Sunday, 7 February 2010

Description or Diagnosis? Part One.

I've been meaning to write this post for a long time, but the prospect of it has always seemed like hard work. Let me begin with some personal reminiscences, and maybe I'll be able to get down to the nitty-gritty afterwards.

I am a manic-depressive. I know that because a doctor and a psychiatrist took all of ten minutes to write it down on their piece of paper. As far as I'm concerned, that gives me all the holy and most apostolic rights and privileges of a manic-depressive, until they declare otherwise. That is as far as it goes, and as far as I'm concerned.

A set of 'symptoms', or complaints, or just a shaking, sobbing wreck veering from muteness and being unable to talk unless it sounds like a thousand words vomiting from the lips... or veering into archaic, cutting and vilely humourous and pompous replies when my brain was calm enough to get words out in a string instead of a polyphonous bfdsafsfdscgcgsgccgh...

Well, I can't blame them for their initial description of me. After all, they saw me at a bad time. Probably one of my worst times, if I disregard the times when I was worse after they put me on some of their pills which made me worse. (Manic + low-quetiapine dose = more manic, despite the initial sleep. Google it if you don't believe me.)

However, I still maintain that they applied their clinical description to me. A shorthand. "Oh yes, Giles, I'd say he fits most of the criteria for manic-depression, don't you?" "Oh yes, Josephine, definitely a classic mixed-state." "Ok, shall I write him up, or shall you?" "Oh I don't mind? Where shall we go for supper?" "I think the little inn down the road has a Michelin Star." "No, no, I think you'll find they've had it struck off..." "Oh, damned shame..."

It has nothing to do with the reality of me. All they had to go on was the apparent me of the me of me at that particular minute.

There are many symptoms. In fact there is a nice and tidy little bag of not-too-many symptoms (well quite a few really, but really not too many) according to the literature. And depending on which ones fit the face on the day, and the bias of the person ticking the boxes, determines whether they say schizophrenia, manic-depression, or psychotic-depression. (I know there are others too. I'm limiting myself to the 'psychoses', if that is alright with you lot. Else I'd be here all night.)

What are these symptoms. Let's just list them all jumbled up. And I might throw in one or two of the 'symptoms' the doctors use in their internal debate (although it is debatable that they are conscious that they are even considering them): symptoms never mentioned in the literature.

Part Two to follow. But I have to sleep. Need to get up early. Children being dropped back. A friend's birthday lunch to attend. And shopping to do beforehand. Take care all, Dx

p.s. Watch this: Mozart, the Magic Flute. Watch all of it (only 6 minutes). The best bit is when they tear each other's clothes off near the end.

ok, so seven and a half.


chaosandcontrol said...

I look forward to reading Part Two.

Kate said...

Great post. Not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Look forward to part two too (but not Desmond).