Thursday, June 10, 2010

You're Bi Polar...Wait, No; Your "Borderline". Wait No...PTSd and Misdiagnosis

When we hone in on "diagnosis" as our source of hope and solution to our issues, we might be giving up some of our own power and find ourselves clinging to "diagnosis" as it becomes who we are instead of as an identifier that can guide us to the light.

Shifting from managing an "illness" to discovering "wellness" began for me when I was able to recognize that I clung so desperately to "diagnosis" and the related labels because without it....I had no other hope.

Michele Rosenthal of Heal My PTSD at Blog Talk Radio talks about PTSD from the perspective of the family that supported well as the too frequent misdiagnosis of PTSd as "Bi Polar Disorder" and even "Borderline Personality Disorder" as well as the stress related issues of "Fibromyalgia" and other "psychosomatic" disorders.


Anonymous said...

Hi, Susan -

I so agree with you on this!

All of those diagnostic labels are simply an attempt at organizing symptoms into a manageable system of common language. The labels are arbitrary . . . the parameters are arbitrary . . . they don't mean anything about who we are as people.

Thank you for calling our attention to this!

- Marie (Coming Out of the Trees)

Kristin said...

You are so right, Susan. My daughter has a list of diagnoses the length of your arm. As some symptom flared up, a new diagnosis got handed down. And, usually a new drug added to the mix she was already on. The mental healthcare system needed to organize and categorize her to try to treat her but, I feel, they treated the symptoms, not my daughter. And, as Marie points out, the process is totally arbitrary. Depending on what presents at a particular time and place and what the drugs are doing, or better yet, not doing, my daughter was "graded" and then stereotyped by mental illness.

I am sorry the system failed her because she stills struggles with various issues and she could use help. But, she will not turn to the mental health providers who made her life a living hell. They will want to start from scratch and diagnose her again and she just won't go there.
xx kris

Susan said...

Hi Maria! Great to see you!

And you're right...the labels are not intended to have meaning other than as a tool. Unfortunately that is not what the result often is...unintended or not labels often are the basis of not only discrimination but we often become the label that was intended to guide our healing journey but becomes the end of hope.

Susan said...

I know, Kristin. And I'm sorry for you and your daughter...

I've written some but could do more about how I entered the MH system thinking I would be taught how to "feel my feelings" and learn to change whatever it was in myself that caused the intense emotional responses, the low self esteem, the lack of boundaries...I thought I would be "taught" whatever it was I was lacking. Instead - my story became much like your daughter experiences that you describe.

And this is part of my passion and purpose...

Thanks for dropping by Kristin and once again sharing the reality of this dilemma.