In mental health circles, labels can carry great stigma. Oh great … another schizophrenic … another Borderline … a psychopath – get them out, get them out, get them away from me! The stigma can be conferred by those that are supposed to assist us – our therapists and/or psychiatrists – or by those in our lives: our girlfriends, husbands, family, etc. No matter how much these labels sting, they can also be a great source of healing and community, however.
Many choose to adopt labels either through official diagnosis or self-diagnosis as a means of explaining the world that they live in. The Borderline may equate their behavior with this specific label and may take steps to learn more about the condition based on their adoption of such a label. The Bipolar individual equates mania with ‘Bipolar’. So on and so forth. However, the greatest power of a label (or diagnosis) comes in its power to transform a lonely condition into one shared by others. No longer alone, the labeled individual either equates the label with their own identity or with a larger mass from which knowledge can be gleaned.