Monday, October 11, 2010

World Mental Health Day

Lynoth makes a good point about the stigma. 
I've had doctors assume that I called what I had CFS because I didn't want the stigma of mental illness by calling it depression. 
Except that I didn't meet the diagnostic criteria for depression.  I've lived with a depressive and I know how the two diseases differ (for one example, I'd get up and do something, then go back to bed to rest, and repeat that cycle throughout the day, whereas the resident depressive would resist getting up at all, but once he'd been dragged from bed, he was up for the day).  I probably know more about the differences between CFS and depression than 99% of doctors, but they refuse to accept that because I don't have the right degree; life experience doesn't count in their world.
And I suspect some of the reason for doctors deeming CFS "it's all in your head" is that they know that's the fastest way to stigmatize a patient.  If the patient's not getting better, it's not because the doctor's providing the wrong treatment, it's because IAIYH and you don't want to get well.  They won't have to deal with time-consuming Disability paperwork because IAIYH means you're going to get kicked out of the Disability process at Step One. 
And the patient will be too embarrassed to talk to people about her CFS because it's a stigmatized mental illness, so she'll never find out that other doctors recognize it as a neuro-immune disease, thus giving her current doctor complete mind-control over her for many years.  (See Life as we know it: Power-tripping at patients' expense . That's where the real psychology comes in, because that sort of brainwashing is abusive behavior, bullying someone to let go of their own reality and accept what *you* tell them is reality, i.e., ignore those inconvenient physical symptoms and believe that the only thing wrong with you is "inappropriate illness beliefs".)

With XMRV/HGRAD, there's a whole re-education process coming for the medical profession.  They're going to have to swallow their pride and admit our problem is not IAIYH, it's another word that starts with I-A-, iatrogenic -- doctor-caused -- made worse by doctors who insist that we exercise our way out of the alleged depression, who give us inappropriate medication, who order us to keep working instead of going on Disability... if we'd stay in bed till we feel better, and only then try to increase activity in small amounts, a lot fewer of us would have years-long relapses caused by being urged to "push through" and "prove to me that you're not just lazy".

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