I really really REALLY don’t trust people who oppose self-diagnosis
Posted May 25, 2011on:
(Of psychiatric issues, that is)
By opposing self diagnosis you are telling people that they cannot understand themselves without outside help. You’re opposing self-determination. Like… How the fuck do any activist type people think that’s remotely okay?
And that’s not even getting into how fucked up psychiatric institutions can be. I cringe every time I see people being like “YOU NEED TO SEE A PSYCHIATRIST BECAUSE YOU’RE WEIRD!”
Just because like… given my experiences that seems like it’s telling people to go subject themselves to abuse.
It also seems like it’s an attempt to stop people with brains outside the norm from forming communities. Like: “Oh you shouldn’t associate with that community even though you have a LOT in common with them because you’re not really one of them” Ooo ooo also: “Self diagnosis never helps anyone” because apparently being able to know that there are other people like you and that you can talk to them about how to cope with this stuff is unhelpful. YOU KNOW.
It’s creepy as fuck. Like creepy in the same way demanding trans people have gatekeepery therapists and then insisting that they assimilate post-transition is creepy. Because it’s pretty much exactly the same thing. “Pass yourself off as exactly like everyone else because otherwise PRIVILEGED PEOPLE MIGHT BE UNCOMFORTABLE! And for the love of god don’t form communities that would mean you might be able to discover that we have no fucking clue what we’re talking about and we’re systematically treating you like shit!”
And additional WordPress bonus commentary:
- Self-diagnosis is not the same as self-medication; the latter actually is dangerous. The former is not particularly. Many psychiatric issues are not mental illness (say, autism) and there isn’t really any obvious way to medicate and “cure” is of questionable desirability.
- Doctors are not infallible. Psychiatric institutions are often seriously fucked up and coercive and dehumanizing. Insisting that they aren’t all is derailing. And insisting that there is danger in self misdiagnosis while ignoring the rather significant danger in professional misdiagnosis is really fucked up.
- There is a huge difference between informed self-diagnosis and hypochondria (“Oh no I’m occasionally energetic I must have bipolar!”) or appropriation (“I put a lot of effort into sorting my music lol I’m so OCD”) and the best response to either of those is not to tell a person they can’t possibly have the condition in question, but to educate them on what the conditions actually are; as, for example, I do put a lot of effort into organizing my music and this is a manifestation of my OCD, but it is hardly the only symptom, and the “can’t wash dishes without panic attacks” and “looking at raw meat can make me gag” symptoms are the ones that really disrupt my life.
- In the US at least, professional diagnosis can be extremely expensive and in rural locations there may not be any nearby resources to provide it. Going to a doctor actually requires a lot of privilege here.
- Biases and stereotypes significantly effect who gets diagnosed with what. Autism is significantly underdiagnosed in women, for example. And because my depression was less dramatic than my brother’s, nobody noticed it until I was failing out of college.