I've started seeing a therapist again after almost a year without one. I think I'm really going to like this guy, he has already given me some helpful tips in just the first session (anyone who has had a therapist knows the first session is pretty much useless buisness stuff). I'll talk about his tips a little bit later. First I want to talk about DEFINING mental disorder. Things I often hear people say when attempting to brush off the issue of mental illness are "everyone is a little crazy" and "its all in your head people don't really have mental disorders". While I completely disagree with those statements, I am starting to understand that lableing mental illness isn't nessisarily the most useful thing...
When I first told my mom I was so sad I couldn't get up in the morning, having the diagnosis of depression helped me because I needed an explination. It helped to know it wasn't my fault, and something could be done about it. Later on the diagnosis of BIPOLAR helped me get a grip and start working toward mental stability. HOWEVER the more research I do and the more self evaluation I do ... the more I realize that EVERY brain is different. There is no blood test to find out what kind of mental illness you have, there are little surveys and psychological studies, and mood specialists.... but how much can those REALLY conclude? And is it actually helpful?
I spend at least a few hours a week researching mood disorders, staying up to date with NAMI (national alliance on mental illness), and reading my list of metnal disorder blogs. And I've started seeing that most of my symptoms are in conjunction with BPD (boarderline personality disorder) as well as rapid cycling bipolar disorder. I started freaking myself out. What have I been doing for the past year if I'm not bipolar?? I've been doing the wrong research! I've been taking the wrong pills! I've been blogging about a disorder that I dont have! Personality disorder sounds way freakier than bipolar! Its just like skitsofrania! (spelling?) After calming down I started thinking.... who cares? I mean, I'd like to have a lable just for convenient sake when people ask what I see a therapist for, but in reality it doesn't matter.
I think its difficult for people to beleive me when I say I have mental problems because I can come accross as a well put together, happy go lucky kind of guy. I often get nervous that people think I'm faking it for attention. In fact its my least favorite kind of attention. The truth is that %99 of you will never know how I'm actually feeling. First of all its difficult to describe, second of all I don't enjoy trying to make people understand how I feel and seeing the roll their eyes, and third and most importantly I don't want to put people in a bad mood.
AND WE'RE BACK:
So maybe I have boarderline personalty disorder, maybe I'm bipolar, maybe I'm both! Maybe for me its somewhere between. I've been diagnosed with adrenal gland disfunction, major depressive disorder, high anxiety disorder, been to sexual orientation reversal thearpy, seen social workers, psychiatrists, and mood specialists... and little things have improved, but inside I still feel unstable. I still feel like the guy that tried to kill himself, the guy that needs a few hours alone a day to get centered, the guy that needs his friends to keep an eye on him when things go bad, the guy who isn't allowed to keep his own pills, and needs to be handled with care. My goal is to leave that guy behind. To be as solid inside as I pretend to be.
for those of you who are curious the "diagnosis criteria" for boarderline personality disorder are:
(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
(7) chronic feelings of emptiness
(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger)
(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation
as you can see these symptoms are remarkably similar to bipolar disorder. Most medical websites and journals I have read say it is nearly impossible for a doctor to make a clear distinction between the two. WHATEVER i'm getting cheese fries.