I claim the invention of a new word: diagnophilia. If any of you know of its existence or know a word that describes the issue I am going to discuss, please let me know!

The other week I was out for some nice wine with my friend. I told her that recently and for a short while only, I turned back to my anxiety because I did not find another way to deal with everything that is happening at the moment. Yeah, that’s right. I still refuse to see anxiety as a disease that comes over you. For me it is true that I trained myself to react with anxiety whenever I am torn or insecure. Mind you, I have also trained different solutions, but every now and then, I slide back into old habits.

Anyways, when I told her this, she said: “You know what, I am so jealous of you having a diagnose!” I snapped at her straight away saying how I did not like my anxiety disorder very much. She then explained that this was not her point. She meant that she is always trying to find out what her issues are, but no-one wants to give her a diagnose. Well, maybe because there is none! Everybody struggles, and it only needs a diagnose when it takes an unhealthy direction. We then decided we will revolutionise psychology and establish a new disorder: the urgent need to have a diagnose where none is indicated 😉 We shall do field studies and write a lot of sophisticated books about them. Finally a new career option!

But seriously, why are we so obsessed with naming our “issues”? Another friend of mine was all happy when a doctor mentioned she might suffer from a certain disorder. For her, that would be the explanation for everything that she finds weird in herself! I told her to go and get tested, and here is her answer: “No, I am not going to get tested. If it turns out that I don’t have that disorder, I’ll start searching all over again!” I can see what she means, and if she is happy thinking she has a certain disorder, so be it.

I worry that diagnoses are being overused. It is an unhealthy trend, because it qualifies real medical and mental issues. I don’t know how many time I’ve heard people saying they were burned out while they really meant that they were stressed and tired. Sadness is automatically depression. Being nervous is a panic attack.

I think we kind of unlearned what is normal. It is normal to worry or to be sad. It is normal to be different from other people (if you feel you are just like anybody else, you might have a problem :-)). We want to name everything that feels a bit off. We are constantly exposed to how we should be and what is right or wrong. So, having a diagnose makes it easier sometimes, doesn’t it? It kind of takes the responsibility off us!

So yeah, certain psychological indications require treatment in one way or the other. But if you feel different and it does not do harm to yourself – enjoy it! You are a true individual!

Yours truly, madly, deeply!



4 thoughts on “Diagnophilia

  1. I completely see where you’re coming from with regards to there being too many diagnoses – and people overreacting to feeling nervous or scared.
    From the other side, I think a name gives security in the sense that if there’s a name for it, there’s not only you who has that thing. It’s also easier to treat – I was diagnosed with PTSD after my doctor picked up on my flashbacks, which means treating it differently to depression (apparently), so I think that can help too.
    I also thought what you were saying about our brains training themselves to react was interesting. I carry a bottle of water everywhere because it helps me calm down if I’m panicking, however now feeling thirsty and feeling sick both get confused in my head with feeling panicky, as my first reaction is to reach for my water. It’s odd really.
    Great blog post. 🙂

    • Oh yes, it gives a great deal of securities! I guess my point is that everybody seems to like having a diagnose, no matter if something is wrong or not.
      I know exactly where you come from with the water bottle – I do the same thing 😀
      Thanks for reading and commenting!:-)

  2. I remember that we “argued” about that a while ago.

    I really like my diagnosis. Not the disorder itself, just the diagnosis. I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that I have a panic disorder. I know that in a lot of case I don’t react like a normal human being. It’s simply not normal to freak out when you cannot reach your boyfriend for 2 minutes, or to drive 400 kilometers in the middle of the night because he didn’t answer the phone for an hour. It’s not normal to cause a car accident because the movie you see inside your head prevents you from watching the road properly.

    And I am happy to have this diagnosis. First of all I can work on it. My disorder is very clear to me. Secondly I don’t have to feel (too) guilty when I freak out again because – after all – I am sick. That’s just a symptom of the panic disorder. I still don’t like it, but I don’t need to justify my actions anymore. I am panicking again… and that’s it. This also doesn’t mean that I don’t do anything about it, but it’s simply a very good and rational explanation of my irrational actions. It makes me feel a insane, but at the same time it makes me feel very sane. If that makes sense.

    • Of course it makes sense. That’s what I said above – if it takes an unhealthy direction and you feel you are restricted by your issues, they need to be diagnosed. And then you can work on it. And yes, we have argued about it. And I have a diagnose. For me, it is just something behavioural and not a disease – only for me!
      What I meant with this post is that nowadays, a lot of normal reactions like grief, worry and fear are pathologised even though they are just human reactions. And that is unfair to people who really need help.

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