It seems like every time I log onto Facebook, Twitter, even Youtube, I am greeted with posts of people complaining about their anxiety, depression, or Obsessive Compulsive behaviors. I see posts like “As a person with an anxiety disorder, I don’t think it is fair that we are required to give presentations in class.” or “as someone who has depression…” Do you really have depression? Have you seen a doctor? More often than not, these individuals are in reality, not actually suffering from any of these diseases or disorders. Yes, I’m talking about the epidemic of self-diagnosis. People everywhere are both stating and eluding to the fact that they think they have a mental illness.
First of all, it is an insult to those who actually suffer from these diseases. Try telling someone about your depression from when your girlfriend dumped you when their depression comes from the death of a spouse, constantly having to make ends meet, or years of being put down because of their body image. We who are healthy have no idea how many sleepless nights they lay through, how many attacks come at them seemingly out of nowhere they have to sit through or the immense fatigue that keeps them in their beds all day while simultaneously not sleeping at night. I have friends who are diagnosed with OCD, Chronic Depression or have anxiety disorders and I can tell you that not one goes off on Facebook about their illness, and if they do it is in a modest optimistic tone. You know why? Many are ashamed of it and don’t feel the need to broadcast to the world that they are sick, afflicted, or struggling. No offense, but unless you know for sure and have been diagnosed with a mental illness it seems like you just want attention.
I understand we all have been wronged, we get sad for prolonged periods, and feel nervous in unfamiliar territory or serious situations, but there is a distinct difference between sadness and depression, being nervous or having anxiety, and having quirks or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. How would I know if I had cancer? A doctor would tell me. Do the same with mental illness. If you have suspicions, see a doctor, there is no harm in doing that. Maybe you have a mental illness, or maybe you misinterpreted symptoms. However, don’t turn to social media to state your suspicions and do not by any means say you have a disease when you haven’t been diagnosed by a professional.