I know it from personal experience – when I don’t feel fine and don’t know what’s wrong, I use a popular search engine to find out what it could be. And within minutes a queasy feeling grows into gastritis (at least), a stomach ulcer (just in case) or stomach cancer (jackpot).
And there are a lot of people who actually panic, don’t dare going to see a doctor or even treat whatever they think they have on their own. They live in fear for weeks although a doctor could have told them they might not have what the internet told them after all.
This principle also works for mental conditions – there are numerous tests, more or less reliable, that one can take in order to find out if this or that diagnosis might apply. Granted, at the end of the tests you’re usually told that the result is not a diagnosis and that you should see a doctor when in doubt – but honestly, when you’re desperate and/or afraid to see a doctor (which, I guess, happens even more often with mental disorders than with physical ones), you’re susceptible to easy answers.
Since I’ve had this blog (and also in real life) I’ve been told that I might not have what my doctor said after all as I appear to be “quite normal”. As I’m a high-functioning borderline personality I can imagine that people who don’t know me well think so, and yes, misdiagnosis happens but at the end of the day this is my and my doctors’ business. In such conversations I’ve received many suggestions as to what I might have.
In order to show what I mean I took the longest test I could find for ech suggestion. Here are the entertaining results:
All three disorders I’ve been diagnosed with (BPD, Panic disorder, depression) were recognized by the tests although I have to stress that I’ve not been depressed for quite a while now 🙂
Furthermore, I show signs of the following, according to the internet: Anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, some BFRBs, Asperger syndrome, narcissistic or histrionic personality disorder.
Now, I can imagine that some symptoms, behaviours or peculiarities coincide and therefore my answers apply to different disorders. But not by any stretch of the imagination can I believe that I have all the disorders mentioned above. What I want to say here is: As much as I hate seeing doctors, as much as I know that psychiatrists and health insurances tend to turn you into a zombie on meds and as expensive as therapy might be – please don’t let the internet tell you what you may have or not, it just increases fear and insecurity! I, for example, have enough to do with the three disorders I was diagnosed with, I don’t need ten more from Dr. Internet 😉