It’s true. While a diagnosis is important for proper treatment…I am so sick of being labeled. Because I don’t color inside the lines and fit in the pretty little box, I am somehow less legitimately sick.
Bipolar One. Bipolar Two. Dysthymic. Cyclothymic. Borderline.
See, mental illness is a racket with advent of the pharma companies and all their pills. Don’t get me wrong. I have benefited greatly from some of these pills. (Lamictal saved me from Lithium hell and Xanax keeps me out of a clocktower.)
Still…Prozac Nation (not a slam as I am on Prozac) has bastardized legit mental illness by insisting on labels. And if you don’t fit the textbook labels, you just have a bad personality and are a malingerer.
I have, over the years, been diagnosed with every single thing listed above. Well, except borderline, I just have traits from that disorder. Except these traits so closely mimic bipolar one professional will say, no, you’re not this at all, while another will say, you have enough traits to be this.
My counselors used to tell me I was manic.
The doctor only saw me when I was at my worst thus he said dysthymic.
Then the good doctor said bipolar two.
Then the evil doctor said bipolar two but I rapid cycle like cyclothymia.
I don’t think any of them have a bloody clue.
How could they when they grace me for ten minutes in front of a tv screen and dismiss everything as anxiety?
My kingdom for a doctor to actually sit down and talk to me, rather than just read through the cornucopia of what the past revolving door of docs put in the file.
Because if you were to get your hands on your file and read what notes they take…You’d find a lot of it is their own bias and perception and has NOTHING to do with what you are going through.
Hell, there’s a “black mark” in my file where I tested positive for amphetamines. I disputed it heavily because I’d been taking cough medicine, but the doctor just dismissed it, like I am some druggy.
Personally I’ve tried cocaine (once, in my teens.) I have dabbled with pot on occasion. I had a love affair with ephedrine when I was obsessed about my weight.
I have never once used an actual amphetamine.
Yet there it is in my file, taken as fact.
One more label and one I don’t even deserve.
At least the eevil osteopath doctor who pegged me as cyclothymic-ish conceded that the cough syrup could well have caused a false positive for speed.
(And I read this AMA on Reddit where someone who works in a drug testing lab was answering questions on false positives, and apparently cough syrup/cold medicines are renowned for showing up as some sort of speed.)
Remember all that crap in school about “this will end up on your permanent record? Yeah, your psych history is a lot like that, except it’s based on perception and bias of someone else and those who follow take it as gospel.
And I do apologize, I would love to stay on topic. I just can’t seem to. Maybe that’s the beauty of this blog. It’s an accurate representation of what it’s like inside my mind. This is how my brain circles and swirls and I am supposed to make some semblance of order out of a chaos I can’t control.
So what is my diagnosis?
Forget the diagnostic manual, the pro terminologies, and let me list my symptoms.
*** impulsive behavior, feelings of grandeur, euphoria, energy out the wazoo, obliviousness to consequences of behavior.
****irritability, anger, feelings of hatred, followed by teary outbursts, throwing things (well, prior to the Lamictal) then climbing into a bathtub or closet and hiding for days on end.
****depressions lasting six months where I barely eat, housework becomes a footnote on priority list, I don’t bathe, go out in pajamas, think everyone is out to get me, feel there is no hope in life, loss of pleasure in all things, inability to concentrate, focus, or have short term memory.
***rapid cycles most days outside the mania/depressive bouts without outside triggers in which I will bounce between ok, manic, depressed, suicidal. Fortunately, this part, I’ve gotten used to and know it will pass, eventually, I just have to not buy into the press my brain is releasing.
So…That’s the short list. I won’t even go into the anxiety issues.
But whatever label you want to stick on it…I am pretty sure six months of the year every year of not bathing more than twice a week, wearing pajamas all the time, and barely eating are NOT standard issue human behavior.
Call it what you will.
But I am sick of the labels.
I am Niki.
I struggle with my own mind.
It impacts every aspect of my existence, even my ability to take my kid to her friends’ birthday parties, school functions, skate night.
I love live music yet I can’t even manage that.
I love roller coasters. Can’t brave amusement parks.
It’s not just the stressful stuff or stuff I don’t want to do.
Anyone who wants to call that normal is a moron.
I may need a diagnostic term, but it’d be nice if I could get a doctor to listen and think outside the damn DSM to figure out how to help me.
I have higher hopes of becoming a pegacorn. (don’t ask.)