Have you ever heard a doctor say “well, you seem to have very acute stages of cancerous cells. Unfortunately, our regulations tell us that all individuals who shall be treated for cancer must meet a list of criteria, and you fail to do so”. Surely you have not. Yet, for some reason, when it comes to mental health, that is very much the case.
Yesterday, I got a called at 1PM from my doctors office asking that I come in to speak with the doctor later that day. I did. We weighed me, and I am happy to say that I have gained a few pounds since last time (which was roughly four weeks, seven slices of cake and two gelatos ago), took my blood pressure and height, then began to discuss with me our plans for improvement.
All was going fine until he said this:
“Now, I don’t know if you’ll meet the criteria”…
Then, I started to cry. I had plans to be completely level-headed and unemotional during this whole ordeal. But to hear that I might not be bad enough (which, let’s face it, no matter how you spin it… that’s the bottom line here) was difficult. I felt like I had failed in some odd, psychotic way; I felt as if that dream school I longed to get into had just sent to me a rejection letter, signed and sealed .Then I began to defend myself. He questioned me on if I took laxatives, or if I ever partake in self-induced vomiting. I did not lie, but to say the idea was not tempting would cause me to. As a girl who has spent the past five or so years dealing with this, hearing anything that could hinder my chance to get peace was absolutely heartbreaking.
I guess I just do not understand the difference between mental illness and physical illness. I suppose it is true, currently I am not dealing with any severe day-to-day activities, but I would not go so far as to say my day-to-day life remains unaffected. However in order for me to get the help that I truly deserve, or need. So much for nipping it in the bud, ya?
For all of you who are not familiar with the DSM-5 (now), it is the (get ready) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders. Currently we’re on edition five, which is really like edition seven because DSM-3 and DSM-4 we’re both revised. Essentially, a large group of scholarly doctors get together and create a list of criteria for each mental disorder known to man. By doing this first, a collection of symptoms becomes diagnostic and testable. Second, it gives doctors a base on which to evaluate their patients. If you don’t have X amount of the list within the disorder of OCD, you do not have it and will therefore not be diagnosed for OCD. Furthermore, the DSM is divided into five different sections. The first two are actual disorders (axis one focusing on all mental issues excluding personality disorders and any mental complexities like down’s syndrome or autism, etc) and the last three are other factors (physical health, environmental factors and the overall ability to cope with day-to-day activities). Should you fail to meet the criteria, you – as previously explained – will not be diagnosed with X syndrome.
Now, enough with the psychology lesson. Essentially, I completely understand why it is important to use such an approach to properly diagnose. So many people are unhappy and they look for an explanation that justifies themselves, when really they’re just upset. This is a great approach to limiting the amount of people who just feel… down.
But then I question myself this:
Why don’t those people deserve just as much help?
Let’s look at it this way: You’re sad, you feel alone or worthless, but you don’t want to kill yourself. You feel like no one understands you; no one cares about you, but you’re too afraid to cut yourself. You push yourself everyday to put on a smile and act perfectly content, but spend the evenings crying. In most situations, you’re healthy, you’re successful and you are globally OK, yet you’re life is missing something. Perhaps, you’re alone. Perhaps, you’re feeling unchallenged, or complacent. Yet, you’re not a severe enough a case to reach a specific agreement diagnostically. Should you have to just live life that way? Or, should you be able to gain access to some form of help, without having to spend an arm and a leg to get it?
This concept only furthered my desires for my future goals, which, albeit, have been a bit skewed. But essentially, my goal(s) are to help those who are forgotten about. Women and girls, mainly. The ones who are not exactly ‘mentally ill’, but lonely, or sad or confused; the ones who are stressed, or lacking in self-confidence. In work, school, or their overall life. With my growing interest in human resources and my passions for helping women, my dream would be to one day work for an organization to help promote wellness for women in the work place, as well as, personally allow women to grow. While I am not saying I wouldn’t love to one day opening up a yoga studio and wellness center, for now I want to focus on working to help woman in their professional and personal lives in any way I can.
A person should never feel like they can’t get help.
And I will do what I can to make sure everyone I meet will reach the goals that desire.
Starting with Me:
1. To get my BA in Psychology with a Human Resource management Certification.
2. Get certified as a Life/Career Coach
3. Eat without fear.
4. Reconnect with the YWCA, helping in more areas
5. Do more yoga and barre work outs. Try some walking workouts. No more plyometrics.
6. Get both 200H and 500H yoga teaching credentials
7. Get into baking, again. You’ve been craving it for some time now.
Alright. Let’s go. :)