In many of the pages that follow in this Advice Section, it may appear confusingly as though symptoms of "this" mental illness or "that one" vary wildly and are hard to pin down precisely. This is unfortunately a fact.
illnesses, our biological similarity to each other (in terms of how our bodies function and how we react to external diseases that invade us) means that there is a much greater closeness between patients in the resulting symptoms, for each type of illness.
With most forms of mental
illness on the other hand -- and in particular with forms of anxiety and panic disorder -- the differences in how our minds have developed throughout our lives so far, and the often huge differences in the situations that have to be "dealt with" by the mind of one individual or another, mean that the reactions and symptoms can vary enormously.
A further complication arises in certain countries, notably the United States, where some elements of the medical profession appear to delight in inventing new "disorders" with which to label their patients (or achieve professional fame perhaps?). Whether this satisfies their patients' need for a comforting "diagnosis" -- or whether, as I suspect from my own observations, all it tends to do is frighten and mislead them -- is arguable.
For example, we now have not only G.A.D. (Generalised Anxiety Disorder - in other words, you suffer from Anxiety Disorder, but the doctors can't say why
. . . ) but we also have no less than three
types of S.A.D. -- Social Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder!
I have seen for myself the alarmed reactions of people returning from a visit to their G.P., to find themselves "pigeon-holed" with some set of confusing initials and, even worse, frequently misled into thinking, "Oh, now they have found a diagnosis for my illness! Now I can be cured!!"
Alas, there is
no "cure". There is help, there is treatment, and there is "getting better"; but there is no "cure". This is because most mental illnesses are not like some physical infection where they can run tests, identify the bacterium, for instance, that is causing the illness, and produce the cure by giving you antibiotics.
To get well again from mental illness requires hard work and effort; it requires time and patience; it requires (self-)knowledge and (self-)understanding. Medication may very well help you get through some bad times on the road to recovery; it will not in itself cure you. Labels of "this" anxiety disorder or "that one" may
help you to understand the nature of your illness; they will not in themselves lead to some obvious cure.
(Personally, I find it more useful to state, of my own illness, "I have Gord-Anxiety-Disorder." It is a form of anxiety disorder which is very close to what others suffer from, but it is specific to me
-- just as yours
is specific to you
Remember that a diagnosis is a tool to help doctors, not to help you
the patient, and it is definitely not
a life sentence. And a label or diagnosis is only useful if it leads to some form of effective treatment: the means to an end, not an end in itself.
Apart from the arguably fanciful disorders mentioned above, there are
certain visibly distinct "sub-categories" of Anxiety and Depression which are worth examining for their different causes and symptoms, and for their different treatments, eg: Agoraphobia, OCD, PTSD, and Bipolar Disorder.
Articles on these, along with other articles on various subjects associated either with illness or with ways of getting better, can be found in the list of links
We hope that the information to be found here in these pages will help you to gain a better understanding of your own illness, and how you can get better again, and maybe to understand others who suffer from it too, as so very many of us now do......
Each article contains, at the end, a section where you can submit your own feedback, ideas and comments, or your own stories. We welcome all contributions and feedback, positive or negative.
Good Luck -- and Good Health to you!
Jade Admin and Site Owner