Matt23

Benefits/Drawbacks of getting a mental health Diagnosis?

22 posts in this topic

Over the last few days, I'm just really seeing how shitty and disruptive my experience has been.  Emotionally, relationally, employment, thoughts, suicidality, general stability, etc..

I know everyone says to not diagnose oneself and to get a professional who's experienced in the field to diagnose you, which I totally agree with.  But recently I've been looking into Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), specifically one of the 4 subtypes therein called something like the "Depressive" type, and have just felt and thought that like ya, I mean I feel/think it would help a lot perhaps and explain a lot of my history and experience.  It seems to just fit somehow.  I guess I'm suspicious, like a subtle non-excited suspicion, that hey, maybe I do have some sort of BPD or could relatively easily get that diagnosis if I went to someone who's and expert in that field.  

Whether mental illness is an actual thing, I don't think I agree with on an ultimate level (even as in like there are no independent things--- Buddha style).  As in, from my knowledge, mental health disorders are just labels placed upon patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  So whether or not there's some "solid" thing called BPD or Depression or Bipolar is up to debate and interpretation.  But as far as getting a diagnosis to inform treatment and help, maybe I could get that and maybe it would help.  

I can already feel the feeling of being a certain medical thing... some "sick" thing that comes with those labels.  "Illness" "Disorder" etc...  I feel that badness from them... from thinking and believing I am those things. 

I've held off on getting a diagnosis cuz something just feels bad about that.  Something feels bad about the whole scientific and diagnostic way and culture for mental health.  Like, I dunno what it is.  Maybe part of it, or the majority, is feeling like if I get a diagnosis, then I'll take that on as an identity and become trapped inside of that and even start to "be" that diagnosis.  

Another reason why I've held off seeking a diagnosis is because I fear it may limit my ability to participate in certain things.  Things like psychedelic ceremonies and retreats, meditation retreats, and god knows what else.  

I can also see it influencing how others treat me and interact with me and see me, such that they may treat me differently and thus I'll eventually take on how they're treating and seeing me.  

I'm wanting to know your experiences and/or opinions on getting mental health diagnosis for specific disorders.  

If you've had one and could go back in time, would you do it again?  What were the drawbacks and what were the benefits?  

Obviously the main benefit I can see is that it can help drive and inform support.  Whether that's stuff like governmental mental health support or things like getting a better idea on what specific therapies could be most helpful.  

Let me know. 

Cheers

 


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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10 minutes ago, Matt23 said:

Over the last few days, I'm just really seeing how shitty and disruptive my experience has been.  Emotionally, relationally, employment, thoughts, suicidality, general stability, etc..

I know everyone says to not diagnose oneself and to get a professional who's experienced in the field to diagnose you, which I totally agree with.  But recently I've been looking into Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), specifically one of the 4 subtypes therein called something like the "Depressive" type, and have just felt and thought that like ya, I mean I feel/think it would help a lot perhaps and explain a lot of my history and experience.  It seems to just fit somehow.  I guess I'm suspicious, like a subtle non-excited suspicion, that hey, maybe I do have some sort of BPD or could relatively easily get that diagnosis if I went to someone who's and expert in that field.  

Whether mental illness is an actual thing, I don't think I agree with on an ultimate level (even as in like there are no independent things--- Buddha style).  As in, from my knowledge, mental health disorders are just labels placed upon patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.  So whether or not there's some "solid" thing called BPD or Depression or Bipolar is up to debate and interpretation.  But as far as getting a diagnosis to inform treatment and help, maybe I could get that and maybe it would help.  

I can already feel the feeling of being a certain medical thing... some "sick" thing that comes with those labels.  "Illness" "Disorder" etc...  I feel that badness from them... from thinking and believing I am those things. 

I've held off on getting a diagnosis cuz something just feels bad about that.  Something feels bad about the whole scientific and diagnostic way and culture for mental health.  Like, I dunno what it is.  Maybe part of it, or the majority, is feeling like if I get a diagnosis, then I'll take that on as an identity and become trapped inside of that and even start to "be" that diagnosis.  

