Do not be Defined by Diagnosis.

If you want to learn a bit more about me, myself and I… Now is your chance.

Have you ever been, what they call, ‘’diagnosed’’?

In other words, when certain symptoms begin to arise and are properly identifed by a licensed Doc, an illness or some other condition can be directly associated with you.

For example, on October 16th, 2013, I was diagnosed Type-1 Diabetic (T1D). Symptoms began to arise a month prior to my diagnosis, symptoms such as severe dehydration, severe weight loss (I’m skinny now, but you should have seen me then…), I had to pee ~20 times a day (very annoying, and not exaggerated), and eventually it came to the point where it felt like my insides were literally climbing my throat. My tongue was drier than sand paper. Life really began to suck.

After being hospitalized for 3 days, so that my body could once again reach homeostasis, I was released from the hospital with a few items that would remain with me for the rest of my life. Needles for my fingers, so that I could test my blood sugar levels. Needles for my body, so that I could inject insulin to adjust my blood sugar levels (Figure 1.).

Figure 1. Humalog KwikPen*, a form of insulin I have to inject in myself for every carbohydrate I intake.

Needles(s) to say — oh god I’m hilarious — , coming from a kid who was once absolutely petrified of needles, getting used to protruding my skin several times a day just to keep me alive wasn’t necessarily something I had looked forward to.

On the other hand, y’know what I did look forward to? Being alive. How thankful I was, knowing I could wake up the next day. My Doc told me that I’d be in a coma, if not dead, had I decided to not go to the hospital that night. Yea… You learn to be thankful.

There, a little history on me, for you. Now, back to the point.

Diagnosed, I was. Oddly enough, despite my pessimist past, I never gave my diagnosis an opportunity to define who I was. Sure, many aspects of my life changed on that day. My entire diet, what I could/shouldn’t eat, all the way to the timing of my sleep schedule to coincide with my body’s hormonal systems… Everything changed; except who I was.

Injecting needles is something that I have to do every single day for the rest of my life… Why would I EVER let that drag me down? I have no choice but to live with this condition. On the other hand, I DO have the choice to be depressed about it.

Now, I have to mention that there are some cases where your condition or illness may quite literally define who you are. If this were the case, your emotions might be highly influenced to fluctuate, causing a wide variety of positive and negative emotions. Truth is, even my T1D does! For example, if I wake up in the mornings with a high blood sugar level, I’m typically dehydrated, and this is associated with my emotionless/cranky behavior (my mom is probably nodding her head as she reads this). On the contrary, when my blood sugar level goes below normal, I’m extremely irritable and anxious.

So yes, in my case, I do have some factors that will effect my emotions, but at the end of the day, I will not let my condition be the excuse to my hormonal imbalances, because they ARE completely preventable with the proper care.

I think that is a huge part of the problem. Too many people are getting diagnosed and letting that become their whole life, instead of letting that diagnosis become part of their life. This leads to improper care of your condition. Never let your condition take you away.

Figure 2. A variety of mental disorders.

From first person experience, I can definitely admit that it’s hard to not let it define you, especially when it’s a mental disorder. Although I’d be lying to you if I claimed to have been officially diagnosed with a mental disorder, I could honestly say that I have gone through depression, and I probably have pretty bad anxiety, some mild OCD and probably some sort of mood disorder. Then again, this is what I would diagnose myself as, based off of judging my own actions, and questioning why I proceeded with those actions.

And that’s exactly why I’ve never bothered going to a Doc for the official diagnosis. I know myself. Actually, I even know EVERYTHING about myself. I know what sets me off, and I know what excites me. Knowing everything about myself has guided me onto a path of acknowledging my negatives, and using them to my benefit. This, is why nothing defines me. Anyone could have anxiety, OCD, bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, phobias, PTSD, etc. but if you don’t let it define you, is the diagnosis even relevant?

Diagnosed, yes. Defined? Ha.

Cheers,

Johnny B. Aka Waldo