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Hi everyone! This video is going to be about self-diagnosis and labels, as well as the dangers of self-diagnosing. Whether it is a physical disorder, mental disorder, or anything else, diagnosing yourself with things you may or may not have can be dangerous and cause more problems. Even if you are an expert and quite knowledgeable, it’s always best to get another’s opinion.
People have actually accused me of self-diagnosing with all the things I talk about on my channel. And, that is just not true. I discuss how I relate to these disorders and problems to give a bit of personal experience. So, people can hear and relate to an actual example of the symptoms described. I may or may not have the disorders, but I exhibit various symptoms of them, to various degrees. I never said I have any of these disorders, and if I did I apologize since it was a mistake on my part. Only exception was when I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder for a while, and now it’s bipolar disorder, and it changes so it’s irrelevant.
A diagnosis can change, for better or for worse. Psychologists don’t always get it right either. They make mistakes and you could be misdiagnosed, and this could cause problems because you then believe you have a disorder, then you exhibit traits of that disorder, but you never actually had it to begin with, but you still experience these symptoms and your condition worsens. A negative aspect of psychiatry is misdiagnosis and getting people on medication they don’t need, many times for money and to make the person’s condition worse. Going to therapy is primarily about learning to cope with the symptoms of the disorder as well as expressing what you are feeling.
I think the more important thing to look at is the symptoms versus the disorder itself. The disorder is just a label, and you should never let labels define you or your behavior since everyone experiences things different. For instance, two people with bipolar disorder could be completely different. They could have come common symptoms, but they could be at complete opposite ends of the spectrum.
Due to the variety of symptoms and flexibility of the disorder, this can open the door to criticism and people saying that you don’t have the disorder because you don’t fit the criteria for it to the exact textbook standards. Everyone experiences it different and no two cases are exactly the same. So people’s remarks are irrelevant and not important. The textbook definition and list of symptoms for any disorder is just an average, what one may expect with the disorder. But, it does not represent the disorder in its entirety.
So, the label, the disorder, isn’t the same to all. The label should only be used so you can find similar people that experience some of the same symptoms as you. You should never let it define who you are because it never will. Only you, your experiences, make up who you really are.
That is why I also don’t believe in self-diagnosis, or just relying on theses labels since they can be quite misleading. But, why can making a self-diagnosis be dangerous? I’ll discuss that now.
The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis
The primary issue with self-diagnosis and labeling is obsession. You can become obsessed, overthinking, and worrying about your disorders or labels. You could essentially become a hypochondriac, or someone that worries about having an illness, even if you actually do have it.
You start learning about the illness, start applying the symptoms to you, to your every-day experiences, and what is currently going on, overanalyzing and before you know it, you convinced yourself of having something you didn’t before, and now you have it. Remember, when you believe something strong enough, it manifests itself into reality. By obsessing and worrying about things you shouldn’t, you are making your life chaotic and the first thing that needs to be done is to stop the worrying. I have a video dedicated to overthinking and worrying that may aid in this department for anyone who is interested. [Over-Thinking & Worrying]
But, for example, it could be as simple as having a sore throat. You look that up online and you come to the conclusion that you have some form of rare condition and you will need surgery. You go to the doctor and get the tests done and there is nothing wrong but you feel like there is something wrong with you. You can physically feel it because you believed it strong enough. It’s that easy which is way one needs to be very cautious about searching things up online.
Another issue is that you could diagnose yourself with something that has similar symptoms of another illness that is much more serious. You may skip going to the doctor because you think it’s going to be no big deal and it’s going to get better, when in actuality it could be much worse than it really is.
What needs to be done with all this then is, you need to find balance. Learn to reduce the anxiety and excessive worrying about if you may or may not have some medical or mental condition. That needs to be tackled above all else.
Next, going online and looking for info and answers to what is going on with you is not bad by any means. It could help tremendously. And, if you have rid yourself of that excess worrying, this will allow you to read about the disorders and conditions objectively and see where you may fall. That is the difference. When you worry and obsess over it, you are saying to yourself, “I have this, I know I do,” or, “What if I have this? I could have this. Oh no.” You see the problem? Worrying and obsessing. Your worrisome thoughts lead to even more things for you to worry about. It’s an endless downward spiral of worrying.
When you focus your attention on the worrying, you are making your problem worse. By focusing on something else, something positive and beneficial for you, then those symptoms and thoughts of worrying will diminish. Kinda like if someone were to say to you, “Don’t think about paper.” The first thing you will think about is paper and you will continue to think about it because you are trying not to think about it. Instead, you need to let it go and shift your attention to something else so paper is no longer an active thought in your mind.
When you are rid of these worries, you can see things much more objectively and calm. Thinking that you may or may not have an illness. But, the condition will not worsen because of your excess worrying because there is none. For a hypochondriac, the condition can worsen by worrying, or it can seem like it does to them.
Another thing is that if you are diagnosed with something serious, be optimistic about it. Why worry and make it worse when you can learn to be calm and focused to work through it with a positive frame of mind. By having a positive outlook on the situation, no matter how severe it is, you are allowing yourself to live your life. By worrying and obsessing over something that is out of your control, you are spending your time preoccupied on the “what if” scenario that may never happen. You are essentially wasting your time worrying, and that is not how anyone should live.
So, essentially what I am saying then is by self-diagnosing yourself, even if you are quite knowledgeable, you may be contributing to much stress, anxiety, worrying, all sorts of things. If you don’t know how to ground yourself and get rid of these symptoms that can come from even being clinically diagnosed with a disorder, or a label, you could become a hypochondriac and your self-diagnoses could turn into an obsession and all your time will be preoccupied with this and not living your life they way you really want. So, definitely be careful, recognize the behavior, and learn to control it before it gets out of hand. Learn to stop the worrying before it stacks up.
I hope this video was helpful. Thanks for watching!
After being accused many times of self-diagnosing, as well as many people labeling themselves, or thinking that certain disorders I’ve discussed are a result of self-diagnosing and/or iatrogenesis (conditioned caused by therapist), I decided to do a video dedicated to the topic as I do not believe in labels or self-diagnosing. Main reason being, when you label yourself, you instantly resonate with that disorder and it can get worse. Some self-diagnosed as bipolar may do so after experiencing some symptoms, and after some time of looking at the symptoms and over-thinking their own life, the symptoms develop even more. It can be disastrous. And the same principal applies when being clinically diagnosed with a label since one resonates with the condition more so after diagnosis regardless of if it’s a problem for them or not.