After my last reasonably positive blog post, you can imagine the dismay on waking the next morning (Weds) feeling hyped up with ruminating anxiety. It usually progresses with the day, like a snowball hurtling down a snowy hillside, expanding by the second…
I try so hard to ignore it and recite all the positive things I need to remember. Maybe it does make a difference; I’m never sure at the time. Sometimes it feels as if a closet door opens and all the shit from the past comes tumbling out like an avalanche. At first, there are feeble attempts to catch things, but it gets you in the end.
I didn’t want to go to the writing class yesterday. Driving there, purposively running late, I was wrestling with temptation to turn the car around at every junction. Unfortunately, this has been my life for too long – no sticking power. When the mood gets rough, I get going, usually into hibernation.
It did feel different when I got there. It is the Recovery College (from mental illness), so it always feels a safe environment. The other participants are at their own levels of recovery. Even if I did sit in class like a moody child, people would understand. Arriving onsite, my mood immediately started to improve.
Bearing in mind this writing course is called, “Telling your Story”, it’s worth mentioning that some students of last year’s classes actually published a book with individual stories of recovery. There is a book launch next month.
So, last week’s assignment was actually very thought provoking, I was sorry I hadn’t given it a bash, but I did have something right up my sleeve.
Think about your story and what you want to explore.
– What would the title be?
– What do you want to get across with it? List the bullet points
– What would a short summary of it say? Write one paragraph
I would like to explore the importance of seeking an accurate diagnosis.
I already wrote a post using that title, which recounts a little of my experiences of quietly battling with a Psychiatrist to seek a new diagnosis (Dr Potty for those who are more familiar).
I’m not altogether certain why Dr Potty wasn’t interested. Perhaps some Psychiatrists fear a diagnosis will define our personalities; label and stigmatise us forever and even shape the people we might become. Maybe I’m in the minority of those who will actually use that information as the foundations to recovery. Knowledge is power. Empowerment can bring about change.
Having an accurate diagnosis should make little difference to the treatment plans on offer. It most definitely is not the be all and end all and most Mental Health Professionals will treat the person, not the diagnosis.
What reaching an accurate diagnosis does do is provide the basis for understanding where some of our problems/symptoms originate and what we might expect to experience in the future.
Of course, a diagnosis cannot approve or refute any individual experience with mental illness. Many people never even seek a diagnostic assessment or treatment. I don’t need a diagnosis to know I experience psychosis during mental breakdowns. However, having that diagnosis does carry a certain amount of positive validation (for me, anyway). It also helps us identify with other people and maybe even provides easier access to particular therapeutic services.
I’m pleased I went to the writing class…. This is one of Jack’s favourite walks in London