Picture © Elena Figoli

I would like to explain why I think psychiatrists haven’t done a good job with me. Why I consider they have arised more problems than those I already had, and turned my life more complicated than it used to be. And furthermore, why I have reasons to think they haven’t used the diagnostic criteria for DSM-IV properly. Because, if they had, they would have diagnosed me a delusional disorder and not a paranoid schizophrenia.

There are 6 criteria for schizophrenia diagnose. According to the psychiatrists that treated me, I just present two of them, and possibly a third one. These criteria are: usual symptoms (delirium, hallucination, disorganized speech, negative symptoms, catatonic behavior or seriously disorganized) and social or professional dysfunction. I was diagnosed many delirium: pathological eroticism delirium, perjury delirium, somatic delirium, idea transmission delirium and self-referential. Just two of them are partially true, because the delirium was only a little bit organized and wasn’t totally impermeable to external opinions: the pathological eroticism one and the self-referential one.

Regarding the social/professional dysfunction, it’s not true at all: poor academic performance has nothing to do with doing a university degree with a 6,7 out of 10 punctuation; and the progressive isolation that begun at the age of 16 is not about changing the people with whom you are in contact because you feel you haven’t found your place… it’s something fundamentally different. The third delirium that is possible is the duration one.

Actually, the only criteria that has been correctly diagnosed is the pathological eroticism delirium. I don’t know if you would agree with me that this means that if they had used the manual properly, they would have diagnosed me a delusional disorder completely remissible.

Félix (my colleague from ActivaMent) wrotte “All you need is love” in an article, and I ask to myself: why a thing that I consider a great inner discovery (what the psychriatrist denominated pathological eroticism), the desire to love and to be loved above any reasoning or above the physical laws of time and space, why should I consider that it was a pathological experience, a malfunctioning of my mind?

I have already asked forgiveness from the person I fell in love with, a woman, and I have received his absolution repeatedly. Today we are both part of a chorus, the CorDesacord, that sings social claiming songs.

But the truth is that, having been hospitalized in a mental hospital, having been forced to get drugs, passing through an outpatient clinic (in order to be discharged from the hospital my parents had to commit to get me to an outpatient clinic), having been considered paranoid schizophrenia (with the self-stigma and the discrimination it provokes), I think that all these things they haven’t been positive for me, rather they have raised new problems for me.

Currently I’m a little bit addicted to medication (I’ll leave it as soon as circumstances become less stressful) and people next to me doesn’t know what to think, if I’m sick or not, if I know myself more than psychiatrists. And I’m not saying they are mental specialists because I don’t consider them this way. Mental health, I think, is to love and to let others love you, and I was denied the correct understanding of this inner discovery. I consider that it was kept down and this caused me to be shame of it.

For psychiatrists, mental health it’s just a thing that adapts to some normality criteria, and we all know that in Spain corruption is something very normal. Well, we are mentally free for having a double standard, for telling others that we live night and day to do the best for other citizens while at the same time we are stealing everything we can from public funds. And that’s not included in any DSM IV or V criteria, even if this hurts oneself (his integrity) and others (it generates powerty): the two basic criteria for an involuntary commitment.

But I won’t get angry anymore. From peace and serenity I will ask for a review of my diagnosis, a right we all have according to Ley General de Sanidad (Art. 10 and 11 of the Ley 14/1986 from 25 April). And if they do not take into account my request, I’ll live my life independently of their criteria because in my case, no one has more authority over anyone than himself, unless he deserves it, basically with honesty.

Maria Hernández