So often a diagnosis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy

From:    J
Date:    24 July 2002 12:58 AM
To:      S

Be wary Sis, this is a controversial illness.  Some people don’t really think it’s an illness in and of itself, more a label to slap on people who have more than one problem or who don’t slot in easily to another diagnosis.

They’ll wanna stuff you with drugs and you need to be careful with that.  A friend of mine is having hell’s own trouble trying to get off Aropax, it’s madly addictive.  When she tried to go cold turkey she was having terrible nightmares, nausea, night sweats, tremors, all sorts of stuff.

What recommendations has this shrunken shrink made? How long did it take to come to this diagnosis?  Do they want to keep treating you are are they going to refer you on?  If they don’t mention behavioural cognitive therapy then I’d certainly be looking for another shrink.  A lot of shrinks don’t like cognitive therapy cos it takes a long time, but I reckon it’s the only thing which can really work, long term.  But hey, I am NOT a psychiatrist.

And also – get a second opinion.  The trouble with shrinks is that they need to diagnose you, so they often ask leading questions, and you’re there to be helped, so you’re trying to be helpful and you often end up telling them what they want to hear.  They say “Do you ever feel X”? and you “Nooooo, don’t THINK so…” but then they ask you to “look deeply within yourself” and “be really honest” and half the time you just sort of bend the facts to suit the situation and before you know it you’re diagnosed.

And so often a diagnosis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, ya know?  You look at all the worst traits of the disorder (heeee-llo internet!) and you start to slot all your faults into it, and in a way it CAN BE (not IS, but CAN BE) a ways of absolving yourself of responsibility for your actions – “it’s my craziness, not me!”  It can encourage that victim psychology which is so prevalent in the US psyche, which is why all the self-help books come from there.  And with the self-fulfilling prophecy thingo, you can also start to become WORSE than you are, because your diagnosis ALLOWS it.  You’re excused – “Look, here’s a list of the stuff I’m allowed to do now!”

And LAWDY are there fads in psychology or what?  Look at multiple personality disorder (the 70’s), false memory syndrome (the 80’s), ADD & ADHD (the 90’s). This diagnosis might well be right, although you don’t seem convinced. I don’t know Sis.  I’m not a shrink, I’m just saying take it easy and get a second opinion.  We humans seem to find comfort in finding a label for our problems, lord knows I love to surf mental disorder websites (I was POSITIVE that was I was social phobic for at least a year) but I reckon it can be bad for you in the long run.  I mean, I have problems, but I’ve decided that I can live with them, that solving them is more trouble than it’s really worth.  But my problems are not chronic, I CAN live with them.  If you can’t live with yours then you should definitely be looking for help.  PLEASE don’t think that I’m telling you not to get help.  I think that not asking for help when you need it is a terrible thing.

And by the way – I’ve got a new job.  I’m going to be the Publications Officer for the ADAV, starting 5 August.  It pays $13,000 more, so perhaps I’ll finally be able to live within my means. My very mean means.

And say hi to Mum for me.  And Barry and, well, say hi to everyone for me.

And take care of yourself, for fuck sake.







2 thoughts on “So often a diagnosis becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy

  1. Pingback: Where art thou?

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