On My Disordered Diagnoses

I am writing this 50 hours after my final dose of Pregabalin.  You know what?  It’s okay.  So far.  It’s not a brilliant feeling and I am suffering somewhat from withdrawal symptoms.  I’ll post about the process sometime, possibly by stringing together my oversharing posts on Facebook.  But the withdrawal isn’t being terrible.  I am relieved.  I think I’ll be able to stay off Pregabalin and move on to withdrawal from the next drug.

[Edit: Within a couple of hours of typing this post I felt quite awful. It’s now the end of the day, 62 hours after that final dose.  It’s been a bad day.  It’s not like I’m feeling my world is ending but physically it’s hurting and mentally it’s hurting too.  Which is to be expected after stopping taking a drug that’s prescribed for both anxiety and pain.  I will adjust.  It won’t take too long.]

This morning I’ve been thinking, or continuing to think, about all the diagnoses I’ve received since the day in 1984 when a man who had come to visit me and who assessed me in my bedroome wrote down the word “Schizophrenia” as his verdict.  I never saw him again.  I’m shocked that there was no follow up.  However at this point in my life I’m also relieved that there I received no more medical assessments for the next two years – and we fled from the system after encountering that psychiatrist in 1986.

On my diagnoses:

At some point in my life every single one of these diagnoses has been given to me.  I must be an incredibly disordered person to have received such an expertly endorsed list of psychiatric maladies.  Some have been repeated over many years.  Some have been forgotten and re-emerged later in another setting.  Some I never heard mentioned again after I stopped seeing the therapist who diagnosed me.  [Because a diagnosis is a subjective opinion not an objectivity.]
What if I don’t have them at all?
What if I don’t have an endogenous depression disorder?
What if I don’t have a reactive depression disorder?
What if I don’t have borderline personality disorder?
Or by another name,
What if I don’t have emotionally unstable personality disorder?
What if I don’t have a mania disorder?
What if I don’t have generalised anxiety disorder?
What if I don’t have the disorder of schizophrenia?
What if I don’t have schizoid personality disorder?
What if I don’t have schizotypal disorder?
What if I don’t have schizoaffective disorder?
What if I don’t have a dysthemia disorder?
What if I don’t have a hallucinatory disorder?
What if I don’t have a panic disorder?
What if I don’t have social anxiety disorder?
What if I don’t have seasonal affective disorder?
What if I don’t have insomnia disorder?
I definitely don’t have gender identity disorder. But not so long ago I would have received that diagnosis.  It’s not in the book now, replaced by Gender Dysphoria.
Even this,
What if I don’t have autism spectrum disorder?
I’ve been labelled as disordered or having disorders many times.
What if I don’t have a disorder at all?
What if there is nothing wrong? Or perhaps better, what if there is no thing wrong?
I have known lots of depression. Lots of anxiety. Hallucinations. Enough traits and history to fly through an autism diagnostic assessment.
What if everything has been an often distressing ordered reaction? What if all the times I’ve called myself disordered have only served to strengthen that distress and made recovery more difficult?
What if I don’t have illnesses caused by serotonin levels, dopamine levels, underlying brain structure? What if, at least for me, at the very least, that model was always fundamentally flawed.
What if being treated according to that model over and over again has caused issues similar to the ones I was being supposedly treated for in the first place?
What if I do this:
Live as if I do not have a medical disorder.
Live as if there really is no thing wrong.
Live accepting everything in my head as a natural reaction to everything I’ve experienced.
What if I live ordered?  Hallucinatory at times, anxious at times, unhappy at times.  But not because I’m disordered.  Not because there’s something wrong with my brain.
What if suffering is ordered?
What if I live in radical acceptance and say this:
I am not mentally ill.
What would happen then?
Would that acceptance remove all the discomfort?  No, it wouldn’t.  Yet I believe that my lack of acceptance, my constant fighting, has only served to increase the discomfort.  I’ve pushed discomfort away.  Medicalised myself.  Pathologised myself.  And allowed me to be boxed into very limiting diagnostic categories, sometimes categories in which there is little hope, without good evidence.

It’s risky, of course it is.  But what if I don’t work with a diagnosis to be endured or cured?  What if I just love what is and be gentle with it all?

What if that’s the way for me to be fully human, fully myself?

And if I turn out to be “mad” or “crazy”?  Perhaps that’s okay too.

 

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