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Accelerated Evolution

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I have been going through it with psychology lately. I will give you some background and then get to my point.

As a veteran of the U.S. Air Force (discharged due to development of a chronic illness), I decided to take full advantage of what they call the vocational rehabilitation program which pays for 48 months of college (with a catch, mind you: you must choose a career field that is employable-I got cheated on this but that is a conversation for another thread).

When I applied for benefits initially, the VA counselor I had visited put me down for anxiety and depression compensation. This was not my decision, but I ran with it. I did not feel like I was depressed or anxious, it actually felt quite normal for me. But anyway, I played along, visited a Non-VA psychiatrist for evaluation (I am not too proud to say I wanted the extra money-it's harder out here in the real world) and sang him a sad song, all true, about my life. I must admit, I played it up for the cameras, so to speak. I felt okay, but knew I could get the diagnosis by just telling the psychiatrist what I had been through with this chronic illness, my divorce from a horrible person, my father, etc. I was the easiest thing I ever had to do.

Well, back to the voc rehab. Last June, I visited my initial voc rehab counselor and she told me I had to get on medication for the depression and anxiety if I wanted to go to school. I thought, okay, I'll give this a try. So, I go visit the psychiatrist at the Knoxville VA clinic, and after only 15 minutes with me he determines that I am bipolar. I left thinking there is no fucking way I am bipolar. I am very in control of my emotions and mind.

I go home and start taking the pills anyway: Risperdal, an anti-psychotic for the mania, and Celexa for the depression. Everything was great for a while, I felt good, I felt balanced, and everything was okay.

Fast forward to July 2007. I lapse in the Risperdal and suddenly start experiencing psychosis (not as terrifying as it sounds-just hallucinations and delusions), not Ed Gein psychosis mind you, but just hearing voices that were unexplainable. I went to see the nurse practioner on an emergency visit, and she swears that my smoking marijuana has caused these hallucinations. I have to say that this is absolutely not true-I withheld from her the fact that I was taking a non-controlled low dose opiate and I am positive that that is what triggered the psychosis-but that is beside the point.

So I begin the medication once again. Suddenly a few weeks into it, I find myself not caring about anything. I lost my job because one night I just didn't feel like going in so I stayed home. I was fired the next day and was not the least bit sorry about what I had done to my coworkers. The medication was basically turning me into a psychopath. I was having violent impulses also: one night I was sitting petting one of my cats, and got the overwhelming urge to break his neck. I fucking LOVE my cats, and there is no way that in my right mind I would ever think about hurting them. I felt as if I was losing my soul-luckily I wrote about this experience while it was going on so maybe I should show the psychiatrist, just for fun.

The most surreal thing about the bipolar II with psychosis diagnosis was that on the exact same day I was supposed to take an exam for abnormal psychology that included the chapter of mood disorders. Of course I got out of it-my professor was a licensed therapist and I emailed him to let him know what was going on.

So this stuff really started getting to me. The doctors, the books, it all got inside my head and I started to think (due to comorbidity and shared symptoms of so many "disorders") maybe there was more wrong with me. I turned paranoid, completely inward, and got lost inside my head. It was the most terrifying state I have ever experienced. The dissociation (detaching oneself from their reality post-trauma) after hearing the diagnosis was better-sure, I couldn't form a coherent statement but I knew who I was even though I was not totally in the real world.

Anyway, fast forward to now. I have decided to quit the medication (it was forced on me by the government, pure and simple) as I believe I can beat this. I won't be a victim of THEORIES and doctors who think they know everything just because they have a fucking degree. I agree that it is not the thing to do for everyone, and I wouldn't recommend or urge any of you to follow my example if you are having psychological problems. That would be terribly irresponsible of me and I won't have anything to do with that.

