How to ask therapist about diagnosis?
I have a therapist and have had her for over a year now. However, I feel like we’ve gotten too casual so it’s hard to bring anything more serious up. I’ve done a lot of research on different diagnosis’s I think I may have. There are three things I think I may have. Derealization and Depersonalization, PTSD, and or Autism. The one I’m most sure about it Derealization because I disassociate constantly and almost always feel like I’m on “autopilot” or walking through fog, and it’s difficult for me to be in the moment and focus. I also feel as though the world around me is more like a game or I’m more like a game character, more than I am a real person living in real life. As though I’m in a simulation. With PTSD, Derealization and Depersonalization can be a symptom, I’ve went through a lot as a kid including my mom dying, SA, and kidnap attempt, and various of my dad’s schizophrenic and bipolar episodes. I spend more time then I’d like remembering and re-living those events, not through “flashbacks” per say, but more of experiencing the emotions I felt whilst in that event and the event being a primary focus although I don’t want it to be and it can throw me off for days or even weeks. It always feels like there’s something from the past haunting my mind pretty often. Lastly, is Autism. I have a hard time processing what people are saying or stuff I read to the point it’s hard to talk to people and effectively complete tests, I’ve been told I have weird posture, make odd facial expressions, move weird, etc, I have a hard time talking to people and making friends, I never know what to say, I feel like the words simply don’t come to me or I have a hard time getting words out although is all mental, I’ve always had difficulty processing directions, I’ve always had issues with procrastination and executive dysfunction is something I’ve talked about with my counselor, I have a hard time identifying and dealing with my emotions, it always feels like they’re either too weak or too strong and either I have barely any emotion sometimes and overwhelming emotions at others, I tend to shut down and shut up in situations where there’s lots of or new people around, I don’t know how to act in social situations or how to describe myself or how to speak up, I always make a routine for myself and get a little too upset when it’s changed without my knowledge, I work best when structured but can’t work with too much structure (which is a fine line), I get easily distracted, memory issues, can’t sit still (stimming), maladaptive daydreaming, struggling paying attention, I feel like I’m a different person in my head versus how I act with people and I feel like I have separate personality characteristics for each person I know instead of them overlapping, etc. I used to think those issues where mainly because of my anxiety and depression, but I’ve managed those well for a while and the problems are still prevalent and not based on either of those conditions. I’ve also had all of these problems since childhood. The disassociation is also something I’ve struggled with for a while, and I think could be part of autism too as a masking technique. There’s also a higher chance of being autistic in premature babies, and I was born 3 months early and weighed 1lb 8oz. When it comes to family history, my dad has schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, adhd, and anxiety. My mom’s medical info is unknown to me. How do I bring up diagnoses I think I might have to my therapist without it coming across as self diagnosing? What should I say?
WAYS TO HELP YOURSELF:
- Thank you for writing in to TeenCentral and sharing your story. It sounds as if you are feeling maybe a little uncertain about some things in your life and you are looking for answers. That can be a very challenging and frustrating experience.
- We see you have shared a lot about your circumstances here and it seems you are looking for help. While you have given a clear picture of what your perspective on your diagnosis, we at TeenCentral cannot diagnose you but what we can do is encourage you to advocate for yourself with your clinical team as well as remind you to focus on the things immediately in your control. It is your right as a consumer to explain everything you said here to your clinical team. In fact, it may help them to have your perspective. Secondly, what is also within your grasp is to ask for exercises, tasks, or skills to practice outside of therapy to help you cope with many of the things you listed here. While a diagnosis is an important part of a therapeutic process, so is doing the work as an individual. It takes some hard work and practice to cope with and work through what you mentioned here.
- If you are not comfortable having this conversation with your therapeutic team, do you have a safe family member or trusted family friend that you could practice having the conversation with ahead of time. Can you bounce ideas off of them? Would it benefit you to put this all down on paper and use it as a guide to talk with your therapeutic team? Its helpful sometimes to have additional positive supports in your life who understand what you are going through.
THINGS TO DO LATER:
- Check out our LEARN tab on our TeenCentral site as we have information on many of the topics you have discussed here such as Anxiety, Grief and Loss, and Bullying.
- After you do that, you might like trying some of our tips on our TOOLS tab to help you through some of the tough times such as Making Hard Decisions, or creating a Support Plan.
- Lastly, consider some other natural outlets in your life to help you out. Create as many positive experiences and encounters as you can by surrounding yourself with positive peers, engaging in happy things like clubs, sports, arts, or hobbies, and lastly take a moment every day to sit in a positive environment (maybe in nature or your own happy place) and focus for a few minutes on something positive that has happened in your day. Thank you again for sharing with our community, we wish you well.