Post Edited (SadNotBiPo) : 3/17/2009 12:28:35 PM (GMT-6)
Post Edited (SadNotBiPo) : 3/19/2009 1:37:26 PM (GMT-6)
I read your post and my heart really goes out to you. Labels are so frustrating. The thing about diagnosis is that there are so many 'disorders' that have overlapping symptoms. I am not a doctor, or a therapist, or an expert in any way, but I did feel like I wanted to share some things with you about what I have experienced in the hopes it might help you find your own way with whatever problems you might be struggling with.I always knew something was 'wrong' with me. I knew that there was something wrong with my head. I knew even when I was a child something was wrong. I could see that other kids didn't seem to have the same struggles I did. I knew life shouldn't have to feel so bad, and I could never figure out what was 'wrong' with me. I think some people really do simply have a chemical imbalance in their brain that holds them back in some way. With those people, medications seem to help. I was in and out of counsellors offices, saw a few psychiatrists, was hospitalized twice, and saw just about every type of therapist you can think of. Cognitive-behavioral therapists, social workers, psychotherapists, etc. I tried a lot of different therapy approaches, nothing seemed to help me. When I was hospitalized, I had all sorts of tests done. Sleep studies, they gave me MRI's, looked at my what my brain was doing awake and asleep, monitored my brain activity. I was given stacks and stacks of psychological tests. Because of some of my beliefs, I answered some test questions according to those beliefs. Like do I believe people can have extra sensory perception...do I believe I have 'special powers'. Well, yes to a degree, I think everybody has a certain level of intuition. So I answered yes to those types of questions, not because I thought I was god, or had god-like powers, or anything even close to that. Simply because I believe everyone has intuition. Because of this, the doctors labeled me to have 'schizotypal' tendencies at the time. Which I do not actually have. I just believe some people have gifts and are extremely sensitive to things. I don't think I am psychic. But I think some people do have that ability. All of this because of a few questions on a psychological test. Towards the end of my hospital stay, they could not figure out what my diagnosis was. The only thing they could say was that I was possibly bipolar, but that I would have to be one of the most rapidly cycling bi-polars they had ever seen. I was tried of so many different types of medication. Different mood stabilisers, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety meds, even ridalin at one stage. None of it made any changes for me, or changed how I felt in any area of my life. That was almost 10 years ago. My family, or rather, my mother, has always been more comfortable with the idea that there is a chemical imbalance in my brain and I need medication. I've been in good, solid therapy for two years now, with a counsellor who I really trust, finally. It is so hard to find a good counsellor. Not because most of them are bad, but because it is hard to find a counsellor who is a 'good fit' for you. My situation ended up being that I wasn't bi-polar, or borderline, or any of the other diagnoses I thought I might fit. For me, I started to make progress and feel better once I had found a counsellor who listened to me, I could trust and establish a relationship with, and who wasn't so preoccupied with labels. Because she wasn't preoccupied with labels, we just talked about what my problems actually were and started to work through them. That is what has helped me the most, so far. My mother doesn't cope very well with the idea that a lot of my problems started as a result of our family life when I was younger. She doesn't want to feel like anything she did could have caused me to have the kinds of problems that I do now. That's understandable, and it's understandable then that she would want to cling to the belief that it is something genetically wrong with my brain, some chemical problem that affects me. I'm not saying you should abandon the perspectives of your doctors, or your family altogether. But at the end of the day, you know yourself best. You know how you feel, you know what you struggle with. I got so preoccupied with trying to find a label to fit myself into that all of my energy went into that instead of going into finding the help that I really needed. I couldn't trust myself because of all the other 'expert' opinions that were out there, and as long as I tried to find an 'expert' opinion that fit, I just got nowhere. There are a lot of things for which medication doesn't solve the problem. Sometimes it can help take the edge off, but it doesn't solve the problem. If you were abused, then you'll probably have some wounds there, it will be affecting your life in so many ways. A pill cannot take away how you adapted to survive that abuse. Only introspection, hard work, and a therapist who you feel safe enough to be completely honest with can really help you do that. I don't know the full story of your situation. Only you know that. But I guess what I am trying to say is, you are first and foremost a person, a human being, with a whole life history of experiences. You are not a diagnosis. You've probably adapted yourself, your feelings, and your behavior to suit the experiences that you have had in your life. So as stupid as it might sound, don't be disheartened. Maybe you do have bi-polar disorder and maybe you don't. Either way, it sounds like you are hurting about something, and you need some help with it. What really matters at the end of the day is that you find help that works for you, helps you get better, and helps you feel better and cope better. I hope there might be something in this rather long post that might help you with your situation. I am not a doctor or an expert like I said, but I have been struggling and fighting myself for years, and for me, what really worked was not focusing on a diagnosis, but instead just going with what I knew on the inside I needed in order to heal (and sometimes those things were the complete opposite of what a doctor would have told me).