Summary: Have you resorted to the Internet to diagnose yourself, only to find that things are much worse than you thought? Self-diagnosing via the Internet is dangerous, but why do we do it?
You’re browsing around the Internet wondering what’s wrong with you and suddenly stumble upon various mental disorders that describe you perfectly. You begin to think you have them, then reading forums, watching videos, and finding as much information as possible about the condition as you can. This is called self-diagnosing and it happens with not just physical ailments which we likely have all done, going down the dark hole of us having cancer and about to die because we have a little pain on our body, but also with mental health disorders. Additionally, it also applies to gender where people have resorted to the Internet to identify themselves, which will be discussed in our next topic titled, “Internet Gender Identities | Self-Identifying via the Internet.”
When we think there is something wrong, we often compare ourselves to others to gauge how different we actually are. This is dangerous since we are not like anyone else, as we are all unique individuals. If everyone was doing the same thing, thinking the same thing, why would you want to be like them? The answer is to fit in and feel accepted. We do not want to be an outcast, but rather blend into society. This is the illusion society presents to us, that following in the footsteps of others is the true path to happiness, but it’s actually the complete opposite.
Another reason we look online for an answer as to why we think a certain way or have a certain mental issue is because humans are naturally afraid of the unknown. It’s more comforting to us knowing than not knowing. Even if the answer we are given or have found online is completely false, it’s still better than not knowing at all. This is why we pick apart our brains, identifying everything that is different from those around us, and what we consider normal, and go to the Internet to find the answers to what is wrong with us. What we find can be quite shocking. We start to find all sorts of scary mental disorders that we wish we don’t have, and while we fit a lot of the symptoms, we don’t think it’s us. But, a few stick out and fit us well, and we take on the identity of these mental disorders, learning more about them, meeting others, and finding ways of coping.
Have you spotted the problem? The issue is that we have self-diagnosed ourselves with something we may or may not have. The bigger issue is that once we identify with a specific mental disorder, we accept the problems that come with it, even ones we didn’t necessarily have. What we think about and what we choose to identify as and associate with comes to us. This is the law of attraction and it works for anything, positive or negative, that you associate and identify with.
This is often why those who have chosen to self-diagnose themselves with a mental illness they found online will often start to deteriorate faster than those who didn’t look online. Because the one that chooses to self-diagnose starts to resonate more and more with the mental disorder as it becomes them. They no longer identify as the unique characteristics that made them different from others, but instead now can be identified as a label, fitting themselves into a box.
The other big thing to mention here is even with an official diagnosis, do you choose to let that bring you down and alter your way or life? Or do you choose instead to focus on bettering yourself to one day be free of the stress, anxiety, and trouble you have now? You should be focusing on the latter since your thoughts are not you, they don’t define you, but you let them consume you since you feel hopeless. Who you truly are is independent of this, and thus labels should be simply used as a way for you to identify some things you can work on to improve your life, instead of putting you into a box and hindering you from doing things you once loved.
Your mental health conditions, both self-diagnosed and officially diagnosed, do not define you. They may give a label to the unknown you have been facing for a while, but they are just that, labels used to place you into a box. Break free from the box and form your own unique identity where you don’t need validation from others, nor compare yourself to them, since you are your own unique being. You will never find the answers on the Internet as there are no answers to be found. The only place to find them is within yourself.
Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!
I sure have looked online to find answers as to why I was so “messed up” in the head. The main things I identified with were on the schizo spectrum, as I had many symptoms of paranoia and delusions. But, did I really have those? How could I differentiate between reality and illusion if the disorder means one cannot discern the difference? I think I looked back at my life and how unreasonable my thinking was, but now that I had the name for some conditions, I associated with them more, which caused further problems. I was diagnosed with a schizo disorder, but I also recovered from it, mostly. There will still be parts of it with me obviously. But, I’ve learned that the Internet is not the place to go if you worry and wish to get answers as the answers always come from within.