“I Am NOT My Diagnosis!”

This has become a popular phrase lately among people who have a psychiatric diagnosis, especially. But I detect streams of inaccuracy there that are problematic, an attempt distance yourself from yourself – as if you could.

And although I think it’s proper linguistically to say, for example, I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder, a chronic medical condition, which requires my active participation in the treatment of my symptoms … Instead of saying, I’m Bipolar

Your diagnosis does affect who you are and how you present to those around you, and in the world. And that’s why I prefer the phrase Affective Disorders, instead of, Mood Disorders, which I consider vague.

The phrase Affective Disorders includes moods, but is much more descriptive and complex, since it immediately evokes images of many behaviors that are physically and visually expressed, and often recognizable, whereas Mood Disorders is comparable to wallowing in murky waters – a Swamp.

Further, I would add (now in support of the mantra) that I knew I was an artist long before I was diagnosed. And I knew what I was when I was a child. I had no idea of psychiatric disorders at the age of five, but instead was focused on doing what I knew I was there – my passions – and doggedly pursuing them, come whatever may come between us.

So, yes. I knew I was an artist, long before I knew or understood how that would be experienced and expressed.

But I also recognize that my diagnosis affects who and what I am, and any attempt to separate that from me, as though it were some discreet idea that merely existed on a remote cerebral plane, a mere thought, something with a switch attached to it, to be controlled – that split would exacerbate the challenges we already face, would be the height of folly and spring of confusion …