May 192017

Let me get serious for a moment. How are you going? How are you feeling? How have you been sleeping? Have thoughts been going in circles? Do thoughts go to places you don’t want them to? Are you doing things you really don’t want to do? Are you thinking things you really don’t want to be thinking? Do you feel like you are drowning, or just don’t fit into this world?

Mental health is real health care. A diagnosis is not a label that defines a person, but approached properly, becomes the key to a chest full of appropriate tools. I recommend carefully completing all of the applicable the screenings on Mental Health America’s page to begin to establish a baseline for where you are at. (Unless restricted by age, do all of them at least once.)

Repeating the Depression and Anxiety screenings regularly can be a useful for monitoring yourself for more objective anxiety or depression levels. These screens can help you see trends in your feelings before you become conscious of them.

I just don’t fit in. Why did they do that? How is it that I keep messing up? Being social just exhausts me. I will take a book over a party anyday. Sometimes I feel like a different species to everyone else. I don’t get when people say one thing, but do another. Why can’t you just tell me what’s wrong?

In our adult population, especially a Generation X and baby boomers, there are a significant number of people struggling with their place in life, who are actually undiagnosed in the autism spectrum disorder. As adults, most have learned coping skills and covering skills, but they are exhausting masks to wear, and inevitably lead to anxiety and depression,… inevitably.

This is a 50 question screening which is a very good initial screen. When answering the questions, take time to think them through carefully. This quiz is about your native, natural, unmodified ability and understanding. Please discount training or adaptation. For example, if you have studied facial action coding to understand facial emotions, but would otherwise be essentially lost some or most of the time without that knowledge, answer for the native self. Think carefully about how the things being questioned actually are/were. Many times, in answering these quizzes quickly, the behavioural adaptations do the answering, not the person underneath.

If you find yourself in the borderline or positive ASD range, this rDos test is far more comprehensive in analysing what areas are neurotypical or neurodiverse (ASD). It is important to stress that this is a spectrum disorder, meaning that no two people will experience ASD in the same way. There are commonalities that are relatively consistently experienced to some degree by many within the ASD spectrum. Many with ASD live seemingly very successful lives, but they are also quietly desperate and drowning on the inside, using alcohol, drugs, sex, hobbies or work to distract from the inner turmoil and confusion.

Another relatively common but incredibly impactful condition is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This comes from long term trauma, like child abuse, and abusive relationship, etc. Even if you don’t feel that this applies to you, I recommend doing this screening at least once. Be brutally honest with yourself, and do not consider what the answer might mean to you, just answer as authentically as possible.

If you have concern with any of your results, please seek a good professional to discuss those results to see if there are measures you can take to make your life far easier.

This page is going to be updated with more resource links and information. please check back now and then to see the latest additions. Once the page is relatively finalized, this notice will be deleted.

Blessings and peace to all.

>>> Return to the articles home page. <<<

May 192017

This is a discussion examining our industrialised world’s phobia of attaching a diagnosis, or labels, to a personal problem.

In medicine, a diagnosis is required to accurately and effectively address a specific condition. There is no use treating all chest infections in the same way. Using an anti-bacterial medication on a fungal or viral infection will simply complicate things. When it comes to our mental processes, the same rules apply.

There are two primary and linked reasons that mental illness is not presented for professional diagnosis. The first is based on the stigma that still pervades most societies around mental illness. An idea that regards mental illness as somehow weak. Why? It is fear of the unseen and unknowable. We can do a pathology test for a bacteria, identify it, prescribe an appropriate antibiotic, and it is all but over already. We hardly need to be present for the process to be effective. Mental illness is an invisible pathogen. That makes it scary to the base social animal that we all are.

The second reason is a misplaced fear/refusal to be ‘defined’ by a label. This, again, is a product of the stigmatization of mental illness. When a diagnosis is reached in medicine, it is a good thing. A specific issue has been identified, and by common experience, the likely manifestations of the issue, and a solid treatment plan has already been made available within the act of the diagnosis. Mental illness is no different.

Let’s get past the misconception that diagnosis of a mental illness is a lifetime sentence. Yes, some issues are physical problems; hard wiring or genetic issues that are not approachable by mind therapy processes. Example: no amount of psychotherapy is going to solve a base cerebral palsy or autism issue. It can help integrate that person into society, but can not treat the base physical issue/s.

