Edited by TOT, 19 March 2013 - 05:05 PM.
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Posted 10 February 2013 - 09:55 PM
Yes. I have the same problem. Lots of people do. I've always referred to it as being high functioning. How I feel inside has very little to do with the way I look or carry myself. To know how I feel, you have to listen to my words. If I say I feel like crap then that's how I feel. If I'm sitting there dressed, clean, and going to work, that does not mean everything in my head is fine. Looks can be deceiving.
It has been two years since one of the best people that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing passed away. He was strong, intelligent, caring, and honest. I had the honor of calling him Daddy. I will miss both my parents for as long as I live. I hope that I can be even half as good of a spouse, parent, and friend as the two of them were. Life is now forever changed for me. It will never be like it was. That doesn't mean it will all be bad, it will just be different.
Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:06 PM
Posted 10 February 2013 - 10:32 PM
Posted 11 February 2013 - 12:30 PM
I wouldn't be thrown by it in your records. Noting that your affect is incongruent doesn't mean or imply you're lying. It's just an observation - one that psychiatrists are supposed to make. Sort of like how your GP is supposed to take and note your BP. It's a data point.There are all sorts of reasons your affect could be incongruent to what you say. Sometimes it can be a symptom.
But the fact that it's noted over and over by different people makes me think maybe it's not so subtle. Maybe it's more than just not crying. Maybe you seem upbeat or even cheerful? That would be a clearly "incongruent" affect if you're having suicidal thoughts. And it's important to note - because in some cases it could mean a mixed state or whatever.
The last thing you want is for a doctor to ignore their observations and just go by what you say. You could get badly misdiagnosed. For the same reasons that self-diagnosis doesn't work that well. But, yeah, I could definitely see it being a barrier to treatment - and dangerous - if it means you're suicidal and not being taken seriously. Or just having your distress minimized.
I guess because I have chronic suicidal thoughts I'm not so shocked by your pdoc's and tdoc's reaction. Or lack thereof. I'm acutely aware that my providers have to use judgement to figure out when to worry about safety, and when to not let it be a distraction. Yes, there are people who just a hint of dark thoughts should trigger alarm. Then there are people like me at the other end of the spectrum. I'd think most people are somewhere in between.
But one thing I'm wondering kind of echoes your pdoc's insensitively-put question: how is she supposed to react? What I'm wondering about is: what is the help you need that you're not getting? Obviously, being taken seriously. But beyond that? I think if you articulated to your clinicians what help you think would help you - you'd be more likely to get what you need - regardless of what they make of your "affect."
Posted 11 February 2013 - 02:27 PM
I think the same thing happes to me. I may be showered and neatly dressed at 9 am to see my pdoc, but that the only day I'm ever showered and dressed at that hour. Heck, it might be the only day I've gotten showered and dressed all week. Also, I was fairly upbeat at my last pdoc appointment. I also told him I still thought I was depressed And he didn't believe me. Is it not possible that I was upbeat at that appointment, but had been fairly depressed for the rest of the month? Did my behavior in his office negate the suicidal thoughts I had been having all week? Aparently it did, because he totally blew me off.
I feel like there's a certian way that I've been taught to act in front of doctors, and that behavior gets in the way of me getting effective treatment sometimes. Get showered, dressed in nice clothes, wear clean (non-stained) underwear, exchange plesantries, don't talk about suicide. Yes, I know I have to talk about the last one if I want to get help, but it's hard. Should I also show up 20 minutes late in my pjamas and scream at the guy when he doesn't listen to me? Because that's what I really feel like doing.
