I hope you've all had a fantastic week. Today, is a sort of chatty-style post where I give a little rant of sorts about my opinion on labelling mental illnesses. To clarify, I mean the idea of giving yourself a sort of temporary diagnosis until you receive one from a mental health professional who can formally diagnose you. Yet of course, 'labelling' can be very broad and can mean all sorts of things, but in this context I am referring to it as above.
So, let's discuss the reasons why labelling is a good idea. If you're suffering from what you believe to be a mental illness, and feel different from everyone else around you - whether that's due to your eating habits, social abilities, personality, etc. it can sometimes help to give yourself a label to provide a sense of identity. This label can provide you with a sense of self, enable you to feel less alone and feel to belong within a group (of sorts) of people who are experiencing something similar.
I have personal experience with this as during my school years; I really struggled to fit in with any friendship groups and couldn't connect socially, I became very anxious when attempting to do so and it would sometimes result in panic attacks. Once home, I'd frantically turn to Google asking 'Why am I like this?!' and 'Why can't I fit in?!' and ta-da the results turn up: Social Anxiety. A couple of hours researching into it and then you think 'Yes, yes! This is me. I'm not alone.' and there's a sense of relief that you're not this person who feels alien to everyone else. I never chose to tell anyone about my personal label, as it felt unfair on those who had a formal diagnosis and it wasn't 'official' (if that's the right word?) in my case. So with labelling, there's definitely benefits to it.
However, onto the negatives... With personal labelling, as mentioned above, it doesn't seem fair to publicly give yourself that identity without a formal diagnosis, as only those with an 'official' one can say for certain. You may be wrong in your personal label and it could help to create stigma around that particular mental illness. However, for those who can't achieve a professional diagnosis due to money, time, anxiety around doing so, wishing to hide their illness from family/friends, etc. then a label can be a comfort in this case. The other negative with labelling is when family or friends feel the need to use labels on other people, e.g. 'I think you have ____ personality disorder' which can be damaging to that particular individual if they don't agree with this. That's not to say family members/friends shouldn't say this as it's sometimes necessary to let someone know that they've noticed changes in their behaviour and wellbeing - but there's importance in wording it correctly and not jumping straight to the label itself.
Anyway, that's my little rant/discussion for today. What are your thoughts? Comment down below - I look forward to reading them!