Some people need the help. I do not. I do not need therapy, I do not need medication, I will not surrender to this "disorder" as I have always believed my will is stronger than any doctor will ever let it be. I have decided to wake up every day, tell myself it is going to be a good day, mania and depression be damned. I can alter my cognitive processes-when I feel myself beginning to lose control, I talk myself out of it and everything is okay. I feel like I am smarter than these doctors could ever dream of being because I can think on my own feet and not believe everything I am told, such as they do (that nurse was ADAMANT that marijuana causes hallucinations-I have firsthand experience, it does NOT and has NEVER made me hallucinate).

I guess my bottom line is that the mind is stronger than psychology gives it credit for, that people are stronger than psychology will let them be, and I do not believe in it as a science anymore. I find empty theories and little evidence. Read the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual version IV and you will see what I mean about comorbidity (this simply means that multiple disorders occur within the same mind) and shared symptoms. They might know some things but they will never know everything-the revisions to this manual over the years are startling, and there are more on the way for version 5.

Also, I must mention that I have accepted the bipolar diagnosis, finally. I see the symptoms through the years and now I agree. It also it runs in the family (I had to call my paternal grandmother to get the truth as my father doesn't believe in ANYTHING like this...my uncle and very young cousin are confirmed manic depressives-yes, I prefer that label. Bipolar sounds derrogatory anymore).

I want to know what you all think and your experiences with this field.

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You know, there's plenty of things wrong with psychology, but I can't help but feel you got yourself into this in a way because you were looking to squeeze some extra money out of the government. (Not that I blame you, but let's face it you helped bring this on yourself.)

The DSM is a joke though. Just about any psychologists would tell you that. It's sponsored by the drug companies, so of course everyone has everything that's in there, so they need meds and the companies get paid. It's a really screwed up system, especially since these are some serious meds and taking them can really mess you up. (Which, in my opinion is why you shouldn't take them unless you really need them.)

You basically give yourself therapy when you talk yourself out of those times. It's just some people need someone else to do it, and there's nothing wrong with that.

The major problem with what's considered mentally ill is that it's basically anything that the current culture doesn't consider normal. It doesn't necessarily mean anything serious is wrong with you. Basically the way most diagnose it is if it "interferes with your daily life and daily things you need to do". Now, if yours didn't and you told them it does, I can see where they'd accidently decide to medicate you. (Not that it couldn't happen without the extra dramatization, but it definitely didn't help.)

I'm confused by how you go from calling psychology a bunch of useless theories to admitting you believe you are bipolar/manic depressive after all. It's like you're just mostly angry with the field rather than thinking it's mute. It just has a lot of things to work out still. It's almost exciting in a way. 50 years ago we were putting holes into people's brains, now we're giving them drugs... What's next?

On a personal level, I've always been torn between the drugs and not. I've thought about possibly trying something low dose (prozac maybe) but then I think of the fact that it could send me into real mania and then I'd really be in trouble. Not to mention according to my psych professor just about anyone would diagnose me as Borderline because of a certain coping skill of mine, which would just be really depressing for me to have that label, since right now there's basically nothing they can do for it. (It's a psychological death sentence in a way.) There's supposed to be a new birth control I saw a commercial for that "regulates moods" and i've been really curious about what's in it and how it works. Haha, it improves acne too.

Wow, sorry for the rambling. ^^;;

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You know, there's plenty of things wrong with psychology, but I can't help but feel you got yourself into this in a way because you were looking to squeeze some extra money out of the government. (Not that I blame you, but let's face it you helped bring this on yourself.)

You basically give yourself therapy when you talk yourself out of those times. It's just some people need someone else to do it, and there's nothing wrong with that.

I'm confused by how you go from calling psychology a bunch of useless theories to admitting you believe you are bipolar/manic depressive after all. It's like you're just mostly angry with the field rather than thinking it's mute. It just has a lot of things to work out still. It's almost exciting in a way. 50 years ago we were putting holes into people's brains, now we're giving them drugs... What's next?

