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When I was in seventh grade, I was pulling my hair out. By the time I got to eighth grade, I’d stopped hair pulling. After a friend said something that made me sad and my mother found me sobbing on my bed, she sent me to a therapist.
At this point, here was my diagnosis and medication combination. All diagnoses are in order of most to least important.
In a matter of months, I was hospitalized following a suicide attempt. This is when my diagnoses and medications really broke open. I was introduced to a top notch psychiatrist and diagnostician who assessed my entire medical history, physical and psychiatric, and diagnosed me with a few more things and put me on quite a few medications. To the best of my memory and knowledge, this is what they were.
I was so impressed by this doctor, who worked with the hospital I was at, that I was treated by them for several more years after my hospital stay. By the time I stopped working with them, which was about a year ago, much had changed. I’d been traumatized and had developed a severe eating disorder. He put me on an antipsychotic that severely dehydrated me and, ultimately, didn’t work. Here’s where I was going into the hospital, more recently (one year ago). Again, the order in which the diagnoses were prioritized in treatment is first to last, most to least.
It was a struggle for me to find my voice during this time. My doctor was brilliant but they didn’t listen to some of my more important concerns about my medication, diagnoses, and general direction of my treatment. Ultimately they met with my new team at my most recent hospitalization, on campus, to sort things out. This is what my team settled on.
Finally, I settled at where I am now. I started working with the psychologist that I worked with during my 2018 summer hospitalization. My diagnoses are the same as the image above, prioritized in the order of the image above, and I’m on the above medications. I’m on a few more physical medications, some I take sparingly, and I am in recovery from dermatillomania but only by a bit, so I excluded it from the list. My doses have all been upped from their original state, and I finally feel as if I’ve found the right place for me, in both diagnostic and medicated respects.
I wish I’d been on this cocktail and diagnosed with these things the moment I needed them, and the moment they happened. Often, mentally ill folks aren’t immediately “figured out,” or given the best medication and diagnoses in order to have the best chance in recovery. My best advice is to advocate loudly for yourself. Unless you’re under eighteen, have issues with lying, or are somewhat immature, you should be given a say in your own diagnoses and medications, at least somewhat (and even under eighteens often are). Say how you feel, describe what you’re experiencing as accurately and fully as you can. Your treatment will be more effective because of it, and you’ll feel better.