DX: "Chronic" PTSD, Major Depression, Alcoholism-sober for 10 years, Fibromyalgia, Graves Disease, No Thyroid, Sleep Apnea, Asthma, Migraine, High Blood Pressure, Periods from Hell
TX: Effexor 300 mg, Trazadone 100 mg, Neurontin 1800 mg, Armour Thyroid 240 mg, CPAP, ProAir, Qvar, Fiorset 40 mg as needed, Atenolol 25 mg, Lysteda 600 mg 3x/daily during menstrual cycles, Tizanidine 4 mg (rarely), Talk Therapy, AA meetings, Intensive Outpatient Therapy
Vitamin Supplements: Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Fish Oil
Posted 11 February 2013 - 03:31 PM
Keep in mind that there's a lot of things doctors look for when they study your affect. They look at your eye contact (something that is truly very hard for me when I am depressed or anxious), how quickly you answer their questions, your posture, etc. I am typically one of those who only really goes out for doctor's appointments, and who tries to dress nicely, put on some makeup, have clean and brushed (maybe even blow-dried!) hair, etc. But when I am really down, sometimes I'll skip the makeup, or my hair will just be back in a ponytail, or my outfit will be a t-shirt and jeans versus a blouse and pants or a dress with leggings. My pdoc notices those small changes. My thought patterns are almost always logical, but if I am really depressed it will take me a minute to answer questions he asks, or during the quiet moments my eyes will be wandering all over the room, looking at his diplomas and knick-knacks and really showing my inability to focus.
I don't mean to say that you're doing it wrong (how can anyone do it wrong?), just that most pdocs, after you've seen them for a while, will be clued in to much much smaller details than just you looking nice or acting somewhat cheerful. They'll notice you wringing your hands or jiggling your legs or having slower than normal mental processes. That's just part of the benefit of seeing the same pdoc for a long period of time--assuming they're competent to begin with, of course.
Current Dx: bipolar ii, predominantly depressed/mixed; obsessive-compulsive disorder; generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia; attention deficit
Current situation: Saphris 10mg, Brintellix 10mg, Wellbutrin XL 450mg, lithium 300mg b.i.d., Adderall 15mg b.i.d.
Physical malady meds: Mirena IUD, levothyroxine 50mcg, spironolactone 50mg b.i.d., promethazine 25mg p.r.n.
OTC/supplements: women's multivitamin & fish oil daily, 50,000 IU Vitamin D weekly
Rx Graveyard: Latuda (lurasidone), Lexapro (escitalopram), Depakote (sodium valproate), Sonata (zaleplon), Valium (diazepam), Catapres (clonidine), Restoril (temazepam), Xanax (alprazolam), Tegretol (carbamazepine), Pamelor (nortriptyline), Zyprexa (olanzapine), Viibryd (vilazodone), Topamax (topiramate), Thorazine (chlorpromazine), Luvox (fluvoxamine), Vistaril (hydroxyzine), Geodon (ziprasidone), Lamictal (lamotrigine), Seroquel XR (quetiapine), dextroamphetamine, Ritalin (methylphenidate), Abilify (aripiprazole), Remeron (mirtazapine), Celexa (citalopram), Ativan (lorazepam), Ambien/Intermezzo (zolpidem), Effexor XR (venlafaxine), Desyrel (trazodone), Lunesta (eszopiclone)
Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:15 PM
I tend to use humor to hide how bad I feel and this can confuse doc's. I laugh and joke but it is a mask I use to hide my true feelings. I usually state this upfront. I try and reduce things to concrete examples. "I am so depressed I have not changed my clothes or bathed is X days/weeks." "I can't watch sad things on TV as I will burst into tears if things get too unhappy." I have noticed that docs seem to better get things when the example is concrete and therefor less open to interpretation.
Posted 11 February 2013 - 04:50 PM
I smile when I am anxious. For me this is most likely a survival strategy to protect myself from my parents, to make sure they were not aware of my anxiety because the consequences for me would have been so much worse if they knew.
I do wonder if this is one of the reasons I was accused of making everything up for so long when I tried to get help with my anxiety.
