There is a bias in modern mental health toward pharmacology. A diagnostic term is a lifejacket on the Titanic. Bipolar Disorder is salvation. Schizophrenia? Thank the Lord! Post-traumatic Stress Disorder!?! Hallelujah!

Label implies treatment, implies excision, implies happiness.

Unfortunately, diagnoses portray a level of remission that mental health treatment rarely achieves. Hope turns to disappointment. Disappointment turns to anger…Yoda would have more to say.

When the DSM took over nomenclature and reduced psychiatric diagnoses to an Internet Chinese menu (for better and for worse), human experience and psychiatric labels were placed in conflict.


“I have Anger Management issues.”

“I’m totally ADD. Like, totally.”

“My boyfriend tells me I’m Bipolar.”

The language of emotion has been subsumed by the vernacular of diagnosis or treatment as if it’s only pathology. One can’t be angry or inattentive or reactive or vengeful or ambitious without a label, or the popular acceptance of a term.

Anger can be appropriate. Inattention, too. 

Most of my day is spent as a translator; I am Fezzik in The Princess Bride.

Personality is the general term for stable traits. Those that are recurrent, predictable. It is not a derogatory term, it might be everything.

Fiction often captures more about personality than the DSM. Reading a novel, you will learn more about the trajectory of personality, of sadness, of anger than a psychiatric diagnosis.

Inherent in psychiatry are the concepts of. baseline and change. Inherent in fiction are the concepts of flaw and motivationThe goal of psychotherapy is to make the inherent articulated, the inchoate communicated. Fiction celebrates “flaws” as interesting.

Don’t tell me a diagnosis. Tell me what pisses ya off.