I’ve been working on my Sweden Trip posts… But also I got my manuscript back from my editor on Thursday before working Friday through Sunday… so It’ll be a little bit before I get those promised posts out. However, I have another long-awaited post to give you now… So… Enjoy 🙂
Yesterday, I went back to the Psychologist for a follow up appointment and to get my diagnosis. I didn’t eat beforehand this time – because last time I did and I was so nervous and agitated that it upset my tummy and I had to run to the bathroom a few times. This time, I ate the exact same meal AFTER the appointment and had no such issues.
I am happy to report I don’t have a diagnosis of Bipolar – though the psychologist says my condition has symptoms that are mimicking Bipolar.
I’m pleased simply because of the stigma of Bipolar, honestly. There has been a lot of progress in the mental health field as far as public awareness an acceptance of conditions, but there are still those certain ones that have the stereotypes ingrained in people’s minds – and I think Bipolar is one of them. I know a handful of Bipolar people personally, and I know one can lead a normal life and even be perceived as normal if the condition isn’t known… but… I am just glad I don’t have to worry AS MUCH about what people might think of me in relation to my mental health.
So what do I have?
I know you are dying to find out.
I have Major Depression with Dysthymic Disorder, Anxiety with Somatic response, and PTSD.
What does all this mean?
Well, Major Depression with Dysthymic Disorder is also called “Double Depression,” simply put, Major Depression is the general clinical Depression periods while Dysthymic Disorder means that I have persistent, reoccurring, Depressions. So all around – I’m Depressed.
Anxiety with Somatic response: I have Anxiety and often my anxiety manifests itself in physical ways – headaches, gastrointestinal problems, aches and pains, nausea, and fatigue; could also be things like heartburn, constipation, colitis, skin disorders, etc.
PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This one surprised me when he first said it – because one often thinks of warzones and truly horrific experiences when it comes to PTSD – but it also made sense once I thought at all about it.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms may start within one month of a traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after the event. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations and in relationships. They can also interfere with your ability to go about your normal daily tasks.
PTSD symptoms are generally grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Symptoms can vary over time or vary from person to person.”
The PTSD overarching symptoms above include:
- Recurrent and unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
- Having flashbacks – or reliving the traumatic event
- Nightmares about the traumatic event
- Physical reactions or severe emotional distress to something that reminds you of the event
- Avoiding thinking or talking about the event
- Trying to avoid places, activities, or people that remind you of the event
- Negative thoughts
- Hopelessness about the future
- Memory problems, including not remembering important parts of the event
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Feeling detached from family and friends
- Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
- Difficulty experiencing positive emotions
- Feeling emotionally numb
- Being easily startled or frightened
- Always being on guard for danger
- Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
- Trouble sleeping
- Trouble concentrating
- Irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
As it happens, I check off 18 out of those 21 symptoms. So PTSD really shouldn’t have been a surprise diagnosis for me it seems!
Especially given that I started realizing a few years back, around the time I started this blog and started writing about abusive exes, that certain negative behaviors of mine had been a learned response for the first abusive ex. Such as having deep anxieties and fears about approaching my husband with any sort of request – fears I would have to talk myself out of, and work myself up to just walking into the room he was in when I wanted to broach a subject with him. Something he never gave me reason to have to fear. This has gotten a lot better over the past few years since I realized my source of that anxiety and have been working through it.
I definitely still startle easily and it happens often – one day last month my husband startled me enough that I started crying. All he did was walk into the room while my back was turned and touched me.
I just never put two and two together, I guess. I finally started noticing my own negative responses, some of them at least, and figuring out where they stem from and yet still it just didn’t occur to me that it might be PTSD.
I also know that some of these symptoms are also related to later events than Wyatt – such as David events etc. But I have also been realizing over the past year and a half how fucked up some childhood stuff was, so I wonder if some of my anxieties stem from childhood pre-Wyatt, or after but unrelated to Wyatt (i.e to do more with my family life and/or issues with the church.) I think it’s a real possibility, but I haven’t pinpointed anything in particular as yet. It’s taken me 35 years to realize any of it was even an issue in may family, let alone not normal, so it may take some time to figure out if and how it all may have truly affected me.
I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to make assumptions about PTSD and put myself on the level of a war veteran or even someone who suffered much worse abuse than I. But here I am, now with a legit diagnosis, so there is no denying it now.
Where do I go from here?
The psychologist says that meds would be best for the Major Depression and Anxiety and that therapy would be best for the PTSD and the Dysthymic, or chronic, side of the Depression disorder. So the plan is a two tiered approach.
I am being referred to a psychiatrist for the meds – which will be early October for my appointment, unless I can get off the waiting list for an earlier spot. But I will see a therapist for the first time next week.