Self Diagnosing Mental Illnesses

As you can tell by the lack of original posts on lifesfinewhine recently I have been spending much more time on social media than I should. Actually, I started virtually watching a Thai drama with a friend but that’s neither here nor there. Back to social media. Since I suffer from anxiety and depression, I watch a lot of mental health related content.

Recently, I keep seeing videos about people talking about their experiences with mental illnesses and the symptoms they experience. I think that’s great since mental health is something we need to talk about openly just like physical illnesses. However, I keep noticing something else.

People in the comments keep self-diagnosing or diagnosing themselves just by watching these videos alone. Like a shockingly large number of comments are from people saying I experience this too I must have blah blah blah…

Except you don’t. Or maybe you do. I don’t know and neither do you because only a professional can and should be giving out diagnoses for mental health disorders. Just because you exhibit one or two symptoms doesn’t mean you have that mental disorder or any for that matter. A lot of symptoms can also be things that people experience in general. A lot of symptoms of different disorders are also very similar. And not just for mental illnesses. Some of those symptoms can also be caused by physical illnesses.

Professionals have been through years of studying and practice to be able to accurately diagnose mental disorders. They also learn about both physical and mental illnesses so they can rule those out before giving you a diagnoses. Most of the time you have to do a bunch of physical tests like checking your vitamins/iron levels etc. to make sure it’s a mental health issue and not a physical one. And even when physical illnesses are ruled out, your doctor will have to rule out a bunch of mental illnesses with similar symptoms to make sure they are diagnosing you correctly. I went through all that and it really sucked but at least I knew exactly what I had and that helped me a lot when it came to dealing with the symptoms.

If you feel like you have something, please talk to a professional so you can be properly diagnose and start figuring out the best way to deal with the illness. Don’t try to use information on the internet especially on social media. Self-diagnosing can be extremely dangerous for you and those around you. Especially if your symptoms are severe and you end up diagnosing yourself incorrectly.

I had a music/reacting to your favourite songs post planned for today but honestly this was kind of freaking me out so I just wanted to quickly make a post about this since I know a lot of my followers are younger and therefore sometimes easily impressionable.

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61 thoughts on “Self Diagnosing Mental Illnesses

  1. Self-diagnosing is so messed up! One thing I would say is that if you are going through a time in your life when you really need a counsellor, do it! I went back to counselling after my Mum’s surgery, and it’s not the first time I have sought it because of going through something traumatic. It’s better to do it than to suffer!

    1. Yes!! If you feel like you need help definitely seek professional help. I’m glad you went to a counselor because I know how difficult that situation was for you. Therapy was the best thing I’ve done for myself and I will definitely be going back if I feel like I need to.

  2. Good points. It’s like the ones that think they’re qualified to interpret medical evidence on various viruses. That’s what they have scientists for. Appears everyone thinks they’re an expert nowadays and self diagnosis and a nickel gives you 5 cents.

    1. That said, it does give one a starting point to talk to the doctor…just don’t diagnose yourself. That’s the job of professionals.

      1. Agreed. A good doctor will always ask what you think it is, then tell you why it isn’t. Sometimes it’s important to have that debate so you know what to look out for in the future, but final diagnosis lies with the professional!

      2. Yup totally agree. I think it’s a good place to start but the final diagnoses should be given by a trained professional. Just don’t self-diagnose anything ever.

  3. Wow, I feel like I have been self diagnosing all my life, but probably a lot of misdiagnosing. LOL. One thing that has always confounded me is that my relatives can live a non-communicative life and be content with it. How come I just can’t do that? I think curiosity probably doesn’t kill the cat, but instead worry the cat into mental disorders.

  4. As a Christian Psychologist that has dealt with many mental illness patients what I’ve discovered is many of our issues come from lies we’ve bought into. Those lies create a lien on our lives that has to be paid. Our issues become the collateral that has to be paid. That’s why we feel stuck in our stories. 🙏

  5. You really do know your audience well! I self diagnosed my ADHD and later on, bipolar disorder, only to realise it’s too far fetched. But my ADHD self diagnosis remains the same lol.
    Thanks for writing about this. There are people freaking out after taking online tests for mental disorders.
    *Buries face behind a handkerchief*

    1. I would highly recommend not self-diagnosing ADHD because the symptoms are super similar to other disorders. I thought I had it too but turns out it’s just anxiety and depression (yay 😂)
      Urghhh yeah an online test knows best… Those people really make me cringe.

