Sunday, May 19, 2013

It Has A Name

Ok, I am here again writing in my blog on my day off of writing in my blog, but I just read something that has angered me and I feel I have to vent.

It is an article from the UK news called The Gaurdian. The article can be found here:

Does Mental Illness really exist?

 Is the title.......breathe........breathe.......I am trying to calm down here......give me a second......

There is some debate between the American and UK definitions on whether a child's shyness, bereavement form a loved one's death, and internet addiction can be classified as a mental disorder. I am not so worried about that in the article because I believe that if there are ongoing other issues it could be a symptom of mental illness. In itself these things are not mental illness or at least classified as one. I am not comfortable delving into areas where I have no experience or training. What I am concerned about is some of the other issues they are debating over and I am ticked.

"And now, in a significant new attack, the very nature of disorders identified by psychiatry has been thrown into question. In an unprecedented move for a professional body, the Division of ClinicalPsychology (DCP), which represents more than 10,000 practitioners and is part of the distinguished British Psychological Society, will tomorrow publish a statement calling for the abandonment of psychiatric diagnosis and the development of alternatives which do not use the language of "illness" or "disorder".

My first problem is right there. I have an illness, a mental illness. It is not a choice to be the way I am. I didn't wake up one morning and say," You know I just don't have enough stress in my life, I think I will just start having psychiatric issues and make things more complicated and stressful for myself. I don't really need all these friends I have or this great job that I love,". It is an illness that runs in my family. It is called mental illness for a reason. It is important to me that it is called what it is. I don't want to beat around the bush. It is a devastating, complicated misfiring of neurons in my brain. I have a physical illness in my brain, like the flu but chronic and located inside my head. In my case it is hereditary.

"The statement isn't just an account of the many problems of psychiatric diagnosis and the lack of evidence to support it," she said. "It's a call for a completely different way of thinking about mental health problems, away from the idea that they are illnesses with primarily biological causes."
Psychiatrists say that such claims have been made many times before and ignore mountains of peer-reviewed papers about the importance that biological factors play in determining mental health, including significant work in the field of genetics. It also, they say, misrepresents psychiatry's position by ignoring its emphasis on the impact of the social environment on mental health."

My second issue is the fact that they are overlooking the hereditary implications. They are apparently going on the premise that all mental illness is environmental. I had a a terrific loving home and no trauma befell me before I started having my mental illness symptoms at the age of four. It runs throughout my family history. I suppose that we all just were traumatized and we don't know it? There are some mental illnesses that are caused by trauma but there are also those that are caused by genetics. That is like ignoring that there is a cancer gene and just stating that everyone with cancer got it as a result of environmental causes. Ridiculous assumptions being made by those that are here to defend and treat us!!! I guess we should just stick our heads in the sand and pretend that genes of mental illness don't exist. That tactic worked oh so well with cancer genes, didn't it? No one ever got cancer from hereditary means right?

"But now the DCP has transformed the debate about diagnosis by claiming that it is not only unscientific but unhelpful and unnecessary.

"Strange though it may sound, you do not need a diagnosis to treat people with mental health problems," said Dr Lucy Johnstone, a consultant clinical psychologist who helped to draw up the DCP's statement."

................Are you............flipping............serious???!!...........breathe, I'm breathing....................and shaking with uncontrollable anger.............................

If I had not been given a diagnoses, I would not be writing this blog, because I would be dead. I would have killed myself years ago. You can take that any way you like, but it is the God's honest truth and I own that truth.

