You Are Not Your Diagnosis

Many clients come to me claiming they have something. They say they have ADHD. Or OCD. Or anxiety. Depression. As if they were already diagnosed by a clinician.

It becomes part of them. Their belief system. That they have some condition and so thereby it becomes the fall back reason for some aspects of their lives.

It becomes their reason. An explanation. Their excuse.

“I can’t focus because I must have ADHD.”

It also becomes a crutch.

Not only to daily behavior, but also attitude towards resolving their situation.

“I can’t focus because it’s just the way I am.”

Does this sound like you? Have you taken some popularized clinical description and labeled yourself with it? Is it now a part of you? An explanation for the way you are and now you’ve come to accept it?

I have met many clients who said they were this or that. I ask them if some clinician diagnosed them and they say no. And after some inquiry, we find that ALWAYS there is a root cause and this starts unwinding the label.

“Hmm if this is what is causing my lack of focus, I guess it really wasn’t ADHD/OCD…”

And let’s pull apart a clinical diagnosis like anxiety from what its components are: fear, worry, intrusive thoughts, and physical symptoms like sweating, raised heart rate, or dizziness.

How does it feel when we stop looking at what you’re experiencing as something that is WRONG with you that needs to be CURED, versus dealing with it through what is really there, like your fear of uncertainty or the future?

The sooner you unlabel yourself, the better you will set yourself up for resolution. That what you’re experiencing is completely valid, given the situation and environment you’re currently in. And that resolution IS POSSIBLE and that you can get yourself out of it.

So instead of saying “I have anxiety” or “I have ADHD”, say instead “I fear the future” or “I can’t focus”.

How does this change your attitude towards yourself and what you’re experiencing? Does naming the SPECIFIC issue help with identifying potential resolutions versus throwing a catch-all clinical label on it?

Don’t get me wrong. I have met clients with true, valid clinical diagnoses. They seek coaching, but in truth, they have something that requires more than what I can give them as a coach.

However, I will say that I have met many clients with a clinical diagnosis which, after some exploration, calls into question whether clinical help was really needed. Certainly they passed the clinical testing, but resolution could be found elsewhere out of a clinician’s office.

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