AdviceHey, Bonita!

Looking For a Diagnosis

Hey Bonita,

For a few years, I’ve been going back and forth about whether or not I should look into a neurodivergent diagnosis. This wasn’t prompted by a TikTok video or meme; it’s something I’ve struggled with and wondered about for a while. But that’s also the problem—it seems like social media has made neurodivergency something trendy. I think there are a lot of neurodivergent people, but I don’t know how seriously a doctor or therapist will take me. I’ve seen a lot of people kind of make light [of] or undermine genuine struggles with this “trend,” so even though my intentions are genuine, I think that’s holding me back. The other side of things is, I don’t feel like my diagnosis would be anything treatable by medication, so in that case, does it matter? Sometimes I think I just feel so defeated by some of my quirks that having an answer would help, but I also know that it wouldn’t change them.

Quirky Conundrum

Hey Quirky,

I totally get your apprehension, but don’t forget that therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists go through years of higher education to enter their field. Licensing is always preceded by tons of hours (usually hundreds) of doing practicum and other activities supervised by someone already licensed. A good mental health professional does not care about TikTok trends or modern slang that indicates more social awareness of neurodivergent people. Don’t sit here and think that you’ll go to a therapist and within 10 minutes they’ll declare you cheugy and ban you from the premises. Your friends might accuse you of being trendy, but they’re not therapists; they’re just putting social pressure on you to neglect your needs because something about your self care makes them feel inadequate or inauthentic. 

But I hope that I have absolutely barked up the wrong tree here, and that your friends are being understanding and kind as you figure out how to address your health concerns. It really bothers me that you are so preoccupied with how others will judge the medical care that you seek for yourself, but I have wonderful news for you: You don’t have to tell anyone! Your mental health is YOUR personal business! You don’t have to share every aspect of your life on social media, and frankly, I recommend not even using your real name on your socials. You can absolutely tailor your social media presence to be as personal as you want, or not at all. No one can accuse you of seeking therapy for likes if you never post about your therapy in the first place. I got my first home computer in 1998, and it was a given that I would not be sharing my actual personal information with anyone, ever. People had blogs and such, of course, but very few people used their actual names or even posted pictures of themselves (you needed a flatbed scanner for that). My personal life was personal, and sharing info about my “real” life was a conscious choice that was never left to chance. No one was entitled to information about my daily life, and they still aren’t.  

And as for your second question: Having answers and knowing yourself better is always valuable and always helpful. I remember the day I found out my diagnoses, and it was like someone had shined a light onto part of myself that I’d never seen. So many things about myself made sense in an instant, and they kept making sense as I learned more about my diagnoses and how they showed themselves in me. It’s easier to react to or change something when you actually know what it is and what it does to you. It was a relief to find out that I wasn’t just damaged goods who was unable to be loved.

If you’re a UGA student, then hit up CAPS (Counseling and Psychiatric Services) at the University Health Center, or if you’re a townie, you can start with Family Counseling Services to find out about subsidized mental health services. This is your personal business, and you don’t have to tell anyone about this, if you don’t want to.

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