Posted 11 February 2013 - 06:33 PM
I have the same problem. Mental illness is my favorite subject, and so when I get to talk about it, I become animated. The point, though, isn't to lob theories back and forth but to help me cope. I have some nice clothes and I generally try to be clean for the doctor's office. But a therapist recently told me that I "lead with my personality." I'd been cheerfully relating all the ins-and-outs of various methods to end my life, and he pointed out that I didn't seem bothered by the prospect. Maybe I'm trying to impress them. Actually, no, I am trying to impress them. This is my chance to be seen as intelligent and functional by someone who has no way to verify it. An employer expects me to do stuff, so they can see if I'm not capable. A mental worker just talks to me, and I'm a good talker so bully for me.
I've considering going with unkempt hair and unwashed clothes, just to help get the point across. But I have a crush on the receptionist, so I'd have to sacrifice some confident flirtation to pull off the depressed hobo look.
Dx: BP2, ADHD, aggravated crankiness
Rx: Lamictal 400mg, Trileptal 600mg, Adderal 20mg
Posted 11 February 2013 - 08:31 PM
SZA, bipolar type.
Posted 11 February 2013 - 10:53 PM
Idk what to write, but wanted you to know I read what you wrote, and that I have been in similar situations as your (OP) situation/s, where I am not believed. I used to want to "give my head to people to try on", like you said, too. Now people believe me in terms of having MI no matter what I say/don't say. The difference for me was finding the right pdoc. After a multitude of pdocs, I finally found one who could "read" past the "happy, upbeat" me. He just "got it," somehow.
Current Psychiatric Dxs ... Schizoaffective, Schizophrenia-type; Anxiety disorder, PTSD, agoraphobia
Also recovered Anorexic/Bulimic finally after 20 years.
Current meds: Provigil, Klonopin, Xanax, Naltrexone, Wellbutrin, Abilify, Lamictal, Prozac, Lansoprazole, Linzess, QVAR inhaler, Xopenex inhaler, Flonase, Flexeril, Zofran.
Any questions just ask
"I'm still kind of mad they never actually told us how to get to Sesame Street."
Posted 12 February 2013 - 11:09 AM
i had a tdoc show me a video of myself in session, so that she could point out to me that even though i was in major distress at the time, i was smiling and nodding. apparently she understood the phenomena and wanted me to see it for myself. i was surprised at how together i "looked"... while bleeding with pain on the inside.
so now i tell every new doc that i do this and to pay no attention to it, it's just a defensive thing i use with EVERYONE. the more anxious i am, the more i do it. and when i stop doing it, it's time to admit me NOW.
BPII, DDNOS, major anxiety issues, PTSD issues (now subclinical), ED issues (recovered anorexic), auditory/visual/tactile hallucinations
a million med changes whilst undergoing ECT (currently taking various doses of atomoxetine, clonidine, clonazepam, zopiclone, progesterone, synthroid, ranitidine, selenium, zinc)
Posted 12 February 2013 - 12:30 PM
My pdoc hasn't said anything but I get the feeling he thinks I am doing better than I am. He hasn't seen me at my worst. He gets upset when I can't remember when I re-filled prescriptions but I have trouble remembering things. He sees me every 4 months which is as far out as he goes.
I thought of changing pdocs at one time and the one I saw said I didn't strike him as having bp (my dx at the time). I was happy to hear he didn't think I had a dx, but then it hit me later that he was just wrong. I went back to the pdoc I was seeing and told him what happened and that I was having a good day and he agreed sometimes I come across as doing better than other times.
schizoaffective bipolar type, social anxiety, depersonalization disorder
abilify, lamictal, lexapro, wellbutrin, seroquel, topomax
It just may be a lunatic you're looking for
Posted 20 February 2013 - 06:17 PM
The problem with me is masking. I am High Functioning though. The one thing I cannot mask is (hypo)mania
I can hide everything and then all of a sudden it will blow out. Usually with my mum and the recieving end. That is probrably the results of communication problems.
Edited by helenllama, 20 February 2013 - 06:18 PM.