Latest on Mental Health

Because I have a lot to cover I’ll try to make it brief and cut the ‘extra’ to a minimum, my apologies if I end up rambling. /warning

My psychiatrist is very no-bullshit. She’ll tell you exactly what she thinks, and will only ever prescribe and diagnose as she sees fit, which is why I chose her in the first place. If she thinks you’re neglecting a diagnosis she’ll get in your face about it, and if she thinks you’re making something of a thing that you don’t suffer from, she’ll reel you back in. As such, I believe her when she tells me I have a given condition — even though it sounds like I have a lot.

I was originally diagnosed Bipolar II (manic depressive disorder) many years ago, but got off my meds and decided to stop taking them altogether. They made me feel sort of like an empty zombie, and that was after I got put on the ones that seemed to work the best. Many years later the diagnosis has not changed, I’ve been put on 2 different medications (a mood stabilizer and an antipsychotic), and have returned to regular psychology appointments once a week for the last near-year now, and have returned to near normalcy. I still have anxiety spikes and consistent depression, but it’s so much easier to deal with and it comes from a different place now.

A more recent diagnosis is that of Borderline Personality Disorder. One much scarier than the others in my mind — the only time I had heard of it before was in connection with serial killers and those of unsound mind, but in truth it’s just a disorder of impulses and lack of impulse control. I have such impulses to drink and speed and smoke and steal — but my control is much better than most with BPD because of just how hard my family worked to raise me when I was younger.

Just today I came back from my appointment to find we’re nearing stability in my “Axis 1” conditions and that therefore soon we’ll be moving into my “Axis 2” conditions. I brought a few new things I had realized that have been going on for a while now that were mentioned to me by friends and family — and she mentioned that since first meeting me she wondered if I might be on the Autism spectrum. More specifically, Aspergers with a touch of OCD.

As someone that knows VERY little about the Autism spectrum — this was surprising to me. I have stims, apparently — rocking back and forth and excessively nodding my head for long periods of time, especially when talking to people as I start to get stressed or anxious. I also do them when thinking back on conversations I have had that stressed me out or made me anxious. This said, “neurotypical” people (a category of people I do not fill already) AND those that are autistic stim and do so daily — the different being the type, intensity and frequency of said stims. I also appear to have sensory issues — something rare to those that aren’t autistic — such as when I listen to the right music at the wrong time (even if I absolutely love the song and always have) I can sometimes become so nauseous I feel the need to puke. Stopping said music makes the feeling go away. She said these two things together paired with my obsessive tendencies, narrow field of interests and desire to go on about them for extended periods of time, and other habits/actions make her think Aspergers.

The interesting thing is that common medications for all of these conditions listed above (Bipolar, Borderline, Aspergers) include Abilify — which is a medication that I’ve been put on. Which means should the Aspergers diagnosis stick once my Axis 1 conditions are completely stable, my treatment plan stays EXACTLY the same. Nothing changes. An anti-depressant may need to be added as she wants me completely depression-free — but otherwise I may be able to go through what’s called “mono-therapy” where you use only 1 medication to deal with absolutely everything that you suffer from. Exciting, as if I can get off the nasty-tasting Lamictal, Abilify acts as a mood stabilizer, anti-depressant, and anti-psychotic in those with the conditions that need them all in one.

So, lots have been going on — the more I bring to her, the more I realize, and the more resources open up to me so that I can better live my life without suffering as much or having it as tough. I’m really excited to see the changes I have on Abilify, and I hope to continue to see more!