Dear Dr. Archer,
I became very interested when I read your reasons for chemical imbalances. I fall under the trauma as a child. I was sexually abused, actual intercourse, from ages 5-12. When I put an end to it I began smoking marijuana and drinking to numb my pain and memory. I have been labeled so many things, including ADHD, OCD, and Bi-Polar. Actually, I believe it all boils down to the abuse.
I am refusing to see a psychiatrist because in the 1990's I was willing to follow any and all doctors' orders and one doctor actually overdosed me on Trileptal. I am sober and clean. My regular doctor prescribes Ritalin, Topomax, and now Klonipin, but I don't take my medications as prescribed. I take extra Ritalin and Klonopin each day. I have never confessed this to anyone. I find I have a fear of psychiatrists. I wish I could meet you, and perhaps you could get an MRI of my brain and verify I am not crazy!
I have tried every anti-depressant, but nothing has worked except Lithium, but I haven't taken that since 2007. I used to weigh 330 pounds and had a gastric bypass in 1999, and now I am at 175 pounds. I believe my positive health habits came from that surgery.
No doubt abuse at an early age can be hugely traumatic and also predispose you to a chemical imbalance of the brain as you get older. However, the diagnosis that you list are all very treatable with medications and/or therapy.
My advice is to get a referral from your family doctor and start seeing a psychiatrist again. You must quell your fear of psychiatrists, take a deep breath and go. Just because you had a bad experience with one psychiatrist is no reason to never see one again. Finding a psychiatrist you like and trust is paramount because your condition is complicated. Unfortunately it is not possible for me to treat you over the internet but there are numerous good docs out there for you to choose from.
Also, Susan, please only take medications as prescribed. A good doc is taking detailed notes on what works or doesn't at any given dose. By varying your dosage you are hurting your long range potential for getting well. My closing thoughts are that an MRI rarely gives any new info in a pure psychiatric diagnosis and that Lithium is a good drug; so you should definitely tell your new psychiatrist that this worked for you. Take care.
I guess no one really wants to see a psychiatrist, but there's nothing to be afraid of. There is treatment available for chemical imbalances, so just go get the help you need. Tell us your story. How did you get the help you needed?