297 is the number of possible diagnosis in the DSM 5; (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) “The psychiatric bible”. (Rosenberg, 2017) If you don’t have a copy of that on hand and you use Wikipedia then they have 186 different possible diagnoses. So many diagnosis have overlapping symptoms, meaning that going down that rabbit hole to find a proper diagnosis could take a very long time. And face it, we’re humans and when we read something medical that has symptoms, we start to have those issues, even if we don’t!
I remember the first time I heard a diagnosis around my mental health, and to be honest at first it brought some form of release; “I knew what was going on”. Soon though I realized that this diagnosis did absolutely nothing for my healing or me. Then came two more diagnosis (turns out the first one was wrong) and again some release and some relief. “Ok, this makes sense and I had a starting point, again. Then, I made the realization that it was also only temporary. I knew what was wrong so why was nothing changing? The person who gave the diagnosis also knew what was wrong, sooo… why did I still feel so dark?
This blog came about for several reasons beyond my own experience listed above. The first was that while taking my Masters in Hypnotherapy, I noticed so many people in class (including myself) talking about a diagnosis. I know we do this to make the conversations more succinct, but then again I also know that the words we use hold power. We did this because it was a simple way to convey a point. The second is watching people fit into a box with a diagnosis and staying there because they can; they did not know how to work on the symptoms so how could they change it. The Truth is – at least in my opinion – that if you look at the symptoms and the root causes, you heal the symptoms then the diagnosis goes away.
I will not be put into any boxes any more; you see boxes are fixed in size and once built they no longer can grow and if you are inside one, neither can you.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
I am using Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as an example, because not only am I intimately familiar with PTSD as a diagnosis, I am also familiar with my own recovery and healing. Like most of my writing I hope there is a message in here for the readers. When I was finally diagnosed with PTSD after quietly living in my own head for over 15 years. The diagnosis did one thing and one thing only, it allowed me have some understanding of why I was thinking and feeling the way I was feeling. However, the understanding of PTSD from my reading and what I experienced is that treatment focuses on a single point in time. For my therapist that point in time was a training accident in the military where I was severely injured by a grenade.
For me I now see the grenade was a piece of straw on the proverbial camel’s back. It was not the one that totally broke me, but it was the one that could be easily pinpointed to “explain” everything. So once I dealt with it, why did I only feel a little better? Why did the isolation, the sadness, the fear continue. One theory I was presented with was that I had not dealt with the grenade incident.
Let me provide you the real reasons the symptoms took so long to subside or get better. It was not the only trauma in my life. Likely for you the one incident that shut you down was not the only traumatic event in your life. Have you heard of generational or developmental trauma? How about collective trauma or national memory? Well once that dam opens in your life, looking at the one incident may have some relief but it will not likely be complete recovery. At least that was my experience. I needed to start to look into every crevice, under every rock, and into every room. The good news is that each time I found something, my symptoms got less and less, my mind freed it self more and more.
Lastly I needed to develop the tools so that I could do 90% of this work on my own. I needed to understand that looking inside that dark room was not scary, it was healing. Inside that dark room I was going to find the most beautiful treasure ever. I was going to find a piece of me, my essence, and my life was going to grow and get better.
I have this understanding now, that the incident matters, actually all the incidents in our life matter. However, the story we tell ourselves and the symptoms we are feeling inside our body matter even more. Fear, anxiety, self-loathing, and any other thing that is holding us back has so many more strings attached to our past, and the incident that we want to blame, the one that just happened in front of us is only the tip of the iceberg.
If you find yourself sitting in the check box of a diagnosis, open it up, kick down the walls, burn it to the ground!!! It is stopping you from growing, it is stopping you from seeing the real healing, it is stopping you from finding you.
With Love, Respect and Admiration and thank you for the support to my patreon site, by your support someone else is getting help.
Remember: Keep chasing those cars.
Rosenberg, R. S. (2017) Abnormal is the new Normal, Slate retrieved June 12, 2017 from; http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2013/04/diagnostic_and_statistical_manual_fifth_edition_why_will_half_the_u_s_population.html