Have I been given a wrong diagnosis after being labeled with a schizoaffective disorder for 40 years? Long story short, I was molested by three different men, starting when I was 4 years old.
I am a trauma survivor of a date rape when I was 23. Six months after the rape I experienced my first breakdown. For over ten years I was hospitalized six times. Each time I was dating someone different, and I did not tell my doctors or therapists I had been raped. I was given Mellerill for 40 years and did well.
There was a period after these hospitalizations where I did not take medication for almost 5 years and had no significant problems. I dated a doctor eventually and began medication again. The relationship was not good for me. I graduated from Tulane and worked and enjoyed my chosen field of radiology.
When I was hospitalized, I finally told of my molestation, and it was in the hospital where I was trained as a radiology technologist. My mother and cousins were also molested by this same family member, and when I told of the molestation my mother began to cry. At that time I was not allowed to speak of it in the group, and was never asked again about it by anyone taking care of me.
I wondered how I could excel in my career, life and health with such a dreadful diagnosis. I began questioning my diagnosis after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. After 25 years of a healthy life, I had a breakdown. My mother had died six months before Katrina hit and my husband and I moved to a nearby city. I couldn't remain in a city I loved and see the destruction.
We moved to a nearby city, and one year later I was admitted into the local hospital psych unit. Reliving my rape and telling everyone about it seemed like it happened yesterday. I had a wonderful doctor who saved my life during that traumtic hospital stay. However, I believe I am suffering from PTSD. I would like to get off some of the meds for schzioaffective disorder.
I am a very high functioning person, but to tell you the truth, I feel that medication is not always necessary and sometimes inhibits the growth of an individual. I have had long hospitalizations, three to four months at a time. A total of two and a half years of my life spent strapped down and given shots to calm me down, but at times I feel all these things re-traumatized my spirit, body and soul.
I have retired from radiology because of a bad L5-S1 and am now a Peer Support Specialist. I have always sought wellness for myself; I surround myself with positive people, loving others as myself and giving back as much as possible. But, I am not sure God's plans for me is to continue encouraging others in the old way mental health was viewed in the 70's.
I am not comfortable with the entire way mental illness was and is still looked at by people I encounter and work with. I would like to make a difference to help others' lives trying to survive and thrive despite their diagnosis. But, with a diagnosis many people just lay down and give up! I never did and never will!
I think we are doing a injustice to the ones we serve when we put them in a box, keeping them there with no hope for reaching their highest potential. I have many friends in my community where they're surviving, not living. They live for their SSI or disability check and want nothing more for themselves or others.
We have created people without hope, life, or willingness to try and recover! We offer them welfare and they cannot see beyond that! I am blessed, no matter what they say my diagnosis is, that I never looked at my mental illness as a disability, but a chance to prove to others that if I can succeed and so can they! Maybe not the same goals, but to give life and breath to their goals!
You ask people suffering with mental illness and they don't have goals. Why don't we ask them that? Why was I never asked that in the hospital? I wanted to be a doctor before I was raped. I was in pre-med in the fall of 1973, after becoming a registered radiology technologist, and that fall semester I was raped. Was it God's will for me to be a Doctor?
I am now a PSS helping individuals trying to survive their diagnosis of mental illness. I'm coming to terms with that and becoming healthy and whole with hopes and dreams like everyone else. God Bless you for all you do. I wish you good health and wellness as you fulfill all your goals and dreams!
It is absolutely possible that 40 years ago you were incorrectly diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Misdiagnoses occur each and every day, which is why I urge people to get second and even third opinions if they have any doubts.
I agree that often a diagnosis can cause one to give up their dreams by thinking they could never accomplish anything with a psychiatric diagnosis. That is one of the reasons I wrote my book. You have overcome much, Judi, and your concern for others is both uplifting and commendable. As you can see in Doctors Who Misdiagnosed Me Have Ruined My Life and Liz May Not Be Depressed After All, errors do occur.