Monday, 25 August 2014

Semi-diagnosed?

Is being diagnosed with "Borderline Personality traits" and "PTSD-like symptoms" enough to entitle you to support for trauma-related mental health issues, if these are actually your main mental health problems, along with depression? Why is it that it still doesn't feel as though I have been properly diagnosed with anything in this area?

And why is my OCD not "OCD-like symptoms"? There are so many aspects of OCD that simply aren't relevant to me.

It's so confusing. Why is it made so ridiculously hard to get the help that you need?

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Not everything I do is "my OCD" just because I have the label!

Honestly, this drives me crazy - yes, even crazier than I was to begin with. The mental health so-called "professionals" select one of your mental health issues, which they consider to be the "main one", usually the one which is most visible. In my case, my OCD causes obvious physical symptoms - damage to my hands from over-washing them. It could therefore be said to be the most "visible". I have actually only had OCD, to any extent, since 2008, and it is not, and never has been, the mental health issue which causes me the most distress. It is more of a manifestation, rather than my underlying problem. Anyway, the "professionals" then see anything and everything as further evidence of the illness on which they have chosen to focus, even if something relates much more to another mental health issue, or is not even a mental health problem at all, but just part of your personality.

People with OCD are actually allowed to have personality traits that are both obsessive and compulsive, but are not part of the OCD. Also, as I stated in a previous post, not everyone with OCD has every type of OCD. I certainly do not.

I don't want to ramble too much in this particular blog post, as I have written quite a few longer blog posts. I just felt that I needed to make this point.

Thank you for reading this. Please also check out my
poetry site or/and Facebook poetry page.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Further to my last post about my mental health diagnosis

Finally, I am going to attempt to write this blog post. If you are reading this and haven't read my previous post regarding my mental health diagnosis, you might be interested in checking that out, as it gives more background about the situation which I am describing here.

Anyway, basically I have been trying, for some time, to persuade the mental health professionals to review my diagnosis. I had been under the impression that this was going to happen, and that I was going to be assessed for Borderline Personality Disorder, but this did not occur. The appointment with my psychiatrist and Community Psychiatric Nurse did take place, but we barely touched on the subject of BPD, and only then because I mentioned it, as they appeared to have no intention of doing so. They were more interested in discussing my OCD, as per usual, and trying to "push" medication at me. One pill suggested would make me gain weight - been there with that particular side-effect - and the other would cause diarrhoea, which is also not helpful, when you suffer, as I do, from IBS. However, I do give more details about this appointment in my previous post, so I won't ramble about it too much here.

As I said in my previous post, I did put my concerns into writing. When I eventually managed to get through to my CPN by telephone, she was extremely unhelpful, and gave me to understand that I was diagnosed with nothing more than depression, anxiety, OCD and "PTSD-like symptoms". She said that she was "not prepared to discuss the diagnosis further", but did tell me that the psychiatrist would write to me and enclose a copy of the letter which had been sent to my GP. I did specifically ask her whether my agoraphobia diagnosis had also been removed, and she told me that I did not have agoraphobia because "you do go out". I currently go out on as many days as I can, although I remain very close to my flat, but I do not feel that it is necessarily helpful to take away someone's agoraphobia diagnosis the moment that the person is able to leave his or her home. I will probably write another blog post about my agoraphobia, or agoraphobic tendencies, as I feel that this subject needs more "space", in order for me to discuss it fully. I must admit that it is a little complicated, as my not going out much relates to my physical, as well as mental, health. I did actually have two telephone conversations with the nurse, on the same afternoon, and the second felt more positive and constructive than the first, but I still did not entirely know what to expect from the letters which the psychiatrist would be sending. I could only wait.

Well, the letters arrived and, to be honest, it was not as bad as I had thought, or would have expected based upon what I had been told by my CPN, particularly during that first conversation. The psychiatrist seemed to have understood most of the points made during our interview, although there were still a few misconceptions, about which I know that I should write another letter, just to make matters a little clearer. I have lacked the motivation, so far, to do this, although I know that it is in my own best interests to do so. My official diagnosis now is recurrent depressive disorder, anxiety, OCD, Borderline Personality traits, and Post Traumatic symptoms, with panic attacks and depersonalisation. Although this does not cover everything, it is an improvement, and at least I have it in black and white, so that a week, year or decade later, they cannot change the words around and deny that the original ones were ever said at all, as has so often happened in the past.

