Please stop talking about how “bad”, “wrong”, “dangerous” or “stupid” it is when people self-diagnose, especially in regard to mental illness.
Let’s go over the reasons this is fucked up, problematic and oppressive.
1. Classism. Psychiatric and other types of evaluations are really fucking expensive, and often inaccessible. The last psych eval I had cost me $500. Anything involving neurology? Costs a SHIT TON more. Not to mention, services that are available to the poor are typically of low quality.
2. It dis-empowers people with disabilities by establishing doctors as the ultimate authorities on our own experiences. No matter how well we may know ourselves, a doctor supposedly will know better. Because they are a doctor. (And treating someone as an authority simply because they have the privilege of a formal education is classist and ableist.)
3. The entire psychiatric system is still really oppressive to people with disabilities, who can become institutionalized against their will. A lot of people understandably do not trust doctors or are afraid to pursue treatment. Forcing people to see a doctor to obtain a “real” diagnosis is ignoring this reality.
4. Psychiatry and the medical establishment are also very oppressive towards people who are marginalized in other ways. The fact that trans people can still be diagnosed as mentally ill for being trans is only one example of this. People who are out of status could risk deportation for seeking help. Etc.
5. Doctors often disagree with each other. Doctors misdiagnose and prescribe medication that can aggravate an illness. Doctors frequently make mistakes. Teaching people that their own instincts are wrong if a doctor disagrees with them can be really goddamn dangerous. Like, taking the wrong medication due to misdiagnosis can result in death, okay? Serious shit.
If your problem is with people trivializing illness, then say so. That’s not the same as self-diagnosis, which does not inherently trivialize anything. A lot of people consider self-diagnosis to be liberating, empowering, and extremely important, myself included. Don’t tell us how we are “supposed” to seek treatment, especially when it involves a system that is fundamentally flawed, largely inaccessible, and overwhelmingly oppressive.
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