I have had many discussions about labelling with several professional psychiatrists, and many of them don’t like labelling themselves, but due to regulations they have to use labels. Although a label can be helpful as it explains the illness, there is another angle. The problem with labels and categories is that not everyone always fits into the exact slot. Many people can be part of one label as with the quantitative measuring as soon as x number of boxes are ticked then ‘Hey presto’ you are under that label. This can have a negative outcome as some labels can have some really bad symptoms that people may not have, but are assumed that they might have to an outsider looking at the record just because they are under that label. I was put under a typical label and my consultant explained to me that he had to, but also stated that I shouldn’t worry as he and the nurses knew I hadn’t got the very negative issues connected to this label. This didn’t help me, and I stated to him that if someone who didn’t know me looked at this label then they might assume I have these negative problems.. I was so anxious about this that I asked him to state on my records that ok I was under this label, but I did NOT have xyz. He did this and he also wrote a letter to a new GP at the time.
Since then I have also discussed this problem with several psychiatrists and one of them told me that she detested labelling especially when she had to label children, as she agreed half the time the children did not fit into the majority of the label, but again because they had been assessed to have more then 3 symptoms they had to be labelled. I would suggest that anyone who is not happy with their ‘label’ if they have one is to discuss it with their own medical professional. Yet, at the same time to also believe in themselves, and have confidence that the people who know you will understand you as yourself, and not as a medical label. This is an issue that can also be discussed if you are caring for someone who has been labelled and you are not happy with it. Yet at the same time it also depends on how well you know the medical professional, their own opinion and how helpful they are in their professional capacity. It also should be viewed that it is part of a medical process that are under rules and regulations, and the professional view may be the right one even if you don’t like it. But it is still worth discussing if you are unsure about it. Please understand and know people for who they are, and take into account that not everything is black and white.