Your first appointment with a Psychiatrist, are you prepared?

Reflecting on my first appointment, I was clearly unprepared and this article would have come in handy.  Bringing someone would have helped immensely, and when the pdoc asked if there were any questions, it would have prevented me from sitting there looking stunned. 

This article was written by: Natasha Tracy on Healthyplace.com

Recently, someone wrote me and asked how to best handle a first psychiatric appointment. This is a good question because, essentially, people are walking into the vast unknown. If you’ve never seen a psychiatrist before, how could you possibly know what to expect? And, the kicker of that is, the doctor will be asking you why you’re there. So you’re supposed to know what to say when he says that. So how do you handle your first psychiatric appointment?

Write Down What Concerns You Before Your Psychiatric Appointment

Many people get in front of a psychiatrist a freeze, completely forgetting all the issues that brought them there in the first place. This is extremely common. So, before you head off for your first psychiatric appointment write down all your concerns. Everything that has been odd and everything that you think might be odd should go down on the list, with examples.

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Can you tell if I have Bipolar Disorder?

Mental illness is surrounded by a glut of half-truths and untruths. If you tell someone that you’ve been diagnosed with, for example, bipolar disorder, they are likely to roll their eyes and say, “I don’t believe it – you don’t look mentally ill…?” What does mental illness look like then?

Which brings me to my question: Do I perchance look like I have Bipolar Disorder? I don’t think I do. Am I perhaps making something out of nothing?

Self-confidence and self-esteem slid into the basement and remained there for too many years. Trudging through the mud, and finally locating a ladder to climb up, rung by rung, I achieved the surface. An awfully scary surface.

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“High Functioning” Bipolar Disorder

45 Truths People With Bipolar Disorder Wish Others Understood:

This article was written by:  from HealthyPlace.com (Breaking Bipolar Blog)

Sometimes people don’t believe I’m particularly sick. They meet me, I look fine, I interact, I charm, I wit and all seems, if not normal, at least something reasonably normal adjacent.

And that’s fine. It’s by design. Being a high-functioning mentally ill person, I can’t really afford to run around with my hair on fire. But faking normalcy, happiness and pleasure is a tricky and very expensive bit of business.

High-Functioning Bipolar

Being a “high-functioning” bipolar doesn’t really have a definition, per se. The term indicates that I’m not in a mental hospital, and I do things like live on my own, pay rent, work, and whatnot. I would suggest that being “high-functioning” seems to indicate that I can fake not being a crazy person.

High-Functioning Weekdays

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Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?

 

Bipolar Disorder Often Misdiagnosed as Major Depression

Researchers Pinpoint 5 Factors That Can Help Improve Diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder

I’ve been hunting for an article just like this, perhaps info for my dilemma ‘Major Depression diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder’.

 I was diagnosed as BP II in 1997, at which time psychiatrists prescribed mood stabilizers, followed by antidepressants and a myriad of medications throughout the years. 

A number of these medications are still prescribed, so I’m puzzled by this diagnosis, considering primarily fighting off major depression for years.  Episodes of “mood swings”, “rapid cycling” or “mania”, just aren’t there.  I’m demanding a reevaluation; perhaps confirming meds that may not even be necessary.

About one in three people diagnosed with major depression may actually have bipolar disorder, researchers report.

Five characteristics, including extreme mood swings and psychiatric symptoms at a young age, may help pinpoint which patients actually have bipolar disorder, they say.

Bipolar disorder covers a spectrum of disorders in which patients may be sad and down one day and feeling on top of the world, hyperactive, creative, and grandiose the next.

Continue reading “Bipolar Disorder ~ Were you perhaps Misdiagnosed?”

Bipolar Disorder – Just The Facts

In my opinion, for years now, whenever bipolar disorder is revealed on social media it relates to some heinous, horrid crime. Mass shootings or some horrific crime such as a vicious assault, or violent murders.  Less often is anything else said about bipolar, such as research or how the average person struggling with this disorder lives.

No surprise there is a stigma with mental illness, let alone bipolar disorder or depression.  I was diagnosed with BP in the late 1990’s due to a few hypomanic episodes, however, my history shows I’m usually in the “basement”, staggering through the muck, fighting depression.  I wonder how thorough that test was for the doctor to diagnose me as Bipolar?For me, it’s a label, but I hate to even divulge I have BP.  Shame really….imagine being ashamed of an illness?

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma

stigma_2

When I activated my first blog in 2005, it focused on humorous articles only.  During that time I was struggling with major depression, yet amazingly I was competent enough to write posts, and surprisingly these articles were a remarkable success.