Okay, and what is wrong with getting my due from the government? I gave them 5 years of my life and they threw me away because I got physically ill. Plus I also see nothing wrong with it as I AM manic depressive, so it is not like I was lying. If you were a psychiatrist and you heard the stuff I have lived through, you would probably want to medicate me as well. At the time I thought I was anything but "abnormal". I HAD to see this therapist, so why would I waste his time and lie and say everything was fine when everyone around me knew I was not? I am not naive enough to look back now and think "Yeah! I was okay!" Plus, it is totally beside the point.

You think I don't realize that? That IS my therapy, I thought I made that clear. I don't need traditional therapy. And did I not make it clear that I thought there was nothing wrong with people who DO need therapy?

I am intelligent enough to admit that these "disorders" are real, but I do not blindly accept everything that psychology is feeding our society. I think medication is nothing but another form of slavery to keep me from being my true self (now I mean this from my perspective about my condition, not PTSD, schizophrenia, or anything like that. I know those people need help more than I do. I became dependent on the Risperdal and had to take it before I could accomplish anything at all). What is wrong with having an odd mood though? As long as I am not driving cars into swimming pools in a manic state or trying to kill myself, there is truly nothing wrong with me.

I hate to say this, but I think you missed the point of my story. You are just dissecting me like a psychiatrist would, and I don't like psychiatrists, so let's not psychoanalyze each other here. That is not what I wanted to accomplish with this thread.

Also, about the DSM: I have never met a psychologist/psychiatrist take the DSM as a joke. That is ridiculous. This book is crucial in diagnoses. Where did you get that idea? It makes you sound terribly misinformed.

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Okay, and what is wrong with getting my due from the government? I gave them 5 years of my life and they threw me away because I got physically ill. Plus I also see nothing wrong with it as I AM manic depressive, so it is not like I was lying. If you were a psychiatrist and you heard the stuff I have lived through, you would probably want to medicate me as well. At the time I thought I was anything but "abnormal". I HAD to see this therapist, so why would I waste his time and lie and say everything was fine when everyone around me knew I was not? I am not naive enough to look back now and think "Yeah! I was okay!" Plus, it is totally beside the point.

I said I didn't blame you, but it's a risk you took. You said it yourself that you "played it up for the cameras."

You think I don't realize that? That IS my therapy, I thought I made that clear. I don't need traditional therapy. And did I not make it clear that I thought there was nothing wrong with people who DO need therapy?

Well, what you do when you talk yourself through it is a form of therapy, so you must think at least some do work. I don't know what you consider to be "traditional therapy."

What is wrong with having an odd mood though? As long as I am not driving cars into swimming pools in a manic state or trying to kill myself, there is truly nothing wrong with me.

That's basically exactly what I said?

I hate to say this, but I think you missed the point of my story. You are just dissecting me like a psychiatrist would, and I don't like psychiatrists, so let's not psychoanalyze each other here. That is not what I wanted to accomplish with this thread.

I wasn't. I was defending something that I thought you were attacking, but it was hard to tell for sure because you took both sides at once. (At least that's how I was reading it, but trust me I could have been reading it wrong.

Also, about the DSM: I have never met a psychologist/psychiatrist take the DSM as a joke. That is ridiculous. This book is crucial in diagnoses. Where did you get that idea? It makes you sound terribly misinformed.

I stretched it by calling it a joke, but most psychology books talk about the flaws and how you can't use it as a crutch, but more of a supplement. It's trying to make psychology more standardized and empirical, but psychology is't necessarily a strict science. You have to be able to see that as a psychologist. Many even argue that you should be careful when diagnosing someone, because it can make them create symptoms that fit their diagnoses even if they were misdiagnosed to begin with.

As for where, I'm graduating with my bachelors of science this fall and going for my masters in 2 years. (Taking a year off for experience and relearning Spanish, but thanks.

