Un-Naming [A Guest Blog]

A client friend talked to me about the power of labels, diagnoses and names. I asked her to write a brief blog as I wanted you to hear the thoughtfulness of her words. I think that this follows up well with my last blog on “Someone Else’s Opinion of Me is None of My Business.” The subject is “differentiation.”

“When we give something a name it acquires a weight of importance that may become too heavy. So, if I cannot sleep at 3 AM, I resist the inclination to say, or even think, “I have insomnia” and instead say, “How curious, it is 3 AM and I am wide awake.” Somehow, being “an awake person” is far less worrisome than being an “insomniac.” This inclination to deny some of life’s realities the right to a title can become a little comical. Announcing one is not going to have a “A Mid-Life Crisis” is a good way to get a laugh from your counsellor.

“Un-naming something is not ignoring it, but rather a deliberate effort to retain a personal identity that is larger than any label or diagnosis. One can seek help without saying, “I am depressed” or “I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” or whatever. The initiative to seek help can be found in naming the result I hope for as much as it is found in naming what I wish to change. If others want to give names to what they see in me, that’s alright as names can help with understanding. However, I am under no obligation to add this name to myself and carry the weight of it.”