In my last post, I talked about how I sought help and was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphia Disorder. It was really difficult and terrifying to know that I had a disorder. I didn’t tell any of my friends or my family members for a really long time, because I was worried about how they would react. But in the end I eventually told my college roommate, my husband, and then my family. Even now I still feel scared to open up and describe what I go through. I am not an expert on Body Dysmorphia and I’m still trying to figure it out and work through my challenges.
I guess my main reason for not wanting to share my diagnosis immediately is mostly because I didn’t want people to view me differently just because they know that I have a disorder. My family members read my posts, and even sometimes I get the sense of they don’t know how to approach me when it comes to my mental health. And honestly, that’s okay. I’m still learning, but I am open to questions.
As I have become more comfortable with the idea of working on my obsessions, some new challenges occurred. My therapist that I had been working with was teaching me cognitive mapping skills so that I could target the cause of my obsessive thought and try to redirect my behavior into something more productive or beneficial to myself. We had been working on this strategy for awhile when suddenly she dropped a bombshell on me. She told me she wanted to admit me to inpatient care. She said that because I was having extreme obsessions and struggling with an eating disorder that I needed more intensive help. I listened, nodded, left, and never returned.
Thinking back on my decision to disappear instead of getting help, I often wonder what exactly I was so frightened of? Was it the idea that I would have to explain to my friends and family where I was going? Was it the stress of trying to figure out how to get time off work? Or was it simply because I wasn’t ready to get all the help I needed? Whatever the reason, I am still disappointed in myself and sad that I gave up. I gave up on myself because I was too scared of what could happen.
It’s been six years since I decided not to get the help my therapist recommended and in a way I am still haunted by my decision. I honestly think I did not make the right choice. I wish that I had opened up and created a support system with my family and friends. But I am older now and it seems like the simple and logical solution. However, I believe our society does not lend this solution very easily. When people say that have been admitted for inpatient care, the stigma is extremely intense. People often treat you differently or don’t know how to act around you.
So how do we change this idea? I think one way is for people to open up and explain their experiences of inpatient care. Both positive and negative, because at the end of the day it isn’t the best solution for everyone. I am thankful for the bloggers who challenge the stigma around mental health. I wish I had known about the community sooner, but I know about it now and I can find strength in knowing I am not alone in how I feel and what I am going through.
As always, thank you for taking the time to read and support my blogging journey. I hope that I can also help others who face similar challenges know that they are not alone.