This week I’m preparing to speak about mental illness at our church on Sunday. No wonder this post, written four years ago this month while doing research for a book on PTSD in children, caught my eye. This post is as apropos now as it was then.
The Danger of Self-Delusion
During January and February, my days were consumed with research for a new book proposal about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in kids. Consequently, I learned just enough about several mental illnesses to endanger my own state of mind. All this new information sent me into a tizzy of worry and self-diagnosis, resulting in the following list:
- The great pleasure I find in the order and symmetry of the picture above is a sure sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- My penchant for list making could be another sign of obsessive-compulsive disorder, or it could be a coping mechanism I employ to hide early onset Alzheimer’s.
- I probably have an eating disorder because one of the marks of an eating disorder is obsessively thinking about food. And I think of food at least three times a day, sometimes more.
- Kids can be traumatized in many ways, and one of them must have happened to me during childhood so I must have PTSD.
- Taking out all the garbage, cleaning the bathrooms, doing the laundry, and emptying the dishwasher before going on vacation points to a yet undiscovered, reverse housecleaning phobia which I hope they name “Philophobia” after me.
- The desire to name a mental illness after myself pretty much proves I have a narcissistic complex.
- All this worrying about having a mental illness points to an anxiety disorder, don’t you think?
Believe me, that list is only the tip of the mental illness iceberg. If everything I’ve self-diagnosed was on that list, you’d think I was crazy. But I’m not.
8. Time to add self-delusion to the list.