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D - Diagnosis and Self-Definition

I have long struggled with the need to have a diagnosis. It's important to me to have the validation of an official diagnosis. But why?

For one thing, having a presence on the internet means I am open to fakeclaiming. Don't get me wrong, you will be fakeclaimed even if you have an official diagnosis. But getting fakeclaimed by others makes it easy to doubt myself. Having the diagnosis helps me argue against fakeclaiming myself.

That outside validation is another reason I rely on diagnoses. I am not very good at internal validation. Perhaps it is part of my codependency, but I rely on others to tell me who I am. I have Borderline Personality Disorder. This means I have an unstable self-image and I don't know how to define myself outside of my relationship with others. My opinion of myself depends on their opinion of me.

This unstable sense of self may be the main reason I rely so heavily on diagnoses. They give me a solid label with which to define myself. I'm a sucker for personality tests because they give me descriptors for who I am as a person. With a diagnosis I can look at the symptoms and say, this is who I am. I know you're not supposed to define yourself based on your mental illness, but it's hard not to when you have disorders that affect your very identity and personality.

And perhaps that's the biggest reason of all--if I'm diagnosed it means I'm not a shitty human. My entire life I have wondered what's wrong with me. I seem to have a harder time getting through life than my peers. I have been called lazy, sensitive, dramatic, and inconsistent. All of these are symptoms of various disorders. Since I've been diagnosed, I've been able to stop seeing myself as a failure and more as someone whose brain works differently.

Having a diagnosis isn't a cure-all. I still wish my brain didn't function the way it does. I feel like my brain is broken and makes my life more difficult than it needs to be. But at least I have an explanation for it.

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