Self Help Now: A community blog

Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade offers advice for maintaining your mental health.

Seeing People-Not Conditions or Diagnoses

Written by Dr. Jacqueline B. Sallade, Community blogger | Sep 19, 2013 6:40 PM

Here I am, first day back to the office after a working vacation, gathering data about relationships. I see medical charts on my desk depicting Autism in a little kid, Asperger's in a teenagert, Bipolar Disorder in a middle-aged adult, and some other diagnoses. What I see are complex people. There's a developmentally delayed little kid who is hyperactive and immature, very affectionate, but distant and fearful from peers and unknown adults, but he is advanced in reading and writing. I see a sweet, artistic, sensitive, creative, cleancut teenager who has been rejected and bullied by some and well-loved by his mother, struggling to be himself. Also, there's a misdiagnosed (so common) man who has been through hell socially and becomes very depressed at times but never manic, just sometimes OK. Another man is depressed because he's so physically ill and traumatized by multiple losses that I'd question his sanity if he weren't depressed. It'll take time and support for him to deal with his grief. I could go on, and, sometimes, I do.The point is that real live people are complex. They are not depicted well in medical charts and cannot be reduced to labels and diagnoses, despite legal and insurance requirements. No one working with them should forget it.

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