Another reason why I've held off seeking a diagnosis is because I fear it may limit my ability to participate in certain things.  Things like psychedelic ceremonies and retreats, meditation retreats, and god knows what else.  

I can also see it influencing how others treat me and interact with me and see me, such that they may treat me differently and thus I'll eventually take on how they're treating and seeing me.  

I'm wanting to know your experiences and/or opinions on getting mental health diagnosis for specific disorders.  

If you've had one and could go back in time, would you do it again?  What were the drawbacks and what were the benefits?  

Obviously the main benefit I can see is that it can help drive and inform support.  Whether that's stuff like governmental mental health support or things like getting a better idea on what specific therapies could be most helpful.  

Let me know. 

Cheers

 

i don't think it's necessarily a bad thing

just don't take the diagnosis too serious

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3 minutes ago, PurpleTree said:

just don't take the diagnosis too serious

Fair.  

Maybe all those things with identifying with the diagnosis are already things I believe about myself, or are just defenses to stop me getting one.  

Cheers


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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There is a difference between receiving a diagnosis to manage lifestyle stuff versus identifying with the diagnosis. A person who receives a diagnosis of diabetic is not necessarily "identified with" diabetes, but they still have it. Similarly, if you are really, deeply struggling with anxiety and depression to the point where you're not enjoying life, there's nothing wrong with talking to a professional. You do not have to take medication; sometimes talking alone is enough to understand where you're being too harsh on yourself and find adjustments. 

Edit: For clarification, I struggled with anxiety (I also come from a family line with tons of anxiety) and took an SSRI for a while. It was a great decision and allowed me to contemplate/meditate upon the causes of that anxiety and do the work to rewire my own brain. Without that SSRI, I can't say what would've happened. 

Edited by OneHandClap

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Many psychologists are experts in abnormal psychology but not experienced in new psychology. Like the stuff you gain in personal development, life coaching, and most of positive psychology 

So their view will be limited. But it can be helpful 

It actually comes with a ton of limitations 

- One being is that they see everything in terms of a diagnoses or mental health issue 

- some doctors have a bias towards medication 

Edited by Jacob Morres

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6 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

Without that SSRI, I can't say what would've happened. 

Did you manage to get of it afterwards?  What was that process like?  Or are you still on it and feeling it's a positive thing?

 

5 hours ago, Jacob Morres said:

- One being is that they see everything in terms of a diagnoses or mental health issue 

- some doctors have a bias towards medication 

True.  Maybe that's part of why I dislike it.  

On the other hand, it can drive treatments that work and receive better help.


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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2 hours ago, Matt23 said:

 

On the other hand, it can drive treatments that work and receive better help.

Very fair. Ik it helps a lot of people, but I do think it's overdone. You can definietely find doctors that are aware of this trap though. 

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It can help and it can be used as an excuse to not be your full self.

There's a danger of getting stuck on it too. 


"You Create Magic" 

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11 hours ago, Matt23 said:

Did you manage to get of it afterwards?  What was that process like?  Or are you still on it and feeling it's a positive thing?

 

True.  Maybe that's part of why I dislike it.  

On the other hand, it can drive treatments that work and receive better help.

The SSRI I took (lexapro) was only at the smallest possible dosage (2.5mg, which is about 1/4 of what most people take). I firmly believe that if you choose to take medication, you should always start at the lowest, lowest, LOWEST dose and see if it helps. Some people just need that little boost in confidence to open their eyes and change their worldview. I know that most here are fervently against psychiatric medication, but it can be a godsend if you are in a tough spot. 

Getting off of it was/is very easy, especially if you stay at a low dose. The people with withdrawal problems are those that have been taking high doses for months/years on end. I feel that overall it's a hugely positive thing if you are in the middle of great suffering; however, I am also not a blind advocate for just throwing pills at somebody to fix them.

