Feeling like you are the only one feeling a certain way is awful; but the complex feelings that develop when you learn that some people close to you, outside of the people you know through your disorder, also may have similar issues, can be complicated to process.
Perhaps the most strange of feelings is the realisation that your wish of being accepted by the people you knew before your diagnosis is trumped by your misplaced-irritation at no longer being unique.
I spent so long subconciously treating my OCD, depression, anxiety and autism as my defining traits, which for all the time I’ve spent sad, anxious and doing compulsions – is understandable. Everything that was wrong with me has become the very thing that defines me. I am the one with issues. I am the one who has had to deal with mental health struggles and I am the one who has a messed-up brain.
The problem with thinking like this is the fact that in my misplaced jealousy about my so-called soul defining characteristic – the thing that only I have – is not exclusive to me.
You spend so long annoyed about being different and being a certain way that you begin to view it as the only thing about you that matters; that it’s the one thing that makes you different and special – even if it’s for what you percieve to be a bad reason.
When you meet like-minded people through your disorder/s it feels like it is something away seperate from your day-to-day life and those you know previous to the diagnosis are in a seperate ‘box’ so to speak. That is not real life though. People who are alike end up finding each other, or knowing each other anyway because that’s how life works. Things can never be kept completely seperate and that is the reason for so many good things. If sections of our life never interlapped no-one would ever have friends or have relationships in anyway.
The reality of the situation is that just because other people I may know have their own struggles and challenges to overcome, it doesn’t make my challenges and achievements any less important. The only thing that you can do is support the people in your life who have done the same to you and continue to make the most out of your life. One person’s struggle does not make another’s less important and feeling territorial over certain ‘problems’ doesn’t help.
It may feel weird to realise that your not quite as different to the people you have known for years as you thought you were; but just maybe it will ecourage you to be kinder to yourself. Afterall the people you care about are not defective or wrong – so many it’s about time you stop viewing yourself as such.