I thought I would write a quick post for you guys about the Controversy of Mental Health Diagnosis. It was something that just came to mind, but I also realised it comes into play a lot amongst my friends and at school; and it probably isn’t just an adolescent perspective.
First I wanted to talk about when people say that you do not have a mental illness unless you are professionally diagnosed. Personally, I don’t agree with this at all, but it’s completely fine if you do. Some people may find it easy to go to a doctor and talk about it or tell a parent that will take them to a doctor. If you can do that and get diagnosed, that’s great. However some people may not feel able to tell anyone, whether it’s a parent or a health professional. Some people, especially if mental health accurs around a young/adolescent age. Some teens may go 5, 10 years before telling anyone about what they are going through. Some teens, which I have personal experience with, will not be taken seriously be parents or other adults for depression, anxiety etc, because a large majority of adults will say it is just a phase. It’s just teenagers being teenagers. It’s hormones. The comments go on and on. What im trying to say is that you can have depression for 3 months or 20 years; and having a clinical diagnosis (or not having one) does not affect how you feel or how your brain works.
I would also like to say a little bit on self–diagnosis. Now I know endless amounts of people that go around saying they have depression, social anxiety, schizophrenia, anorexia, bulimia and other mental health disorders. None of these people have a diagnosis for these things, but as I said before that’s fine. What does bother me is how they say they have depression; like they are diagnosed with it. When it’s come down to my friends, I have confronted one or two in the past. Let’s take social anxiety for example. They have said that they have social anxiety and when I’ve asked about their reasoning I get a wide range of different responses. Most of the people I have spoken to about it say that they have social anxiety because they don’t like social situations. Not liking something and not being able to do something is completely different. Let’s take another example of depression. They say they have depression because they feel sad sometimes. I think the thing that gets to me the most is when people say, “I have (eg, depression) because I took an online quiz that told me so.” It says at the bottom of every quiz that the results are not a diagnosis, nor are they guaranteed to be an accurate representation of a mental health disorder.
Even though, like I said before, just because you don’t have a professional diagnosis doesn’t mean you don’t have depression or anxiety etc. However I feel that self–diagnosis, even though there is nothing wrong with that, is not equal to a professional diagnosis.
If people are going round saying “I have depression” because of a self diagnosis, I don’t see why they can’t say, “I think I have depression” or not go around publicising it at all. That is a big problem at my school. There is this one girl that just came in one morning, ran up to a huge group of us and said (quite loudly) “I have an eating disorder! Yay!”
Thanks guys, that’s my little rant over. I would love to hear your opinions in the comments, and please let me know of any posts you would like to see!