I was mostly agreeing with a lot of what you were saying, but I think you went over the top a little in some areas because of your bad experience. If I did that with the medical field because of my experiences, people wouldn't hesitate to point out ot me that just because it has problems it's better than not going to a doctor ever again. I got defensive because I've spent 3 years of my life focusing on this, and I'm sorry if I offended you. Just offering another viewpoint. (You said you wanted to know what we thought. If it's going to get you this upset you probably don't want to ask, because I can get down right bitchy.)

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No honey, I think this is fantastic. You are very intelligent and I feel intellectually stimulated. I just got defensive because I felt like you were attacking my integrity, which is not what I am trying to accomplish here.

This is what I wanted: "It's trying to make psychology more standardized and empirical, but psychology is't necessarily a strict science." That is my problem with it. I feel like it has been represented as a strict science and the average human hit with a diagnosis that has no prior knowledge of this field will be apt to believe everything their doctor tells them, and I think this is dangerous only for the simple fact that people are so quick to believe anything a doctor tells them. And let's be realistic: do they really have ones best interests are heart or are they just waiting for that next paycheck? This is the perception I have of the VA psychiatrist that I visit.

Also, for the DSM, out of all the psych doctors that I have met I suppose they don't really care to think on their feet and rely on the book a bit too much. This is where our experiences start to splinter, and that is fine. Everyone has a different perception of anything due to personal experience.

When I mentioned the odd moods I was no longer addressing you, just expressing an idea so just ignore that as a personal statement toward you.

Also, I think even worse than psychology is Tom Cruise and his Scientology inspired views against psychology. He is the real enemy here! I would rather people listen to what psychology has to teach us than what Tom Cruise wants to keep people ignorant from. I really do love psychology, it's been a passion and fascination of mine for the last ten years. I just feel like there is so much more left to learn that we should not box our minds in with what has been put out there so far. I think we are only beginning to reveal the mysteries of the mind, not solve them.

If anyone feels I am being contradictory in any way, I cannot apologize for this. You would really only have to see things from my eyes to understand where I am coming from. Perception can be such a whore.

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This is what I wanted: "It's trying to make psychology more standardized and empirical, but psychology is't necessarily a strict science." That is my problem with it. I feel like it has been represented as a strict science and the average human hit with a diagnosis that has no prior knowledge of this field will be apt to believe everything their doctor tells them, and I think this is dangerous only for the simple fact that people are so quick to believe anything a doctor tells them. And let's be realistic: do they really have ones best interests are heart or are they just waiting for that next paycheck? This is the perception I have of the VA psychiatrist that I visit.

I completely agree. I hope it will continue to get better though, when you think of psychology 50 years ago it's enough to give me nightmares thinking about the ways they would have treated "illnesses" that so many of us have.

And psychology is so quick to think something is a quick cure all. You've got lobotomies, electroconvulsive shock therapy (I think I spelt that wrong but work with me), and now things like prozac and lithium. The first antidepressents were so toxic that if you prescribed them you were basically giving the patient an easy way to kill themself. Even drugs that psychologists are so quick to say are the "bad drugs" were used once in psychology. X even actually started out being for therapy. It's crazy.

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Yes! Thank you so much for getting it (by the way I was happy to see you came back on!). All personal experiences aside we are really on the same page.

LSD too! Have you watched that show on the History Channel about drugs? That was fascinating.

I read in my psych books that they still use ECT (which I believe you did spell right, even though it doesn't matter to me =D) for severe depression (at least-I don't remember if it is used for anything else) and I was taken aback-it seems so inhumane to me. But I guess if the person consents to it to make themselves better than there's really no point in it making me upset, but it does-we always have autonomy and that mixed with information doctors give patients make the entire situation so complex to me.

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  • 4 weeks later...

In reality we are all fucked up.

I'm glad I read this thread however, so I know not to ever take anything clinics give me to "help" whatever condition I am witnessing.

Why would they give you medicine that causes these horrible side effects?

Our government is fucked up just as much as we are.

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