Incorrectly Diagnosed?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I wonder if I have been wrongly diagnosed. I have battled with my mental health for approximately 11years, Starting off with being diagnosed with chronic depression and post traumatic stress disorder after many years of bullying result in my being beaten up and put in hospital by the bullies. That was when I was 12 years old. As the years have progressed and I have matured I seem to have gone through many different illnesses.
1. Chronic Depression, PTSD and Anorexia Nervosa
2.Severe Depression,Anxiety and Anorexia Nervosa
3.Cyclothymia
4.Bipolar II
Recently I have been diagnosed with A-Typical Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia and Recurrent Depressive Illness.

I am beginning to wonder if this recent diagnosis (and many of the past ones) is incorrect.
I have done a lot of researched about my symptoms traits etc and they seem to steer more towards Borderline Personality Disorder.
I will quickly explain me:
Usually I don’t know how I feel, people say “what’s wrong?” and I just don’t know.
I get flustered, and panic, mostly when things change, I don’t like change, I am often very disorganised, but don’t like it I am a very chaotic person.

I switch from one thing to another in a matter of minutes. I don’t like disorder, I think things to be right. I have a massive fear of abandonment, I always think my husband is going to leave me for someone “normal” someone “better”. I always second guess him and myself, my self – esteem is non existant, I have no confidence in anything I do. I don’t like being along, I don’t like doing things on my own, however sometimes all I want is to be left alone – I never know what I want!
I’m sad all the time and want to cry, soemtimes I think people are all against me and are purposly trying to upset me. I have no interest in most aspects of life. I don’t have any friends, or what I was class as “friends” I have being in crowds, I feel closed in and I can hear the blood pumping in my ears.

I’m all over the place. I Spend ridiculously..Usually stuff we/I don’t need but want to make me feel better…My sleep is all over the place..Sometimes I don’t want to sleep and it takes forever to go to sleep but then when the morning comes I don’t want to get up. I eat because I have to (my family make me!) My biggest problem is I’m good at hiding things, I have spent many years putting on a front and seeming “happy and ok” that I don’t know how to be “ME” the real me..I self harmed for nearly 10 years..and the only reason I don’t now is knowing how much it hurts my family…My CPN and Psychiatrist said this shows that my condition is no serious as people who were serious would not be able to control this. But I don’t want to control it, I want to be me and not live up to everyone else’s expectations…I am who I am to suit my family, not to suit me. I hide everything, and to be honest I don’t know how to be me….I have wierd thoughts that no one else seems to understand, I ask daft questions. I hate myself and everything about me. I think I’m worthless and pathetic and that there’s no point to my life. Oh I don’t know I just can not explain anything about me how I feel or anything I just don’t think that I don’t fit in with the Bipolar spectrum..I do have anxiety I know this and I am pretty sure on the Recurrent depressive illness…and as for the social phobia well that could be right….the other problem I have is I don’t know how to say to my psychiatrist I think he is wrong, afterall he’s the professional and in my experience with alot of professionals they don’t seem to care about your opinions only theirs and that what they think is correct…I’m all over the place I just don’t know what to do…I’ve gone from being on 600mg Lamotrigine,5mg Aripiprazole and 2mg Diazepam to 20mg Fluoxetine (with a 12month gap in between when I was pregnant and not on any medication) PLEASE HELP I don’t know where to go or what to say or anything..

A. Typically I try to steer people away from focusing on a diagnosis. For a mental health professional, it may be helpful to focus on a diagnosis but I don’t think that it is always helpful for the client to search for a specific diagnostic label. Many people simply do not fit diagnostic labels and categories. People are unique and complicated and they may have many issues that do not match a specific diagnosis or set of diagnoses. I urge you to shift your focus on treatment and away from diagnosis.

You mentioned that you are in contact with a CPN (which I take to mean community psychiatric nurse since you are not living in the U.S.) and a psychiatrist, both of whom likely focus on medication as a primary treatment. Medication can be very helpful and has saved the lives of many people. What may be lacking in your treatment plan is that you are not addressing your anxiety, the compulsion to spend, depression, self-harm, PTSD, and the other issues you are struggling with. That is where your treatment needs to focus. Maybe you have attempted treatment for those issues in the past and did not include that information in your letter. From what I can tell you have yet to address those issues.

The solution is to alter your treatment to include therapy. All of the issues that you have written about can be addressed with the help of a competent mental health professional. If you find the right help then I believe you have an excellent chance of overcoming all of the issues you are facing. Thank you for your question. Please take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 3 Jan 2010

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2010). Incorrectly Diagnosed?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/01/03/incorrectly-diagnosed/