How many times have you heard “get over it”, or “it’s just in your head”. More times than you have fingers? Yeah, I thought so.
For those of you reading this blog, who don’t suffer from a mental illness, let me break down some harsh realities for you.
If a Doctor has a suspicion that you may have cancer – what do they do? They send you for a series of tests. One simple thing you are able to do, is have a blood test. That blood test can show elevated white blood cells, T cells.. many different indicators that there may be a disease process going on within your body.
What about if the Doctor’s suspect you have depression? Or anxiety? Or bipolar? Or Schizophrenia? There is no testing for these illnesses. No blood test can diagnose a lack of dopamine, or a spike in dopamine, or dopamine receptors that are faulty.
Basically, we present to a professional, and we have to trust them to give us a correct diagnosis and follow on to provide us with the right treatment.
Tell me, would you start a 6 month Chemotherapy program, because a Doctor “thought” you had Cancer, with no testing to prove otherwise? – I highly doubt it.
Now, I’m not saying the professionals don’t know what they’re doing. I love my psychiatrist – she is wonderful. But, unfortunately – working in the field of mental health has shown me a lot of things. For example, I can almost guarantee, that for every patient of mine, who has a mental health history spanning over 20-40 years – their diagnoses differ between doctor to doctor and from year to year. More often than not, I will see a diagnosis of bipolar affective disorder, changed to schizo-affective disorder and vice versa.
A little scary, isn’t it? That’s because, nobody – scientists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurses, little bobby joe – nobody know’s the exact functions of the brain, or what exactly causes mental illness – or exactly what fixes it?
Based on a diagnosis, there are a multitude of medications that are also classed – antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilisers, sedatives… the list goes on. I’ve seen patients who have been on medication for psychiatric illness from the age of 20… and not have the combination right until they’re 70 years old. I’m being 100% serious – 50 years, of trying medication after medication, different concoctions, dosages, regimes… only to find out they were treating you based on a wrongly diagnosed illness.
So again, for all that think mental illness is just in our head – stop and think for a moment. If you were unwell, and you didn’t have the motivation to get out of bed in the morning, and your life and wellness was in the hands of somebody making a guess – wouldn’t you just be a little bit anxious?? …