In today’s news, the moderator of I Bet Mitt Romney thinks that (1) there is a strict division between self-diagnosed mentally ill people and professionally diagnosed mentally ill people and (2) self-diagnosers are responsible for prejudice against mentally ill people.
Presently, in terms of my neurology and mental well-being, I have professional diagnoses of PTSD, OCD, dysthymia, generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety disorder.
Based on reading the words of many autistic people online and talking to a shit-ton of autistic people offline, several of whom identified me as autistic before I said anything about autism, I’m pretty sure that I am also autistic. I’ve written a lot about the stuff I experience in terms of how I experience sensory processing, among other things. I know what the non-social traits associated with autistic spectrum diagnoses are, and it is on the basis of those that I’m pretty certain I’m autistic. So I’m also trying to figure out how to navigate getting to and paying for neuropsych testing (which will hopefully also include testing for ADHD).
I also think that I might experience hypomania, and since I’ve already got documentation for dysthymia, I want to be re-evaluated to see if some bipolar-spectrum diagnosis would fit me better. So one could say that I’ve self-diagnosed with cyclothymia.
As I hope is obvious, neither of my self-diagnoses involve a sense of “lol I’m so bipolar” or “awkward because autistic lol!” And I do want formal evaluations for all of the above things. The assumption that “lol I’m so bipolar/ADD/OCD” is what self-diagnosis is like is wrong—the people who say things like that DO NOT seriously believe they have the illness in question BECAUSE THEY ARE MOCKING PEOPLE WHO DO.
There is not a strict division between self-diagnosed and professionally-diagnosed, either. I have professional diagnoses for some things, and for my self-diagnoses, I WANT evaluations so that I can actually access services (in the case of autism) and get better mental health care (in the case of the others). What prevents me from being evaluated for those things right now is NOT (YET) HAVING INSURANCE and NOT (YET) HAVING MONEY. So unless you’re willing to pay for all my evaluations and transportation to them right now (my PayPal and Gofundme are in my sidebar), you have absolutely no right to criticize that I FEEL UNDERSTOOD (and not like a freak) among autistic people, people with ADHD, and people with bipolar-spectrum conditions.
So can we stop with the diagnosis elitism and the “self-diagnosers should fuck off”? Aside from distorting the facts about what self-diagnosis involves, it’s classist as hell.