For anyone curious know my actual (read: legitimate) diagnosis from a competent and ethical professional — I will share the only psychiatric diagnosis I have ever received from a clinician / therapist with whom I have worked. I have seen various therapists in my life, but due to seeing them via campus counseling centers or paying out of pocket, I have never received a formal diagnosis from one until 2018. This diagnosis comes from Dr. Michael Rutter – a clinician and professor at Canisius College.
My official diagnosis:
Adjustment Disorder. With Anxiety.
I was given this diagnosis for insurance-related purposes by my trusted clinical psychologist.
I’ve never been medicated and I never will be medicated.
I don’t identify with diagnostic labels strongly, and I consider the DSM to be fiction the way atheists consider the Bible to be fiction – except I consider it lacking in many respects and believe, having read quite a bit of fiction, fiction of the shitty and harmful variety.
If you take out the “disorder” part of it, I’m absolutely fine with using the labels “anxiety” and “adjustment.” I have had to adjust to a lot of stressful situations in my thirty three years on the planet, but I also think that we’re always adjusting, and I don’t think of adjustment issues as a disease.
While I’m opposed to the use of “disorder” as a noun, I am not opposed to “disorder” as a verb – and I am a proponent of disorderly conduct that is done in the interest of improving the world.
I consider my neurodivergent qualities, the disorderly conduct of my existence, to be a gift, and my cognitive differences to be character traits, ones that sometimes help but sometimes hinder me but that are very much tied to my social experience.
And, finally, I consider the way I am cognitively –lesbianism, anxiety, and all– to be A-OKAY. More than.
Diagnosing Me is the equivalent of cutting off Me(dusa)’s head. Do it and Me’ll become the shield of a goddess and turn diagnosticians to stone for the rest of Me petrified semi-immortal life.
Those who have diagnosed me by virtue of their dysfunctional airchairs can turn to stone. Dr. Rutter is the one who has been given my permission to do it. He didn’t diagnose me because he believes in diagnosis; he did it so that I could pay $20 to see him instead of $155.00.
My hope is that more clinicians get real about the role and reason(s) behind diagnosis, and that they start engaging in some disorderly conduct when it comes to labeling their clients in order to create a new non-harmful order. But until they join their clients in dismantling diagnosis, like my clinician has done with me, the anti-psychiatry movement will have to be continue to be serpent-haired gorgon of disorder. Until psychiatry has turned to stone.
(Image: Testa di Medusa, Caravaggio)