Professionally Diagnosed Illnesses:
Major Depressive Disorder
Conversion Disorder (Functional Neurological Disorder)
Confused about what these actually mean? Don’t worry, I still am, but I’ll explain it the best way I know how.
IBS is basically a fancy way of saying my stomach doesn’t like when I don’t take care of it, so it gets back at me by causing excruciating pain. In other words, I’ve had every gastrointestinal diagnostic test known to man, and nothing substantial has been found to be wrong with me. Wahoo! Except when I get these things called “flare-ups”, which occurs when I’m really stressed and haven’t been eating properly. In a nutshell, it’s a couple days where I’m in pain most of the time. The upside of having to deal this from when I was in high school was that it really prepared me for the other challenges that were about to come. (I was somehow able to graduate from high school and attend a respectable university, despite missing two months of school my senior year.)
MDD is fairly well known. It’s a fancy way of saying I get really sad for no particular reason to the point that I need to be medicated to ensure I can function without wanting to remove myself from the planet. Some people don’t like using pills because they feel it’s a sign of weakness that they need pills to be happy, or that it makes them someone they’re not. I used to be one of those people. Now I see it as the pills are there to make me feel myself the way I’m supposed to, without my neurotransmitters causing mischief in my precious cargo beneath my beautiful face. Think of it like this: say you have a horrible migraine, you forgot your sunglasses, but you have no choice but to be outside on a sunny day with loud music pounding. I would assume you wouldn’t be much fun without taking some advil to help you out. It’s the same way – except it was every day and I didn’t just want to sleep in a dark room, I wanted to sleep and not wake up.
Conversion Disorder. WTF is conversion disorder? Great question, I still don’t really know. Essentially what I’ve been told is that my brain is a little bit different, and doesn’t quite process emotions the way anyone else’s would (note I didn’t say it doesn’t function “Normally” because I have no idea what normal is). As a result, my brain has all this pent up, unprocessed emotion with no where to go, so my brain misfires signals to my motor cortex which causes non-epileptic seizures and full body convulsions. It sounds pretty scary and must be weird to watch, but I have the luxury of having no memory of these “episodes”, so I really couldn’t tell you what it’s like. Thankfully, I have a great doctor who helps me a lot with understanding this very complicated disorder and friends who don’t totally flip out when I randomly start shaking while watching reality TV with them.
So there you have it, congratulations, you now have enough medical knowledge to become a world-class doctor.
Disclaimer: You should probably still go to medical school.
Keep Surviving by Living.