Diagnosis and You

I bought a pedometer wristband the other day.  Like many models, it is bulky, but I can take it on and off with relative ease.  It has its uses and helps me gather better metrics about my health.  I can track where I need to make changes in my life as well as see how far I’ve come in improving my life.  Mental health diagnoses are similar except for one key detail: they cannot be put on and taken off at will.  A diagnosis can change a person for the better or for the worse and there are no take backs.  Too many that seek out diagnoses do not understand that core fact.

The reasons for seeking diagnosis are as important as the diagnosis itself.  Especially for those less cuddly disorders, such as ASPD, the consequences of not doing proper introspection can be grave.  The unprepared soul could lash out afterwards, either trying to prove a diagnosis that was not made or trying to affirm a diagnosis that was made.  Such lashing out may not even be intentional, but is certainly a possibility.  Diagnosis is not cheap, with ASPD in particular, finding a therapist that will treat or assess such a disorder can be time consuming and expensive.  Hourly rates in the hundreds of dollars are not uncommon.  Finally, diagnosis can come with great stigma.  What was once excusable as it had no name can become an albatross that causes many to avoid you.  People attach great stigma to mental illness.

I chose to seek diagnosis because of the lack of identity and self-awareness that I possessed.  Diagnosis allowed me to understand my inner workings, gather data on such workings, and to make changes to improve my life.  Diagnosis of ASPD and a confirmation of psychopathy allowed me to take control of the unknown.  I did not seek diagnosis for a sense of status just as I did not buy this pedometer to look fashionable.  The truth, which many do not wish to admit, is that ASPD and / or psychopathy tend to come with drawbacks.  My interpersonal relationships are highly unstable and my impulsivity leaves me often in a state of self-destruction.  I wanted to rein in these behaviors.  Have I succeeded?  Not entirely, though I certainly have a better quality of life now than I did then.

Diagnosis is important, but the candidate must realize the consequences of any potential result.  The endeavor takes funding and the subconscious may not be prepared for what it finds.  If you are wanting to make changes in your life, diagnosis can be a powerful tool for understanding those areas that need addressed.  If you are not wanting to make changes, then diagnosis is probably a waste of time in money.  As the stigma of a disorder increases, the individual must be prepared to handle such.  Having psychopathy confirmed or ASPD diagnosed results in a different playing field than having depression diagnosed, for instance.  However, for the intellectual and introspective individual, there may be no better tool to record the state of one’s life.

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