I heard back from N about my medication, which was good. I am to stop taking the Wellbutrin, and continue with my other medications as directed. I hope that helps. In theory, it will. I took it already this morning, to tomorrow morning I won’t be taking it. So, that’s the good news.
The not so good news came when she brought up my diagnosis. At our last meeting, she asked me if I would have any problems with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I said no, I don’t. She seemed pleased about that, and then proceeded to talk about other people who have schizophrenia, and about their experiences, and telling me that I’m not alone with this diagnosis. She also suggested to me that I start a blog, for mental illness, and that’s what I did.
So, I started my blog a couple of days ago. I’m proud of myself for doing this and putting myself out there into the great big world of the internet, and being very honest about my experiences with my mental illness. It has been helpful for me, so far, to talk about these things that I’ve been going through for so long. The new diagnosis finally feels like the right one. I know, labels don’t really matter that much, just as long as I am getting the proper treatment…but at the same time it does matter to me.
That’s when she threw me for a loop. She said “so, we were thinking a bipolar diagnosis for you..?”. And…I was stunned. At our last meeting, which was just over one week ago, she seemed very certain that I have schizophrenia. She said the word “schizophrenia” so many times during our conversation, almost like she was trying to make sure I knew what is happening with me. At least, that’s what it seemed like to me. So I said in reply, “didn’t you say just last week that I have schizophrenia?”. She then said something about, well, maybe it’s schizoaffective disorder. Her reasoning as to why it might not be schizophrenia is basically this: I don’t have blunted affect (meaning, I show emotion), I seem to have life in me, I feel a wide range of emotions, and I’m pretty self aware.
Am I to believe that every single person with schizophrenia has blunted affect, doesn’t seem to have life in them, doesn’t feel emotions, and aren’t self aware? Am I to believe this, just because I’m not like most of her other patients who have schizophrenia? This doesn’t make sense to me. Everyone is different and unique. Everyone experiences life differently, and, in the same way, they experience mental illness differently. That’s just the way life is. I’ll be honest, I am offended that she seems to think that everyone who has schizophrenia must exhibit certain behaviors and have a certain way about them. It seems rather closed minded to me.
She said I’m a tough one to diagnose. She said that today, after seeming quite certain of the diagnosis she gave me at our last meeting. I feel a little lost, confused, and very frustrated. I thought my diagnosis was finally settled, after 15 years of me being in the mental health system. I feel at home with the schizophrenia diagnosis, from what I’ve read and watched on the illness, I feel like it fits me very well. I’d really rather not have a constant flip flopping diagnosis, like what I’ve had for the last 15 years. I’m 30 years old, and I would have liked to have this fairly settled by now. Please. Thank you.
In the end, I know the exact label doesn’t really matter. The part that frustrates me is not only the flip flopping, like playing diagnosis musical chairs, but also trying to put labels on me that don’t fit. I don’t have bipolar disorder, and I know that. When I was 16, I was originally diagnosed with bipolar II disorder, but the doctor I saw was not a psychiatrist and he didn’t know about my psychotic symptoms. I did not completely open up about my psychotic symptoms, and my long history with them, until very recently. From the research I’ve done over the years, and the many people I’ve talked with about the diagnosis (doctors, therapists, other people I was hospitalized with who had bipolar disorder), that diagnosis really doesn’t describe what I’m going through and it doesn’t take into account the most important part of my struggles…the psychotic symptoms. My mood is not the problem, it’s the psychotic symptoms.
For the first time, I felt like a diagnosis was right. I feel like it is being taken from me, because I don’t fit the exact profile of her other patients who have schizophrenia. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I do have schizoaffective disorder. She said that schizoaffective disorder is more of a spectrum than Schizophrenia is. I know she’s the professional here, and she has a lot of experience with a ton of people who each have unique experiences. I am willing to listen to what she has to say. We have another meeting in a little over three weeks. So I’ll just have to wait until then to speak with her about it again. I’m hoping to get a more solid diagnosis the next time I see her, once she has had more time to think on the matter. I know she wants my input on the diagnosis she gives me, and she is very receptive to what I have to say. She really is a great behavioral health care professional. I respect her and I value her insight. I’m just rather frustrated that I still don’t have a solid diagnosis after all this time.
I’m willing to receive a change in diagnosis (again), but I want this to be the last time it changes. Maybe I’ll tell N that when I speak with her next. I’d really like this to be the last time it changes. Please. Thank you.
Stay insane, friends