Somatic Symptom Disorder

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Somatic Symptom Disorder
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    Stop Stigmatizing and Minimizing Somatic Symptom Disorder

    While I'm thankful the Chronic Illness community usually aspires towards ending mental illness stigma, we also tend to look down upon any potential diagnosis of Somatic Symptom Disorder.

    Virtually any time I see this potential diagnosis raised I hear the individual say something along the lines of, "it's not in my head" or "my pain is real" or "I'm really sick".

    First, I have a newsflash, ultimately your experience of pain IS in your head. We perceive and have cognitive awareness of our pain via the brain. So if pain being in your head means pain is not real, then no one's pain is real, irregardless of the circumstances.

    If you are trying to say pain is not as real, or as valid if its origin is psychological, then thanks for stigmatizing mental illness, particularly Somatic Symptom Disorder.

    We have a toxic relationship with physical pain and symptoms being tied to mental health in any way. I understand that much of this comes from the medical community.

    While medical professionals often use diagnoses like Somatic Symptom Disorder to dismiss health concerns that doesn't mean we get to double down.

    Somatic Symptom Disorder causes very real symptoms, it can be even more debilitating and take much more work to effectively treat than many other Chronic Illnesses.

    Not only do people with Somatic Symptom Disorder experience physically manifested symptoms, often they are in immense emotional pain as well.

    In addition they deal with the stigma, even from people in their own community frequently viewing their experience as not real, or valid. On top of all that often there is poorer access to mental healthcare.

    ALL pain has a psychological component. Our experience of pain is largely qualified by the psychological and emotional suffering versus the actual physical sensation of pain.

    Then there is the fact that the emotional pain and suffering of mental illness is just as valid and has at least the same capacity to be debilitating as any other type illness.

    Honestly it's probably a good idea for all of us who deal with any type of chronic illness to seek out mental health treatment and at least be evaluated. We should be pushing against stigmatization of mental illness, not participating in it.

    Instead if a health professional says they think your symptoms originate from psychological sources, let them know regardless of origin you are still in real pain. Let them know you're awar that similar to many diagnoses with a physical origin it is a diagnosis of exclusion, and you expect it to be treated like one.

    Often we can only rule out a diagnosis to the extent we are willing to rule it in.

    Acknowledge that all experiences of physical pain are at in part psychological, and state you are willing to investigate the psychological role of your pain, so long as they are willing to continue to investigate the physical role of your pain.

    #MentalIllnessStigma #ChronicPain #ablelism #MentalHealth #SomaticSymptomDisorder #Undiagnosed #ChronicIllness

    Question

    New diagnosis of #SomaticSymptomDisorder .

    The testing psychologist said this instead of medical PTSD, but I disagree. If she had seen me having panic attack after panic attack over a trigger the other morning, she would have added the PTSD diagnosis (my therapists have both confirmed medical PTSD, but this was a battery of tests one therapist wanted me to have, and this is just one result).

    Can the SSD community help me see that this isn't just a dismissive "oh, you think too much about medical things" kind of deal? I feel ... invalidated by not having the PTSD diagnosis, too.
    #SomaticSymptomDisorder

    Post

    Health anxiety in a pandemic

    It's not a good combination.
    Normally, my health anxiety is very well under control, it may bother me once or twice a year and I know how to deal with it. But right now? I'm struggling, honestly. I've learned to not pay attention to small physical irregularities and to dismiss the anxious thoughts. I'll tell myself "well, you're not gonna die from this. It's a headache, not a brain tumor. If you're still having it in two weeks, then you may start to worry." In normal times, that works great.

    But with Covid, well... Ignoring a sneeze or an itchy throat wouldn't necessarily be wise. But being alert of symptoms is super anxiety-inducing. And now my anxious thoughts are actually realistic and I should listen to it? It feels like I have to unlearn my coping skills. It's scary and confusing. And to complicate the whole thing, I have a special skill in weird psychosomatic issues. So there's also a decent chance that the symptoms are actually stress-related and aggravated by my anxiety.

    But at the same time, acting upon these anxious thoughts is scary. I'm not at high risk at all, so I'm not too worried about getting ill myself (but of course I'm careful and wouldn't want to infect others), but I am TERRIFIED of quarantine. I live alone in a tiny studio apartment. And my depression is bad, so being locked in my house with no escape from my thoughts is an absolute nightmare scenario for me.

    So I'm stuck in a weird spot of maybe having symptoms, not knowing if they're alarming or "just" psychosomatic, being too afraid to act upon them, and having more psychosomatic symptoms from all the anxiety. It's exhausting.
    Am I alone in this?

    #HealthAnxiety #Anxiety #Depression #COVID19 #CheckInWithMe #SomaticSymptomDisorder #SomaticSymptomandRelatedDisorders

    Post
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    Pet. #MightyPets

    Hey everyone. I absolutely love my pets. I've got 3 ducks and 2 guinea pigs and they bring me so much joy. They are great listeners and are wonderful to snug with (although the ducks don't particularly enjoy hugs). I tend to go out and hold my pets when I've been dissociating a lot because I feel safe with them. Here is a picture of my guinea pig, Lucas, with a stuffed animal version my parents got me when I went to college (so I wouldn't be lonely). How do your pets help you? #Autism #MajorDepressiveDisorder #SocialAnxiety #ADHD #SeparationAnxietyDisorder #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #GeneralizedAnxietyDisorder #Fibromyaliga #SomaticSymptomDisorder #Dysmenorrhea #AvoidantPersonalityDisorder

