When I say things like “I don’t believe in the diagnoses in the DSM,”
that does not mean I think people are faking it, or making their experiences up. […] Their experiences are absolutely, definitely real.
I agree that we need a language,
but I disagree that the DSM provides a good one. […]
Diagnosis recognizes reality; it doesn’t create it.
The way medical diagnosis works can often make disabled people feel fake. (Any kind of disabled people, including people with mental illness or chronic illness). There’s a widespread culture misperception that real disabled people have a clear professional diagnosis, and that everyone else is just faking it for attention or something. It doesn’t actually work that way. Diagnosis is more complicated than that.
People with disabilities are disabled whether or not anyone has diagnosed their disability. […] But it doesn’t change the reality. Someone diagnosed today was already disabled yesterday. Many people are disabled for years or decades before they get access to accurate diagnosis. […]
In addition, some conditions aren’t currently diagnosable, because they have not yet been identified and named by doctors. If a condition was discovered for the first time today, someone had probably already had it yesterday. And last year. And back and back and back. […]
Words, like the chisel of the carver, can create what never existed before rather than simply describe what already exists.
Was There an Autism Before the Name?
Were we here before the world called us ‘autistics’?
Was there an ‘us’ or a ‘we’ before we and the world called ourselves so?
How were we, autistic people, autistic, before we actually were autistic?
Adapted from writings by Dallyce Potess