The release of the fifth version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) has created quiet a stir among psychiatrists and in the Media. I’m not a medical professional but I do have a vested interest in the way people suffering from a Mental Illness are treated, having suffered from chronic depression myself…
Just over 10 years ago, aged 32, my life fell apart. I went to see my, then, doctor who asked me a series of questions relating to my symptoms and quickly concluded that I was suffering from depression. I left his office with a prescription for Effexor (an antidepressant) and Xanax (an anti-anxiety) and was sent on my not so merry way. No follow-up appointment, no helpful tips or advice on how to deal with my illness, just a slip of paper.
Two weeks later, I work up, covered in bruises with absolutely no recollection of what had happened to me. It was beyond scary; I have always prided myself of being in control, one of the reasons I rarely drink and never to excess. Yet there I was on my 33rd Birthday with a 3-day hole in my memory!
I got rid of all my medication, thought to hell with doctors and waited for the worse to pass. I spent many a dark day sitting on the edge of my bed trying to find the energy and motivation simply to get up. Now fast-forward 7 years, I’m back in that morbid dark place having suffered a rather public breakdown at work.
This time around, I was far luckier. I had a different doctor who actually took the time to ask me about my personal and professional life before even broaching the subject of symptoms. He discussed with me the different treatment options and chose one that suited me. He signed me off work and suggested things that I should change in my life. This doctor didn’t just treat my symptoms he went out of his way to discover the causes behind them, and that made all the difference!