Three years ago, when I FINALLY got some psychiatric help for an episode that was already almost a year old at that point (thanks for nothing), my then-psychiatrist diagnosed me with panic disorder/agoraphobia, OCD, Borderline Personality Disorder, depressive disorder, dissociative disorder, and Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. Believe it or not, I was okay with that. It gave me something to hold onto, because I couldn’t make sense out of what was happening to me anymore. By the time I got in to see him, it was already too late. The damage was done. I will never fully recover. It’s not pessimism, just plain fact. Too much has happened to me, and rearranged my brain and how I perceive things.
Anyway. For the last three years I have been undergoing treatment for those diagnoses: CBT for the panic disorder, DBT for the borderline and other stuff, counseling and psychiatry for everything else, diagnostic or otherwise, therapy groups for my eating disorder, and support groups for alcoholism, drug addiction, and disordered eating. So it’s all been good, mostly. Busy, and exhausting, but I’ve felt like I knew what was going on. What I was fighting. It had a name, and thus a face.
I got a new psychiatrist in March. I’d been on her waiting list for over two years, and she specializes in eating disorders and holds weekly therapy groups (which is why I was referred to her in the first place). In truth, I’d forgotten all about it. But my name finally came up. I liked her right away; she’s full of energy and very pro-recovery, so I know she’ll be supportive. Plus, in addition to the group, she agreed to take me on as her regular patient.
But the first thing she does, after a brief discussion of my symptoms, is say that she’s going to scrap all the stuff the other docs diagnosed me with and give me a new diagnosis of PTSD with EDNOS.
I know it shouldn’t bother me. Or at least, I feel like it shouldn’t bother me. Logically I know that in other circumstances it might be a relief to only have two labels instead of, y’know, like, eight. But it really fucked with me. It’s still fucking with me. I can’t make sense of it. I got so used to having so many other things wrong that seemed to describe what I was experiencing so well, and now I have this diagnosis which I can’t relate to at all. And yet, when I describe my symptoms, everyone with PTSD and my psychiatrist all assure me, Yeah, yeah, that’s PTSD for sure, yet when I hear people share about PTSD, it always involves flashbacks of some kind, or having been involved in war or an accident or something like that.
I have kind of given up now on the idea of ever getting better. I don’t think I did this on purpose. I think it just became too much, and this was the breaking point. I don’t get it. I mean, I know that the label doesn’t change my experience. I know that. I’m a smart puppy. But I feel like I’ve been robbed. I feel like I’m being undermined, like my integrity has somehow been compromised. I feel like I’ve thrown in the towel. I’ve been working so hard, and the therapy I’ve gone through has given me tools I can use in all areas of my life, but I feel like I knew what was going on. And now I don’t. And I hate not knowing what’s going on.
So I don’t know what to do anymore. I still don’t relate to anyone I’ve met with PTSD, though on another level I don’t doubt that I have it (that’s the weird thing here). Maybe it’ll just take awhile to sink in, like my Borderline diagnosis did. I don’t know. All I know is I’m tired, and I want to run away. Things keep changing faster than I can keep track of, and I keep doing all this work for all kinds of things and when I’m finished I find out it’s for something that I had the wrong impression of, that didn’t even exist, that wasn’t even valid, or that there’s still this whole other pile of things I need to do. SIGH.
Yes, this is a rant. I don’t know what to do. For real. I feel torn because on the one had I’d love to be writing more positive, affirming stuff that’s helpful to people and shows them ‘Hey, you can do this too!’ but I’m just not there right now. Connection is important to me. Especially with the mental illness stuff. But I feel like I’ve lost that connection and I’m not sure what to do anymore.