Diagnosis traits, tendencies & trends are often misconstrued. We have seen through the years that many people have a lot questions recently from people asking if they have or need a mental health diagnosis. Spending time on social media (Facebook, Tik Tok, etc.) where people are posting tools to assess or provide personal experiences they can relate to as evidence for a particular diagnosis can lead to a feeling of solidarity with a symptom or person who shares similar struggles. It is important to know your source. These people who are sharing their information may make it feel familiar, but remember that diagnosis is a compilation of consistent symptoms over a significant period of time. Feeling sad a couple of days out of a month is not depression. Having an emotional “meltdown” is not Borderline. Being impulsive is not Bipolar.
Consider instead that we are all “human” which makes some of our behaviors, thoughts and feelings similar. You have likely felt sad, angry, happy, frustrated, anxious, etc. These might be considered tendencies. When you have similar experiences, there can be similar responses. Whereas traits are more consistent ways to think, behave and feel. Are you typically more of an upbeat or quiet person? Do you enjoy social interactions or tolerate them? This consistency is not pathology. We all find ways to navigate our world that others might utilize as well. Some stem from modeling what we see and some from attempting and learning on our own.
The final thing to consider are trends. When there are environmental factors that affect us all, we can relate. This might allow us to empathize with others and support their journey. This could also allow us to join in and adopt some thoughts that may be circumstantial and based on the frequency & intensity of the information delivered. Think hairstyles & clothing. These tend to go through phases of what’s in and out. Sometimes the frequency of seeing these may be more familiarity which can guide us toward action (buying an outfit or getting a haircut). They can also be fleeting and easily replaced with the next big thing, so be careful of using this to guide decision making for behaviors & feelings.
Diagnosis is a medical term based on an agreed upon set of criteria formed from informed decision making by a credible source. It is often used to classify treatment regimens and bill insurance for services. If you have been feeling something you can’t quite put your finger on and a social media post seems to offer a relevant piece of information, then we encourage you to see out a medical professional. If you do not have a psychiatric medical provider, do not not worry, our team does. We can schedule with our Psychiatric Care partners for on in house visit.
A useful anecdote we use with clients is when one of my children used Web Md to diagnose their symptoms and was afforded with a diagnosis of “either Ebola or a cold”. The more likely is often the more reasonable. Confirmation from a medical professional offers validity and resolution versus frustration or impulsivity that could lead to worsened symptoms.
Just remember, we are here to help navigate through all of this process. We have the resources and expertise to help you find your best life.