Three innocent letters that when put together encompassed so much pain yet so much potential. Sometimes people ask me how I felt when I was diagnosed and my answer is always “relieved!” The amount of emotional pain I was in was unlike anything I had ever experienced, and it had been almost ten years since I first struggled with mental health in high school. It had been almost ten years since I had seen my first therapist only to find a few more who also led me to dead ends. It had been almost ten years since I had felt like myself.

I had experienced deep depression, anxiety attacks, and suffered from insomnia for years before a diagnosis. The doubts that plagued me when I fell in love offered a whole new meaning of emotional pain. I questioned my compatibility with my partner, spending 99% of my day in the “what ifs” and “shoulds,” not knowing how it was possible to be so confused, yet so in love.

I do not define myself by my diagnosis whatsoever but I do reference it as something that helped redefine me. It was the most pivotal turning point in my life. It is part of me; a part of me that caused (and causes) an incredible amount of turmoil, but also a part of me that facilitated incredible self-growth and a resurgence of who I knew myself to be. A diagnosis during a time that felt so out of my control gave me a focus, a feeling of hope, and a catalyst for the most transformative time in my life.

Who knew three letters could have so much impact. Out of 26 letters, putting an O, a C, and a D together became both, the worst thing and the best thing to ever happen to me.

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