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I Want A Personality Disorder

Question:

What does it mean when you want or DESIRE to have a mental disorder? It’s not that I seek attention but sometimes I wish I had a mental disorder. I spend most of my time searching for personality disorders to tag myself with. Is there something wrong with that?

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Answer:

Only you know your own mind and motives, but I can think of a few reasons why someone might want to have a diagnosis.

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p>One reason might be that you are perhaps somehow ashamed of yourself and the way you behave, and would like to understand a reason why you might behave this way. Knowing why you act like you do might help make you more comfortable, or show you a way to undo it and act differently.

A related reason you might want a diagnosis is that having a diagnosis might help you avoid responsibility for being the way you are. If you are diagnosible, well, then it is because of the disorder, and you are excused to some extent. If you don’t qualify for a diagnosis, then the blame falls squarely on yourself (or so it would seem).

I don’t think this desire of yours for a diagnosis is all that terrible of a thing to do with your spare time, but I don’t think it is a helpful thing for you to be doing either. It seems to be misdirected energy put into an unproductive direction. Searching for a diagnosis like this doesn’t seem to help you get closer to identifying what is actually bothering you, and figuring out how to address and fix it.

If you want a diagnosis, go see a doctor. Any psychologist or psychiatrist can slap some labels on you (hopefully with some accuracy). But if you do this, agree to abide by what the doctor has to say. If the doctor says that you are in the normal range and not diagnosable, go with that. Don’t continue to look for something that doesn’t fit.

A perhaps better thing to do other than visit the doctor to extract a diagnosis, would be to visit the doctor to see how the doctor could help you address whatever issues are bothering you. This is a subtle distinction. It is not necessary that you have a diagnosis in order to benefit from good advice on how to better cope with your life. Keep in mind that a psychologist (or other qualified therapist) is likely to be in a better position to help you with this sort of coping-skills consultation than a psychiatrist.

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