Whining From Another Hysterical Female

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve actually had good results with most of the professionals whom I have seen. It would be rather a fallacy to broadwash a whole bunch of specialists on account of a few fools. But boy, when you run into an fool, it’s usually a doozy!

It’s been a long few years getting various difficulties sorted out and identified. Over a year ago I saw someone who was touted at being an expert on learning disabilities, to investigate ongoing scholastic difficulties and possible auditory processing difficulties.

Well, I saw Dr S. (a PhD, not physician) when I was otherwise free from the bulk of my work and school activities, as at the time I’d been having a number of health problems, including insomnia, migraines, worse tics and stuttering, hyperacusis & tinnitus et cetera.

I brought in with me documentation including previous test results, transcripts, and descriptions of my difficulties. This was because I can often get tangled up and forget stuff when trying to explain things, especially to doctors. (Hey, I’m an organism capable of learning — over time I’ve realised that remembering stuff is a problem, so now I take in a list or hand over a page of notes. My new primary physician does great with this, because in the couple of minutes it takes her to read a few paragraphs, we can fast-forward through a lot of rote questions, without omissions.)

Dr S. had me fill out a couple of online tests, and then had someone else administer some more tests to me. Oddly, one of the tests he gave me was for ADHD, for which a coöperating team of a psychologist and psychiatrist had already evaluated me. In fact, he said I had no ADHD and no real problems, except a little figure-ground discrimination hearing things in noisy environments. He had no recommendations, except that I needed to see a psychiatrist for psychosomative disorder.

Well, hell. Was I bordering on depression? Yes, and I knew that and was working actively against that — half a year of chronic sleep-deprivation and pain will do that to a person. Was I having difficulties with my husband? Yes, my health problems were requiring me to take a semester off school and work, and he was wanting to know “when I was going to be a productive member of society”. I already knew about these things, and had explained to Dr S. that I was working to deal with them. But that wasn’t why I was seeing Dr S. — I was trying to address learning and hearing comprehension problems. I even paid a few hundred dollars out of pocket for all that.

There’s a big problem here, and it’s not mine. Nor am I the only one with it.

The word “psychosomatic” has gotten warped or twisted. It literally acknowledges the interdependency and functionality of brain/mind and body, but now has come to mean that problems are “all in your head”, as in imaginary and/ or self-inflicted.

They used to call women “hysterical” and thought it due to having a uterus that “wandered around the body”. Holy cows. Obviously I’m not hysterical. (Hell, I don’t even have my uterus or ovaries any more, due to cysts and endometriosis.) So now they say that women who have problems have “psychosomative disorders”.

The issues with my husband were not seen as his difficulties in accepting my disabilities, but as evidence of my mental disorder.

The near-depression I was facing was not from months of chronic insomnia and pain, but rather caused by my mental illness.

The documentation I had brought with me to aid the man in his understanding of my problems was not data, but symptoms of my mental illness.

I was seen as “attention-seeking” rather than as solution-seeking.

Shit like that can drive a person nutz.

The good news from all that was that I got a referral to a CAPD specialist who said that Yes, I definitely do have such problems, and could even recommend some concrete ways of dealing with the problem and gave me documentation for such. But it makes me wonder, if Dr S. couldn’t really diagnose such, why did he put me through tests for APD, and tests I didn’t need for ADHD?

Has it ever occurred to clinicians that many of their clients don’t exhibit stress symptoms due to having psychosomative disorders, but rather than having various (unacknowledged) disabilities will make a person stressed?

It’s all ass-backwards. Shit like that can drive a person nutz.

8 Comments

  1. David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said,

    18 January 2007 at 21:25

    “*The issues with my husband were not seen as his difficulties in accepting my disabilities, but as evidence of my mental disorder.
    *The near-depression I was facing was not from months of chronic insomnia and pain, but rather caused by my mental illness.
    *The documentation I had brought with me to aid the man in his understanding of my problems was not data, but symptoms of my mental illness.
    *I was seen as “attention-seeking” rather than as solution-seeking.
    *Shit like that can drive a person nutz.”

    This is one reason why I decided not to go into clinical training: clinicians very often cannot work beyond the person and look at the issues going off around that person.

    Not only is that sort of practice ‘arse-backwards’; it is also lazy, unprofessional and unethical.

    Sue the bastard in court.

    • Valerie said,

      31 January 2012 at 16:53

      what the hell..This is ricdiulous,we are supposed to protect our children. And children with disabilities have a hard time already, they don’t need anything else added to their situation.

  2. qw88nb88 said,

    7 December 2006 at 23:19

    Ballastexistenz said, “I was kind of frantic because of not being able to live in my home and stuff and survival-related crap. Other people interpreted this as a “mental illness” rather than stress.”

    Proof that SOME people will pathologise anything that one does! Facing the idea of being homeless is a Big Deal, no matter who you are. As Shinga points out, a lack of response to these sorts of major upheavals would be sign of an affective disturbance.

  3. qw88nb88 said,

    7 December 2006 at 23:14

    Shinga said, “Would it at all be a sign of an affective or other disorder if you had not responded to the hiccups in your education/social/work life in this way?”

    Pretty much. In any regard, it’s not so much “if” one responds to problems, but HOW one responds to problems that is the crux of the issue. When I began to suspect that my learning difficulties were related to various neurological glitches rather than being “lazy and stupid”, I persevered.

    When all was said-and-done, during graduate school I’d had major surgery due to the ovarian cysts & endometriosis, had taken a summer off from my 2 graduate-level stats classes and lab and field research (I was working on two different research projects simultaneously) because I had the Incredible Tireds from Mono & Lyme, and had taken off that other semester due to the insomnia & migraines & kidney stones & serious weight loss due to wheat intolerance. Despite all that (plus having to change major advisers due to faculty departures) I did finish my MSc, with a 3.4 GPA even. (And then all kinds of stuff happened on the home front — I must have had a really wicked faerie godmother to afflict me with such an interesting life.)

    Mum always did say I was stubborn, but I prefer to think of it as being tenacious!
    andrea

  4. Rose said,

    7 December 2006 at 21:32

    Maybe Professor S was projecting his own insecurities on you. (I took a psychology class in college…I “ought” to know…)

  5. Shinga said,

    7 December 2006 at 20:19

    Oh, good heavens.

    The above are symptoms of a mental disorder. Lack of the symptoms would also be evidence of a mental disorder. Does that about sum it up?

    Would it at all be a sign of an affective or other disorder if you had not responded to the hiccups in your education/social/work life in this way? Would that have been indicative of a flattening of emotion and response and therefore proof of a mental disorder?

    What do you mean that this sounds awfully like a Catch-22?

  6. Other Andrea said,

    7 December 2006 at 16:14

    Most good doctors LOVE when people bring in documentation. I mean, their eyes should light up with delight! What a nutcase that doctor must be.

    Glad you didn’t take “you crazy!” for an answer! You go!

  7. 7 December 2006 at 6:03

    Your last paragraph reminded me of a situation I was in where I was going to be on the streets for a bit (fortunately only a very short bit, it turned out, but I didn’t know that then). I was kind of frantic because of not being able to live in my home and stuff and survival-related crap. Other people interpreted this as a “mental illness” rather than stress.


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