Marriage and Mental Illness

Are they mutually exclusive?

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Comments (44)

(37) anonymous, November 3, 2014 1:27 PM

don't agree

If you are an employer, you can give a person who has mental illness a chance in the workplace and maybe it will work out. If not you can try to find him/her a more suitable job or if there's no choice, fire him.

Marriage is a little more complicated. There can be so much heartache and suffering and if is hereditary can ruin generations. Unfortunately, not everybody can or should get married. Of course, we never know what will be even with a healthy person but that doesn't mean we should marry a sick one.

Anonymous, November 5, 2014 4:03 PM

Life Lesson

Speaking from experience as one who had been married to such a spouse, I would say that if the person is willing to deal with his/her illness and take what treatment or medicine is necessary, the marriage can be a huge success. But if not, it is usually a hell. This should be discussed by the couple before the wedding, and if necessary (and allowed) a line should be added to the Ketubah (or a separate agreement can be noterized) to the effect that if the ill person ever refuses treatment, a divorce will be granted.

(36) Lisa, November 2, 2014 9:36 AM

More sensitive & accepting.....

I think not!
In my world mental illness is still hidden in the closet!
I live in NY & I categorize myself as modern orthodox.

Rabbi, would you be thrilled if someone suggested a " really good boy" , so he's got a touch of bi-polar, for your daughter?

(35) Yochevet Uziel Weinberger, May 3, 2013 7:53 PM

One doesn't know everything ahead of time

when I married my husband I knew I was moody. After years of marriage, I was diagnosed as bipolar. I started on medication, which changed my life and made me into a more equal partner. My brother is also bipolar, has a lot of recovery, but his marriage went belly-up after 13 years. My close friend married someone who probably has a personality disorder making her physically and mentally abusive. They were both Jewish, but that was not enough. He recently remarried a Jewish woman who seems much more stable, and I have hope for them.

(34) rona, July 1, 2012 4:19 AM

is a person with mental illness obligated to keep halacha

hi, i believe my husband has some form of narcissism. he is refusing help and this may potentially be a cause to end our marriage. I have cyclothemia but through natural medicine, have kept it under control. are we, as people with mental illness, obligated to keep the halachot? we are often shunned in shul. this summer, at the camp I work at as an art specialist, i was given a hard time when the assistant i work with caught me taking my medicine. i was extremely annoyed at this because she was judgemental yet she herself is asian and a convert and had a bit of a time being accepted by the jewish community herself. so my question remains; if we are not so easily accepted by the community, are we obligated to keep all of the mitzvot?

Anonymous, November 5, 2014 4:07 PM

A Reply to Rona

The obligation to keep Mitzvot does not depend on social acceptance but upon a person's mental ability to understand the Mitzvah. If the illness is such as to make that difficult, then the obligation ceases. This should be discussed with a Rabbi, as it may be that the individual in question is obligated for some Mitzvot but not others, depending on his/her condition.

(33) Shoshana, February 27, 2011 4:39 AM

Misdiagnosis of Bipolar

You mentioned that Bipolar is often misdiagnosed. How does one know if their diagnosis of bipolar is accurate or not?

(32) Rochel, August 10, 2009 6:36 PM

REQUIRED READING FOR ALL H.S. SENIORS: FATAL FLAWS

Having been married to a man with bi-polar for ten years and having two of my three children stricken with depression, I would have LOVED to have read this book when I was 18 years old. It explores textbook cases in laymen's terms. I am VEHEMENTLY opposed to someone that knowingly tricks people into marrying them rather than finding someone who is OK with it.

(31) Miriam, January 1, 2009 4:21 PM

Kudos to Rabbi Salomon

My sincerest thanks to Rabbi Salomon for addressing this important issue. As a single myself, I wonder about how and when I will tell my spouse to be about my years-long battle with depression, finally resulting in a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Other than my (somewhat infrequent) mania and depressive episodes, I lead a normal and productive life. I have many friends and a successful career. To someone who does not see me all the time, I look and behave like anyone else. I know that when the time comes, I will urge my spouse-to-be to speak with both my therapist and psychiatrist so he can get a clear idea of what he will have to deal with if he were to marry me. I do not see this as an optional thing, nor do I believe it should wait until after we get engaged. As part of the full disclosure, I want anyone who would be ready to make a lifetime commitment to me to clearly understand it will not be easy.

Miriam, 8 years later, April 27, 2017 3:38 AM

8 years later...

