SEvs.R: Conversion Disorder

Today’s topic is going to be covering a disorder I have that is, while in the DSM-5, it lies a little more within the realm of Neuropsychology or Neurology.  It is called Conversion Disorder and is also known as Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder.  It is classified within the Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders section of the DSM-5, meaning that it involves physical (somatic) symptoms and complaints.  I will list the criteria below and then explain how my version of the disorder manifests:

A.  One or more symptoms of altered voluntary motor or sensory function.

B.  Clinical findings provide evidence of incompatibility between the symptom and recognized neurological or medical conditions.

C.  The symptom or deficit is not better explained by another medical or mental disorder.

D.  The symptom or deficit causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning or warrants medical evaluation.

Symptom types:

  • With weakness or paralysis
  • With abnormal movement (tremor, dystonic movement, myoclonus [spasmodic jerky contractions of muscles], gait disorder)
  • With swallowing symptoms
  • With speech symptoms (dysphonia, slurred speech)
  • With attacks or seizures
  • With anesthesia or sensory loss
  • With special sensory symptom (visual, olfactory, or hearing disturbance)
  • With mixed symptoms

My official diagnosis is Conversion Disorder with abnormal movement and attacks.  My abnormal movements consist of myoclonic twitches which force my body to jerk to either side or my head to jerk back and forth as if I was saying “no”.  Unfortunately, WordPress will not allow me to upload a video of my attacks or twitches without upgrading my plan.

PNES

 

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Society’s Expectations vs. Reality: Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Greetings and Salutations everyone,

This will be the start to a series, from now on abbreviated as “SEvsR: ___”, which stands for “Society’s Expectations vs. Reality: *insert the name of the disorder being discussed*”.  All disorders discussed will be disorders I personally have so the “reality” is all MY own subjective experience.  I don’t claim to speak for anyone else except perhaps those closest to me whom I will interview and cite as appropriate.

For this beginning post, I will be discussing Generalized Anxiety Disorder or GAD.  Throughout the discussion, I will include some good resources for understanding anxiety and how those who have it, experience it.  I will also be breaking down the DSM-5 criteria as written in my handy-dandy Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition.

Before I start listing the criteria, here is a simple video from the lovely Kati Morton which explains the different anxiety disorders.

Now for the DSM-5 criteria:

A.  Excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), occuring more days than not for at least 6 months, about a number of events or activities (such as work or school performance).

B.  The individual finds it difficult to control the worry.

C.  The anxiety and worry are associated with three (or more) of the following six symptoms (with at least some symptoms having been present for more days than not for the past 6 months):

Note: only one item is required in children

  1. Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  2. Being easily fatigued
  3. Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  4. Irritability
  5. Muscle tension
  6. Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or restless, unsatisfying sleep)

D.  The anxiety, worry, or physical symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

E.  The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication) or another medical condition (e.g. hyperthyroidism).

F.  The disturbance is not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g. anxiety or worry about having panic attacks in panic disorder, negative evaluation in social anxiety disorder [social phobia], contamination or other obsessions in obsessive-compulsive disorder, separation from attachment figures in separation anxiety disorder, reminders of traumatic events in posttraumatic stress disorder, gaining weight in anorexia nervosa, physical complaints in somatic symptom disorder, perceived appearance flaws in body dysmorphic disorder, having a serious illness in illness anxiety disorder, or the content of delusional beliefs in schizophrenia or delusional disorder).

Now that’s done. I’ll  explain each symptom as I experience it because in all honesty, I experience every single one of those symptoms on a routine basis.

I, unfortunately, could not find an example of the meme this series was inspired by using Generalized Anxiety.  However, I can tell you that people who do not have anxiety tend to picture those with it as having stage fright or being the cute socially-awkward teenager who talks too fast and makes the confident popular kids go “AWWWWW”.

when-you-try-to-explain-your-anxiety-to-someone-and-27536047

NO!

Having daily anxiety is a constant battle to not have a freak-out in the middle of a crowded mall or publicly humiliate yourself when talking to ANYONE at a party.

