Do mental illness labels matter?

Sometimes I wonder about the mental abilities of some psychiatrists when I read things like this. When you’ve had a diagnosis for 10 years, like Marisa has, it’s incredibly hard to believe someone who barely knows you saying that you have a different diagnosis.

I send lots of love and strength, and maybe some patience too, to people who have encountered this kind of situation.

Mad girl's lament

I’ve been thinking a lot about diagnoses and whether or not the label of a mental illness really matters. Within the mental health community and advocacy work, we like to separate the person from the disorder. We encourage people to say: “I have bipolar disorder,” instead of “I am bipolar.” You would never say “I’m cancer,” but you would say, “I have cancer.”

Label Jars not PeopleSome mental health professionals believe that that diagnostic labels don’t matter, as long as you’re receiving treatment that’s right for you. However, I would suggest that learning about your particular illness in conjunction with studying yourself you can learn a lot about what triggers particular episodes. So when my psychiatrist told me that I “do not have bipolar disorder,” I felt like a piece of me had been ripped out.

It’s no secret that I have no love for psychiatrists. I have yet to meet one that I have…

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