When I was about 14, I flipped to the back of one of the many teen magazines my mother insisted on subscribing me to. I cut words and photos out of them, after reading the one serious article towards the end of each of them. That day, the article was about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. As I read, I realized that I did all the things she was describing. All these things were part of my every day life, but here she was saying it was a problem that had to be treated.
Things got pretty bad, and I asked my parents if I could go to therapy. That led to seeing a psychiatrist and getting prescribed my first dose of psychotropic medication. For years I took a couple meds every day, and it was enough to take things down a notch so I could function, but the root of the problem was much deeper, and when I was 22 I decided more had to be done, so I signed up for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
CBT for my OCD was basically exposure therapy. Like how if you're afraid of snakes, first you look at a snake, then you stand in the same room as a snake, and eventually you hold a snake. It was the same thing, except with my anxiety. I would have homework assignments every week that may sound really easy and mundane to anyone else, but sitting in front of open drawers for 45 minutes every day was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. There was a lot of sweat and tears involved, but six months later I "graduated".
Since then, I've done a lot to work on loving myself. I quit my day job (at a psychiatric rehabilitation center) to turn my hobbies into my career, and spend my days doing things I love. I make note of the wonderful thing around me, and embrace what makes me happy even if it's weird or childish. I honestly feel that with the journey I've been on, I can provide insight and help to other people who are at different milestones on their path.
At this point, I've gone from taking the highest dosage of four different medications to the lowest doses of only two. I don't go to therapy anymore, and I'm able to cope with symptoms that arise on my own. I still have four disorders on my official psychiatric face sheet (Panic Disorder and Mood Disorder NOS in addition to the aforementioned two), but sometimes I wonder at what point do I still suffer from these things? If you don't actively receive treatment for something, is it still a thing? It's a loaded question that I don't have the answer to.
What I can tell you, is nothing is impossible. I've overcome things I didn't think were manageable, and I've seen clients, with way more severe mental illnesses than me, make incredible progress at my old job. You can do it, I believe in you.