I probably should not be out there…

This is in response to Seaneen‘s last post. “The internet told me…”
Started as a comment, but became too long to be posted in a little box.

So, basically the post is about how awesome the internet is, but how misleading it can be if you try to take it as if it were your doctor. I’ve been living it with my dad lately. He’s been spending his free time in google looking for whatever symptom he has had at any point of time and associating it with everything he reads. He has nothing serious, confirmed by doctors, studied by me, his med intern daughter. He’s still obsessing, has come up with all kinds of cancers, weird autoimmune disorders and even some that would never happen with his y chromosome.

I don’t think he’s even an hypochondriac. He just has found a massive amount of information, and has let himself gotten a little carried away. Woudln’t you?

Anyway, Seaneen goes on to refer especifically to mental disorders, and decided to play the game of letting the dr internet tell you what you have, the result is EVERYTHING and NOTHING. From a person who has had professional input on her mental disorder, it’s easier for her to see how biased these quizzes are, however there are gazillions of people out there taking them seriously.

OK, just for the hell of it, I’m taking some of the quizzes she took, jsut to make a comparison OR more, because I have lots of time in my hands right now and don’t know what to do with it.

1. Psych Central Test on Bipolar disorder: I got a 43

“Based upon your responses to this bipolar disorder quiz, you appear to be suffering from moderate to severe symptoms associated with a bipolar disorder. People who have answered similarly to you typically qualify for a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder and have sought professional treatment for this disorder. (You may, however, still fit into the less serious diagnosis of Bipolar II Disorder.)”

Now, I definitely do not have bipolar disorder – I’m not spared of the possibility of having it in the future, but it’s remote. I have a diagnosis of clinical depression, confirmed. I ocassionally get into mild euphoric moods and get very talkative and overconfident with no reason I can identify. People react as “hey, you look much more relaxed and happy today!” but it never goes to abnormal levels, if much I could classify into cyclothyc patterns; never Bipolar I or even II. I’m also currently taking antidepressants. Had I Bipolar disorder, I would have probably shifted to full blown mania already.

I didn’t like the test much. The questions are too general. It seems to me like any normal moody person would score high.

Example: 10. At times I am greatly interested in being with people and at other times I just want to be left alone with my thoughts.

Gee, doesn’t that sound like a regular person with no mental illness? A person having everyday’s life ups and downs?

2. Healthy Place bipolar screening test.

Seen this one before; in my opinion it’s completely useless except for maybe pointing out something general for someone who is pretty clueless about the whole thing, which is a possible situation. Definitely not a diagnostic tool!

I ticked for mania: I can’t focus on anything for very long, I sometimes can’t stop talking and I talk really fast (I blame nervousness though).

I ticked for depression (General, previous to current treatment symptoms): I don’t enjoy doing the things I’ve always enjoyed doing. I feel upset and fearful, but can’t figure out why. I am always tired. I find it hard to get out of bed. I feel like eating all the time. I have little to no sexual energy. I find it hard to focus and am very forgetful. I don’t feel like talking to people. I feel like there isn’t much point to living, nothing good is going to happen to me. I don’t like myself very much. I feel bad most of the time. I think about death a lot. I even think about how I might kill myself.

That’s it, I checked several boxes.

3. For Fun Schizophrenic test

Okay, You are not even schizophrenic. You live a normal life. Not plauged by the serevity of schizophrenia. Which is a good thing since most people do not realize the devestation schizophrenia can bring.

Yuppee!

No comments on this one, pure “devestating” sillyness.

4. The personality disorder test.

Paranoid: Low click for info
Schizoid: Low click for info
Schizotypal: Moderate click for info
Antisocial: Low click for info
Borderline: Moderate click for info
Histrionic: Moderate click for info
Narcissistic: Moderate click for info
Avoidant: High click for info
Dependent: Moderate click for info
Obsessive-Compulsive: Low click for info

The other personality test :

Got Avoidant

In both tests I answered with “what I usually did or felt most of the times”. I’ve been pointed to avoidant personality disorder very often by quizzes like this and by the DSM IV. My opinion is that my depression played a big part of it. I did have features of Avoidant while growing up, even before depression set in. But you can’t have a personality disorder at 12 years old, personality is not fully formed yet to settle for a disorder. My feelings of inadecuacy and helplessness, and a big tendency to abandon anything that looks hard instead of getting hurt don’t happen when I’m not depressed.

ADHD!

I got 69! (serious is > 70)

I have so many internet diagnosis I don’t know what to do with them. I’m a basket case.
The only truth is that the information in the internet is potentially misleading without the right tools to guide you through that big ocean of information.
There are illnessess, and there are pysiological or mental variations. The line can be blurry sometimes, especially if more people keep taking tests all over the internet and displaying them as serious diagnosis. Then we’re all bipolar, and we’re all ADHD instead of perfectly normal people who get moody and bored in class or work.  What happens to the people who are truly bipolar or ADHD? Would you take them seriously? It’s probably just another kid who wants an interesting tag, after all.
If your friend who never really believed you having a real illness, takes the quiz and finds out he gets the same “illness”, he’ll probably think that just like he has nothing going on, you don’t either.
And lets not even get around the subject of people going into the drs office with a printed internet page demanding you to put them in X or Y medication.
I don’t believe the internet is evil as… Let’s get rid of all health information! Since this can be extremely valuable if used the right way.
Like dynamite.
For example, when I’ve already read a lot about depression and personality disorders from different sources, asked advice from people who have more experience, read about other’s experiences, and use my own self analytical tools, I might correlate better the information I get in the tests with my reality.
A person might also run into one of these by chance and realize that all his weirdness and difficulties in adaptation might be due to a categorized mental disorder.  Then they can get the motivation of consulting a professional and realize they have a treatable disorder instead of being an extremely defective human.
🙂  It might seem obvious, all of this.  But it’s not for many people according to what I’ve read and heard out there.
It sucks how people with mental illnesses are often judged for using their labels to gain sympathy and avoid responsibilities.   But this is hard to avoid other people with a slight disorganized life do use those lables to get these benefits.  People who are truly strugling cannot get an “autenticity” certificate, how can they tell?   They can’t, not yet.  But maybe someday.
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One thought on “I probably should not be out there…

  1. haha, i’ve taken enough quizzes to know it is neither accurate nor definitive. i just accept the ones that applies to me and vice versa. quizzes are just something to do for fun. i must say there are some pretty good quizzes out there, though, in a way that they can be so vague yet sound like they’re really describing you!

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