Acquired issues like burnout, PTSD, anxiety, depression, abandonment issues, post abuse issues; these are the things that carry unnecessary stigma, and are by no means lifetime issues. Untreated, the issues can affect a lifetime. Worked on, these issues offer keys into our deeper and more authentic, freer selves.

Why is a diagnosis so useful? Take PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for our example. In understanding the diagnosis of PTSD, we can reasonably predict a spectrum of likely and probable manifestations of that PTSD in the personality. For example, more often than not, the underlying personality is going to be one of ‘balanced pessimism’ with a fated optimism overlay [pursuing the good, whilst not being able to see it actually ending well, nor to feel anything but a foiled end result approaching.] This person is likely to actively avoid and reject pleasure as they more greatly trigger the feelings of the approaching ill fated ending, falling into distractions of often superfluous routine. Everything about the PTSD model shows a condition that will aggressively fight to remain hidden and in effect, destroying relationships [better to hurt now, than later], frustrating plans [it will all be for naught in the end], and pushing away intimacy [this is too close, triggering association of present with previous wounds and wounders].

Contrast this against chronic burnout, and the anticipated manifestations will be materially different. The burnout base personality is more often a core decisive optimist with a heavy blanket of inertia and pessimism overlaying all thought processes. Instead of being fated to fail, as in PTSD’s complex, things could work out very well and possibilities are clearly seen, but the initial obstacles feel so overwhelming that to take the first step is almost physically painful. There is a weight of things that are waiting to go wrong on any new project or thing. In burnout, it feels like there are always vultures and jackals nearby, watching you closely, waiting.

In burnout, one is always waiting for the next avalanche and doing as much as can be done to prevent it happening, as opposed to PTSD’s wanting to believe it won’t happen, but knowing that it eventually will; leading to thoughts of ‘all of this effort will be wasted, so its barely worth the effort to start’. As you can see, PTSD tends to manifest differently at many levels. Regardless of the diagnosis, this is where labels are so useful.

All issues have their own profiles. A base depressive person without PTSD or burnout needs a different approach and needs different help when in the grips of a bottom-out. Someone with dominant anxiety issues will need a different approach again from one driven by BiPolar manic anxiety issues. Diagnostic labels are useful.

Here is the part where care is required. Labels are useful tools, but they do not define an identity. The moment a label defines a person’s identity, it becomes a mask, overlaying and hiding the base issues under another layer of sound-bite riddled murk and muck. To understand one’s self as having chronic burnout allows identification and familiarization with that condition’s manifestations. In turn, these understandings allow awareness’s to be cultivated, tools to be learned and used. A good diagnosis allows issues to be dealt with effectively.

Illustration: To be a person with an addiction, and to personally identify as an addict, is vastly different in energy from someone identifying as a person who has an addiction issue. In exploring the person first, the label no longer defines that person, but describes a condition currently in effect in that person.

The diagnosis is critical, because the personal connection issues of an Asperger’s adult will be vastly different to the connection issues of a person with a substance addiction.

All effective internal explorations will focus on this as a key concept. You are you first. Once you know who you are, then any temporary labels can not define you, but describe aspects of you. In understanding what behaviors and characteristics are issue driven, and not a part of you, you have a chance to effect real change. When you can identify the symptoms to be ignored, or signs of a process commencing that is pathology driven, you can dig deep underneath, getting into the deepest roots of an issue.

You are not a label, but a label may also be an applicable and appropriate tool for a time. Rather than pushing against a diagnosis, embrace it in the same way medicine embraces a diagnosis. It is a tool offering vast associated trial and error experience, and offers any resulting tried and tested measures that have been shown to work. Without catering to the over-diagnosis issues of the current industrialized worlds, identification of base conditions offer a far shorter path to effective treatment.

In summary: Mental illness, like physical illness, requires accurate diagnosis to best design and customize treatment plans. The stigma of a diagnosis, and the personal identification of a diagnosis tend to prevent many people seeking accurate assessment. With an accurate diagnosis, a treatment plan can be set up based on common experiences and results in many others with the same or similar conditions active. The important thing is to not identify as a diagnosis, but as a person with a diagnosis. All treatment is about getting back to the authentic person, without the diagnosis.

>>> Return to the articles home page. <<<