When I was in high school I took Psychology as well as AP Psychology and only heard of the concept of over diagnosing. Oddly, I don’t remember any talk of misdiagnosis. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis is a huge problem and I am one of the many people it has affected. When I was first entered into the lovely mental health system at 19 I was given a series of tests to try and help my psychiatrist and therapists pin point what exactly was wrong with me. One of the tests I was given was the MMPI-2. MMPI stands for Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory and it is comprised of 567 questions. After I took the MMPI-2, it was “scored” and then told the results I was so upset, angry, confused and anxious. They told me that my answers made no sense, that I contradicted myself and that I must have been trying to throw them off. It hurt deeply. I wanted answers more deeply than they ever would, why the Hell would I make up my answers? I was given more tests that I don’t really remember and was diagnosed with the following at different times: Major depression disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, OCD, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Agoraphobia, Dependent Personality Disorder and Bipolar…..just to name the ones I can remember.
After the hurt passed I realized that I could only remember a few questions on the test…and only answering those, the rest of the time I spent taking that test I had absolutely no memory of. The questions I remembered answering were to the effect of: “do you hear voices that no one else hears?” and “do you ever feel like your body doesn’t belong to you”? It wasn’t clear to me until 2012 that alter personalities inside of me were taking the majority of the test, hense why the doctors thought I made up the answers. My current therapist said exactly what I thought…if my MMPI-2 results were so contradicting, they should have immediately administered the DES.
The DES stands for Dissociative Experiences Scale. This test is to help diagnose dissociative disorders such as Dissociative Identity Disorder, which I have been diagnosed with and I know that I finally have the right diagnosis. My therapist explained to me that when someone takes a test such as the MMPI-2 and gets results like mine it is a extremely high indicator that the person suffers from a dissociative disorder. It really makes sense, you’re taking this test, everyone inside of you wants a say, it’s a highly stressful situation and triggering test so obviously, if you’re DID you are going to be “switching” during the test. Switching is the term for when someone with DID switches from one alter or personality to another.
Due to my 23 years of being misdiagnosed I suffered a lot. I was given drugs that didn’t help and actually made me worse, gain weight and hate my life more, put into psychiatric hospitals simply because no one knew what to do with me and be treated less than human. This is a serious problem. Misdiagnosis is causing many people all over the world to suffer, and in some cases completely give up the fight for healing.
I would like to show another specific example of misdiagnosis with you. I took three diagnostic quizzes online for a Dissociative Disorder, Bipolar and Schizophrenia. For the DES I got a score of 91 which indicates that I no shit have a dissociative disorder, a 101 on the Schizophrenia quiz which means that by their standards I’m Schizophrenic, and the Bipolar test came out at 50, which was well over the numbers that someone without Bipolar would get as a result. This, to me is very obvious that misdiagnosis occurs easily.
In saying all of this, please, if you receive a diagnosis that just doesn’t feel right to you open your mouth. Get a second opinion, a third, a fourth…whatever it takes. It took me over fifteen therapist and psychiatrists to finally get answers that were correct. You deserve to know what is happening and how to treat your condition so that you can heal and get your life on track. Be your own advocate, don’t rely on the doctor to know exactly what is going on or what is best for you. Sometimes you find great ones, and sometimes you find horrible ones. Whatever you do, don’t give up on finding answers so that you can carry on.