For all forms within the neurodiverse spectrum – according to official opinion – one should rely on the services of specialised institutions or physicians. Self-diagnosis has a somewhat strange connotation. In this article, I explain my point of view, which nevertheless deals with the subject in a slightly more differentiated way
In principle, I believe that an “official” diagnosis is, of course, in many cases, not only proper but even necessary. If life is strongly limited, someone needs help such as therapy, medication, financial assistance, etc. it is, of course, essential to have an accurate diagnosis. But there are also cases in which this may not be necessary. If various supports are not needed at all, the symptoms are mild, and the daily life is not restricted. Then a self-diagnosis can also help one to find the red thread in life..
Also, with small children or teenagers, one will trust perhaps rather in medical assistance. With them, a diagnosis is also relatively easy. The smaller children are, the less they pretend. Parents or educators can be consulted. The longer people are undiagnosed, the older they get without being educated about their neurodiversity, the more they have experience in (superficially) adapting to the neurotypical environment. In addition, parents may already be deceased. Educators are likely to be uncontactable or also already deceased. A poor basis for a correct diagnosis.
On the other hand, many people feel that something is wrong in their lives. I, at least, felt that way. I had tried already all and really all existing therapies. OK, maybe not all of them, but a surprisingly large number. Psychotherapy (C.G. Jung), breathing therapy, Feldenkrais/Goralewsky, family constellations… All of these therapies were very, very interesting and certainly helped me understand my inner life. But none of them approached the core of my problem. That only came after I learned about neurodiversity from support groups, blogs or forums on the internet.
And because of my rich experience with my inner life, an experience that has just accumulated over the course of my life, I trust myself to diagnose myself with neurodiversity. Several things come together. I suspect ADD, mild autism (known as “Asperger’s”) and a sense of direction that is not present at all. I’ve also gotten lost in a three-room apartment 😉 High sensitivity is also an important topic for me. However, I fear that a medical diagnosis would be pretty arbitrary in my case. In each of the points described, essential elements are missing, others are all the more in the foreground. So personally I prefer to forego a diagnosis that doesn’t help me much anyway.
Reading about it on the internet and learning that many of the symptoms that concern me are known, and have names, and that there are other people who know them, that has been very helpful. Helpful? It has opened doors of insight and has been immensely relieving. Because until now, when I complained about various problems, I was suggested (depending on personal preference) medication or meditation, or better yet, both of them. Very nice, but still missing the point. Reading was the salvation. Reading about neurodiversity.
However – and this is now an argument against self-diagnosis: there are, after all, people who prefer to ask a doctor, and seek help from third parties. That’s OK. These people are much better off with an official diagnosis.
Nevertheless, I would like to write here a short overview of the advantages and disadvantages of medical diagnosis and self-diagnosis. However, all arguments refer to adults who need little or no help and have a certain degree of objectivity and interest in observing their inner selves.
- A potentially relatively high error rate because, after all, as an individual person, one can hardly know all the different forms within the neurodiverse spectrum. In addition, the self-performed diagnosis may, of course, be what one would like to hear.
- On the other hand, the view from the inside is more direct, there is no communication with a third party. Any diagnosis by a third party can only be done through communication, and unfortunately, it is very challenging to explain one’s inner life to another person. Additionally: An artificial setting like a doctor’s office is not really helpful.
- A potentially real, high error rate, if you ask three doctors, you have five opinions, to put it bluntly. Those affected report very different diagnoses in the same people, depending on which doctors did the examination.
- The view from outside is of course theoretically more objective than that from within. But he meets the personal mask that every grown-up person wears to the outside world.
The subject of diagnosis or medical diagnosis vs. self-diagnosis is more than complex and, in my opinion, always individual. It is normal for a doctor’s diagnosis to be more attractive. But it is only partially safer than self-diagnosis.