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Do I Have A Mental Condition?

Question:

When I was around 6 years old my parents took me to a mental health clinic to see if I had a mental disorder because I was so ‘naughty’ in class. These meetings we had are some of my earliest memories. I remember a few tests they did on me such as asking me to draw a picture and putting this strange helmet on me to observe brain activity. I also remember my mother crying a lot which was quite traumatic for a 6 year old boy. In the end I wasn’t diagnosed with anything so they concluded that I was just very naughty!

I was speaking to my Dad the other day and he said he did not want any ‘labels’ for his son (he told that to the doctor at the time), I have always wondered if I do have a mental condition and it just wasn’t diagnosed because of this.

Today I wouldn’t describe myself as normal. My main problem is processing language. I find it hard to process thoughts into words and vice versa. This can be annoying when in conversation, one person says something, it takes time for me to figure out what the words mean, then I come up with a response, and it takes time to think of the appropriate words to express this response. It is hard to perceive myself from others point of view, and so it is hard to imagine how different I am. Maybe I come across as obviously mentally challenged, maybe I come across as just a little eccentric. There was an apparently separate issue when I was aged 11-15. I believe I had, or at least had some symptoms of avoidant personality disorder.

Does the rejection of people and socialising at this age affect the development of communication skills? Thanks

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Answer:

There is a very big difference between mental conditions and learning disorders. From what you state in your E.Mail, it’s entirely possible that you have some type of learning disorder for which you never got any help. In other words, you father may have stopped the process during you childhood because he did not like labels. That’s too bad because it was not helpful to you. It’s not too late.

Of course, it is understandable that you would feel self conscious about socializing with people when it’s hard for you to process incoming information and then respond. That would be less a personality disorder rather than a wanting to avoid a situation that makes you feel self conscious.

It’s not too late for you. I urge you to have yourself tested, this time on your own and without parental interference. There are many school psychologists, in private practice, or in college if you are there, who can do the testing and come up with an accurate diagnosis. The purpose of doing this would be to get the training you need to overcome this problem.

Best of Luck

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