Self Diagnose or Self-Sabotage
"Do I have ADHD?" I googled after procrastinating on an important task till the deadline. "BPD test" I searched after noticing my mood swings. "Symptoms of depression" I dug after having no motivation to even move a limb. How often do we conclude something is wrong with our brain when it can't function conventionally? Mental health awareness has increased a lot after covid, but so have its misconceptions. The false information being spread by non-professionals on social media and the users consuming all the information is the cause of self-sabotaging in the name of mental health.
Not everyone can access professional help due to various reasons, and that's why they take matters into their own hands. Knowing what affects your body physically and mentally is beneficial. But the problem occurs when people start to take over the role of professionals who have studied for years to explore the human brain. Instead of consulting a therapist, they choose to self-diagnose themselves which could rather be contrary to self-improvement. When you have convinced yourself of having a particular disorder after searching about it for hours and hours, your mind adapts to it. Eventually, you start showing symptoms of it including the ones you didn't showcase before. But you are so assured about having the said disorder that you deny the development of new symptoms thinking you've always had them. Over some time, you might develop the disease if you didn't have it before. This is how you self-sabotage yourself into having a disorder. This happens because you have ingrained your subconscious with it. While it's important to stay aware of your thoughts and behavior, it's also just as important to not go beyond what you are capable of. Keeping your thoughts in check and focusing on the present moment might help you to figure out your responses more accurately.
Agreed that Internet diagnosis saves you a lot of waiting time and traveling time apart from giving you umpteen opinions without your wallet getting any lighter. But, all that glitters is not gold.
Why consulting Dr. Internet can be a Red light?
1. Mental health issues are complex.
There's a reason why psychiatrists/psychologists charge a fee! Mental disorders require thorough analysis and case history. Many issues stem from a lot of underlying causes and factors which a web browser may not consider. Simple superficial symptoms cannot lead to an erroneous diagnosis.
2. The Internet is flooded with Misinformation
As convenient as it is to type our distresses and get instant detection, we all know about the reliability or rather unreliability of the Internet. Its ubiquity narrows down its accuracy. So many websites give fabricated analyses and treatments which may worsen the issue and manipulate our perceptions.
3. It's an Unending Loop!
Once the googling begins, the full stop to it simply vanishes. It's a spiral of one website leading to another, each one looking at your symptoms from a different angle, and before you know it, you have 360 disorders, and you’ve lost hours obsessing over your prognosis! (A visit to the professional would have been quicker ;)
4. Your emotions on a See-Saw!
One site may adjourn your high anxiety as a mere minor phase, but another one may terrorize you with some huge scary jargon! In this process, your stress levels rise and fall, your emotions fluctuate, your brain becomes a victim of chaos, and all you are left with is more confusion.
Let's not kid ourselves by saying, ‘We won't google our symptoms henceforth!’ Because we know we will. But, at least now that we are more aware of the flaws of Dr. Internet, we can hope to be more mindful and rational while googling our issues.
Here are some ways to avoid the negative effects of self-analysis:
Don't believe everything you read on social media. It has become a new trend to have a disorder, and people have started treating it like a fashion statement.
Reach out to a professional. Only they can help you with your problems
Self-analyze and don't self-diagnose. Be mindful of your actions and know what is affecting your health but don't conclude.
Take care of your body physically. Because physical health and mental health have a positive correlation
It's crucial to keep your goal in mind. The main motive is to help yourself and not make things worse.
When you see a symptom you relate to, don't spiral yourself. Remember, you are just figuring out an explanation for your behavior, and there could be thousands of other causes. Don't think about the worst-case scenario.
Treading the road of diagnosis, there’s a high probability we can reach the destination of Self-Sabotaging by wandering the Self-Diagnosis lane! Thus, we must always be alert and aware en route. Seeking the right professional information helps us stay on the highway to healing!