Saturday, July 17, 2004

Something to discuss

I spent a lot of time thinking last night as I lay in bed desperately trying to fall asleep. I kept going over something I'd like to discuss with my pdoc when I see him Monday. During my last DBT group we were going over relationships and how to discuss problems with others. So I decided the problem I need to discuss is my medications.

I have been on so many different medications over the years, with little or no relief. I even allowed myself to be subjected to ECT earlier this year when I was hospitalized for over a month. A lot of the meds either never worked or stopped working after a month or so. I maxed out on most of them. Effexor was the worst, I was only able to take 25 mg of it and ended up hospitalized for 3 days due to a severe reaction.

Anyway, my lack of response to the medications has had me thinking...where is the proof that I even have any sort of chemical imbalance? Where is the proof that I even have a mental illness? To me illness implies that something is physically wrong with you. You take a medication or have a procedure done and you hopefully make some progression towards wellness. Is depression an illness? Yes, in some instances it is...but does it always have to be? Couldn't there be other driving forces behind depression other than a chemical imbalance?

What if I'm just a miserable person and being depressed is my natural state of mind? As far back as I can remember I have always been sad. Always feeling lonely even though I grew up in a house with 4 siblings. I do believe that depression is my security blanket and as much as I hate feeling this way, it can be morbidly comforting because it is all I know how to feel anymore. What if my borderline is the driving force behind my depression?

There's no disputing that I have borderline. I matched all 9 of the criteria for it. But again, I don't view borderline as an "illness". I have read so much information since I finally received the diagnosis last August. Some say it's caused by environmental factors, others say it's caused by a malfunction of the part of the brain that controls emotion, and still others say it's a combination of the two. Either way it's classified as a personality disorder.

If you look up personality in the dictionary it says "the collection of emotional and behavioral traits that characterize a person". To me that means borderline is caused by the combo....some of us are just born with a higher propensity to be overly emotionally sensitive. Add to that a fucked up childhood filled with abuse of all kinds and the end result is me...the mass defective. A completely miserable person, who has no control over her emotions, has zero self esteem and who basically never learned how to function as a "normal" person in any sense of the word. Is that an illness? I can't even begin to think so and no one will ever convince me it is.

I'm curious to see what my pdoc says to all this. I have a love/hate relationship with him. I love to hate him and I think the feeling is mutual. I don't think he listens to what I say and I think he believes I don't listen to what he says. I think he'd love to drop me as a patient, but can't think up a good enough excuse to do so without triggering me. Given that the man is the head of psychiatry, you'd think he'd know how to deal with people. Guess we'll see in a couple of days how this all plays out.


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