Today I collected my medical records, I love reading up on all the information my doctors keep on me - to ensure it's accuracy and to learn more. My psychiatrist does a full report after overtime he sees me so there were a few long essays to read from him.
I have a massive regret, I wasn't ever honest about the extent of my illness. A lot of the reports had said I had said 'contradictory' things, I personally hated talking about how bad it was when I was depressed so a lot of the earlier reports are highly inaccurate of me. Only two doctors ever realised how bad my depression was, my CMHT wrote me off for crisis help when I probably most needed it - because I insisted I was fine. I hated the idea of being 'taken away' so whenever I felt I was being 'too honest' I'd hold back. Still to this day I play down some of my symptoms because i'm terrified my mental health team will take me out of my life and put me away in a hospital, but then it's difficult to get help if I don't tell them.
My reports also said about how I begged for a diagnosis - every - single - time. For me, I needed to know what was wrong, get it medicated then I could get back to life. I originally was referred as I feared I had a personality disorder, but Bipolar Affective Disorder was the finishing diagnosis - and the term was flung around a lot so overtime I'd attend an appointment - I'd say: Am I Bipolar then?
Not because I ever wanted to be bipolar, but I wanted to have a full diagnosis - so I could get the right medication and help. It was important for me to move on with my life.
Reading these reports brings back memories of myself and fully documents the up and down moods I had - with my low mood filled with anxiety: diagnosed anxiety disorder (I think the type was undetermined?) and with my high moods there was a lot of grandiose and disguising as histrionic personalty disorder.
I'm actually excited to next see my psychiatrist as I feel my mood is really normal. Other than the hallucinations - hopefully I'll receive a new medication. I feel like for the first time he'll get to speak to me and not a character of ill health.
I want to say, after reading through all my records - two very important things. Number one: Don't be afraid to ask for your medical records - you can see them for free or you can buy a printed version (mine is always £20) it's good to make sure information is accurate. One doctor reported that I said I had an auntie with personality disorder, when it was an auntie of a friend, meaning my whole mental health team honed in on this imaginary auntie with a personality disorder.
Second thing, don't ever play down how you feel to the doctor. The doctors caught my inconsistencies out - I'd tell them how bad it is then back up like "well it's not that bad". They aren't there to judge you, they're there for your illness. Some of their stuff reported in mental illness is kinda hurtful, but keep in mind they're judging your illness not you!
So YOU don't take what they say too seriously - it's your illness not you; here are some funny excerpts from my reports from my moments of feeling "high":
"Presentation clearly indicates some personality issues - looking for approval and self confidence with eccentricity and self centred attitudes. She presents with eccentricity close to histrionic personality disorder with emotion dysregulation. Her general presentation could be prodrome of psychosis"
"She presented as histrionic with self-dramatisation and theatricality with a lot of gestures, sitting and changing the position of her hands and legs making some inaccurate positions, asking a lot of questions"
"My general impression is that there are features of immaturity, emotional dysregulation close to emotionally unstable PD with histrionic features although I did not mention this to the patient." AND HE NEVER DID, TALK ABOUT SURPRISES IN MY RECORDS
"At times during our conversation it was felt that she laughed inappropriately and smiled through odd statements. Her speech was quite rapid and pressured at times."
It's peculiar what kind of human being I can become during mood swings! I hope this enlightens you a little on what 'mania' looks like to others. My 'high' looked like a serious personality disorder, very peculiar how all this assessing works.
Have any of you ever gotten to read your reports?
Oh and to end this on a funny note, here is my GP examination of me:
"Well Kempt, tights with panda bear motif, quite aloof, little reaction when discussing behaviour"
Shout out to the panda bear tights!