    Post

    Hi I’m Kiya

    I just wanted to introduce myself, as previously said I am Kiya (pronounced key-ya), Im only 14 but facing a lot. Here’s where the hashtags come I have #SomaticSymptomandRelatedDisorders I am #LGBTQ + and I have #Anxiety as well as #Dermatillomania and #Depression . There’s so many more but frankly I’m exhausted from (oh here’s more) #ChronicPain and #Fatigue I’m not diagnosed with any fatigue disorder. I’ve delt with so much in my life in the short time I’ve lived so far and I’m so thankful to have my #servicedogintraining to help, but right now he’s 5 months and is really overwhelming. I’m a really positive person, today I don’t feel positive, that is okay!!!! Not feeling emotions or not processing then is what is causing all of my symptoms (somatic symptom disorder) that’s what the doctors say. I don’t believe them though, I understand that I like everyone don’t process 100% of my emotions, but my whole life my mom has taught me that not feeling emotions won’t make them go away and that won’t help. The only problem is the the first doctors who really believe me are the somatic symptom clinic, and guess what, every time I try to say that I think there’s more I get asked by the psychiatrist “I think you may have illness anxiety” (thinking that you’re sick when you’re not) or “do you feel scared of touching serfaces or objects for fear of getting sick?” (Contamination OCD) as well ask almost outright saying we think that you’re lying and don’t believe you. All of those things basically say ‘you’re lying’. And so now I have fear of saying anything for fear of being called a hypochondriac. I’m sorry for this long and saddening post, I just feel horrible physically emotionally and mentally.

    Post

    Hi I’m Kiya

    I just wanted to introduce myself, as previously said I am Kiya (pronounced key-ya), Im only 14 but facing a lot. Here’s where the hashtags come I have #SomaticSymptomandRelatedDisorders I am #LGBTQ + and I have #Anxiety as well as #Dermatillomania and #Depression . There’s so many more but frankly I’m exhausted from (oh here’s more) #ChronicPain and #Fatigue I’m not diagnosed with any fatigue disorder. I’ve delt with so much in my life in the short time I’ve lived so far and I’m so thankful to have my #servicedogintraining to help, but right now he’s 5 months and is really overwhelming. I’m a really positive person, today I don’t feel positive, that is okay!!!! Not feeling emotions or not processing then is what is causing all of my symptoms (somatic symptom disorder) that’s what the doctors say. I don’t believe them though, I understand that I like everyone don’t process 100% of my emotions, but my whole life my mom has taught me that not feeling emotions won’t make them go away and that won’t help. The only problem is the the first doctors who really believe me are the somatic symptom clinic, and guess what, every time I try to say that I think there’s more I get asked by the psychiatrist “I think you may have illness anxiety” (thinking that you’re sick when you’re not) or “do you feel scared of touching serfaces or objects for fear of getting sick?” (Contamination OCD) as well ask almost outright saying we think that you’re lying and don’t believe you. All of those things basically say ‘you’re lying’. And so now I have fear of saying anything for fear of being called a hypochondriac. I’m sorry for this long and saddening post, I just feel horrible physically emotionally and mentally.

    Question

    how many ect treatments have you had? #TraumaticBrainInjury

    hello, I have had 164 ect treatments. most of them were over a 3 year 8 month consecutive period. I have never met anyone who has had as many as me. nor have I found any research done online on the effects of this number of ect treatments on a person. I know for me personally, I can't remember any of my 20's or 30's. my treatments ended 7 years ago. I still struggle with short and working memory and cognitive functioning. my mental illness went into remission for 8 months after they STOPPED the treatments but I remained "sick enough" for them to want to continue maintenance treatments. I only stopped due to a domestic violence situation. the doctor had no intention on stopping. now, 7 years later, I still struggle with bipolar 1, generalized anxiety disorder, PTSD (caused by the ect and domestic violence), somatic symptom disorder, and a traumatic brain injury caused by the ect (giving me daily migraines). I take several medications and am currently starting a DBT program. I feel very alone. has anyone out there had as many treatments as me?
    #ElectroconvulsiveTherapy

    Post

    Some days are harder than others...

    Hi everybody! I am new to the Mighty and I have been encouraged over the past few days by the vulnerable space cultivated with so many brothers and sisters in daily battle. I in turn would like to open up with a few thoughts from my day...

    Today is one of those days that are just harder than others. It is by no means the worst I’ve had, non-the-less it is one that frustrates the crap out of me. Today my brain and body is just off... I am just off. No matter how hard I try to concentrate on something, focus on a conversation, or have an urge/meeting to go to outside of my house... I can’t move. I am scared of being triggered by others. My body has already been triggered and pushing so many sensations, memories, aches, sharp pains... today is a day that is harder. Harder than others... and I am... I am here. See me. I am still living it. I am living. MajorDepressiveDisorder #CPTSD #SomaticSymptomDisorder #DissociationDisorders

    Post

    I’ve been crying all day.

    Me and my family have had a spring break trip planned for many months, which was a volleyball tournament for my daughter in Florida. Last minute I decided I could not go because I felt to sick with some #Undiagnosed condition. Maybe #MECFS , maybe #HeartDisease , maybe #SomaticSymptomDisorder or #GAD

    I am absolutely heart broken. Ive never been this depressed, distraught and hopeless.