I saw this comment I wrote 8 years ago and was compelled to write a follow-up comment. About a year after this article was written, I met a wonderful man. True to my word, I disclosed my diagnosis of bipolar disorder to him, after we knew each other about a month. I brought him to my psychiatrist and therapist, and let him ask whatever questions he had. I gave him time to do research, so he would understand that marrying me would likely mean challenges along the way. He married me anyway, and I'm so glad he did. Life hasn't been so easy, but I'm more stable now than I've ever been, and it is largely because he did not give up on me. Once, when things were really bad, I asked him if he regretted marrying me. He just looked at me quizzically and said "you're joking, right?". Mutual respect and full disclosure may have brought us together initially, but a deep love and commitment to one another is what has kept us together through the highs and lows of the past 7 years.

Devora, July 15, 2017 11:28 PM

Thank you Miriam

Thank you for sharing that... it gives me hope that I will hopefully have a similar experience.

(30) RB, December 28, 2008 2:08 AM

Treatment or Separation

I have been married to someone with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder for 7 years. As long as someone with a mental illness is getting the appropriate treatment, I think a marriage is absolutely possible. Without treatment, it's definitely very hard...and if the spouse's or their children's safety is compromised, a separation is definitely needed.

(29) malaikah, August 20, 2008 11:44 AM

Why Run

As a mental health nurse I see no reason to run from someone who has a mental illness,or as quoted "has signs of any emotional disturbance"if that were the case then we would all be running from one another all the time. I think that if someone trusts you enough to reveal this to you then be fair,mental illness is such a broad term it can be any number of things. By no means put yourself in harms way, but also try to not be predjudice either.

(28) Anonymous, August 12, 2008 10:49 AM

such an important message to give everyone a chance

BS"D As someone affected by OCD, I can tell you that I had the most beautiful marriage for 40 years because my husband z"l gave me unconditional love and acceptance. There are many single Jews who have some type of mental illness but who if they don't marry young find it difficult to find their beshert. Your message is essential for everyone to hear. Thank you for your wisdom and sensitivity. May Hashem help us all with whatever challenges he's given us.

(27) stephen collins, August 5, 2008 12:13 PM

well im sending my wife to gaza to sort the problem out there now i might get peace amen

(26) Ronni, August 3, 2008 11:44 PM

wondering

Rabbi, with all due respect how can you suggest that someone take a chance on someone with a mental illness with all the possible ramifications of such a decision? When someone does not function like a well person and adversity is usually more than such a person can handle, the spouses and children of these dysfunctional people pay a very heavy price. I think one ought to run the other way if there's any sign of emotional disturbance or mental illness of any kind, it simply is not worth the risk. Let people with mental disorders marry like-minded people and they ought to consult with their rabbi and therapist before having children. One more thing, because someone is on medications does not mean case solved. They can decide to stop taking the medication, it can stop working, or it simply isn't enough to help someone be a well-adjusted person who can handle the stresses of marriage and parenthood.

Anonymous, July 1, 2012 11:24 PM

how can you take a chance?

I will tell you how. A person with bipolar disorder does not fret about the small stuff. Therefore, problems will occur, but if the person tells you he wants treatment, there is really never a point that they will stop taking meds. Once you feel what "normal" is there is no more going back to the chaos of bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder have other compensating qualities. They are mentally strong in other ways like they are braver and more enterprising.

(25) Anonymous, August 3, 2008 6:20 PM

Dating with Asperger's?

Thank you for bringing up this issue. My friend has been diagnosed with, if not Asperger's, something similar. That, compounded with her natural (and lifetime build-up of) shyness, makes it very difficult for to socialize, yet she wants to date and find her husband. Are there any Jewish groups/websites devoted to helping Jews with neurological differences meet and date? We live in Seattle, where the Jewish community, as far as I've seen, doesn't have anything quite like that.

(24) Anonymous, August 3, 2008 4:15 PM

In response to Juliet

I understand your frustration at all you've been through. On another site, which is all about Jewish life, one woman wrote in to say she had talked to her rabbi about the abuses she had been going through in her marriage. She was basically ignored and told to be a better person. ??? Better? As in stay for more abuse? Be even more understanding and become more of a victim? She had no support. Many wrote in to her and then the posting was gone. Many abusers are mentally ill and are quite good about casting doubt on their partners. They'll refuse counseling and tell any support system/aquaintances lies about their spouses to cover themselves. It's so easy to do unfortunately. "Oh my wife? She's always complaining about one thing or another." "My husband is prone to making up all kinds of complaints" and there you go. Lashon Hora at it's deepest dark depths. You were heard here Juliet and I believe you.
I wish you much good and much love in the future.