If your issue can be solved through lifestyle changes (working out, new job, new partner), then it is always better to do those things first before looking at medication. In my own case, I had everything that could be considered healthy (diet, meditation, exercise, loving relationship, work, etc), and still had crippling anxiety despite insights from psychedelics and CBT therapy. So, in that sense, there was a deeply biological component to the anxiety that most techniques just couldn't target. 

If you have any other questions, feel free to let me know. 

Edit: I also agree with @Flowerfaeiry's comment about "getting stuck." It is crucial to have short-term goals that you can check off as a way of measuring progress. If you realize you've developed coping strategies to be able to do "normal stuff" without feeling like you're on the verge of a panic attack or depressive episode, that is a good time to start coming off whatever you are taking. Getting hooked on meds is an absolute nightmare (never gone through it, but some have). 

Edited by OneHandClap

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On 10/12/2021 at 6:17 AM, OneHandClap said:

The SSRI I took (lexapro) was only at the smallest possible dosage

Ya, seems like a wise bet to go small as possible.  

I think I might have slightly different issues (yours being more anxiety based if I'm hearing correctly).  I think I might be on the Borderline side of things, which deals with a whole host of symptoms, anxiety included.  I'd be interested to see what medications they recommend for that.  Though, I also hear that the mainstream view and treatment of Borderline disorders is that it's a developmental-attachment based disorder and requires intensive treatment which includes medication, not only getting counselling but having a team, and skill building (relational and emotional regulation skills, etc.). 

So it seems like quite a biatch to tackle.  But better than not doing so I suppose

Though, again, I am only diagnosing myself so, I dunno.  Could be way off.  

Did you try any non-pharmaceutical medicines like herbs, mushrooms, or supplements?

On 10/11/2021 at 10:50 PM, Flowerfaeiry said:

It can help and it can be used as an excuse to not be your full self.

There's a danger of getting stuck on it too. 

All valid.  

I suppose it's all about how one "holds" the labels etc..  

Even if the counsellors are well aware of and speak of these labels with their clients in terms of "This is only a label to help us determine the best treatment for you.  It's not that we're saying 'You' are this."  I can still imagine myself identifying with it and even using it as an excuse to let myself "slide" a bit on my personal growth.  


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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Getting a professional diagnosis is a two-aged weapon. 

On one hand,the aim of the medical is to diagnose, label you inside a box that has a name, known pathophysiology so that they know what chemistry to put you on. Once an individual enters this path it can sometimes be hard to leave it or even believe a cure is possible because this is not what the medical system does. 

On the other hand, it presented a form of liberty. Now that A diagnosis was passed, one knows what he/she is up against. Suddenly the decades of pain and struggle has a name. It has standardised pathophysiology and now a targeted cure can be sought, research can be read, books can be acquired, experts consulted. Whether this cure is sought medically or through an alternative holistic route or through the combination of the two is a personal preference 

Most diseases simply represent an imbalance somewhere in the body. Something has entered the innate wisdom of the body and disrupted it. But most diseases can be cured, some easier than other but it is hard to do that without having a name, without having a diagnosis. Because then one is exposed to charlatans, snake oil salesmen and gurus who will try to diagnose without any formal training so that they can sell their own remedies.

The greatest power of the medical industry in the treatment of chronic disease is the ability to diagnose with incredible accuracy. They have excellent training and use tests with extremely high specificity and accuracy. Once that is done they can help manage the most acute states (e.g. prevent one killing themselves) however a permanent cure usually has to be sought elsewhere through a more holistic route/. 


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@Matt23 I tried just about everything, and have tripped probably 40-50 times total in my life between all psychs. The anxiety still remained. As mentioned before, my parents are both quite neurotic and anxious as it is, so I believe there may be something biological at root. I've also tried various supplements (L-theanine, magnesium, nootropics) - all are temporarily useful, but maybe not a long-term solution for all. 

