To begin, as a white, cisgendered, woman, I will not pretend to be able to speak on behalf of POC and transgender/non binary people, and I apologize if I misrepresent anything in this article.
I have been told for years by neurotypicals that my self diagnoses are not valid, that I’m just seeking attention. Not anymore. I’m sick of them telling me that I shouldn’t panic when a man raises his fist, even though my brother hit me as a child or that I’m just “pretending” to have BPD to be unique and special.
Here’s a list of 5 reasons as to why self diagnosis is valid:
1. People can’t afford a real diagnosis
A lot of self diagnosed people can’t afford to go to the doctor to be self diagnosed. For minors, their parents may not support them enough to pay for visits to the doctor, so they just don’t go. If someone self diagnoses, then they probably did a lot of research into the mental illness and they realized that they have the traits to indicate that they have it.
2. People are scared of doctors
A lot of people have a deep seated fear of doctors. So many doctors are cis, white, ableist, racist, sexist, males. Who wants to go to a doctor who tells them that nothing is wrong when something is obviously wrong?
3. You know your symptoms better than some random doctor
Tying in with the last point, doctors don’t know you. Your symptoms are something only you can describe. If you can’t verbalize your symptoms, how can a doctor diagnose you? There are other things that also happen with symptoms that doctors don’t notice. Take autism for example, doctors mostly diagnose cis, white, males with autism because that’s the only criteria they have. If you’re not one of those traits, you’re less likely to be diagnosed because of it.
4. Doctors aren’t always right
Doctors diagnose people all the time with different diseases that they don’t necessarily have. Doctors can be wrong, a piece of paper doesn’t make them invincible. The more people they diagnose, the more money they make off of appointments and drugs, this is a flaw of capitalism which we can discuss some other time.
5. It’s better to accept people who are wrong, than to reject someone who is right.
If we can help even one person who has correctly diagnosed themself at the expense of letting in 10 people who have incorrectly diagnosed themselves, it’s worth it. Rejecting someone because “they don’t have a professional diagnosis” perpetuates the idea that mental illness isn’t valid. This is harmful to everyone in the community.
In conclusion, if you self diagnose, you are valid. You don’t have to listen to the neurotypicals anymore and you are free to self diagnose. Go forth and be neurodivergents.