(23) david, August 1, 2008 3:32 AM

telling is good

from personal experience:
1. an involved spouse can be a crucial
factor in the success of treatment,
such as reminding and coercing to
take pills

2. mutual awareness of limitations are
a must in every partnership, so that
tasks can be divided sensibly

(22) Jennifer Kelly-Bowser, July 30, 2008 11:08 AM

This is great

I sometimes think mental illness is like water flowing through some families. Mine for instance. I had uncles on both sides who were ill, and cousins plus one sister who suffers it. I believe I must be blessed not to have it, though sometimes I do wonder if I really missed it.
When certain things make me angry, I find myself having to struggle to maintain my hands, mouth and disposition.

(21) Anonymous, July 30, 2008 1:25 AM

Thank you

After 25 years I have just been told, as Rabbi Salamon mentions, that I had been misdiagnosed. I went to many doctors to remove the diagnosis as I knew it was wrong and the medication that went with it. I never had a positive answer or any cooperation until a certain renowned psychiatrist after giving me tests and looking through my medical history told me that I had been misdiagnosed. It was music to my ears though I felt cheated and extremely cross that this diagnosis had labelled me. But B"H I conducted my life, as any other person but with the stigma attached.

Thank you for all that you mentioned. You were not only educating the public out there but you have given hope and encouragement to those who just needed so much your support. Thank you, Rabbi.

(20) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 11:35 PM

I thought your comments were very truthful and warranted. As someone who "was" engaged to someone who had bypolar disorder, I only wish she would have trusted me more and fully disclosed what the disorder entails and how I could have been more helpful to her in helping her deal with the disorder. If you don't understand it,and you don't educate yourself about it, becasue the person is so afraid to really talk about it, how can you help and care for that person? Too much of the community is so obsessed in "not telling" and being ashamed of treatable mental illnesses, that we are losing shidduchim that otherwise could lead to very loving and longlasting marriages. Education and understanding is key, and explaining to someone openly who is trying to learn about it, how this effects a person's day to day life, is the only way to go. Because if that person does not want to learn about it and understand it, that person is not in love with you or will care for you and will probably not in the long run be a good spouce to you. Talk openly about it when the time is right and be honest and truthful about it.

(19) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 8:53 PM

Self-Disclosure Is the Key

Rabbi Salomon, thank you for your comments and yes, you are correct, self-disclosure is the key.

My former husband suffers from Bipolar Disorder or possibly Borderline Disorder (he has still never admitted to an "official diagnosis").

Unfortunately, I did not realize that there was a problem until well into the marriage. Had there been more honesty, perhaps I could have been stronger, more assertive, and involved in his treatment. Instead, the secrecy, dishonesty, denial, shame, and (and yes) abuse continued for years and in spite of improvements at the end, too much time had passed and too much pain had occurred for the marriage to continue.

Would things have been different if honesty and self-disclosure had been the rule? No one will ever know for sure, but most people can face any challenge if they are equipped with information and the TRUTH.

(18) gini, July 29, 2008 5:15 PM

married to a man with bipolar

Rabbi, I was so excited to see your topic,but I come from the vantage-point of one who is married to a man who stubbornly refused to acknowledge he might have a problem until 5 years ago, 20 years into our marriage. What a challenge to persevere in the marriage!
I hope you will do a blog instructing and encouraging those of us who are in the midst of the battle...

sarah, July 1, 2012 11:20 PM

married to a min with bipolar disorder also

I too, am married to a man with bipolar disorder. It has been four disorderly years of mayhem and shame and pain and he has not the slightest inkling that anything is wrong. In addition he demands things like money from my family members without understanding how inappropriate he is. I am given a bit of faith that 20 years of marriage are possible with such a type of person. Can I ask how things worked in the community? Were you accepted? I feel so ostracized by the community and I know it is partially me to blame for staying with my husband but we will lose our house if we part as the economy is poor. I am heppy your husband found help. May you both be blessed.

(17) ruth housman, July 29, 2008 3:46 PM

how we use labels

thank you, as a psychotherapist, for a very sensitive piece. People have all kinds of problems and there are none who escape the vagaries of life, what we are "thrown", and it can be genetics, a combination of life circumstances that are less than ideal, ways of relating and thinking that are distorted due to teaching and circumstance. We all hit the rocks.