Studies have shown that medication is sometimes useful, as is talking-based therapy, but the greatest results come from combining the two. So if you do suffer from BPD, it might be useful to speak with a doctor and find out if they can start you off with standard therapy. Medication is truly a last-resort thing, IMO. 

I am also sympathetic to @Michael569's views on the need for holistic treatment. Always begin with lifestyle, diet, and habits, then see if you can/should integrate further help. 

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The benefits are that you have the chance to understand better what you're dealing with. But the drawback is that you can get stuck on these artificial labels.

I know many people who suffer from OCD and they believe it is chronic & that they are doomed. This is not true at all. It's a dogma that many people hold. Hasn't been proven. And there are tons of people who have recovered from OCD and other mental illnesses.

Sometimes It's helpful to see mental illnesses as something you do. And not something you have. Many times poor mental health habits lead to mental illnesses like anxiety disorders and etc. 

I don't have experience with other diagnoses such as bipolar or schizophrenia which are more serious. Mental illnesses are very misunderstood. There is still very little knowledge about all these illnesses. It's shocking how little we know.

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7 minutes ago, SQAAD said:

The benefits are that you have the chance to understand better what you're dealing with. But the drawback is that you can get stuck on these artificial labels.

I know many people who suffer from OCD and they believe it is chronic & that they are doomed. This is not true at all. It's a dogma that many people hold. Hasn't been proven. And there are tons of people who have recovered from OCD and other mental illnesses.

Sometimes It's helpful to see mental illnesses as something you do. And not something you have. Many times poor mental health habits lead to mental illnesses like anxiety disorders and etc. 

I don't have experience with other diagnoses such as bipolar or schizophrenia which are more serious. Mental illnesses are very misunderstood. There is still very little knowledge about all these illnesses. It's shocking how little we know.

There is a really good talk on depression by Robert Sapolsky that you might find interesting. I believe he teaches at Stanford. In summary, clinical depression has extremely well-researched neurochemical bases. We do not know how to effectively treat it yet, but it's more than just bad mental habits. Chicken and the egg. 

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6 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

I am also sympathetic to @Michael569's views on the need for holistic treatment. Always begin with lifestyle, diet, and habits, then see if you can/should integrate further help. 

I totally get this and am in favor of it.  

It's just that I've been doing and "starting" with this basic stuff for sooooooo long, years, and feel I'm not getting anywhere fast.  So I'm getting pretty fucking frustrated.  There's a point when doing the basics doesn't work after doing it for so long and nothing significant is happening, it's time to say "Ok, this isn't looking right.  I think something deeper is happening and I need a lot more intensive help than just mantras, diet, exercise, socializing, etc. This issue is stronger than that."

In all fairness, I do feel a decent level of baseline improvement and goodness over the past few years.  A subtle yet satisfying thing. 

Still, it seems like something more is going on than just the regular self-help basics (again, I'm not condemning those things either.  I find them helpful).  

2 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

There is a really good talk on depression by Robert Sapolsky that you might find interesting.

Ya, I saw it.  I liked it I think.  Cheers.

6 hours ago, OneHandClap said:

 I tried just about everything, and have tripped probably 40-50 times total in my life between all psychs. The anxiety still remained.

It's amazing how stubborn some things can be.

9 hours ago, Michael569 said:

Once an individual enters this path it can sometimes be hard to leave it or even believe a cure is possible because this is not what the medical system does. 

Ya, I do get this sense just with the label "illness" of badness and just this whole social-mental stigma and negative association with it.  It's like we need whole knew words and labels to use and frame these phenomena to make people feel more positive and less awful about these things.  

9 hours ago, Michael569 said:

On the other hand, it presented a form of liberty.

