During the pandemic, I, like many others, downloaded the app Tiktok. This has been both
amazing and awful. There are so many funny videos, interesting facts and life hacks, and over all
good information that can be found on Tiktok. It can be addicting, scrolling for hours laughing
and feeling like I am learning. There are also so many videos that contain incorrect information.
It can be almost impossible to discern what is real and what is not without doing outside
research. Even I have fallen victim to accepting information I learned through videos as factual
only to later find out that it was nowhere near correct. This is, I have found, the case with a lot of
the videos and clips surrounding mental health and diagnosis. There are thousands of videos
about how to “self-diagnose”. Videos on anxiety, depression, personality disorders, OCD, and
autism, to name a few. Some of these contain real information, good resources, and correct
symptoms. These videos can be very helpful to those who are just beginning their mental health
journey and are trying to understand themselves. It also can feel empowering knowing you are
not alone, and this person in the video, as well as the thousands of likes and comments, are
struggling with you. The downfall of these videos are the ones that are full of misinformation.
These sorts of videos tend to over simplify and over generalize. They redefine certain terms, but
even more dangerously, they pathologize very common behaviors and thoughts. Self-diagnosis
can be detrimental as people believe they have one, or several, diagnoses that they may not
actually meet criteria for. Self-diagnosis is not always incorrect, but going in to a therapist’s
office, already having grieved and accepted a diagnosis you found, only to find out that it is
incorrect, can be painful. This therapist recommends doing research and reaching out to
professionals for a diagnosis, it may confirm your suspicions, but it also may be something you
aren’t expecting. TikTok can be a fun distraction, a waste of time, or a place to feel connected
and learn. However, always take the information gained through the app with a grain of salt as it
is not a viable resource for the type of research needed for an accurate diagnosis. Other than that,
carry on scrolling.