Conversion Disorder, PTSD, And Me

Conversion Disorder is like a mythical creature, it really hasn’t been 100% proven. You will see the world’s leading scientists disagree on the subject. But it is listed in the big book of psychiatric disorders. It was listed under neurological disorders. No one really knows where it belongs. I have been diagnosed with it by one doctor and a second agrees. I refused the diagnosis. Can you do that? I don’t know but I did.

I was first told by a Neurologist that I had Essential Tremors. A hereditary condition where your hands will tremor when you go to do something specific. Like button your shirt or use a fork. He told me eventually it could go to my tongue and vocal chords. I found it odd because no one else in my family had it.

When I woke up one morning unable to speak normally I was scared. To my own ears I sounded like a deaf person when they talked but worse because it was a stutter. I couldn’t write down what I wanted because my hands tremored. All I could do was cry. My father helped me make an appointment to see my psychiatrist. He didn’t think I had Essential Tremors and sent me to a specialist.

The specialist had a medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. His residency was in Neurology at The Neurological Institute of New York. He’s a Professor and Chief of the Division of Movement Disorders in the Department of Neurology at The Warren Alpert Medical Division of Brown University. He’s connected to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the American Academy of Neurology. He’s written 2 books and co-authored over 400 papers on various disorders. To say he’s qualified is an understatement. His bedside manner is atrocious.

My sister was with me for the appointment. When telling someone that they actually have a disorder similar to PTSD but worse, that their mind is hiding a trauma from them and manifesting itself in physical ways and it’s such a rare condition you really would like to videotape them, you probably shouldn’t be grinning from ear to ear and rubbing your hands together like a mad scientist. Treating me like a specimen from Frankenstein’s lab. As hard as I tried to tell him no the words would not come out right. I looked at my sister, pleading for her to understand me. We’re twins she should know! And in that moment, she did. She saved me. She told him off. She grabbed him by his white coat and told him I was a human being with feelings and how dare he treat me otherwise. Then she grabbed my hand, called him an asshole over her shoulder and got me out of there. No matter what happens in our lives I will always love her for that. We argue as sisters do but she is a part of me. I know she doesn’t feel the same and that’s ok.

I don’t know what my trauma is. What I remember is bad enough. Anything else might kill me. I startle easily, loud noises scare me, men’s booming voices will start my tremors. Even if I am at the market something can set me off and I’m stuttering and shaking. Sometimes I have to leave my stuff and go. It isn’t easy living like this but knowing the truth could do further damage. Would you want to know? Maybe I will change my mind someday, but not today.

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