I feel like a fraud.
There. I said it.
I’ve never been diagnosed.
I don’t have health insurance, which makes it next to impossible to get a diagnosis, to talk to a professional, or to fill a prescription.
I am positive that I have an anxiety disorder, that the depression I feel is real and clinical.
I still feel like a fraud because it’s never been confirmed.
I try to avoid discussions around treatment and medical terms because I don’t have that kind of validation.
I’m self-diagnosed with a lot of help from the internet.
Does that make the elephant-on-my-chest feeling any less real when I’m suddenly panicking about an imagined fight with a loved one?
Would having an “official” diagnosis make it easier to get out of bed in the morning?
If a doctor told me I have social anxiety, would it keep my palms from sweating and my voice from shaking when I introduce myself to someone?
Without a medical record, are the feelings of being worthless and invisible less persistent?
Absolutely not. I struggle every day with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. If I had the support of a medical team behind me, I would still struggle, there would just be different avenues to explore.
I’m not an expert and I’m not a patient, but I’m not a fraud either. I didn’t wake up one day and decide I was going to pick an illness to call my own. No one chooses to be depressed or have panic attacks.
Anxiety and depression will play tricks on you, you can find yourself convinced that whatever is wrong with you isn’t a real thing, that it’s not an accepted and treatable condition, that you alone are the problem. Don’t believe it. Talk to someone, anyone, that you trust. If you can’t talk to a doctor or therapist, find a friend, find a support group, reach out to me, because being alone in this is the worst thing you can do.