**Newly edited after I received another response to my form, editing will be in blue**
This week’s weekly writing challenge was to prepare a post using the forms feature and to then do a post that in some way relates to the information you gathered from the form. My post to the forms was Let Me Know Your Experiences. It was regarding mental health experiences, unfortunately there were only 5 responses If you’d like to fill it out it is still up and I would really like to hear your experiences, and could add them to this post to give a wider representation.
The questions regarded your experience with mental illness, mainly in regards to your opinions on treatment and diagnosis. Also with a question on your experiences with others, which could have related to employment, family, friends, professionals.
I had one response who had a family member with mental illness.
I had three (four) responses that said I have a mental illness.
And one response that said both I have a mental illness and a family member or friend does.
The mental illness represented were: Schizoaffective disorder, PTSD (2), Dissociative Identity Disorder, Depression (2), Anxiety Disorder (2), Social anxiety disorder (2),and Borderline Personality Disorder (2), possible Bipolar II, Bipolar II with psychosis, and gender identity disorder. Remember that some people have more than one diagnosis or have friends and/or family members that have more than one diagnosis.
The opinions regarding diagnosis were: Psychiatrist sometimes are quick to diagnosis and early diagnosis sometimes results in inaccurate diagnosis. Also that there are inexperienced psychiatrists that allow people to fall through the cracks. Some mental illnesses are more permanent and therefore stigmatizing. Torn feelings between having a more permanent long standing mental illness but also being relieved when treatment for that illness brought relief. Feeling that categorizing mental illness isn’t that important, as long as things are working. Not always agreeing with diagnosis. Multiple professionals who treat you having differing opinions on diagnosis. Difficulty getting second opinions. When being diagnosed, the patient should be told the diagnosis and all treatment options.
Midnightdemons: I think it is just a category to get your insurance to pay for services.
The opinions regarding treatment were: Concern that a family member was not taking medication. Medication is used too much and too often (2), but some people need it for treatment. That I would have started treatment earlier. More focus on therapy. That treatment helps but you also need to do things yourself. Finding coping strategies is sometimes difficult but as time passes you learn them through experience.
Anxietyadventures: “It’s really hard. I thought it would get less hard over time but it hasn’t – I guess because as I reveal more layers as time passes.”
Mylifewithbpd: “I am on medication alone and I do not think its an appropriate treatment at all.”
Experience with others: People are mostly supportive, especially if they have a similar diagnosis (2).
Anxietyadventures: “I’ve shared my issues with a few friends and my brother, all of whom have been amazingly supportive. They periodically check in, ask good questions and are unquestionably supportive.”
I was disappointed by the number of people who filled in the form. I was looking for a larger number of people’s opinions, whether they had experience personally, through others, or worked in the field. I was hoping also to see if there were patterns of answers in accordance with diagnosis.
I was not surprised by the mental illnesses that were represented. I personally am diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and borderline personality disorder currently, but have been diagnosed with many of the illnesses that were listed or have been told I have traits of them. I also try to gear my blog towards mental illness in general, with information and resources on many different illnesses, so I know I have a variety of followers.
The thoughts on diagnosis are some experiences I have had myself and some ideas that are new to me. I think early diagnosis can easily equal misdiagnosis. I wish instead that the field of psychology instead used a working diagnosis model. As in this is that it appears the diagnosis is but we need to watch it over time and see if it needs to be changed or other diagnosis added. Also over time some diagnosis may not be applicable but some doctors don’t see patients for more than 15 minutes ever 3-6 months. I don’t think necessarily people fall through the cracks because of inexperienced psychiatrists but more so because they don’t seek treatment because of stigma or the treatment received is by a non specialist or a person who sees you for a short period of time, like in an acute inpatient hospitalization. This causes people to be misdiagnosed, not properly treated, or sometimes never refereed to proper specialist or extended treatment. I’ve also not been told my diagnosis before and been given treatment and not explained what for. I also feel torn with my diagnosis. Sometimes they seem “too serious” like why couldn’t I get an illness that is easier to manage or is typically short term whether resolved by medication, therapy, or just with time.
The opinions on treatment are many that I have heard others have or have had myself. It is my opinion as well as others that medication in used too much, too soon, or too often. This can be in the case of only being offered medication for treatment, as mylifewithbpd states. Being prescribed too much medication, at one point I was on 11 separate medications and over 20 pills a day. I also believe that medication is needed for some things, I know I couldn’t do without it; and I sympathize with family members or friends of someone who has a serious mental illness that needs medication but doesn’t take it consistently or as prescribed. As regards to therapy: I have been in weekly therapy since my early 20’s but most was seeing a private therapist and paying about $100 a week. My health insurance plan would not provide me with weekly therapy until I had been hospitalized multiple times. Many insurance plans do not cover therapy, and if they do there is a waiting list or a maximum amount of visits you can have. I think this is detrimental because therapy can help people heal faster and learn skills whether they need adjunct treatment with medication or not. In my opinion therapy needs to be as important and in some cases more important than medication.
The opinions on experiences with other were few, only 2 (3) of the 5 (6) gave this information. Both (All) said people have been supportive with manyofus adding that especially “people with mental illnesses like mine.” I’ve had both negative and positive experiences with others regarding my mental illness. Few know because of the stigma and stereotypes surrounding mental illness and also because of me having bad experience with people in the past.