I continued on and gathered many followers, all the time questioning whether to write about my mental illness, yet frankly, I was very embarrassed and uncomfortable to share my thoughts and life of hell with any of my blogging buddies, the blogging world, or should if anyone in my circle of “personal people” were ever to uncover my ‘secret’, I’d be devastated.

I eventually mentioned it to two trusted blogging friends my apprehension, and them replying, “why are you so embarrassed, it not your fault you were ill, write about it, who cares if people don’t like it, go by ‘anonymous’, not using your real name this time”.  And so I did, in 2007, I began this blog.  It’s been an enormous success from day one, with so much support from the blogging community and it was the stigma that held me back from starting this blog sooner.

I was living in stigma (shame) thus the name “Living in Stigma” –Deb

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Continue reading “Why I Created “Living in Stigma” and 9 Ways We Need To Stop Mental Illness Stigma”

I was a guest on a Radio Talk Show!

 

Yesterday, on “Hot off the Press” @Wordpress.com, they posted an article: “WordPressers Making a Splash

We read hundreds of blogs and websites every day, from up-and-coming voices and established pros alike. We love visiting those sites on WordPress.com, but it’s just as rewarding to see other platforms embrace the work of writers, journalists, and artists who regularly publish here, introducing it to new audiences.

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UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS

This may be of assistance as you journey through my blog…

DEPRESSION

Problems and misfortunes are a part of life. Everyone experiences unhappiness, and many people may become depressed temporarily when things don’t go as they would like. Experiences of failure commonly result in temporary feelings of worthlessness and self-blame, while personal losses cause feelings of sadness, disappointment and emptiness. Such feelings are normal, and they usually pass after a short time. This is not the case with depressive illness.

What are the signs of depressive illness?

Continue reading “UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS”

Brown Bagging It (part 1)

Mental Illness and Work

 When discussing mental illness and work, “work” can mean a number of things.

 It can mean the workplace, as in where we go to do our jobs. It can also mean the act of working, what we do at our jobs, as a volunteer in the community, or what we like to do in the garden, kitchen or workshop to relax.

The relationship between mental illness and work can be looked at in a number of different ways, including:

 ·         the stresses and strains today’s workplace places on us

 ·         the incredible pressure placed upon people to continue to perform at work when an illness strikes, and the extra strain this places on their families and friends;

  ·         the difficult barriers those persons diagnosed with a mental illness face in the working world;

  ·         the strain encountered by people who work while they care for someone with a mental illness at home;

  ·         the therapeutic role the act of work plays in helping to reduce stress and improve mental health; and the benefits work can bring in guiding people diagnosed with a mental illness toward recovery, rebuilding their self-esteem and hopefully returning to the jobs they left when the illness struck

 Mental Illness in the Workplace

 Of all persons with disabilities, those with a mental illness face the highest degree of stigmatization in the workplace and the greatest barriers to employment opportunities.  Persons diagnosed with a mental illness are more likely to experience long term unemployment, underemployment and dependency on social assistance.

 Many employers and employees have unwarranted fears and see persons with psychiatric disabilities as unskilled, unproductive, unreliable, violent or unable to handle workplace pressures.  This stigma creates climate in which someone who has a problem and needs help may not seek it for fear of being labeled. 

  Undiagnosed mental illness also has a high cost in the workplace. If left undetected, overall work quality and productivity can be affected by an ill employee’s misunderstood behavior. Mental illnesses and the fact that they can be successfully treated must be understood by employers.  Only then can they begin to recognize and accept the symptoms of a true condition and know how to establish an internal management program to accommodate their employees.

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MY STORY:

Ten years of ping-ponging between home and hospitals, untreatable bipolar disorder and with life heading nowhere, my luck changed after a new psychiatrist entered my life. With correct meds finally, and great encouragement I began to take two steps forward.

I followed all of this doctor’s directions; volunteering, participating in the out-patient occupational therapy program, taking meds as prescribed, and finally I was on my way to wellness.  Moods were reasonably stable and I wanted to return to the workplace (this was 2005).  My dilemma though found me with limited computer skills caused by years of unemployment, non-usage of computers and coupled by memory loss from ECT.

My psychiatrist though, advised only returning part-time, but my bull-headed nature had me applying for full-time positions.  Tenacity prevailed with the computers; working daily on my typing skills, escalating my speed and relearning the computer programs.  I dejectedly sat back at times, recollecting when I used to instruct computers at my office prior to becoming ill and ending my career.  But, I regained the skills and thought I was finally ready.

At the outset, I had a spotty resume caused by years of illness.  Using my volunteer work, as well as, a short stint with self-employment, filled in the ‘experience’ section of my mottled resume, which began looking presentable.  Next came the job hunt.  I always felt, the search for a job is far more problematical than performing the job itself.

To be continued……. (stay tuned for part 2)