Thursday, 7 May 2020

Getting a Diagnosis

Getting a diagnosis can be an important step in your recovery. It can help you to identify what you're dealing with and lead to possible medications or therapies. However, getting a correct diagnosis can sometimes be a problem. Sometimes your GP can make a diagnosis but at other times you might require more specialist mental health advice e.g. from a psychiatrist. Mental health issues can be complicated and often there may be more than one illness involved. Classically, anxiety and depression work as a team.

In 2015, I was diagnosed with psychotic depression. This was a correct diagnosis but it didn't take into account the severe anxiety which had led to the depression in the first place. For seven years prior to my breakdown, I had been suffering from increasing levels of anxiety. In the Spring of 2015 this anxiety literally went off-the-scale. It felt like someone had turned the dial up to 11 and then the dial had snapped off. Faced with this acute level of anxiety my body/mind had little choice but to nose-dive into depression. I crashed down big time. But the anxiety which caused the crash remained as a kind of background radiation. Even today I experience my depression as a kind of anxiety in the chest. As a result, my actual diagnosis only tells half the story.

Another problem, as I have already highlighted in this blog, is that depression is a mysterious illness. Even if someone tells you you have depression. What does this mean exactly? Depression, as we know, comes in all shapes and sizes and can be a tricky customer. However, a diagnosis may be a starting point for understanding your illness. But, at the same time, we also need to be a bit cautious with labels.