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  • Writer's pictureMichael Lenz

Navigating Life with Fibromyalgia and Autism: Dr. Stacy Greeter Shares Her Journey

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In the latest episode of our podcast, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Dr. Stacy Greeter, a psychiatrist based in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Greeter shared her personal journey of being diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and fibromyalgia and delved into her professional insights on the significance of accurate diagnoses and the importance of compassion in the medical field.




Dr. Greeter's qualifications and experiences uniquely position her to provide valuable insights into the intersection of mental health and chronic conditions. She is board-certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. With extensive experience treating complex mental illnesses and unique family systems, she emphasizes combining evidence-based medication treatment with a holistic understanding of each patient's life story.


A Unique Path to Psychiatry


From a young age, Dr. Greeter's path to becoming a psychiatrist began with a deep curiosity about human behavior and mental processes. She reflected on the influence of her grandfather’s struggle with Alzheimer's disease and how it propelled her into the field. Despite being autistic herself, Dr. Greeter only discovered this in her 40th year, highlighting the challenges of diagnosing autism, especially in adults.


The Journey of Discovery and Diagnosis


Dr. Greeter shared her experience at a conference where she shared her diagnosis. This revelation showcased her openness and emphasized the importance of understanding one's own conditions. Her diagnosis of fibromyalgia added another layer to her journey, offering a unique perspective as both a healthcare provider and a patient navigating the medical system.


Understanding Autism and ADHD


One significant part of our conversation was the importance of accurate diagnoses. Autism and ADHD often overlap with other conditions, making them challenging to identify, especially in adults. Dr. Greeter emphasized that many individuals with autism have been misdiagnosed with personality disorders or other psychiatric conditions. Understanding these conditions can bring much-needed clarity and self-compassion to those affected.


Overcoming Medical Stigma


Dr. Greeter candidly discussed the stigma surrounding chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia. She highlighted the importance of empathy and validation from healthcare providers. Often, patients with these diagnoses are met with skepticism, which exacerbates their suffering. Dr. Greeter’s experience has made her an advocate for compassionate care, ensuring patients feel seen and heard.


The Role of Self-Advocacy


Navigating the healthcare system can be daunting, particularly for those with complex mental health and chronic pain conditions. Dr. Greeter offered practical advice on advocating for one’s healthcare needs. She stressed the importance of patients articulating their needs clearly to their providers and seeking clinicians open to collaborative and transparent communication.


The Psychological Impact of Diagnoses


Understanding one’s diagnosis can profoundly impact one’s mental health. Dr. Greeter shared how her autism diagnosis was a pivotal moment in her life, helping her make sense of her experiences and behaviors. This understanding fostered self-empathy and improved her interactions with others, including her relationship with her husband.


Resources for Understanding Autism


Dr. Greeter recommended several valuable resources for those seeking to better understand autism, including Donna Henderson's “Is This Autism?” and the Adult Autism Assessment Handbook. These resources can be instrumental for both patients and clinicians in bridging the knowledge gap and fostering a more empathetic approach to care.


Bridging the Gap in Medical Education


The conversation also highlighted gaps in medical education regarding autism and related conditions. Dr. Greeter and I discussed the need for ongoing training and curiosity among healthcare providers. By continuously questioning and updating our understanding, clinicians can provide better care and avoid dismissing conditions significantly impacting patients’ lives.





Conclusion: Embracing Empathy and Understanding


Dr. Greeter’s insights illuminate the complex journey of living with autism, ADHD, and fibromyalgia. Her story underscores the importance of accurate diagnoses, self-advocacy, and the need for compassion in healthcare. For clinicians, patients, and their loved ones, embracing empathy and understanding is crucial in navigating these challenges.


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We hope you enjoyed this episode and found Dr. Greeter's experiences and insights enlightening. If you have thoughts or feedback on this episode or other topics, please leave a rating and a five-star review. Share this post to help others who may benefit from this information. Until next week, go team fibro!

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