      1. A friend of mine was confused when she hit puberty and took an online quiz. The result was blood cancer and she freaked out for a whole week 🤣🤣

  6. Very courageous to speak up on this very important issue. As you so rightly say – self-diagnosing mental illness can mean a serious physical condition is overlooked. It can also lead to learning the ‘correct jargon’ about a condition that can result in a misdiagnosis.
    Well said, and well written Pooja. Many thanks for the post. X

  7. Amen to that! Things posted on line should lead you to questions, about which you should ask your healthcare professional. You are probably not a doctor or other healthcare professional, so leave that to the experts. Questioning is good; self diagnosis not so much!!!

  8. Well said Pooja! I also wonder why people keep self diagnosing.. I personally would’ve diagnosed myself with bipolar disorder and PTSD, but turns out I just have depression and anxiety and anemia… my blood pressure is also freakishly low, so I’ve self-diagnosed a heart condition only to find out it’s a side effect of the meds I’m on! Lol
    Getting a medical degree isn’t hard for no reason. These medical professionals dedicated so much time and brain power to do what we can’t through Google!

    1. I though I had BPD too but it was also anxiety and depression. That’s exactly why self-diagnosing is a bad idea since it can be a number of times together!
      Yup it takes years of studying and practice to get a medical degree so we really need to stop really on five minutes of seeing something on the internet as a substitute.

  9. I agree about professionals but where I’m from, less than 1% people can afford professional help but they need some kind of help, hence the self-diagnosis.

    On a totally divergent note, there is a thought that knowing your demons may sometimes feed into them. I don’t know what you think about that.
    But as for self-diagnosis by watching videos and reading articles, for many, it’s either that or suffer alone. When professional help is not an option.
    There has to be another option for those not in the 1%.

    1. Most doctors have assistance plans or reduced rates for those in need. The mental health community can be very accommodating. It’s worth a try to look into it. Hope you might be healthy and well! Best wishes.

      1. Not in most African countries unfortunately. It’s very different there and it’s much more expensive and difficult to get help for the majority of people. But luckily there is more awareness now about mental health now and hopefully there will be options in the future for those that need them.

      2. The problem with third world is that reduced rates are still unaffordable but yeah, there are some NGOs that can offer some free services and hopefully in the future, government can subsidize because two 1 hour sessions with a therapist is equivalent to the average person’s monthly salary here. How much can they reduce? And they are charging wayy less than in developed countries already.

    2. I know exactly what you mean. It’s similar in Kenya and I know the majority of people there can not even afford regular healthcare let alone spend money on mental health professionals. I wish there was a way for them but I think the only thing they can do is try natural remedies and hope that helps. Unfortunately, self-diagnosing may be even more harmful for them because if something goes wrong they won’t be able to get professional help.

      I definitely agree with the demons you know part to an extent. I think sometimes when you know you have something and know the symptoms of it you experience a sort of placebo effect and end up thinking you have symptoms you may not have. But it’s still good to know what you have because most of the time according to the research that’s doesn’t happen and the symptoms tend to be due to the illness.

      1. Yeah I agree with everything you’ve said here. I think that’s where religion and culture comes in. They often have good therapy, all be it inclined to certain beliefs.

        1. Yeah I think religion and culture can definitely help some in need unless it’s a chemical imbalance that can only be fixed with medication. Even still, it’s always good to have a support system.

  10. this is really a good post because i think this way. in my head im like, amybe i have this or that, but i can never say for sure unless i speak to someone with knowledge on it.great post!

    1. Thanks! Yeah, I think we all experience that and we end up thinking we may have something. That’s why it’s best to talk to a professional who can tell us for sure what the issue is.

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