Getting an Official Diagnosis

four floors building with stairs

The journey of self-discovery is filled with a lot of breakthroughs. I’ve been looking for answers since I was in my 30s and being affirmed is a double edged sword.

I have OCD and I think deep down I’ve always known but getting the official validation from a professional not only makes it real, it also makes it liberating while creating a new kind of mental void.

I always felt like I was going to need therapy for my therapy sessions.

Was it important to get a diagnosis? Did I need to get confirmation?

It’s really hard to explain to someone how emotionally freeing it is to finally name the thing you struggled to name for decades.

If you’ve never been looking for answers, consider yourself lucky.

How I internally function is different and it’s always been so fucking different and I got tired of feeling like I was wrong for not functioning like a “normal” person.

Having people around me who remind me that I am capable of so much didn’t help. Being told at an early age by the adults in my life that I was lazy and unmotivated made me grateful I was never diagnosed early in life.

I am at an age and maturity where I can give myself the grace and compassion I would have been deprived of if the people who raised me knew I was different. They lacked the emotional depth needed to provide a nurturing upbringing.

If this was how they raised me thinking I was “normal,” I can only imagine how psychologically damaging it would have been if they needed to provide emotional accommodations that they lack for themselves.

Getting diagnosed has been a difficult process despite the relief of knowing that I can name the challenges that I’ve been fighting against. I have the language to explain so much. I have to emotional capacity to give myself the grace I need to continue healing. I also have the anger and grief that makes this diagnosis difficult to process.

I go through waves of anger and sadness because I realize how much life I lost trying to live against my nature. I realize how entrepreneurship was so suited for me and how I also weaponized my ambitions to hide from my truth.

Because what made me valuable as an entrepreneur was the OCD.

As someone who’s always been unlikeable, what made people pretend to like me was the OCD.

And even so much of my inner talk is still the OCD.

Through all of the sessions with therapists trying to unlock my psyche, I’ve done so much reflection on my life and how the truth was always there.

Triggers can exacerbate symptoms but I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember, well beyond adolescence. I can look to memorable moments where the actions were more pronounced but that’s only when I allowed myself to get consumed by certain behaviors.

My inner world is so much more dark and tormented. It’s why I write. It’s also why I’ve been really good at strategy. Not just the technical aspects of it but the digging into who you want to be because deep down I never felt like I could do that for myself.

I love to help others shine because deep down I don’t believe I have the right to shine myself.

It’s not a coincidence that I attract clients who struggle with some of the same hangups that I have.

For all of my bravado about confidence and clarity, I was the imposter cosplaying as a thought leader when my own thoughts don’t believe I am worthy of anything.

In learning more about OCD I realize how much the OCD has tipped the scales of my journey. For all of the “I should be further along” thoughts, I struggled to reconcile the disconnect between how I know life could be with how life actually is.

And I recognize the ways I seek out answers only to get distracted and further shamed for not living up to my “potential.”

I am examining the ways I’ve used other frameworks and how they can do more harm than good. It also explains why I’ve disconnected from so many people, in what could be a form of isolation and also complete dissonance.

I don’t vibe with them because I need to learn how to vibe with this version of me – one who is not new but rather fully recognized as a free spirit living with a combination of anxiety, depression, and OCD. 

The entrepreneurial journey brings so much to the surface and I am grateful for finally having something to reference as I move in the world.

This diagnosis doesn’t fundamentally change who I am but it does change how I show up for myself and others.

It also makes me wonder how many others are fighting themselves to reach their potential without knowing that their potential is not some unrealistic goal but the fully realized truth of who they are, without shame, judgment, or stigma.