top of page

Knowing what you Know: A life without Diagnosis

The first mental health practitioner I encountered was when I was 7 or 8 years old. My mother had taken me to a Neuropsychologist, it was never explained to me why I was there, but I sat in front of a man who asked me questions about myself. We did testing, which to me was just activities, and then he would discuss things with my mom. I wasn't allowed to know things, or I just don't remember them now.

I know now that my teacher believed I was showing signs of ADHD/ADD and my mother took me to get testing done. I was young enough that I don't know what was concluded, and that didn't stop the psychologist from telling my mother his conclusion, which according to my mother was this, "He told me that you were very creative and to not let you take any chemistry, or geometry, or anything to do with math and science." It was the first time that I had been diagnosed. The label "creative" and "bad at math" stuck. Being a kid and trusting my mother resulted in me trusting her judgement over my own. I cut off the possibility of math and science, or being good at it, or having my own experience with it because someone, with a license, and more importantly my mother believed that it would NEVER be, so it never was.

1)I am not attacking mental health practitioners, we are truly only human.

2) This experience does not make me, my mother, or the psychologist wrong for believing or not believing anything.

3)Please TRUST YOU, you know what is true for you. This is what is true for me.

After that I ascribed to others in my life who believed, "You won't be good at math and science," So in my brain I said, "Oh, okay, so I should be bad at math and science because that's how I am going to get this life right." I never wanted to try because it was expected that I was going to be bad, and yet when I struggled with math and science it became a point of wrongness. I received the message "We want you to be better at math, like we told you, you would never be, but now you have to be it because you have to be able to graduate and be normal like the rest of your peers." I was suddenly being asked to get math and science right, which I thought I was doing by getting it wrong.

How many of you are/were carrying labels that were given to you by a professional or you parents, or anyone? Do you notice places where you have stopped receiving from areas of your life because someone told you that it wasn't possible? For example, the day my college therapist told me I might be diagnosed as someone with borderline personality disorder (not an accurate diagnosis) I found people who supported that belief, watched the movie "Thirteen" and did everything to prove this theory right. I even started self-harming without any real motivation other than "This is what my friends are doing and I need to prove that I am just like them." I stopped believing that anything else was possible because I had my answer based on what someone else told me was true.

I have been a seeker my whole life, and that includes seeking a way to define myself that makes sense to other people (yes OTHER people). I did not do this consciously, or maybe I did, but ultimately I was looking for an answer to explain why I hated myself so much. I wanted to be whatever it was that was going to make sense for everyone else. I felt so wrong for being who I was that if someone could just tell me who I needed to be I would be it, so I could fit in with everyone else.

My question is: How many of you are living according to the definitions that were given to you as a way to disguise yourself as someone who lives according to what others say you are, so that you don't have to be the you, you really are?

My second question is, What would it take for you (and me) to change that?

It took getting out of a relationship at the age of 30 to begin to understand the way of life I had been choosing. I was living with someone who said "I don't go there anymore because of X," or "I don't buy that because of Y". Most of the time I didn't even notice, but when I got out of the relationship I remember being filled with joy that I could choose all these things and places again because I didn't have a point of view about it, and more importantly I no longer lived with someone else's points of view. I was so excited to have this feeling of the world opening up.

Question: Where in your life have you cut yourself off, that if you didn't cut yourself off, would allow you to be as great as you have always been?

The thing about labels that I have come to acknowledge is that they may provide an answer, but for me the answer is limiting. As a Licensed Professional Counselor I have chosen not to use diagnosis in my practice due to the way that diagnosis limits my ability to receive from my clients, and it affects what I am able to gift to my clients. What is so important about identifying what is wrong? I think it is a safe bet that if you are coming to me or a licensed practitioner for help you already feel wrong, so hearing me say "You are wrong in the following ways," only locks in a belief that the way you are isn't right, which you already know.

Mental health is advertised as this way set of standards to become normal, which often begins with denying that who you are already being is acceptable. So you already know you are wrong, and you need someone else to align with that belief and make you wrong in order to be right? What if you could know what you know without me confirming it for you? Are you going to create a different possibility if I am on the other side of the room telling you that you will never be able to be happy again because you will always be fighting against your depression? NO, the answer is NO because you will have your answer and look no further and spend your whole life wondering why you can't get out of your depression.

There is a gift of living in the question. Perpetual Optimism has been my "Rudolph Nose" since I was a child. I was always sure that things would work out and looking for other ways to create a possibility. When I started believing everyone else I lost some of this quality. At the end of my relationship I lived, worked, and operated within a 10-15 mile radius of my home. My world was so small when I decided to trust someone else instead of trusting me, and that has been a principle that applies to my whole life. The day I started to receive from the world around me I could begin to understand what it would be like to receive from myself.

Would you like to receive more from you? Here are some Tools that might help...

1) Ask yourself "What would it take to receive more today than yesterday?"

there is no answer required, just ask and then choose...

2) Do one thing every day for you

I have no idea what this will look like, and you may be surprised by what you can create when you don't have someone telling you how to get it right.

3) Spend time in Nature

Does a tree reject the sun, the rain, the cold, the heat? No, it just receives. Nature is a great way to get out of the definition of receiving and start to understand how to be it.

4) Be willing to be you

If wearing a pink flamingo hat and picking up trash is you being you, then be that. If you being you is sitting at home on your phone looking at tik tock then be that. there is no limit here.

5) Have a dance party for one.

What if you didn't have to deny yourself the joy of dancing and experiencing your favorite songs? What else is possible when you can be the joy of receiving from yourself?

Again, if there was no wrongness of you would anything actually be wrong? When we can start to get the idea that who we are doesn't require fixing, it requires us to be who we are anything, and I mean anything, is possible.

141 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page