Even the best of us are 'messy'


I have heard voices for as long as I can remember. This goes back to at least 5 years of age, along with it came some inappropriate behavior and outbursts. I was first given medication for ADHD and from my perspective it seemed to work really well for me but my mother decided to discontinue its use.

I was tested at the age of 12 by two psychiatrists including Rorschach tests. They determined I was "psychotic". A year later the report of this was used by a family "friend" as a basis to kidnap and abuse me for 6 mo. When I returned I was even more unruly and difficult and I was placed in a long term hospital -- that did not use meds.

I was tossed because of inappropriate behavior and was not allowed to go home. I was 14. I spent 2 1/2 years in and out of juvenile hall, living on the streets and in foster care from time to time and once I was medicated with stelazine that i didn't like and didn't tolerate physically very well.

I managed to pull myself out of all that and became an emancipated minor working in the tech industry for 22 years. I dealt with voices and paranoia with various street drugs, but, I maintained a good working life.

After my mother died when I was 31 I became ill with various psychological and physical impairments and had to leave my job in favor of working from home. During this time I was prescribed prozac. In three weeks I put on over 40lbs and my health further deteriorated.

Over the next 6 years I would see various psychiatric and other medications including opiate painkillers which were precscribed in any amount I wanted.

In 2002 I kind of dropped off the deep end, leaving my spouse in California and moving to Washington. A year later I was on antidepressants again and, because of them, suicidal. In the hospital I was given antipsychotics for the voices and paranoia.

9 years later I have been on over 25 differernt psychiatric medications prescribed by 14 different psychiatrists. I have had horrible side effects from weight gain and poor balance to loss of cognitive function and diabetes.

I have been diagnosed as having: major depression, major depression with psychotic features, bipolar, schizoaffetive, generalized anxiety, panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, borderline personality disorder and even dissociative identity disorder.

None of these labels fit exactly. None of them describe *me*, they descibe symptoms listed in the DSM and ALL of them have pretty much required medication.

Nobody has ever suggested psychosocial therapies. No coping tools. No tools of any kind other than take your meds and go away.

Because of the labels there is a neat little package doctors have to deal with. People, however, are not neat little packages. Even the best of us are messy in one way another. On one of my most recent psychiatrist visits I described crippling anxiety, panic and agorophobia. His response was that I was depressed and should return in a month. No sympathy or empathy for not only the feelings I had to deal with but also the expense I had to deal with because of the agorophobia and not being able to shop for food in large stores, etc.

If psychiatry is going to deal with mental illness it should be more than a group of pill pushers. They should deal with the patient and not the disorder. They should listen to the symptoms and not listen for the label.

I believe labels are effectively blocking real treatment.