Criteria as it is for me:

A.  6 months rule:  I have had anxiety just about as long as I can remember.  I clearly remember having a full-out anxiety meltdown on the first day of first grade in elementary/primary school. (Note: I also have Autism: Level one/Asperger’s Syndrome – I will explain how this complicates the issue in a later post on THAT topic)

B.  Difficulty controlling the worry:  aZBw8Vz_700b

TLDR:  I CANNOT CONTROL IT.

C.

  1. Restlessness:  I pace and feel on edge ALL the time
  2. Fatigued:  Unless actively doing something, I usually feel like I could nap.
  3. Blank mind:  OH YAS. I space a lot. However, this is different than sensory overload from the Autism. I will explain that in another post later.
  4. Irritability:  When I get anxious, I snap at everyone. Biggest bitch you’ve ever seen. Then I apologize constantly. Repeat.
  5. Muscle tension:  Back, neck and shoulder pain is the worse.  Combine that with the Functional Neurological Disorder/Conversion Disorder that I will explain in yet another post later…I have knots in my shoulders always.
  6. Sleep:  Without my antidepressant medication which is also a sedative, I can pull all-nighters fairly easily then crash in the morning and sleep all day.

D.  Clinical distress:  I think I’ve beaten this horse to a pulp by now.

E/F.  Drugs/medication/another disorder:  I do not take any abused drugs, I do not even drink alcohol anymore because of my prescribed medications (though alcohol actually alleviates my anxiety).  I have been diagnosed by several psychiatrists as having GAD so its not another disorder, though I can tell you it is not Panic Disorder as I do not worry about having attacks. I get them but I do not worry about future ones, also my worry never goes away.

Now to finish this up, I will leave you with a nice TED Talk about how anxiety is experienced by this woman.

 

Crazy Pills

My mother asked me a question today. A question she asks me every so often to the point that I wonder whether she either has a faulty memory or that she doesn’t care to pay attention to me at all.

“What do all your medications do again?”

I take a deep breath and slowly explain that one is for mood stabilization, one is an antidepressant and is basically my miracle drug, one is for anxiety, then there’s that one for migraines.  You get the idea.  Thank the G-ds for health insurance.

 

Will I Ever Be Free of This?

I don’t like my mind right now.

Dissociation.  Black/White Thinking.  Twitching in public (Conversion Disorder).  Paranoia, not sure anymore whether to believe whether I’m justified or not as I can’t be sure whether to be believe in myself anymore or not.  In fact, I don’t know what to believe in anymore.

G-ds Damn it! I thought I had this Mindfulness shit down.  I guess its not that simple or those Buddhist monks wouldn’t spend their entire childhoods up in a temple learning how to meditate, right?  To be honest, the only thing holding me together right now is music and the hope that I get to start my field placement in a month or so.  I can’t even officially say I have a boyfriend anymore, I fucked that up too.  My mind fucks up everything.  …There you go Black/white thinking again, haha

I’m out of here. See ya on the flip side.

Statement of Purpose

I have created this blog with the sheer purpose of spreading awareness of mental illness and demolishing the stigma surrounding certain disorders that I happen to have developed.  Those would be Borderline Personality Disorder/ Emotional Unstable Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorder Not-otherwise-specified (NOS), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Bipolar Disorder I, Atypical Anorexia and Conversion Disorder.  This blog is named after the Borderline Personality Disorder because it has the most stigma attached to it.

Feel free to read, send me comments, messages. Discuss!

Heavy

Kurt Cobain.

Chris Cornell.

Chester Bennington.

Suicide.

Most of us with mental illness have thought of it.  “Holding on, why is everything so heavy, holding on, so much more than I can carry”  Lyrics from Linkin Park’s song “Heavy”.  Suicidal ideation is such a common symptom that its a major piece of criteria for this diagnosis for this life on the Border.  If you are reading this, there is most likely a reason you have found my little corner of the internet.  You probably live on the border yourself or know someone who does.  Either way, you understand the suffering, this borderline life can cause and cause us to experience.

I want you to hold on. Hold on to that paranoia, show them who’s boss. Practice those DBT skills, show them you can do this, even when you feel that you can’t, because /I/ know that you can.  I know that you can give it just another day to feel better.