Motley Moose – Archive

Since 2008 – Progress Through Politics

Americans With Disabilities Act

Dispatch from the Island of Misfits

 photo Cloud1_zpscadaff0d.png

I now have a diagnostic mental health label. Hooray for me.

I don’t doubt the label is correct. It almost certainly is. It’s just that I’m a little angry that something I knew about myself, about my own strengths and weaknesses, had to have a label applied to it just to be honored. It was necessary, and I can even understand intellectually why it was necessary. But the fact is that I felt compelled to seek a formal diagnosis when I don’t really feel disabled.

Mostly, I’m frustrated that it should matter so much in my situation.

We’re a society obsessed with labels. We group people by every category and attribute imaginable, then set up systems so accessing services and protections depends on these labels. Want to be protected from discrimination? You had better be labeled in one of the ‘protected classes’ of the applicable statute. Want special educational services? Better be labeled with a qualifying disability.

Diagnostic labels can be incredibly helpful. They can foster understanding, direct treatment or guide rehabilitation. But none of those things is really the case with me. In my case, the diagnosis is strictly to allow me access to the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 as amended.