illness and mental health if it's not "official". We're pretty sure my boyfriend has ME but as it's taking years to get a diagnosis, his work dismiss it as "being a bit tired".
    I hope your medication works for you and you get some good CBT sessions :) x

    Holly ∣ Closingwinter

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    1. Thank you! Keep fighting for your brother! xx

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  10. I'm very proud of you for blogging about this Nicole. It's a very personal and sensitive topic, and although I don't struggle with mental illness myself, a lot of my friends do and I know how challenging they find it. I'm glad you've been accurately diagnosed now though, and I hope your medication (and the therapy you mentioned) helps you get better. You're very brave <3

    theamandaway.blogspot.com

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    1. aw thank you so much Amanda, that means a lot x

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  11. So brave to post this to help other people in similar situations and raise awareness, feel free to talk to me if you need to x
    www.blossomofhope.blogspot.com

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  12. Sound like a very big step! Well done, you should be proud.

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  13. This was so reassuring, thank you! Huge congradualtions on talking to your doctor about your mental illness, it is honestly inspiring, you should be so proud!
    Grace xx
    http://gracexkate.blogspot.co.uk/

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing, Nicole! Awareness for mental illness needs to be spread much more than it is. I love how you're so open with your readers <3

    Blessings,
    Edye | Http://gracefulcoffee.wordpress.com

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  15. Hey lovely!!
    I need a big catch up with all your posts but I've had a spare 5 minutes and this has been top of the list! I love the perspective you have and it's so interesting to read this post, I imagine it will be so helpful for a lot of people who have been diagnosed or are scared to be.
    I think it's a really inspiring post because, as you said, it's scary to discuss online because you're open to everything.

    You can talk to me anytime about OCD or in general! Just pop up any time XX

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    1. aw thank you so much Sophie! I hope it is useful to other people who are waiting to be diagnosed or talk to their doctor about their mental health, it's such a scary thing to do x

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  16. Nicole, I think you're such an amazing person & I'm so proud of you for many reasons, speaking up about your mental illness and opening up is one of them. I personally never had to deal with anything mental health related but there are so many people who go through similar things as you so I think you'll help them a lot by sharing your story & your experiences. You're incredibly strong x

    Sara / AboutLittleThiings

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    1. aw thank you so much Sara! You are making me blush! xx

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  17. This is a great post I know that this point must be pretty scary, particularly right at the beginning of a course of medicine when you're unsure how your body will react, but the important thing to remember is that if you don't get on with it it's totally fine to go back to your doctor and talk about a different option for you - they're there to keep you well and safe above everything else. I'm impressed that despite all of this you still sound positive; sometimes it can take a while to reach the understanding that mental health is something that we all have and all need to keep on top of, and that a mental illness is something that we can have, not something that we are. That's a really positive place to be, given everything that's going on, and I hope that documenting it here over the next few months will also help support you.
    Stay well!
    Lx | www.lucyeyf.co.uk

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    1. Thank you very much for your kind words! I hope it helps me too! xx

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