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How can I make sure I'm listened to?

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Ofglen

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Messages
8
I have a psychiatrists appointment tomorrow as a follow-up from being in A and E after an overdose a month ago. When I saw the psychiatrist in the hospital at the time, I expressed my concern about my fluctuating moods. The problem is, I've seen 3 different psychiatrists and they've all said different things - one said its depression (which I firmly disagree with) one said cyclothymia (which doesn't seem to quite cover the severity of my symptoms) and one said bipolar two (which I'm biased towards because that's what I suspected before asking to be referred to a psychiatrist in the first place).

I have trouble getting across how my symptoms make me feel and im able to act pretty stable, so people don't seem to take me seriously - especially because I'm not actively suicidal.

Is there anything I can do to ensure I'm being listened to so I get the correct diagnosis? Does anybody have any tips for approaching this without looking like I'm pushing for a set diagnosis?
 
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Saranoya

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
152
I've got one suggestion: let go of the idea that you need a diagnosis.

I told my psychiatrist, the second time we met, that if he ever wanted to apply a label to me, then I was pretty sure borderline personality disorder would be the most appropriate one. He said: well, first of all, it's way too early to talk about diagnoses. And second, labels don't tell stories. People do.

The DSM has the words "statistical manual" in its name for a reason. It is, first and foremost, a tool that allows clinicians to assign a given patient to a group. That's useful in research, because larger groups allow for more reliable testing of hypotheses. It is far less useful in clinical practice, because there are a million variables that influence how a given individual will react to a given course of action. Even if you do get your "bipolar" label, that doesn't mean you can be helped in exactly the same way as the last patient who was diagnosed as such.

Describe, in as much detail as you can, what your experience is like. Even more importantly, try to articulate why what you're experiencing is a problem for you. You were in A&E for an overdose recently. What was happening in your life to make you end up there? How did you feel? What's it been like since then? What has made things harder? What has made them more manageable?

If you can find an answer to those questions (with help from a psychiatrist asking the right questions), then does it really matter whether your problem goes by the name of "depression", "cyclothymia", or something else?
 
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Ofglen

Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2015
Messages
8
Thanks for your reply. I do understand that the label in itself isn't helpful. But here in the UK it's difficult to get the right treatment without the right diagnostic label. Cyclothymia seems to be generally treated by therapy which doesn't seem like it would make me stable enough to live life normally like I think medication and therapy together would. And depression just ignores all my high moods which are also a problem and if this is the label they use then I wont get any treatment for high moods, and I'll just keep being prescribed antidepressants that make my mood change really quickly. Also, having a 'label' would help me to access support groups and find people with similar experiences more easily. I do really appreciate where you're coming from though!
 
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Saranoya

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 12, 2012
Messages
152
If part of your concern is not getting it across that your "high moods" are as much of a problem as your lows, then just make sure you talk about both, and explain why they're both bothering you.

Also, don't assume that you "have to" have medication. There isn't that much research out there to suggest that medication is a very effective treatment option for any kind of reactive mental health issue. There are certainly circumstances in which medication can be a big help, but you shouldn't categorically exclude the possibility of tackling your mental health challenges without it.

I understand your concern about finding kindred spirits. I've found the "experiences" forum on this board to be a pretty hospitable place even for someone like me. I was never actually given a formal diagnosis, and I'm no longer looking for one. Similar "label-agnostic" options exist, out there in the real world.

On the other hand, if you really feel like having a label would help you, then just say so when you go talk to your psychiatrist, and more power to you!
 
megirl

megirl

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 9, 2010
Messages
8,060
Location
NZ
yeh I agree,
We can often be 'put in a box' and analyse ourselves as to what diagnosis we have.
We are all so different. Its more about the person, triggers, symptoms and what approach may work bestI have bipolar and BPD I have lately tried to work out am i rapid cycling? slightly depressed? is this my bipolar or are the symptoms more the BPD side of things/
However its the symptoms that need to be dealt with. I was horrified to be labeled with bipolar but it was good having a diagnosis then we could deal with all this stuff
 
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