In my brief experience as a clinician, I have found client accounts of their disorders to be particularly engaging and impactful. I think the way we truly learn about mental disorders is through first person experiences including our own symptoms, family members, friends, and of course client/patient experiences. The same is true for other sicknesses or ailments such as cancer, diabetes, parkinson’s, etc. We rarely have a vested interest in learning more about the disorder or disease until someone we know is diagnosed. However, the paradigm of mental disorders that is unique from the other diseases is the level of naiveté and even indignation towards mental disorders. I am shocked every time I hear a friend or family say they don’t believe PTSD, Depression, Anxiety is real or that the individual should be able to “snap out of it” whenever they want. I don’t blame these individuals. I really don’t. However with a certain level of openness, I think anybody can see the functional, psychological, and emotional impact on individuals suffering with a mental disorder.
With all that said, my next few posts will be focused on first person accounts of mental disorders. For non-clinicians this will provide an opportunity to learn more and experience a dramatic story about someone’s life. For clinicians, I hope the first person accounts provide a deeper look into the presentation of a particular disorder and perhaps enhance your ability to empathize and relate to clients.