Can People With Mental Health Diagnoses Ever Trust Their Own Feelings?

Yesterday’s post, I was feeling secure in my realization that Trintellix had caused my disorders to become worse (and this is very common with anti-depressants, especially when on a two med regimine)…Today I am filled with fear and self doubt. As the calendar nears my appointment with Dr. B in two weeks, I find myself riddled with self doubt because the psych nurse seemed to doubt my sincerity, as well as the severity of my disorders, so it has trickled down and made me question myself, my motives, my ability to view things objectively without my sporadic wrong thoughts tainting my perceptions and feelings
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It isn’t merely the mental health professionals who constantly make us doubt ourselves, either. We are constantly barraged with relatives and friends and basic acquaintances all too quick to negate their own rude behavior by blaming our hurt feelings or sense of disrespect by blaming our disorders and invalidating whatever emotions we have by saying we’ve distorted it.

So with so much going against us, how can we ever trust our own feelings?

I struggle with this on a daily basis. I am not a weak willed person. My school life was living hell filled with verbal abuse and even physical bullying yet I never backed down to become what they expected me to be. I liked what I liked, popular or not, and I was stubborn to the very end. I never changed who I was at my core, on the outside in my fashion style nor on the inside where I felt bullies were wastes of oxygen and far weaker than I could ever. Over the years, I have held tough to these views against complete adversity. So I am not one easily swayed.

However, when it comes to my thought disorder and anxiety issues…I falter and second guess and doubt myself and wonder if others aren’t right. That no feeling I have is ever legitimae, that the masses are right and I am the one in the wrong because so many people mitigate responsibility for their shitty behavior by placing blame on me for being ‘crazy’. What doesn’t help is the fact that often, my perceptions are amplified and turn out to be wrong or simply less of a problem when my mood cycles rapidly.

When you have a mental health professional who seems skeptical and does nothing to help you when you feel you are in crisis (if you don’t claim suicidal or homicidal ideation, it’s damn near impossible to get into even a day program)…self doubt takes over and because we are programmed from an early age to hold doctors in high regard as if they can never do any wrong…It’s a hellish way to live your life and certainly cause for questioning whether the effort to take the meds and seek the care are worthwhile.

Counseling, what the docs and nurse consider necessary, served only to confuse me more when new counselors decided three sessions in I had a new personality disorder. Which if they are right, I spent 20 years working on fixing traits of my previous diagnosis when all along I was Disorder X so now I have to start all over again…and lather, rinse, repeat, for when the next doc or therapist comes along and decides to slap me with yet another new label. It’s frustrating, maddening, it wreaks havoc on your self esteem and makes it nearly impossible to trust yourself.

What has become my bottom line however is that these professionals spend very little time with me, they don’t care about mitigating circumstances, they don’t care how the merry go round of counselors with all their different biases damage our minds and self esteem even more. They don’t know us. And if they can’t take time to get to know us to make our treatment more effective, then the only thing left to trust, for better or worse, is ourselves. We live with ourselves 24-7, we suffer the endless cycles of being up, being down, being stable.

And what has become clear to me, without the aid of any professional, is that if something is still bothering me a couple of weeks later after multiple mood shifts…then I can pretty much trust that that particular feeling is for real. Otherwise, it would have passed with the mood swings. Learning this is a huge sign of how much I have grown and how much self awareness I have gained.

Maybe many of my behaviors are personalty related. Maybe much of it amounts to bad medication cocktails or endless rapid cycling mixed with long depressive bouts during the winter, Maybe it’sa combination of everything.

I know I cannot keep going through life in perpetual self doubt. There is no way I was stronger as a bullied 14 year old who was powerless to escape the bad situation.

Self doubt is what seeking treatment for my disorders got me. Counseling made me full of self doubt and confused me even more than my disorders. Do I give up on it or do I keep fighting to find my happy medium?

Positive reinforcement can go a long way but when I am not even getting that from the people who are supposed to help me…and I have felt this way for months and months and made every effort to be fair and not overreact simply because psych nurse’s bedside manner doesn’t suit me…

I’ve got no choice but to trust myself. Because I know I am honest, sincere, and dedicated to getting better. I cannot allow some bad experiences defeat me from my goal of emotional balance. I don’t know what the answer is but I’d say started with removing negative anxiety inducing people from my life is a good start. If they don’t give me empathy and the benefit of the doubt…

There is no reason for me to reciprocate. Of this, I am certain.

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