Mental illness is so often treatable, in myriad ways. It's wise to disclose because surely one's partner, must "know us" and we "them". A long time ago people shuddered to use the word "cancer" and it was whispered about. By naming something and seeing that we're all in this together, we can help each other, and defuse the myths surrounding these illnesses. Certainly, there are some serious problems in life to deal with and we must all decide how much we can cope with together. Secrecy leads to such much pain and again, we need to be careful how and with who we discuss the intimate details of life, because even today, there is stigma.

(16) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 2:27 PM

Oy vey!

We have friends that just got married and now have a new baby and "all of a sudden" the husband became very very very depressed such that he could not function. He lost his job and could not even care for the baby so that wife could go to her job. The husband has tried workshops and medication but now the wife is stuck with a full time job and the baby is in daycare and the wife has a lot on her plate.

(15) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 12:45 PM

Thank you

I am a spouse of a wonderful man with a "mental illness" I B"H am very happily married for almost 10 years. There definately were some bumps in the road, but hey, so did my siblings have bumps in the road of their marriages! I think that my husband is a very understanding person because of his background and he is a very high functioning person with more than one job and a strong drive to prove himself. He is an incredible father and I just wanted to let people know that if you have the right tools, you can make it work.

(14) Julieta, July 29, 2008 11:09 AM

mental illness and marriage

I would like you to see into the cruelness within the marriages. I was divorced after 25 years of marriage, because if I stayed I would be dead by now. Am I mentally ill?

No, I became ill with a very strong depression due to my ex-husbands cruelty towards me. I worked for him, I helped him in his business, I helped him become wealthy, while I was raising my two sons.

By the time my sons entered the university, one is an Industrial Engeneer, the other one is a Chemical Engeneer, both were brought up in a jewish environment, I worked also for the jewish community to which we belonged at the time, Beth-El in Mexico, I worked in the womens commitee during 15 years. I spent the 25 years I was married to their father working like crazy for the benefit of my family and when I broke because of the excess of work, because of the lack of consideration and because of the excess of abuse I was subjected to, there was no one to hold me.

My ex husband convinced my sons that they had no reason to protect and help their mother. He convinced them that I waas guilty of "being to able to solve problems" and therefore I was a danger to their well being because I would take control of their lifes and tell how to live and what to do. Why? envy, because I was able to solve the problemas he wasn´t, because I was able to carry out the work he didin´t know how to.

They cant acuse me of being unfaithfull for I never was, and people know me. Yet, he manged to shed a shadow of doubt over me because What did I do them? that was so bad that they wont talk to me.

I wasn´t invited to my sons weddings, I wasn´t even mentioned in the invitations to the weddings, I dont know my grand children.

Guess what, nobody can help me. I hgave asked for help since the beguinning of this nightmare 18 years ago, and everybody says they can do nothing.

My sons are religious. They study Torah every day, they put on their tfilims, they attend the sinagogue, they are kosher, etc. etc. But the Fifth commandment has not been properly explained to them.

Honor thy father and thy mother. This should be better explained. Because as I have been able to live, women are exploted, used, and discarded once they are no longuer necessary for the wellfare of the family. And what do the rabi´s do, ask for money, more and more, I have contacted rabís in Mexico and in Israel, I am even contributing to Aish with a monthly donation, small, but considering my situation big, because I get nothing in return.

Yes, women become ill, mentally ill, because we are treated badly. Please pay attention to that and help women they give life and should be given the proper attention.

Anonymous, June 19, 2012 3:25 PM

My family went through a very similar situation! My mother is now locked up in a closed ward because of her second husbands cruelty towards her..... & we, her children, are so wracked with pain when we go visit her & see our strong amazing loving beautiful mother... Wasted away. She has become a ghost of herself!!! Thank you for sharing your story.... Hashem should give you strength to get through all of this!!

(13) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 9:36 AM

Don't be fooled

I have been married for nearly 20 years to a man I (well after marriage) discovered had a few mood disorder issues. I won't lie to you, it hasn't been easy. Through our struggles, however, our kids have learned an important lesson, repeatedly: people are not throw aways. I believe that everyone needs to develop rachmanos towards the milieu of disabilities out there. There, but for the grace of G-d go any one of us. That is the lesson. I have realized my inner strength through a difficult situation, my spouse has the tenacity to be as well and as functional as possible, and my children are well aware of the frailty of humanity and are better people and better Jews because of it, I am certain. Tune in to your inner voice. No marriage is perfect or easy. These ones are more likely to take greater internal strength by all family members, but, as with any medical diagnosis, many medical situations can be managed through a combination of approporiate meds and therapy and constant reassessment. Love one another. One day, it could be you.

