Lots of people vehemently defend self diagnosis, and there are only three reasons why:
- You’re a willfully ignorant sack of shit
- You want to be special without having to go through the verification
- You’re lazy
Now before I get cries of “m-muh ableism”, let me tell you a thing.
I have Interstitial Cystitis, vulvodynia, pelvic floor dysfunction, levator syndrome, chronic UTIs, borderline personality disorder, and possibly (but I stopped going to therapy for a bit because I realized the therapist I was going to was kind of a dickbag, I’m looking for a new one - and not a dickbag about my illnesses either, or particularly insensitive, he just tried blaming my depressive episode on my drug use and told me I didn’t know anything about drugs, citing federal studies and anecdotal evidence to counter my knowledge, stating that the fact that 80-90% of meth users never get addicted was false, and also saying that LSD was an “inherently violent drug”, and drugs are a Big Deal to me) schizoid personality disorder. I’ve also been diagnosed in the past with GAD (but I’m fairly certain that’s just a facet of my Borderline, the GAD diagnosis was from adolescence), depression (again, I think it’s a Borderline thing, but Borderline isn’t diagnosed underage), and “oppositional defiant disorder”.
I am disabled.
I am also poor. While I’m fortunate enough to have health insurance, treatment for my conditions are by no means affordable, even with that insurance. Before I could see doctors and specialists for my problems, when I had literally no money to go off of, I still didn’t diagnose myself. I certainly googled my symptoms to see if there were home relief type things I could do, like the whole “sitting on a tennis ball” thing for PFD or “walking away from the situation” for Borderline. That’s about as far as it went.
I think it’s absolutely offensive to claim that you have any ailment without getting verification from a professional. I think it’s absolutely okay, however, to say “I have [x] wrong with me, I think it might be [x], but I’m not sure.” If you find a swollen spot on your body, it could be cancer, but it probably isn’t. It’s probably a lymph node, an allergic reaction, a muscle knot, a bone spur, or literally anything else. When you self diagnose, you have a tendency to go for the big condition, instead of thinking about what pedestrian thing it might be.
I’ve been misdiagnosed, too. My general practitioner kept throwing Ciproflaxin at me for my infections, without looking in to why I had so many goddamn infections. It took a few years of me nagging GPs to refer me to specialists, because that’s what it takes. General practitioners, (your general “doctor”) isn’t going to know jack shit about a problem that you have in your kidneys (unless your doctor also specializes in urology). You have to go see someone that spent extra time in medical school studying kidneys. That’s how it works. It isn’t perfect, but that’s how it works. If we wanted general practitioners that were experts on everything, well, we wouldn’t have any doctors at all, because they’d be in school their entire lives.
There are some things, some attitudes that I’ve seen about this on tumblr, that really really grind my gears. I’ve taken the liberty of highlighting a few:
I give no shits about people who go around policing people who self-dox. All that does is discourage people from identifying their mental disabilities because they can’t get an ~official~ diagnoses and therefore delaying their ability to find help, even though unofficial sources.
No. Discouraging self diagnosis isn’t discouraging people from identifying what’s wrong with them. You can identify your symptoms, and that is FINE. The thing is, however, that you’re going to have inherent bias in a self diagnosis, and you’re also not going to be able to see the entire picture like someone who has devoted their lives to studying these things is. Policing self diagnosis is something that, in the disabled community, is important, because there are so many people that are outspoken about their “disability” that they gave themselves, and without the opinion of a professional, it lends to the idea that able bodied and minded people have about us “faking” or “overexaggerating”.
f*ck anyone whos anti-self diagnosis, its only with mental illness that u apparently arent allowed to go to your doctor with any ideas as to what might be wrong with u. u know what happens when i go to my doctor about a problem and twiddle my thumbs and mumble “i dont really know whats wrong with me i was hoping u could figure it out?” forget about a diagnosis, u cant even make an appointment with that. ive been chewed out and laughed off the phone by hotline workers and nurses for not knowing whats wrong with me so dont u dare tell people that they arent allowed to try to figure out for themselves what might be going on with their minds and bodies, especially when some of us cant even afford the treatment we need or even the diagnosis itself. literally f*ck you with everything sharp or sandpapery
You’ve been laughed at because in order to make an appointment, you must have identifiable symptoms. The doctor is not going to clear out time in his practice for someone that is probably just attention seeking and not serious about finding treatment, when there are patients that aren’t attention seeking and are serious about finding treatment. Want treatment? Identify some fucking symptoms, call your doctor like an adult, and go in educated, instead of “twiddling your thumbs”. The problem lies with you, not with the medical system.
money problems. a large percentage of the population cant afford physical health care, the addition of mental health care is really not in a lot of peoples budgets.
There are free clinics in the US and UK, as well as free mental health services. They may not be top-notch, but they are there, and they will help you.
they are a minor and do not have supportive parents— the amount of kids I know who suffer severe anxiety I know who’s parents dismiss it as just stress or faking it for attention is unreal. a lot of peoples parents refuse to let them see mental health professionals.
