Today, I had my mental health struggle medically recognized for the first time in my life. Opposite a beautiful woman, I shifted around in a chair as her words poured over me like gospel. I felt warm and my face tingled; I became dizzy, as if the earth beneath me was restless. I clung to every sound she made as she assessed the things that I had shared with her. Neither her, nor I, were feeling uneasy or defensive because I had welcomed her and her opinion; I asked for it. She spoke as if we had been close before, like we were meant to impact each other.

I was left feeling sociable, deserving, and capable. For the very first time, I feel like I have a right to identify with a particular disorder. I will likely still worry that people around me assume that I am self diagnosing for attention. I will always believe that people think I do what I do for attention. That is part of my struggle, but I have now been validated. I can begin taking educated steps forward. And while forward feels unfamiliar, today it feels real.

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