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its complicated


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Welcome, poinsettia. I've found it easier to open up here than anywhere. Not sure why -- maybe the extreme anonymity helps? Anyway, I'm thankful for this website and the anonymous well-meaning people on it. Would you like to write some more about what you are thinking and feeling like your brain is going to explode? Sometimes just the writing -- and the notion that there is somebody else out there who is able to "hear" it -- is helpful. Don't know why about that, either, but it's been that way for me. I'm in therapy, too, and that helps . . . but it's different.

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"It's complicated."

Most things worth worrying about are.

No point in holding it in until your brain explodes, though, because that doesn't improve anything. Unless the wallpaper where you are really sucks ... ;-)

Our site's entire reason for existing is to give people a place to talk about the complicated stuff.

Call it extreme anonymity, the ability to be "seen" without being seen, whatever. I hope you'll try it.

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You express yourself very well, poinsettia.

You've been through a great deal in your life. I'm sorry for your sadness and struggles. :( We don't diagnose here, but I can understand how feeling that you may have been misdiagnosed must feel so very confusing for you.

I'm not certain where you are located or what the rules may be there, but here in the US I believe that a therapist can't disclose any information (without your signed consent) unless that information represents a danger to self or other. Are you receiving any support or counseling now? Whatever it is that you may be struggling with, you need care, especially if you've been feeling depressed. I hear that it's hard for you to trust others. It's great that you reached out here. Reaching out is a place to start.

Take care.

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Hello, Poinsettia, welcome! :)

It's great that you've overcome your doubts and fears opened up here!! I really hope discussing your feelings and concerns here will help you.

(And, BTW, I like your English very much! For me, it's not the first language either and I still struggle with it when writing here ;) ...)

I can see your fears; you’ve probably experienced such misunderstanding and judgment in your life (even your diagnosis is a result of a misapprehension) that it has to be difficult to trust others and rely on them, their knowledge and experiences :(. However, if you don’t open up, it may feel safer and keep your ‘standard’ (of every-day life), but it won’t let you to “discover yourself”, your real potential, your genuine character, abilities, ... and even your... let’s call it happiness. You already feel and know that “something is going wrong” – and your recurrent depressions only underline this fact. It’s great that you became quite comfortable in the conditions you’re living in now, because it’s better than it used to be. But from what you wrote, it’s obvious that you can do more, you can get more. Living on your own now isn’t an option, that’s natural, but I’m pretty sure that the “receiving a different diagnosis” couldn’t just “make you homeless”; left on your own (like “You’re rather OK / not autistic, so now go and take care of yourself alone”). But opening up, disclosing your needs, your true hidden problems, ... is all a prerequisite to changes which could very probably lead to your learning to live “on your own” in future!

Probably most of us who faced the decision to see a psychiatrist / therapist and open up to him were scared and filled with many feelings which made us more or less avoidant – it’s really hard to do, but the decision and its consequences are in most cases worth the effort.

Let’s look at what might happen if you open up to this doctor.

- He may understand and offer you therapy which could lead you to “processing” of your past, understanding the reasons of your ‘character’ (why you appear(ed) as ‘almost autistic’), and also change; reach a ‘new level of functioning’. This kind of process usually takes many months, even several years, but what are few years in comparison to average human lifespan? It’s always better to ‘sacrifice’ (-an exaggerated expression!) few years to hard work in therapy than to keep the current, ‘safe and comfortably known’, but depressive, state all life long.

- He may react inappropriately (we can’t exclude this option, unfortunately, although it’s less probable). You may feel bad – as you now imagine it. But that would mean only one thing: It’s not “a good doctor” and you need another-one!!! It’s not good to rely on only one person; to let your life depend only on what one person says to you, mainly when the person makes you feel misunderstood, ridiculed, judged. There is always more than one option; if this doc is not “the right for you”, then you really should see another one.

- You’ve mentioned the fear of having a panic attack: Psychiatrists know panic attacks very well ;) and they should know what to do, how to help the patient to overcome it. It’s OK to have a panic attack, although it would certainly feel much better without it. It’s OK to show him how scared you are. It’s not a shame. Being stressed about panic attacks and shame can only make you feel worse. It helps to see the psychiatrist’s room as a place where you can express any emotions and “be yourself”. It’s very hard, I know, but it’s usually also quite a relief when one succeeds...

Now to the question: How to do it; how to open up? You wrote that it’s extremely difficult for you to express a lot of your problems. Yes, it was the same for most of us; I won’t pretend it’s easy, mainly when you're just beginning. But you’ve already done a very good job by expressing several of your problems here!!! Look at the fear and doubts you had before doing it and look at the result: Was it really so frightening and mainly; was it worth the fear?

There is a very simple option that I would choose myself (I’ve done something very similar on the first meeting with my psychiatrist and therapist (-in one person)): You can bring him either this text, or another-one (similar) describing your past, your concerns, your fears (also from docs), ... (Have you the opportunity to print a text? But you can at least write it by hand...) (I brought many pages to my therapist – several excerpts from my diary. It was a very good decision, as I also felt unable to talk to him... Knowing that “he knows already” made it easier to talk about it.)

Is he allowed to share that information with anyone?

As far as I know, he shouldn’t share any info except for the case if the patient’s life is threatened.

What do you think?

Take care!

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Sounds like you’ve had a difficult 9-10 years and, thankfully, are in a good physical/social situation now, for the moment. I can certainly understand that you wouldn’t want to jeopardize that and yet. . . the very fact that the environment is good for you has encouraged you to look around to try to find out who you, uniquely, are. From what I have read, that’s a natural, normal experience. It’s hard – here in the USA it is not common to try to provide such health-promoting social environments yet but, IMHO, they are essential for recovering from – or growing from – PDs.

I have a friend, who had DID, and went through vocational rehab here in the USA, and had a very capable counselor whom she saw in that program 5 days a week. That relationship helped her enormously. The counselor took a personal interest in her, and in what she could be capable of achieving, and even though my friend had to go back on disability after a few years – (there is no program yet to prepare us for the everpresent cruelty in the “real world”) – the relationship with her voc rehab counselor remained as a health-promoting experience psychologically. Which she, in turn, has shown to me, sometimes too, it seems.

Perhaps your father could be a support? Maybe he’s not very “active” but thoughtful?

I probably had OCPD before I broke down. Currently I am in an in-person support group with two different people who I think may have avoidant PD. They are lovely, kind people. We just don’t have therapies here in the USA yet that can help such people fulfill their potential and also, in that process. contribute to society, to all of us. I hope that you will find a way to do that, for yourself. Forging a way for others with avoidant PD, or Asperger’s or . . . whatever it is that makes us not function well and feel that we have limitations on what we can do and be in the world. Yes, we all have limitations. But those of us struggling, we tend to focus on what we can't do, not what we can.

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