I actually remember the very first time I turned to the Internet for information about my mental health. This may seem insignificant to many of my younger readers, but in 2001 there wasn’t very much information available.
I found one site which had the information I was looking for, my GP had mentioned something in passing and I had wanted to research it. Bipolar Disorder.
The information wasn’t very detailed, it was written by a psychiatrist for psychiatrists. I didn’t really understand it at that time, and clearly not embracing my potential illness at that time I dismissed it. Four years later I was diagnosed by my own psychiatrist with that very thing.
These days though, we have reached the point of information overload. There is almost too much information, people turn to the Internet instead of Doctors, or because they have been waiting so long to be seen for assessment. Inputting symptoms and seeing what comes up.
The problem with this is self-diagnosis.
When people start punching keys and hitting enter who knows what will be thrown back at them. Self-diagnosing can be scary, can lead people down scary paths thinking they have certain things wrong they don’t or may not.
In the interest of experimentation, I decided to try out my symptoms. As a reminder my diagnosis as it stands is
- Bipolar Affective Disorder
When I put my various symptoms into Google though I get:
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Schizoaffective Disorder
- Postpartum Psychosis
The thing is mental illness symptoms can present similarly in several different illnesses, but our Doctors know and understand how they present, when they present and what that means for our diagnosis and treatment plans.
We may not always agree with or understand our Doctors, but we can discuss those questions with them. Working with our Doctors is part of learning to live with mental illness. We all learn what works for us, and they help us on that path.
So, if the mood takes you to investigate your symptoms before you have a solid diagnosis, just take a moment to think…is this healthy for me, or is it going to cause me anxiety worrying about illnesses I may not have?