I would recommend that anyone who has queries about his or her mental health diagnosis, or any aspect of treatment, should put these concerns into writing. That way, your letter has to be both answered at the time, and added to your medical files for future reference.

Thank you for reading this post. Please also check out my poetry site or/and my Facebook poetry page.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Mental health awareness and making a difference

Last night, I read a free magazine, produced by "Time to Change". It was positive and inspiring to read about so many excellent projects, and I totally agree that more conversations about mental health are needed, in order to break the stigma which still surrounds this topic.

However, I was left feeling that something had remained unsaid. That is why I decided to write this blog post.

We are not all able - often due to the precise nature of our mental health issues, and perhaps other factors, including our physical health - to actively participate in many of the more "out there" mental health awareness campaigns. Possibly we can help indirectly, including through the promotion of events, by various methods, such as sharing links on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other social media websites, and this is still valuable and important, but we may not feel that it is equal to being an active participant.

What I would like to point out is that many of us do a lot individually to spread the word. I often feel that there is a lack of recognition for everyone out there who is blogging, vlogging, Tweeting, and sharing personal stories, in various forms, on Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media sites. There are people who write and share poetry and art work of various kinds, relating to mental health issues. So many people set up support groups, and inspirational pages about recovery, on Facebook and other sites. These people are not being paid, and rarely ask for or require grants or any form of financial assistance. I mean, it is free to set up a Facebook page, Twitter or Tumblr account, or a basic blog.

I am not writing this blog post in order to complain as such. I am writing this blog post because I would like to thank all of the individuals out there who have inspired me, in various ways. I would also like to encourage those who are feeling disillusioned, and thinking of giving up on their blogs, poetry, Facebook pages, and so on. Please do not give up. You are needed. Your contribution is valued.

Thank you for reading this post, and please do visit my poetry website or/and my Facebook poetry page. Any "likes" on the Facebook page would be very much appreciated. Your support means a lot to me. If you have already "liked" the page, but don't seem to be "seeing" my posts, drop in on the page, as Facebook stops showing posts if you don't actively express an interest in a particular page.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Attempting to have my mental health diagnosis reviewed

I am as ready as I will ever be to discuss this subject on my blog. I have been trying, for some time, to have my mental health diagnosis adjusted, as I do not feel that my current diagnosis covers many of my major issues.

Unfortunately, when I finally had an interview with a psychiatrist, who is new to our local mental health centre, and my CPN (Community Psychiatric Nurse), they did not assess me for the criteria of BPD, as I had been expecting. I was asked more questions about OCD, with which I am already diagnosed, than BPD. They contradicted themselves more than once. My CPN talked one moment as if I had been diagnosed with PTSD all along. The next moment, I had "PTSD-like symptoms". The psychiatrist said that there had "never been any question of" BPD, and then changed this to "might have Borderline features". They were so inconsistent. Also, the nurse ridiculed me, with a dismissive one-liner: "I think Paula read something on the internet." I have been researching BPD for some time now, both online and offline, and through talking to others who have the diagnosis. To imply that I might have "self-diagnosed", as they like to call it, on the basis of some vague comment online, is patronising and totally inaccurate.

I meet almost all of the criteria for BPD, but I seem to be a "quiet Borderline" or "introverted subtype". I tend not to exhibit extreme behaviour, and am more likely to turn my pain and anger inwards. I am also older than most people would be when they are diagnosed with BPD, and it would probably be embarrassing for them to admit that I might have had the condition all along, and they didn't even notice. Yet, I have symptoms which are not covered by my existing diagnosis, and it is obvious to me that a diagnosis of BPD should at least be properly considered.


It's all very well for people to say that it's wrong to "self-diagnose", but what are we supposed to do, when they won't even take us seriously and go through the criteria with us - having promised to assess us for an illness, for which we meet the criteria? I am sure that, if I went to a GP and asked to be assessed for diabetes, he or she would ask about my symptoms and then do the relevant blood tests, as opposed to simply demanding whether I had read about the condition online. At the end of the day, is the source of my information that important? Surely it is more important to ensure that patients receive an accurate diagnosis?

I have put my concerns in writing, so I shall have to wait and see what comes of this. Thank you for reading this post. Please also check out my Facebook poetry page and poetry website.