The Wayfarer's Creed

A relief, or not

Posted on: 6 August 2007

Been going to a psychologist the past couple of weeks to get some of my issues sorted out.  And she’s put me through a Rorschah inkblot test, the TOVA, an MMPI, and I got my diagnosis today!  Apparently I am so blessed as to have ADHD and clinical depression wrapped into one.  While I don’t like the results, it is I guess a bit of a relief to know what specifically is wrong.  Of course now we have to treat which makes me very leary.  She has suggested medication which I don’t really want to do.  Honestly, I’m afraid of what might happen. The medications that treat these things are not exactly known as being the safest things and then I have a fear that I might lose myself in the process. Anybody ever read the play Equus by Peter Shaffer?  It’s this that comes to my mind.  The tests show that I am unique. 60% of my respones on the inkblot were not typical.  Do I want to be normal? Is it worth it?

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7 Responses to "A relief, or not"

Found you through kiva.org, saw your blog and had to respond.

Clinical depression is our family’s genetic heritage so I have experience with it from several vantage points. I’m always amazed at how some people identify so closely with their condition as to think medication will make them not themselves. My father was less himself on his medications in the 1970’s and 80’s because, I think, they resembled nothing so much as Valium, but the drugs are far better today.

For me, diagnosed and treated in the ’90s, I returned to myself with Prozac, back from the exhausted young mother, unable to problem solve. My sons at various points have needed medication. It help one son be himself, the young pillar of his church, competitive player of both bridge and Magic–the Gathering, and bass singer, not the much more common type of young man: social isolate, video game addict, junk food junkie, one who couldn’t pass his math courses, couldn’t even go to math class (Despite the 780 on SAT Math). The other son on medication is fond of sports, does well in school, has lots of friends, and takes initiative to get the oil changed in his mom’s car. Without it, he was more like a stereotype; angry, drug-abusing, lonely, and self-destructive.

As for safety, antidepressants are associated with suicide because 1) they are prescribed for suicidal people (Insulin is associated with diabetic coma for the same reason) and 2) at the very bottom of the pit a depressed person can’t make a plan and carry it out. On the way up or down, they can so those are the most dangerous moments. And, remember, eventually depressives will come up on their own without medication or supervision.

For all four of us, even my dad, depression robbed us of our unique “non normal” qualities long before medication was even considered. Beyond the efforts to hold onto our particular personalities, however, medication allows us to hold onto our lives. Most people will eventually recover from depression “flare,” I think two years is the normal period in the pit without medication or treatment. Problem is that 20% of people never get out because they die there of suicide or poor judgment. Did you know that depression impairs your judgment? Just as grief impairs a widow’s so she’s told not to sell the family home or business for at least a year.

It has long term negative effects on your ability to form new memories, too, because lack of serotonin makes the hippocampus shrink. Without medication, you could forget what your own “normal” is like. I almost had.

Thank you so much for your insight into this. It’s good to hear from somebody who has actually been through the experience. Because while my psychologist may know all that she’s supposed to know, does she actually have the personal experience that lends so much more insight into the issue?

Wayfarer:

I have a 12 year old son who was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Part of his autism included ADHD. The doctors had him on medication for years. We took him off the medication about a year ago and have replaced them with nutrional supplements. There has been a significant improvement in him since then.

My teenage daughter has a friend in high school who was diagnosed with ADHD and he was taking medication for years. He recently stopped taking his medication and his behavior, according to my daughter, has improved as well.

I’m not a doctor- thank God for that. but I do have some experience with people who have been treated for clinical depression and ADHD or similar conditions with medication. All I can say is be very careful. These drugs, as with so many other prescriptuin pharmaceuticals, can cause more problems than they cure. As an alternative, find a good naprapath and see if they can recommend some nutritional supplements or changes in your diet that could help with your so-called psychological problems. It seems that a lot of our health, both physical and psychological, issues stem from poor nutrition.

Peace!

John

Again, thanks for the insight. I did end up going on Ritalin for the time being, to at least try it and see how I react.

And by the way, (I didn’t realize I had neglected this) the specific diagnosis was ADHD inattentive type. From what I’ve gathered, this basically means that I have ADD, but apparently they no longer recognize that.

Have you heard of Dr. Edward Hallowell? He’s ADHD himself and has written a lot about it. I appreciate his approach to it…and to life itself (I especially love his book “Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul.”

Thanks for the recommendation. I’ll try to fit him in to my reading schedule.

Wayfarer:

If you value your health and sanity, I would MAKE the time to do some research on alternatives to the pharmaceutical poisons your therapist prescribed. I know only too well what those kinds of drugs do to the human body. I lost a sister-in-law to them.

The blogosphere would not be the same without you. I, for one, would truly miss you.

Peace!

John

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