A funny thing happens post mental health diagnosis: every “professional” provider accepts mental illness at face value without challenging or confirming its origin or validity (at all). “He’s bipolar” they immediately note, nodding “mm-hmm”.

So a diagnosis, right or wrong, quickly solidifies into permanent record hardened over time like an insect trapped in amber no one bothers to crack. This diagnostic “fact” spreads like wild fire between providers, all while unchallenged scientifically or socially.

Suddenly you realize, your entire diagnosis and treatment plan revolves around the “conclusions” one person made years ago, usually quite subjectively without collecting hard quantitative data or demanding peer review. I’ve even seen diagnosis noted in charts that were not discussed with patient at all. Like being second place to your own mind; a passenger to treatment. Not cool. Patients drive these ships.

Compounding the issue further, all of the treatments encountered post diagnosis are often already available pre diagnosis, which I made it 35 years fine without (a bipolar diagnosis cost me my mojo and made my life much worse). In some cases, treatment potential decreased after my diagnosis, particularly when visiting medical doctors.

As a result, I cannot justify my diagnosis and regret it very much, feeling as though it was completely mishandled at my expense alone. I was never given a choice, stamped crazy then pushed aside “next”. Now the label is beyond my control entirely. Forever.

A diagnosis can help some people, it really can. But more discussion needs had on the social and professional gravity these diagnosis can have on people’s lives imo. I am absolutely treated differently once people learn I’m bipolar; a fact I was never prepared for professionally. And news flash: it isn’t better or more helpful. I feel trapped, branded for life inferior. I feel an inch tall in world of BIG.

Implementing some sort of mandatory peer review for all new and existing MH diagnosis would be a great start, and is really good scientific practice anyway (not happening).

Otherwise, if treatment potential does not require a diagnosis to occur, consider holding off on diagnosis entirely until a 2nd or even 3rd assessment can concur. You can still focus on treating symptoms and prevention alone, including illness-specific meds.

Once friends/family find out I am mentally ill, it’s impossible to take this sentiment back. Already diagnosed? Consider triple-checking your hardened diagnostic resin professionally and indefinitely throughout life.

To make mistakes is to be human; diagnosis is no exception. Beware of bias-driven assumptions drifting unchallenged.

Measure twice, cut once as they say. Don’t trap yourself. Diagnosis is to serve you beneficially, not providers.

Disclaimer: Talk to your MH professionals to make an informed choice (this is not medical advice).

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