Symptom overload

My psychiatrist is a Doctor of Osteopathy, which is basically the same as a Medical Doctor. This type of psychiatrist may also be considered a holistic psychiatrist, as he has often stated that he believes in treating the person not the symptoms.  As the DO website states:

DOs practice a “whole person” approach to medicine. Instead of just treating you for specific symptoms or illnesses, they regard your body as an integrated whole.

Someone who knows me very well was lovingly listening to my frustration with too many diagnoses, and too many drugs. For the most part, I prefer to be proactive in my own treatment. Learning and doing everything I can to help myself is very important to me. I want to be in control, I don’t want to just sit around and wait to feel better. She suggested another diagnosis to look up, which is often misdiagnosed and usually not even considered in adults PDD-NOS.

First, for giggles, I went to the WebMD Symptom Checker and ended up with 37 different diagnoses including Jumping Frenchmen of Maine (really, it’s a thing) and Mad Cow Disease (this is why I’ve never done this before).

OK, back to being serious..The following are excerpts from an article in The Medical Journal of Australia:

Key features are impaired social cognition and communication; obsessive interests, routines or activities; and social or occupational dysfunction.

Pervasive developmental disorders (PDDs) are comprised of the neuropsychiatric developmental disabilities, autistic disorder (autism), Asperger disorder and PDD — “not otherwise specified”. These conditions are also commonly known as autism spectrum disorders. The key features are severe developmental difficulties with social cognition and communication, and non-functional obsessive interests, routines or activities.

PDDs are considered to have been under-diagnosed worldwide, and the variety of presentations and outcomes has only recently been recognised.

… IQ criteria can be used to divide PDDs into “high functioning” (IQ of 70 or greater), and “low functioning” (IQ of under 70).

Taking all this into consideration, along with my other diagnoses of bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder, then sprinkle in some general depression and anxiety and top with a generous helping of PTSD; I’ve come up with the following simplified chart, and I’ve found that I have a majority of the symptoms in all three groups. Which then explains why I can never find a medication cocktail that works, and perhaps it’s time to stop the med-merry-go-round and concentrate on Dialectical Behavior Therapy.

confusionOverwhelming confusion and frustration shall now commence. I’m feeling very grateful that I’ll be seeing my therapist tomorrow.

∙Impaired social/communication skills
∙Impaired development of relationships
∙OCD-type behavior
∙Social dysfunction
∙Impaired perceptions of emotions
∙Impaired expression of emotions
∙Psychiatric comorbities
∙Impulsive/risky behavior
(with difficulty controlling said behavior)
∙Inability to control self-harm
∙Suicidal behavior
∙Wide mood swings
∙Intense episodes of anxiety/depression
∙Inappropriate anger
∙Inappropriate antagonism
∙Feeling misunderstood, neglected,
alone, empty or hopeless
∙Fear of being alone
∙Feelings of self-hatred
Bipolar Disorder
(a little more difficult to simplify due to several different types)
∙Inflated self-esteem
∙Decreased need for sleep
∙Racing thoughts
∙Impulsive/risky behavior
(most of these last all day,
every day)
∙Sad, empty, hopeless, tearful
∙Reduced interest or pleasure in
almost all activities
∙Insomnia or sleeping all day
∙Inappropriate guilt
∙Suicidal ideations or planning

Too many labels

We seem to have a multitude of labels or descriptors applied throughout our lifetimes. Some we choose, some are foisted upon us in anger, and some are lovingly given. We have nicknames, endearments, and epithets. We have diagnoses, scientific classifications, and social terms. Most are not happy with a simple “human being,” not descriptive enough.

As far as my own personal labels are concerned, it doesn’t matter to me what someone else chooses to call me (good or bad). However, I am tired of all the changing labels of psychiatric diagnoses. There are no definitive tests (i.e. blood tests, MRI, etc) to clearly diagnose a mental illness. We would have a world of self-diagnosed crazies if everyone were to look at the lists of criteria for mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, or any one of the other myriad of diagnoses.

Now into my ninth month of severe depression, my team of mental health professionals seem to have thrown up their hands and decided to just lump me into a couple non-specific categories. This has caused an odd reaction, in which I seem to have confusion piled on top of everything else. After about 15 years of referring to myself as having bipolar disorder, I no longer know how to define myself in psychiatric terms and it surprises me that this is a troubling situation. As my friend, Joel Sax (who writes the amazing blog Pax Nortana-see Links), says something like (sorry Joel, can’t remember the exact quote) stigma could be eliminated if we could just call it illness…leave out the mental. Because really, when one thinks about it, if our brain is not working correctly neurologically (or for whatever other physical reason) couldn’t that simply be classified as “illness?”


Some silly food for thought:   When my children were small and my ex-husband demanding, he came home to a messy house and said “What the hell do you do all day?” That’s when I came up with the following:

Goddess of Everything – Must be available at a moment’s notice

Chief Financial Officer
Personal Banker
Cash Manager
Loan Officer
Accounts Payable Administrator
Budget SupervisorStrategic Planning Executive
Schedule Manager
Event Planner
Social Director
OrganizerAdministration Executive
Benefits Administrator
Shipping & Receiving
Safety Specialist
Law EnforcementInformation Technology Officer
Research Specialist
Technical Support Manager
Network Administrator
Word Processing Specialist

Animal Welfare Manager
Pet Care
Dog Valet
Dog Walker

Clothing Specialist
Fashion Consultant
Laundry Wench
Alterations Manager

Director of Health
& Emotional Well-Being
Education Counselor
Career Counselor
Drug Safety Specialist
Pharmacy Manager
Nurse Practitioner
Relationship Manager
Administrator of Medical Records

Food Service Executive
Grocery Management & Supply

General Maintenance Manager
Interior Designer

Head of Transportation
Mapping Manager
Automotive Maintenance

Materials Management Executive
Errand Runner
Non-Food Supplies Procurement