This is not a criticism of anyone on tumblr, but just a bunch of ramblings on the way tumblr functions and how that affects us.
I’ve noticed that when posts about mental illness and chronic illness get reblogged and removed from the context of their original blog, they sort of take on a life of their own.
I had it happen to one of my own posts. Within the context of my own blog, where I talk daily about the realistic struggles of living with Dissociative Identity Disorder, my post was just me venting about one of those little minor struggles. But when that post got reblogged by hundreds of people and somehow spread outside of the DID community, it became a relatable post and people started reading this one single symptom of DID and reacting to it by saying, “I do this too, do I have DID?”
I experienced this the other way around a few days ago. I saw a post about hyperflexibility and EDS on my dash and immediately found it extremely relatable. I read the list of “Just EDS things” and thought to myself “Aren’t all those things normal? I experience all those things!” The next thing I knew, I was on Google looking up the Brighton Diagnostic Criteria. As it turns out, the things in that relatable post weren’t really symptoms or anything close to the diagnostic criteria for EDS. They were more like minor daily annoyances that someone with EDS might have, but typical people could theoretically experience too. Removed from the context of a blog about living with EDS, and viewed by someone who doesn’t know much about EDS, they gave me the wrong impression of what the symptoms of EDS looked like. This wasn’t OPs fault at all! It’s just sort of how tumblr works. Anyway, as it turns out I’m definitely not hypermobile.
Tumblr is chocked full of “relatable” content, and I think that’s one of the things that makes this place great. People crave connection and to feel less alone in their life experiences.
But I’m begging you, please be cautious about how you interact with “relatable” posts and memes about mental illness and chronic illness. Just because something seems to describe your experience, doesn’t mean that is the best description of your experience.
Relating really strongly to a post about dealing with a specific mental illness is not a sign that you have that mental illness. Many mental health symptoms overlap. While the OP could be experiencing that because they have bipolar, you could be experiencing it because you have PTSD.
Take relatable posts as a sign that you need help, not as a sign that you have that specific diagnosis.
Obviously the same holds true about physical illnesses too. I’m probably not hypermobile, but I should probably bring up my joint pain and fatigue with my doctor at my next appointment. The fact that I related so strongly to a post about living with a chronic illness is a good sign that I’m living with too much pain and I should talk to someone about it.
As a final word, I want to make it clear that this post is not anti-self-diagnosis. Please do not use it to exclude self-diagnosed people from support and recovery communities. People should be able to access support and recovery communities as they seek a proper diagnosis. Not everyone has the same access to care and treatment. This post is just a word of caution about applying labels to yourself based on finding content “relatable”.