Anxiety can clear up with puberty. Stress in adolescence can cause clinical anxiety. Parents refusing to let kids see professionals is a bummer, but it doesn’t warrant a diagnosis. A teenager is in no way fit to diagnose themselves.
Ableism. A diagnosis can actually cause more trouble than its worth for some people (especially when the mental illness someone suffers from can lead to institution) the idea of being institutionalized is terrifying to a lot of people. On top of that, it can lead to workplace discrimination, along with discrimination by law (custody battles, etc…)
Uh, are you fucking kidding me? Getting a real diagnosis will actually put you under OSHA’s protection (in America) as well as the protection of the ADA (in America), and in most states, you cannot be institutionalized against your will unless you are posing a direct and immediate threat to your person. Have you even cracked open a legal book? (This is something I’ve dealt with personally, by the way, as I disclose my disability information to employers on day one of working at every job I have.)
I also found this awesome tidbit that EMPIRICALLY proves self diagnosing wrong:
Less than half of the 35% of the US population that self-diagnose get it right. It also doesn’t help that 35% out of the 35% population that self diagnose don’t even receive a professional opinion.
But back to the idiocy:
people who criticize, shame and police those who self diagnose with mental illnesses because they are unable or afraid to get professional help, and ignore the factors of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc in terms of diagnosis/treatment in the mental health industry are the actual worst
Literally all of these are protected legal statuses and you can seek legal recourse (usually pro bono) if you believe you have been discriminated against.
"Self diagnosing harms people who are ~*really*~ ill."
WOW GOOD JAB THE FACT THAT YOU HAD THE MONEY/INSURANCE, TIME, AND SUPPORT TO SEE A SPECIALIST MAKES YOU THE ONLY ONE WHO REAAAALLLLLY HAS THIS PROBLEM
*pins ribbon on you*
GOOD JAB ONLY TEEN IN THE WORLD WITH A ~*REAL*~ ANXIETY DISORDER GOOD JAB
I just covered this, but if you are serious about getting treatment for your problem, you will save the money, you will find the resources, and you will make the time. I went through a lot of my journey through my disabilities alone. Invisible illnesses are like that. You’re either going to buck up and get serious, or whine in a self-validating corner about how sick you are and how oppressed it makes you.
What it really comes down to (because I’m not putting myself through more of that tag right now), is that self-diagnosers are lazy. Yeah. That’s right. You heard me. If you really think you have a problem, then you need to make it your first priority. If it’s ruining your life, make it not ruin your life. Nobody is going to hold your hand as an adult, you have to take responsibility for your well being and your life and make it what you will. Self-diagnosis is an easy “out” in order to whine about how hard things are and avoid the responsibility of adulthood. It invalidates the efforts that those of us who grabbed the bull by the horns and accepted what life entails, as if because we were responsible, rational, and motivated, that it makes us lesser, or insensitive.
We just want you to play by the rules like everyone else does, and to stop behaviors that hurt yourself and others.
You must live in a magical paradise where free clinics actually provide any kind of useful mental health services, teenagers who go undiagnosed due to unsupportive parents don’t encounter serious problems due to their untreated condition, sexual orientation and gender are protected statuses (they most certainly are not in the U.S., depending on where you are, especially if you’re transgendered), mental health issues aren’t made a matter of record, people with serious mental illnesses or disorders are always fully capable of holding a steady job and saving up the money to get an official diagnosis from a sound medical professional, and potential employers must prove they haven’t refused to hire you simply because of your history of mental illness (or indeed, provide any reason at all). Can you give me directions to this Healthcare Disneyland?
No, but seriously. Neurological conditions do not magically spring into existence once they are named by a medical professional. A person with bipolar disorder had bipolar disorder before their doctor(s) decided they have bipolar disorder. And medical professionals are just as subject to bias and misdiagnosis as anyone…and they do just as much looking up answers on the internet. I have sat in a doctor’s office and watched it happen, okay. With multiple doctors at different locations. They are not all Dr. House encyclopedias of symptoms and possible conditions. I’d love to see where that 35% statistic came from. I’d bet it came from a medical study. No conflict of interest or possible bias in that at all.
And good luck trying to convince a medical professional otherwise after they’ve given you a diagnosis if you sincerely believe they’re wrong or want them to look harder. They have years of training and can’t possibly know less about your own mind and body than you, the person who lives in it every single day. I’d say your chances of being misdiagnosed are 50/50 with a licensed psychiatrist, and then you’re out whatever money that cost you and you’re still no better off than you were before.
I have had doctors try to diagnose me with depression during a routine yearly physical when I showed no symptoms whatsoever and was fine, and I’ve had doctors completely ignore me and write me off when I came to them with a list of symptoms that were disrupting my life. Clearly you’ve had much better experiences with doctors than me and everyone I’ve ever met. I’m glad for you. I hope it stays that way.