I'm having a day where I feel unheard and misunderstood, one of many in this life so far. Some days I don't have the energy to rehash my "situation" for those who should know better 100-times-over, and so I turn to the strength of the email below.
My mom received this from an old friend of hers, and it was so moving and powerful for me to read last night. Only the misdiagnosed really understand the true depth of upset during these situations. And as the author points out, being diagnosed with something still so unknown doesn't exactly make for the easiest life.
"She is amazing. I don't know how she keeps up with all the things she is doing . . . It is exciting that she is studying to be a therapist. Tell her she can practice on me. I see a therapist once a week. Both my son C. and I have Bipolar Disorder. It is a problem with the parts of your brain that regulate your emotions. You swing from extremely high to extremely low in cycles. Luckily, we have the milder form of the disorder, which is know as bipolar II. The bummer is that with bipolar II, you spend much more time at the depressed end of the spectrum than in bipolar I. Not that I wish to have that, because bipolar I can land you in the psych ward at the hospital. The treatment is a combination of therapy and medication (mood stabilizers sometimes in combination with antidepressants). Since Rachel is studying to be a therapist, she can tell you more about it.
I can sympathize with Rachel on getting a much delayed diagnosis of her Sensory Processing Disorder. Tell her, if it makes her feel any better, that I was just recently (three months ago at 59 (!) yrs old) diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. Since my first episode at 17 and throughout my life, they told me it was depression, wrong!!! I told you that we had lots of problems with C. as a child and teen. The bipolar is why, only we didn't know it then. We took him to all kinds of doctors and therapists, but they never figured it out. In those days, they didn't think children developed Bipolar Disorder. C. was diagnosed only two years ago. He told me, 'Mom, this is what I had all the time when I was a kid.' As I'm sure you know, dealing with Rachel's mysterious symptoms when she was growing up as I did with C., finding out what is actually the matter is a big relief, even though the problem still exists and always will. Turns out C. probably inheirited it from me because it tends to run in families. The ironic thing is that they were finally able to diagnose me correctly, partially based upon the fact that C. had it too. Usually, it is the other way around.
I had never heard of Sensory Processing Disorder before. I looked it up on the web and from what it looks like, it is not very well known by most people. Hopefully, as time goes on, it will be. It must have been terrible for Rachel to be told she had Panic Disorder when it wasn't that at all. When you are misdiagnosed, you keep wondering why the treatments you take aren't working. You begin to think that you must be doing something wrong, that it is your fault that you're not getting better. Very frustrating to say the least. I'm glad she was finally able to find treatments that can help her. I am very impressed by the fact that she has achieved all she has despite having such a difficult problem to deal with. Most people wouldn't be able to do that well even without the extra issues. Tell her I think she is amazing!"