Diagnoses that are ego-dystonic represent ideas or characteristics
that are in opposition to an individual's self-concept, and often
cause much distress.
I would apply this term, in my case, not just to particular
disorders, but to particular aspects of disorders that people assume
are an inherent part of these disorders.
Dysrationalia and learned helplessness are not DSM diagnoses, but I
have included these concepts to give a more complete picture.
For me, it is particularly difficult to be thought of as having a
negative or pessimistic thinking style, that I am inherently
dependent, avoidant, manipulative, irrational, feigning helplessness,
self-defeating, shallow, emotionally cold, commitment-phobic,
passive-aggressive. Any diagnosis which seems to dismiss me as such,
or when the popular conception or misconception of certain disorders
results in people associating me with these traits, it seems like an
overwhelming task to try to either fight back or offer alternate
When you have been on the outside of society and societal acceptance
for a very long time, it may be that you become more aware of the
suspicion with which those on the inside (or those less far out
there) would view you. When you cannot define yourself in terms of
acceptable jobs, academic credentials and relationships society
approves of, there is a greater chance that having access to a
diagnosis will colour people's perception of who you are. Most people
will never have the time or inclination to learn about various
diagnoses in detail.
The words that you speak will probably show influence of the effects
that others (and their judgments) have had on you. (In the Ministry
of Love, weren't people tortured until they were able to 'believe'
what they were supposed to believe?)
How easy is it for a person to believe in herself when all outside
sources reflect back the descriptions listed above? How easy is it to
hold on to a sense of self if in order to do so it is necessary to
take on so many of society's established beliefs? The task seems
insurmountable, but it also seems clear that for me it is the only
possible way for me to at least try to have a sense of self.