Friday, March 29, 2013

Disordered or Not -- That is the Question

There was a heated Twitter chat last Wednesday that raised a few questions and really got me thinking.  I'm happy to report that I still have a few brain cells left even after all of that dissertation writing, so I thought I'd think out loud, write about it here, and ask you guys your thoughts.

The topic was right up my alley. Trauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, and posttraumatic growth.  It's my dissertation right there!

Here is where the discussion got heated: Several people made a really great point about the word "disorder."  Reactions to life crises -- depression, anxiety, nightmares, etc. -- are all "normal" symptoms; so why call it a disorder? [normal in quotes, because it was later asked, of course, what is normal]

The DSM-IV (the diagnostic manual for us headshrinkers) states something to the effect of posttraumatic stress becomes a disorder when the symptoms last for more than a month, and clinicians are to specify other things like "acute" or "chronic," etc. 

Now.  I don't consider the DSM the bible for mental health.  I believe that everyone is an individual with a shared human experience, which means, everyone gets to decide what normal is for them.   The manual attempts to make some sense of the human experience and categorize it for general scientific purposes as well as, let's face it, for insurance purposes.

Back to the word disorder.  I understand the negative connotation to the word disorder, of course.  It's inescapable.  But, if one looks at the word as something neutral to describe a thing, it means out of order.  Unless, of course, it's an out of order toilet.  Then it's just out of order.  Digressing...

(I just thought, "That toilet has a disorder."  Haha!)  Digressing again...

Here's what made me think:  If reactions like depression, anxiety, nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance are all normal reactions to a crisis, why is it called a disorder?  Do you think those things are normal reactions?  Do you think if one has these symptoms for a month or more that it's suddenly a disorder?

Put in terms of infertility:  If you've been dealing with infertility, it's obviously been for longer than a month.  If you've had symptoms of depression, anxiety, nightmares, etc., do you think you have PTSD?  Are your symptoms, in fact, disordered?

Bonus: Do you think something good can ever come of your experience with infertility?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy ICLW!

Hi and welcome!  Per my last post, it's been quite a while since I last posted, and I am so happy to be back contributing and reading others' updates, good news, bad news, offering support, etc.  You can read my ICLW welcome here.


Today's post is pretty simple.  I've written about various ways to cope with infertility.  The stress, anxiety, depression, overwhelming emotion, how to hand people who don't get it, how to handle ridiculous comments, etc. 

So, my question today is:  What would you like help with?  What do you want to know?  What are you currently struggling with?  You can either post here or send me an email: mtrothlpc at gmail dot com, and I will see about writing on your particular topic. 

Lastly, in the general theme of mental health:  Name one thing you are grateful for today.  Notice how you feel.  What if you were to think of 10 things? 

Be well,

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


You know when you're on a roll for a while, and you fall off the proverbial bandwagon?  And you stay fallen for, oh, six months or so?  Um, yeah...that's been my blog-writing style of late.  Who knew the style of non-writing was so powerful -- eh-hem -- or not. 

That is why "Reset" is this post's title.  I am planning on writing quite often again.  Key word: Planning.  You know what they say, right? 

We Plan; God Laughs.  Pretty true, dontchyathink?  As it turns out, the Universe pretty forcefully focused me on my dissertation.  Yup, I kinda want to graduate already (<---serious understatement), so I suppose that was a wise move. 

I'm still working on the dissertation (see survey link on the sidebar, if you're interested in participating).  Nevertheless, we shall see how my plan works out.  Crossing my fingers and hoping I can hang on to that bandwagon, and write my dissertation, and run a business, and be an infertility activist, and, and, and...

Nothing like lofty goals.  

Coming up in the next few months are several blog writing challenges that I loved participating in last year: The Health Activist Writers' Month Challenge, National Infertility Awareness Week, and, of course, the monthly International Comment Leaving Week

I'm excited to get this blog moving again and to start spreading more awareness and information on how to handle infertility, adoption, child-free living, and life after infertility. 

Officially reset.  Be well,