#mentalhealthmonday – diagnosis

Morning, all! Back with yet another #MentalHealthMonday, this time about mental health diagnoses. I’m thinking that this might be a bit of a controversial post, but…I wanted to get my thoughts out there, as I know a lot of people who have struggled with this particular topic.

Diagnoses can be very helpful. When my doctor finally told me I had depression and GAD (generalised anxiety disorder), I felt relieved. Someone had finally put a name to what I was feeling. I wasn’t making it up. They believed me. There was a group of people who I could talk to about my experiences, and they would understand. This was a huge step for me, because for a long time I pretended that everything was going okay, when it really wasn’t.

However, diagnoses aren’t everything. Ultimately, you know what’s going on in your body and your mind better than a doctor does. You are perfectly in your rights to disagree with your ‘official’ diagnosis. Mental health is a very subjective thing – what one doctor says is bipolar disorder could be BPD (borderline personality disorder) to another! Also, few people have all of the exact symptoms of a mental illness – and you have to keep in mind, diagnoses are constantly changing and overlapping!

Sometimes it is also very difficult getting yourself diagnosed.  Unfortunately, there are still racist and sexist doctors out there, and for some people getting a diagnosis is hard. A friend of mine went through four or five different doctors until she found one who believed her. (I’m going to talk about this in a more in-depth post in a few weeks, so look out for that.) Where you are in the world may play a part as well. I would never have been diagnosed when I was living in Bermuda, but that’s because there is a real stigma about talking about mental health, even in the doctor’s office.

If you do not have an ‘official’ diagnosis, this does not mean that you’re faking it, or being too sensitive. You may have unusual symptoms. You may have horrendous doctors. What’s important is that you try and help yourself, with or without an exact name to put to your mental illness. You know better than anyone else how you are feeling, and there are people out there (like me!) who believe you and will support you.

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11 thoughts on “#mentalhealthmonday – diagnosis

  1. MyBookJacket says:

    I’m so glad you have help. I have anxiety too. But I’m not sure what kind. And depression. That sort of set in early and I’ve learned to live with it. But hopefully I’ll find a decent psychologist soon. Great post. Very courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. christine @ the story salve says:

    For me, being able to put the word Depression on what I’m experiencing has been incredibly helpful. I’ve developed this weird thing too where I capitalize it automatically when I’m writing about it, as if personifying it as a thing outside of me makes it easier to beat it back down again.

    You’re absolutely right though: a diagnosis only means what you allow it to mean. What’s important is trusting yourself and knowing what you need to do to feel better.

    Also, I’m looking forward to that upcoming post you mentioned. Basically all your #MentalHealthMondays are awesome 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • whatthelog says:

      That totally makes sense. In Bryony Gordon’s book Mad Girl she talks about how she calls her OCD the Goblin King (from Labyrinth) and I’ve been thinking about doing something similar. You’re right, personifying it does make it seem easier to manage, and I love the idea of calling it something silly.

      Thanks very much! I’m really looking forward to writing that post in particular. It’ll be based on my own experiences, those of my friends, and my boyfriend’s observations (he’s a junior doctor).

      Liked by 1 person

  3. cw @ readthinkponder says:

    I think this is such an important post, Wendy. ❤
    Being a Psychology student and, like EVERY psychology student, I had these delusions of grandeur about becoming a clinical psychologist. You touch upon something that's really important. Labels are important because it gives us an avenue to understand and address something, but labels can also be 'umbrella' terms and can get messy when there are differential symptoms and diagnoses. Despite that, I don't think labels are inherently bad.

    And thank you for addressing stigmas and having the right doctors. It's so sad that these issues still exist, but I have hope that we're moving towards a more progressive and inclusive perspective of mental health.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jackie B @ Death by Tsundoku says:

    This is quite an intriguing post! I completely understand how relieving it must have been to finally get a label to your feelings and experiences. There is something about labels which allow us to develop communities. They can be quite integral to them, even!

    I can’t imagine, however, how challenging it must be for doctors to diagnose mental health concerns. We know so little about them. The information available seems to be inconsistent for many symptoms. I hope that the research and methods for researching improve soon. Perhaps that will help tear down some of the walls around mental health concerns as well. They shouldn’t be this taboo!

    Like

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