For most of my life I’ve experienced fatigue and headaches. It wasn’t until relatively recently though that it occurred to me that my fatigue might be related to having migraines. In 2009 after reading about the connection between mood disorders and migraines I convinced my GP to let me try Valproate to prevent migraines. During that time though I experienced a psychotic reaction and the focus on treating the migraines was some how lost. I also tried Propanolol but it had such a sedating effect I couldn’t tolerate it for long. I felt like I was about to pass out the entire time I was on it.
Isn’t everyone a little mentally ill? This seems to be the prevailing idea on my FB feed via memes. One of these memes says, ” relax…we’re all crazy, its not a competition”. When I see this I feel annoyed but at the same time I wonder is there a clear boundary between normal and abnormal? As someone who has experienced psychotic depression, OCD and Dysthymia I’m annoyed because that large of a spectrum invalidates my difficulty to a large degree. I think these people mean well because they are trying to include me as normal but on the other hand saying that I don’t have much to complain about.
Recently a well known psychiatrist, Dr. Gail Saltz, and Obama stated that most mass shooters aren’t mentally ill. I’m a little perplexed about this since the most recent shooter, Chris Harper Mercer, and many others have at least a personality issues if not an actual personality disorder. A personality disorder is considered a mental disorder and according to Wikipedia mental illness and mental disorder are used interchangeably.
An interesting lecture from Nassir Ghaemi on the bipolar spectrum concept. According to him unipolar and bipolar used to both be encapsulated under the phrase “Manic Depression”. “Manic Depression” meant someone who either experienced severe depression or mania. “Bipolar disorder” is defined by an individual having both depression and mania/hypomania. The two phrases differ only by a conjunction….something I hadn’t paid attention to before. Additionally, according to Kraepelin, a well known historic authority on the topic, individuals displaying mixed states were more common than the ones who had more pure states of either depression or mania. This has been noted more recently by other researchers such as Benazzi who published a number of articles about people who experience mixed depression.