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Demi Lovato Says She Might Have Been Misdiagnosed With Bipolar in New Documentary

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I was certain that I had bipolar disorder. I was in college, 19 years old, only one year older than Demi Lovato when she was diagnosed with the same disorder. I was so certain, and that certainty colored the way I reported my symptoms and I was formally diagnosed shortly after I started therapy. It all made sense and I thought that this was the beginning of me getting better.

But it wasn’t.

I lived with the diagnosis of bipolar, integrating it into my personality, making it a huge part of who I felt I was, only to switch therapists five years later and finally see my bipolar disorder for what it was– a misdiagnosis.

Misdiagnosis Is Nothing to Be Ashamed Of

For a long time after I realized my bipolar disorder was a misdiagnosis, I felt deeply ashamed. I was the one who pushed for it. I let it take over my identity, and worst of all, I was terribly harsh with anyone in my life who hesitated to support my diagnosis. I felt overwhelmed by regrets and shame and honestly didn’t know how to cope.

Then Demi Lovato said she experienced the same thing. According to InStyle, Demi says in her new YouTube docuseries “Dancing with the Devil” that she believes she was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18 to explain her erratic behavior at that time. Her current doctors believe that was a misdiagnosis and, in her own words, “I needed to grow the fuck up.”

We Need to Talk About Misdiagnosis More Often

I’ve never heard anyone else talk about being misdiagnosed with a mental illness, let alone a superstar like Demi Lovato. For her to come out and say that this thing she’s been an advocate for since she was 18 was a misdiagnosis all along is a powerful statement about self-acceptance. She is still her, regardless of what label best describes her mental health.

I feel like that’s the message I’ve been trying to learn for years now. But, because I felt so alone in my misdiagnosis journey, I had no idea where to turn for advice nor could I even find someone who could relate. I felt alone, and I felt silly. I felt like I’d made a huge mistake in my mental health journey, one I could never take back or undo.

But, we learn through making mistakes. As much as we want it to be, it’s just not possible to learn by doing things perfectly every time. I’m still not sure what I’ve learned from my bipolar misdiagnosis. But I know one thing for sure now– I’m not alone in it.

“Dancing with the Devil” premiers on YouTube March 23, 2020.

Lead image courtesy of Demi Lovato’s YouTube channel

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