True.  I think of all the times I've considered myself to fit the bill for one of the diagnostic categories, this time BPD actually feels positive and relieving.  I've even started to just ignore all the more chronic and disruptive negative emotions and thoughts.  Chalking them up to BPD.  It's like a weight lifted; no more need to constantly "deal" with all these emotions and thoughts etc., it's like I can just rest and be like "Phew... man... it's not "real" or "me", it's just BPD so I can relax and let it go easier."  

I dunno if I explained it quite right.  Maybe it's healthy or not.  Dunno.  Either way, I do feel more cmoforted and like I can get more help and understanding and support etc., cuz for most of my life I've felt like explaining this stuff is so complicated and I can't get others to see what's happening, gain sympathetic support (healthy; as in I've felt like I can't really ask for extra support and people wouldn't help me in that way since I've assumed that what I experience is just normal and regular and haven't had a label/disease to point to to be like "Hey!  I do need some extra help here yo!", even though I go through a tremendous amounts of stress, emotional dysregulation, and relational vulnerabilities).  

Aaaannnnyyyywhoo.  

Ya, double-edge.  

But I've put off getting a diagnosis from fear of possible negative consequences for a long time now, and feel that this would be a positive thing.  So maybe it's time to just bite the bullet and see what happens.  Assuming I even get a diagnosis, let alone a BPD one.  

 

Edited by Matt23

"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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I totally get you. I would say, seeing as you've clearly done a lot to help yourself, do a quick consultation (telemedicine is good if it's available for you) and see what the opinion is. Whether you decide to take medication or not is totally up to you, but if you do decide to go ahead with it, have faith, have courage, and remember that it is a short-term fix that has the potential to open up long-term freedom in how you approach your symptoms. Best of luck, and PM me anytime!

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27 minutes ago, OneHandClap said:

I totally get you. I would say, seeing as you've clearly done a lot to help yourself, do a quick consultation (telemedicine is good if it's available for you) and see what the opinion is. Whether you decide to take medication or not is totally up to you, but if you do decide to go ahead with it, have faith, have courage, and remember that it is a short-term fix that has the potential to open up long-term freedom in how you approach your symptoms. Best of luck, and PM me anytime!

Cheers.  


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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@Matt23

I totally agree with @OneHandClap .  Of course like everything it depends on how we look at it, but as I see it you’re in a no lose situation with two solid examples here. I tried three different prescriptions and had the opposite experience. Less clarity, more lethargy etc. But, it ‘worked’ because then I had explored options and the direct experience of that led to big changes in diet, fitness, practices, what I focused on, etc. Try anything and everything you feel drawn to in regard to well being. The more variety (direct experience) the better imo. With therapy, meditation, yoga, healing modalities of all kinds there really is thinking about it, and direct experience. And the change happens with the direct experience. All of it is just more and more and more sweet alignment. Can’t lose imo. 

 


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1 hour ago, Nahm said:

@Matt23

I totally agree with @OneHandClap .  Of course like everything it depends on how we look at it, but as I see it you’re in a no lose situation with two solid examples here. I tried three different prescriptions and had the opposite experience. Less clarity, more lethargy etc. But, it ‘worked’ because then I had explored options and the direct experience of that led to big changes in diet, fitness, practices, what I focused on, etc. Try anything and everything you feel drawn to in regard to well being. The more variety (direct experience) the better imo. With therapy, meditation, yoga, healing modalities of all kinds there really is thinking about it, and direct experience. And the change happens with the direct experience. All of it is just more and more and more sweet alignment. Can’t lose imo. 

 

Such a great comment! I totally agree. The biggest boost I got from medication was the realization that change is possible. It is so easy to feel trapped and stuck in a rut when down "in the trenches" of spiritual work or general living. Sometimes all it takes is that shift in perspective to get us out of a rut and develop our own coping strategies. 

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2 hours ago, Nahm said:

Try anything and everything you feel drawn to in regard to well being. The more variety (direct experience) the better imo.

I tend to agree.  I hope it's better.

 


"Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down"   --   Marry Poppins

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