A difficult topic to tackle and somewhat frustrating but certainly useful for Med Students and seasoned Psychiatrists. Symptoms are just feelings — good, bad, and in between. Some like to say up, down, sideways, and/or right side up, but I prefer to provide a delayed response, simply because, I need to understand the questioner, the examiner, or the doctor’s reference point. They do ask how are you feeling today in comparison to yesterday when we spoke and this seems to work for me, but when a counselor asked and went to battle to get me to rate my ’emotions’ on a number scale, I had to argue a few points.
You can’t ask me to narrow down thoughts and feelings of 24 hours into a number without a scientific system with a metric scale, variable markers, and visible statistical evidence of actions, reactions, and effects amongst the patient group and counseling team. I know it can be done and I’m frustrated that it’s not and if I really put my fingers and nose to the grindstone, I could complete it, but not in my current impoverished and tool-less situation, so I am forced to use ‘talk therapy’ to complain about my issues in the current environment while summarizing past traumas and professional accomplishments without much faith that problems can and will be solved. As an Administrator, I struggle not seeing graphical and mathematical representations of problem and symptom management. Perhaps I’ve shared too much with them about ESP, but I know one thing is for sure, I haven’t talked with them about Nuclear Medicine.
We meet twice a day with two separate counselors (not even psychologists and perhaps not even formally trained), but they seem to be skilled in checking boxes and summarizing thoughts in terms of progress of a patient in crisis. If you are having suicidal thoughts, are in a crisis home, taking medication as prescribed and you arrived at the Crisis House for such thoughts, then they assume it’s their only issue to manage or at least this is how the ‘counseling sessions’ begin. As their patient (doctor in training), I start with the initial breakdown in life and go from there, while they try to bring me back into the present “situation” and address “symptoms.” It’s simple, it’s called Depression/Anxiety with Suicidal Ideation due to the hopelessness of the current situation — ridiculous housing costs and an extremely low income and it has been ongoing, leading me to believe depression is a never ending illness, which it is not, in fact, I don’t even think that is a proper diagnosis. It’s true, when life drops you into a minefield, it’s a psychological war which requires triage, stabilization, and when you have to move locations where you are faced with another group of patients, it takes time to settle in and acclimate.
Firstly, I have to speak to 4 different counselors and 1 doctor (who looks about 22 years old) so naturally after one day of this “program” I’m already exhausted from telling why I’m here and not in a high rise building or hospital running the program. But yes, let’s talk about symptoms now that we know and understand what led to the initial brain damage. Perhaps it was the near fatal car accident or perhaps it was a stress overload from wearing too many hats without enough support. No one can say, in fact an MRI Scan could not even tell, which it should. Symptoms are simply negative thoughts and feelings which potentially manifest in pain somewhere in the body, either in shakiness, itching, walking around aimlessly or running for solitude, inability to sleep, rest, with an underlying need to socialize and connect with an intelligent life form which is difficult to find, which initiates the fight or flight response. Speaking to other patients is not my forte, because while I try to be friendly with all walks of life, it’s difficult to listen to some of the garbage that comes out of the mouths of these patients. It’s understandable, but I just wish there was a way to instill some serious values, respect, motivation, and see some results. Basic Life Skills Assessment and Training for a quick 1-3 week rapid turnaround.
These people act like it’s not possible!
Attempting to put appearances and personalities aside, I find it easy to recognize each individuals strengths and weaknesses, but it becomes more difficult since sometimes just their mere presence sickens me. I ask the question, how is an excellent, skilled, doctor in training to know the severity and diversity of such illnesses and unique traits and characteristics if they don’t see it on a daily basis themselves. While each human has a unique set of characteristics, their flaws are often common and recognizable, therefore fixable on a macro scale. One on one positive reinforcement and words of wisdom or demands for improved etiquette in speech, table, and meeting manners are ignored and often retaliated.
I know it’s a battle which has an end point, but the sad part is, I may not be able to see their growth and improvement.
What are Symptoms of Depression:
Unable to get out of bed, abnormal sleep and eating patterns, sadness, feelings of hopelessness with no light at the end of the tunnel.
I am mildly depressed because I feel sad, sometimes hopeless, and have abnormal sleep patterns triggered by negative and hopeless statements about support to regain financial freedom, stable shelter, and long term happiness. Those statements are made by professional (or wanna be professional) counselors who are either unable or not allowed to share housing resources because they may not be available or because they are projecting negativity in some effort to psychologically test reactions. It’s problematic when one counselor says those options are not available; “there is no help” we just don’t have the resources and another Counselor Intern states they are absolutely incorrect. False information is difficult and painful to decipher and understand, making the road to recovery even rockier than before.