(12) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 9:18 AM

very important commentary

I'm single, a mental health professional, and I have bipolar disorder. I've been rejected from a few relationships because of my illness, and I'm always wary of telling too soon. I appreciate R. Salomon's assertion that people with mental illnesses who get proper treatment are capable of full and busy lives. I hope that mental illness will stop being the kiss of death to shidduchim.

(11) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 8:58 AM

thank you

thank you for this commentary. mental illness is very diffiuclt for families in a small jewish community. i hope you can keep us updated on more articles on this topic, or would appreciate resources for my family. thank you for all that you and the other scholars do for aish. it has truly been a wonderful source of learning and spiritual growth.

(10) Marvin Shaw, July 29, 2008 8:03 AM

End Jewish stereotypes....now!

Not all Jews are rich, successful and with full mental health. This period is one of 'loving your fellow Jew' to repair the cause of the destruction of the second temple.

We all need to press our religious teachers, leaders and Jewish media to truly educate their communities.
More understanding and less stereotyping, please.

(9) Abbei, July 29, 2008 7:57 AM

Thanks very much to Rab. Solomon.
I suffer from mental illness and I understand very well what you said so clearly.Not many people speak like you. Again todah rabah.

Ch.(n)

(8) Mark Douglas Obenour, July 28, 2008 6:49 PM

I read somewhere ...

I read in a book that you shouldn't divorce someone who is mentally ill as it deprives them of a protector? Yet man's law today says anyone can divorce anybody for anything? The mentally ill can refuse medication under mans law. How far should I go in trying to preserve, protect, and defend my marriage and mate when I don't know what's wrong?

(7) chavi, July 28, 2008 1:51 PM

It's not all roses

As a special education teacher working in the resource room of an elementary school, I frequently have referred to me children who come from dysfunctional homes because one or both parents have mental issues. Admittedly, I am seeing only one segment of the mentally ill population, the segment which is admittedly disfunctional, but seeing the effects on the children born from these marriages breaks my heart. They are referred to me for academic, emotional and social remediation. One child, whose father is bipolar, admitted that her favorite family member is her cat. Her cat sleeps with her every night, and she licks her cat's head all the time, because, while her cat can clean all of the rest of himself by licking himself, he cannot reach his head with his tongue, so she does it for him. I see children who are abused both physically and emotionally, neglected emotionally, and even their physical needs are not met. They are not provided with an adequate, appropriate place to sleep, they cannot function normally in school because they are so sleep-deprived, they come to school in filthy uniforms which have long been outgrown or worn out, and frequently come to school hungry, having not been given breakfast or a snack at home. They are, understandably, shunned by other children. Maybe this is not typical of every mental illness marriage, but I have seen too many cases where the spouse who is on medication just stops taking it, then all of the inappropriate behaviors emerge, and the healthy spouse and children are the unwitting victims and suffer tremendously. I would think very carefully about entering into a marriage with someone who has a mental health issue.

(6) Anonymous, July 28, 2008 6:19 AM

Well said

Rabbi Salomon's comments were bang on. [As usual.]

I have bipolar disorder, which, Boruch Hashem, is well under control.

People have to realise that people with diagnoses of mental illness are not abnormal in any way, they are simply suffering from a medical condition, just the same as any other.

As Rabbi Salomon says, with the appropriate treatment, people with mental illness can and do lead perfectly normal lives.

(5) Anonymous, July 27, 2008 7:25 PM

Bravo!!!!!

Wonderful article. Here's my story about mental illness and marriage:
I once was "jilted" by my fiance, a very prominent Jewish man. The problem: I was experiencing severe anxiety about my impending marriage, and had a lot of odd symptoms. One ER visit later, and in the hands of a competent psychiatrist, I learned that my symptoms came from my past history of long "forgotten" severe child abuse.
I got help - my fiance got going.
Update: I later married a good Jewish man and have two beautiful (rambunctious, bright!) children. I had a nice career, despite bouts of depression that no doubt will probably always reoccur.
My former fiance, who married a "normal" woman, has a child on the autism spectrum.
No one is immune to trouble, people are not perfect. Trying to run away from illness - mental or physical - is futile.
PS: I'm glad the jerk left me - my bashert/husband is a compassionate, handsome man who isn't afraid of imperfection!

