What’s a Diagnosis Have to Do With It?

Sure, they’re needed for insurance companies to foot the bill of counseling but I certainly didn’t need one nor do I want one.

From the book The Body Keeps the Score, Chapter 9: What’s Love Got to Do with It:

“The first serious attempt to create a systematic manual of psychiatric diagnoses occurred in 1980, with the release of the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-III), the official list of all mental diseases recognized by the American Psychiatric Associate (APA). The preamble to the DSM-III warned explicitly that its categories were insufficiently precise to be used in forensic settings or for insurance companies.”

“Nonetheless it gradually became an instrument of enormous power.”

“DSM labels quickly found their way into the larger culture as well. . . . The manual has become a virtual industry that has earned the APA well over $100 million.”

The question is: Has it provided comparable benefits for the patients it is meant to serve?

body keeps the score, page 137

It seems everyone throws around words like panic attacks, PTSD, bipolar disorder and the list goes on. Maybe I have “delayed catastrophic stress disorder following an asymptomatic interval (“incubation period”).” I was offended when all this chatter began! I am just Jodie and was looking to heal.

I find myself more in the author’s words when he writes:

None of these diagnoses takes into account the unusual talents that many of our patients develop or the creative energies they have mustered to survive. All too often diagnoses are mere tallies of symptoms, leaving patients . . . likely to be viewed as out-of-control women who need to be straightened out.

Body Keeps the Score, Bessel van der kolk, m.d.

I walked into my counselor’s office knowing most of my problems. What does a tally of our symptoms do to help us? Or for that matter: why do you need to label me?

I needed healing beyond all of that. I didn’t want to stay stuck. Boldly and fiercely, I wanted to come out of those discussion rooms and live.

I can say, for the most part, I live now without symptoms and without chronic pain. I can play with my grandchildren, see the color of the sky and do most things without the constant haze of a surfacing flashback.

Love is what I needed. So, what does love have to do with it? Everything!

7 thoughts on “What’s a Diagnosis Have to Do With It?

  1. “The Body Keeps the Score” is one of my favourite books. I’ve read it so many times! Bessel Van der Kolk truly is an expert in trauma and trauma recovery 🙂 I definitely agree with your comments above …. We are resourceful – and what we need is support and healing – not a label.

    Liked by 1 person

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