Ever since I was a toddler my mother has described me as anxious, but ironically enough this is one of the few illness I do not have a diagnosis for. Sure I have anxiety especially social anxiety, but I do not care if I do not have an official paper saying I have it or not. Although my psychiatrist may have diagnosed me, I do not really care to look through my medical files to confirm. It is debilitating at times when I am too afraid to order my own food or am unable to talk to a new person. I’m a champion at crying in restaurants. A diagnosis likely will not change that for me, but it might for you. When I am in therapy they’re usually aware right off the bat that I’m an anxious person so I do not need a diagnosis as it does not change my own quality of life.
About a month ago I had my first psychiatrist appointment and I was diagnosed with treatment resistant depression. I had been on an antidepressant for about 9 months and some aspects were good, some not so good. I no longer felt completely empty all the time, but I had mood shifts. My psychiatrist was very empathetic and I felt listened to, I wish everyone had that experience. She kept me on my current medication, but gave me a companion mood stabilizer. She emphasized that I’m not bipolar nor do I have schizophrenia (this med is commonly given for those illnesses). I can say the changes were significant, but there is still very negative emotions lingering in the background… I’m nervous to see her again because I want to report only good things, but I know she needs the truth to help me.
I started treatment for my skin picking disorder/excoriation/body focused repetitive behavior back in May. Not many therapists know how to treat this disorder, but I was lucky enough to find one. There are many relapses associated with this disorder. Occasionally small children will ask me about the scars on my arms, so I am aware that they are noticeable. I do have excuses prepared in those scenarios because I do not like to admit that I do lose control. I’ve always had body-focused repetitive behaviors (BFRBs), but I never received treatment until this year. It started off with me literally eating my hair and transitioned into the more socially acceptable excessive biting of fingernails. When I began excessively picking my skin in adulthood I knew something was wrong so I sought out resources with my current therapist to find someone who has experience for treatment. My biggest take away from BFRB therapy was that it’s important to remain positive and not to beat myself up.
I think I may have another mental health condition, but I cannot confirm this right now… I am seeking treatments and opinions on it from professionals.
What is your opinion on diagnoses? Do they help? How can mental health professionals better serve those with mental health conditions? Is there anything in the post that you relate to, or anything about your mental health that you wish to share? Comment below!