(4) Anonymous, July 27, 2008 4:35 PM

Excellent summary!

As one who is married to a man who has been successfully treated for bipolar (i.e. stable, on medication), it bothers me to hear the automatic disqualification many give. I can laugh at them now, because my "flawed" husband is worth 5 of their "perfect" husbands!

I did know about it before, and as Rabbi Salamon says, it's important to go into it with your eyes open.

(3) Anonymous, July 27, 2008 1:39 PM

I wish he told me this earlier

I disagree with you. My husband has AS and depression (the AS he disclosed when we were dating, the depression when we got engaged) and he can be totally off the wall, very moody and mopey, even with the antidepressants. I wish he told me this before we were engaged-I would never have married him. Self-disclosure is incredibly important, especially in cases like this. He is more like an adolescent of 20 than a 40-year-old. I feel like I am parenting a teen and a toddler (our 19-month-old son) instead of it being a two-way street.

(2) erin, July 27, 2008 10:10 AM

My dad has schizophrenia

My dad was always a mensch and that is why my mom married him. After they were married, years later in 1984, he was unfortunately diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. My mom loved my dad and was determined not to give up on their marriage. He was given treatment and medication to take. Unfortunately, my dad was (and still is) very stubborn and has negative views about doctors and medication, he also did not really understand his illness (he thinks everyone else is crazy). My parents got divorced. My dad to this day is on and off medication and the illness took its toll on him over the years. My mom harbors no anger or resentment towards him, but wishes he could have been more receptive to treatment.

This is my parent's story, but I am sure there are other couples out there that were able to make it work. I think the key is the mentally ill person's understanding of the illness and willing to disclose to loved ones, their trust in a good team of doctors, their willingness and determination to get better, love and support around them, and the love between husband and wife.

I watched the movie "A Beautiful Mind", true story of mathematician John Nash, and although he and his wife had a rocky road due to the illness, his understanding of the illness and determination to overcome the illness helped keep the marriage b/w Nash and his wife intact.

(1) Anonymous, July 27, 2008 6:27 AM

the 2-way street

Marriage is definitely a merger of two people with generally shared interests and values. Communication is key to a successful marriage, because a couple must love smart as opposed to loving blindly.

The rabbi made an interesting point, because I happen to have Asperger syndrome, and it made me think on how soon I would disclose it either to an employer or a potential candidate to be my bashert. In recent years, I've preferred more socializing in mainstream Jewish groups than that of a conventional or unconventional Asperger's group. I used to date a non-Jew who had Asperger's herself, where she thought we were "inseparable", but I wasn't very fond of her for personal reasons. Now that I have been determined to find a Jewish partner, her being Jewish is the front-reason for a potential mate for me, but it is not so easy since it feels like finding a needle in a haystack within social overload, such as at parties.

Usually, as long as I am medicated, I often come off as a usual/typical person to most people, where it doesn't occur that I have Asperger's (at least depending on what mood I am in). I can certainly live a relatively normal life, especially since I am regarded by many as a good, decent person.

When I find my bashert, I hope I could disclose to her in the right way about my condition where she will find it understandable.

Not all individuals with AS are the same.

Indeed, I have had my share of misdiagnoses. My first psychiatrist my mother took me to thought I had childhood schizophrenia, and the 2nd said he never saw anyone like me. With the latter, for years, I've been getting irritated by hearing the words from doctors and those in customer service saying "I've never seen this before" which makes me think that they are not professional enough. I applied for health insurance a couple years ago, and they said that they never came across an individual with AS registering for insurance. After trial and error, I was eventually able to find decent health insurance thru an HMO, after going about 3 and a half months without adequate health insurance 2 years ago. Other times, some people think I have OCD, given the similarities between that and Asperger's.

All in all, when I find my bashert, I'm sure or hope that she will see my goodness. I know it is more important to focus on the individual more than the diagnosis since not everyone in such a category is the same. In fact, AS may only be a rather small part of me, and does not affect a major life function (that's why I am flaky when it comes to disclosing my AS to employers, even though I am involved with my state's dept. of rehab services where a career counselor is helping me find permanent work). For now, I am working at a big playground park for individuals with disabilities, among all children to play, and I can empathize with them with their behaviors in knowing I used to be like that before I was medicated. Thus, I still have a lot of exploring to do socially and professionally, and I happen to be doing all the right things and everything I can do to advocate for myself, as I am goal-oriented.

 

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