Let me tell you a little story. When I was fourteen my mental illness had come back in full force. I was hearing the voice in my mind. I had intrusive thoughts and images. I secretly thought I had gone totally insane and because I was so terrified of voicing what was going on, I suffered in silence for a month. A month of praying, crying and isolating myself from the outside world and the people I loved. I was terrified of their reactions if I was honest with what was going on in my head. Terrified. When I got the courage to finally tell my mother she took me to a psychiatrist and he gave me a diagnosis. He literally saved my life. The beast had a name and it was OCD. That diagnoses saved me. It saved me because I could research it. I could find out what my treatment options were, how it affected the people that suffered from it, and that I was not alone. Most importantly that I was not alone. Because when you think you are going crazy, your biggest fear is that there is no one else on the face of the planet that is going through what you are going through. I have OCD. It is a real diagnoses for a real mental illness and it defines me. Some people say that mental illness does not define them, and that is perfectly acceptable for them. I don't believe that in my case. OCD is part of everything in my life. It has made me who I am. It has shaped my decisions, my life's path, helped form my personality, and has created the passion I have to help other's that suffer from mental illness. I am more than my diagnoses but it has and does define me in ways that I am not able to quite understand myself. I don't look at it as a bad thing, I look at it as this is my life and I will go on. I will struggle but I will persevere. My name is Nelly and I have a mental illness. I have OCD and as such I am a representation of it.

Doctor's don't say, "Well, this is just too much so now instead of diagnosing diseases, we are just going to treat you for them and not tell you what you have. It's isn't important to know that. Just sit down and take these pills like a good little girl."      That would be ridiculous. The problem that all mental illness sufferers have is that mental illness is almost never treated the same way a physical illness is. Cancer has a diagnoses, AIDS has a diagnoses, Diabetes has a diagnoses. You wouldn't tell the sufferers of these that they needed to be treated without a name for their afflictions. Why would it even be conceivable to do that with those that suffer from mental illness? Do you know many people suffer day to day, homelessness, unemployed, and wandering the streets because they have never been diagnosed and therefore lived their lives untreated? Are we trying to add more to that list? Is that acceptable to you? Because it sure as hell is not acceptable to me. Yes, there are misdiagnoses. That happens in every field. You don't stop diagnosing physical illnesses because of it. You work to find the right one and go from there.

Taking away such words as illness harms us more than you think. Mental Illness is important because it proves that it is a real issue. Not something that we made up. Not something that we do to get attention. It is proof that there is something physically wrong with our brains. To take that away from us is to encourage more stigma. My brain is sick and it is not my fault or my choice for it to be so.

Taking away diagnoses smacks to me of the early years of psychiatry. White washed walls and sterilized floor tiles. White lab coats and restraints. Treating people with unknown medications and faulty reasoning. It speaks to me of the time when there was no diagnoses and all generalizations. Words, hurtful and misunderstood words, were thrown around. Words like lunatic, madness, crazy, insane, melancholy, mania, and neurosis. What will they call us if they take away our diagnoses? Because they will have to call it something. I don't know about you, but I am not willing to go back in time a hundred years, fifty years, or even ten years ago and treat mental illness sufferers the shameful and disgusting way they used to. I am not willing to be stripped of my right's as a mental illness sufferer and be swept aside or overlooked. I will not be locked away, confined, or called generic names that do not represent me just to suit the doctors. Doctors who are supposed to be practicing what is in our best interest. Doctor's who take an oath to first do no harm. By taking away our diagnoses and the words mental illness and disorders there will be a much more tough time trying to enlighten others on our suffering and ending stigma. Now we wont be seen as ill or sick but faking it, over exaggerating, or attention seeking. How will we explain to others what we go through if the words we use to explain with are taken away from us? How do we enlighten others with no terms to use? Words are so very important. Taking them away will not only hurt our efforts to end stigma but be catastrophic to our self esteems and self worth. How can we bond with the world if we are muted? How can we unite and learn if we are silenced?

My name is Neurotic Nelly and I suffer from mental illness. My mental illness has a name and it is OCD. I will not accept being told that my diagnoses and my suffering is not important enough to be recognized by it's name. It has a name for reason and I want you to use it. I want you to recognize it. I want you to believe in it's reality. Because it is real. Because it is painful. Because I will suffer from it for the rest of my life and if I can handle and accept that, then you have no right not to recognize and accept it for what it really is. It has a name, use it.

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