Why You Can’t Just Diagnose Yourself With Mental Illness
by Andrea Watson | December 5, 2020
So I just spent several hours on Quora.com answering a buttload of questions and I came across one that asked” How can I diagnose myself with depression and anxiety?” I had to answer this one. I had to say “Whoa buddy. Put the Prozac down and back away slowly!” What a stupid question…maybe. Is it? Do people really want to do this? I guess so. But it seems so damn foolish. Why? Read on.
First off, a diagnosis is nothing more than your provider’s best educated guess based on a large collection of widely agreed-upon parameters and their observations of you. They get it wrong. Often. After all, counseling and psychology are “practices”, not “perfects”-just like medicine. All you can really do is rule out what it is definitely not and take your best guess from there. What makes a person think that if a highly-educated professional can mess up that they would get it right, anyway? I dunnoooo, but it seems like a silly assumption to me.
Second, you don’t know what you’re doing. Your provider does. You don’t. Unless you have and continually study a DSM 5, there are likely disorders out there that you don’t even know exist. Depression takes a lot of forms, and anxiety does too. You can’t just point to one and say “that’s it”. There are qualifying factors that you know nothing about that need to be considered to come up with a good guess.
Third, if you assume that you have your diagnosis down, the next logical option would be to treat yourself, right? Right. Wait, I mean wrong, don’t do that! Even if you do have and study a DSM, it doesn’t even go into treatments so you’d be s.o.l. there. You would just have to make up your own, and good luck getting any meds from anyone.
Fourth, if you already have it in your head that you have a certain mental illness and you do seek professional help, then you will go into your provider thinking that you already know what’s wrong. If they disagree with you, what then? Are you going to resist actual treatment because you believe you are right and they are wrong? Possibly, and this is bad! You are at this point just putting limitations on the whole process and rendering it ineffective anyway, so why even bother taking the time?
Fifth, you will just make yourself look like a fool and that look is not flattering on anybody. you wouldn’t let your paper boy deliver your baby, would you? No? Then why would you look to your own understanding (or lack thereof) of mental illness for answers? It is best just to calm the f#%k down and let the professionals do the analyzing. HAve I made my point clear yet?
I hope so. Just don’t attempt it. Okay? Please. If you think you may have something going on with you then get some actual help. Don’t take it into your own hands. And don’t paper boy Jimmy pull that precious bundle of life from your body, either. It’s just common sense. So dear readers, now that we are all clear on that, I bid you farewell until next time.