I think we need to establish the difference between actual real self-diagnosis, which a lot of people do with a LOT of conditions before they bother going to the doctor for ANYTHING from athlete’s foot to depression and autism, and using hyperbole in a harmful manner to express something about yourself (OMG I am SO ADD today) or use it as an insult to hurt others (god, I hate her, she’s so bipolar). The latter two hurt actual people with actual conditions.
The first one, we ALL do. Some people don’t have access to medical care and make due with what they have available. Some people don’t want to spend the money/time going to the doctor if it is something they can rule out on their own. Ok, it’s not an allergy, I changed my laundry soap, I changed to all cotton socks, I tried over the counter athlete’s foot cream, obviously it is time to go to the doctor’s. Then you can tell them all of the things you have tried, instead of them sending you home with a list of things to try that you could have saved the copay on. Even with mental illnesses or differences—we wonder what is wrong with us, and do some research, or talk to people who have similar experiences to us, and a light comes on.
Honestly, doctors were medicating me for ADD for YEARS because of poor executive function. But what it was was anxiety and autism, so the ADD meds were making it worse. If I would have BOTHERED to read up on my actual symptoms, I might have saved myself 15 years of doing things that didn’t work. I was diagnosed purely on accident when I went to a walk-in clinic during a meltdown.
There is a HUGE difference between seeking an actual diagnosis that suits symptoms before you go to the doctor, or because you can’t go to the doctor and a) harmfully using hyperbole to illustrate something about yourself (sadness level, how scatterbrained you are today, etc) or b) using a type of illness/condition as an insult.
I think this discussion is getting derailed on the actual useful types of self-diagnoses, and appropriate types of self-diagnosis (or even just health exploration… COULD it be this?) and harmfully throwing around medical terms.You know?
I self-diagnosed for years as bipolar. This has been confirmed as correct by doctors at this point. But there are things I could have done so much better. I did not do nearly enough research. I could have understood so much more about myself if I had even looked at the wiki page a little harder. I did not understand the difference between hypomania and mania, nor did I fully understand the difference between BP1 and BP2. I also could have looked into ways of managing bipolar without a therapist or drugs. Doing as much research as possible is super helpful when self-diagnosising, and can be a good way to find support. Like I have a message board I go to from time-to-time when I have a question now. That would have been super helpful like 3 years ago.
That’s also really, really important with a professional diagnosis, too.
Professional medical support can be important, but it doesn’t replace peer support or your own knowledge.