I have spent the past few days a bit mopey, even with the arrival of some of my closest college friends for a visit. It has to do with labeling.
As a teacher and someone interested in psychology, I find labeling to be one of the most fascinating parts of society. I recently spent time with a friend discussing a diagnosis doctors placed on her son–she found the diagnosis (not a surprise) both freeing, and frightening. I could see why. I remember sitting on the other side of student studies and seeing parents experience the same thing.
The same has been true of me. Though there was a time I shied away from the label “depression,” I’ve come to almost embrace the label, no longer ashamed. My depression is a part of who I am, though, of course, I wish it wasn’t there. But I’m not ashamed that I suffer from depression–I do everything in my power to treat my illness and work to overcome it.
On Friday I met with a counselor for a session, to discuss life, at the insistence of my husband. Those of you who suffer from depression may know that sometimes your loved ones can see changes in you before you are able to recognize them in yourself. Marcus is always on top of me, and he urged me to call my counselor.
While I was there, we discussed the possibility that I may have been misdiagnosed with major depression, and we began to explore another label that might suit me more adequately. It was one that had crossed my path before, but that I was quick to dismiss. There are some parts of this new diagnosis that would fit me well, with others still a bit off. But in many ways, the new label would suit me better than my current diagnosis.
It isn’t anything official, just something we’re discussing and that she thinks I may want to assess with a clinician once I return to the states next month.
But it’s amazing how thoughtful this new diagnosis has made me. I’ve spent the past few days examining things that have happened in my life, and seeing how they fit. It’s made me see myself, simultaneously, both more clearly and in more of a haze.
Will this new psychological label change me? What does it alter? If Marcus and I are thinking about more children, would this new diagnosis and potential treatment options halt that? What does it mean for the girls? The divorce rates are higher for this mental illness…does that mean Marcus and I could end up divorced?
I have found myself in a whirlwind this weekend…questioning everything.
I know that no label can change me. And I haven’t even been officially diagnosed yet. But still…it’s amazing the power of labels.