Welcome back to End the Stigma and thank you for coming back for a peek!
Yesterday I discussed my long harrowing story of getting the right diagnosis for my mental illness. There was a lot of good info in that post, and also a lot of personal info. I do hope it did not overwhelm you all too much. Thank you for coming back again even if it did I really appreciate that people are reading these blogs, leaving comments and likes, and also the networking I’ve been building up on wordpress for this my third day of having a blog.
Anywho a little tip on my site now, as you can see a new page was added, teen reviews, this is a blog for the teenage parts inside of me to review their favorite things. If you can’t find it scroll to the bottom of the page or hit the three lines on the top right. Part of the reason I’m setting up pages for everyone is so that you can see the difference in personalities. (Plus the teens wanted to review things when they saw I was working on a wordpress blog).
Okay now to the topic today:
“In” Mental illness and the effects it has on a correct diagnosis. Yeah long title I know, but I had a bit of a writers block today so I went back to yesterdays post to see some of the things I had said I would discuss at a later time. This is definitely something that needs to be covered because people who have mental illness usually get grouped in a category of the “In” mental illness of the year.
So lets start with the fact that if you are diagnosed with the wrong mental illness no amount of treatment or medicine is going to work because it’s treating something you don’t have. Kind of like if someone has bone cancer and you are giving them insulin it won’t help the cancer at all. It’s the same with Mental illnesses and medicine. Truth be told the first several years you just feel like a lab rat. They throw all these medicines at you and sometimes they make the mistake of throwing too many at you at once which causes issues that I will address in a later post.
Now all this ties into the “in” mental illness of the year because unfortunately as I said above that illness is over-diagnosed because it is such a new thing. Not only that but it is very interesting for Psychiatrists to have a patient with a mental illness that has not been well known because it gives them something to study and write research papers on. That negative but true thing being said does not apply to all Psychiatrists and Psychologists but it is a known fact that the newer the illness the easier it is to throw the diagnosis out there because so many people still do not understand it well enough.
So lets discuss a bit shall we?
In 1976 the made for t.v. movie Sybil came out. In the movie commentary (yes I did buy the movie) all the cast talked about how much more Dissociative Identity Disorder was being recognized among Psychiatrists and Psychologists. In the commentary they state that they are really glad the movie helped move the direction towards getting more undiagnosed cases noticed. If you look at the statistics of Dissociative Identity Disorder after the Sybil movie and book were released there is a big spike in people going to be diagnosed for it. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? According to the movie it is a great thing because it makes them feel the illness has been more accepted into culture.
Before I go on I need to state this is my opinion and not necessarily that of all people who have a mental illness. For those of us with Mental illnesses who have struggled with the wrong diagnosis over these “in” illnesses it is not a great thing. Honestly, for me, I have to roll my eyes about it. Yes of course people are going to get checked out for Dissociative identity disorder after seeing this movie.
Unfortunately it was another media outlet that made the mental illness look like something everyone should have. I mean just look how much Dr. Wilbur loved Sybil, treated her like a Princess, got attached to her, and even asked her to live with her after her treatment was over. For anyone who is lonely and struggling because of their own life of abuse and depression this looks like a done deal. Lets go get diagnosed with this illness because if we do we will have a special friend! Again this is just my opinion so please don’t take this wrong, however I feel I have a right to this opinion as I struggle with this disorder and know it is not all cotton candy and rainbows.
No, guys, my therapists never treated me like a Princess. They would never ask me to live with them after my treatment was completed. They also kept therapeutic boundaries with me. This is what I need. Yes I get attached to them but I also need that because it helps the personalities feel more open to expressing themselves. There are also still so many Psychiatrists out there who do not believe in the illness. It took a while for me to get my family to understand because they also had the view that it was a fake illness. However now everyone inside can say they feel they have a bit of a relationship with all my immediate family members.
The stigma around the illness is sickening to my stomach. As I stated before I lost 3 big opportunities because of this mental illness. However, I kept struggling to beat the statistics, and I can proudly say I have a 4 year degree in Human services because of my struggle. I proved everyone wrong who thought I could not make it. I live on my own and am able to keep a roof over my head. I’ve also learned how to control some of the major symptoms I get with this disorder and stay co-conscious with everyone inside much better now.
Anyway so lets fast forward several years after Sybil came out a new movie came out called Girl Interrupted. For those of you who do not know this movie was loosely based on the classic novel Girl Interrupted. Very, Very, Very loosely if I remember right (I haven’t read it in a while but I retain books I read fairly well).
So Susanna has Borderline Personality Disorder in the book a new type of mental illness that is not diagnosed a lot. She has a sociopath friend named Lisa in the movie who if you watch the movie claims she was a lifer in the hospital. Guys read the book okay just please. Valerie was a good Nurse in the book as well but she was not as prevalent in the book as she was in the movie. I really only remember Valerie being brought up 3 or 4 times in the book. So lets see when did this movie come out again. Ah yes, 1999 when this disorder was starting to be in research pamphlets and everything. Bear in mind this book was written about a hospital stay in the 1970s if I remember right so it took us long enough to get Borderline personality disorder out there right?
So anyway now Borderline Personality Disorder is the “in” mental illness. As a matter of fact I was hospitalized when it was and all 15 people that I was hospitalized with had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. So do you see where I am going with this? I was getting treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder which is Cognitive Behavioral therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy.
The second hospital visit: Try using Cognitive behavioral therapy on my parts that feel like separate people from me. “These are thoughts in your heads that you have turned into people.” Where did the conversation go after that? Oh yeah one of my altars took over and almost got me in big trouble at the hospital.
Anyway sorry to go off on a tangent but I felt I needed to show proof of what I was saying the best way possible. I wish I could’ve found the link that talked about the increase in mental illness after movies based on mental illnesses came out but I couldn’t find it.
So like I said the mental illness that is popular at the time or the “new” thing at the time is the “in” mental illness. At one time even Attachment disorder was over-diagnosed.
So again as I said it is a big deal to be diagnosed with the wrong Mental illness because you are not getting the right treatment. It’s like taking cold medicine for chicken pox, it just doesn’t work. What happens is we sit in treatment for the wrong diagnosis a long time and people get concerned we are not moving forward. It is because they are treating our mental illness wrong because we were diagnosed wrong. Therefore relying on the “in” mental illness when you cannot physically put yourself in the patients body can end up causing more pain than good.
Thanks for reading this long overly tangent post haha.
End stigma (one reader at a time)