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K is for Knowledge

Updated: Apr 7

Knowledge is, like many mental health tools, a double-edged sword. It can bring clarity, understanding, and foster compassion, but it also has the power to worsen one's mental health and place unnecessary labels on people.

When I explored psychology and the workings of the brain, it opened up a whole new world I wasn’t aware of before. It felt magical. The knowledge I gathered over the years made me realize how common intrusive thoughts are and how biases interfere with my decision-making, bringing a lot of peace of mind. However, despite this, I found myself in a loophole of diagnosing people around me, including myself, with mental issues and attempting to heal false traumas. The knowledge became a destructive tool, building a tiny box I tried to squeeze myself and others into.

You might think that the more you read about a specific condition, the more experience and awareness you’ll gain. However, that’s only partly true. Yes, you’ll be knowledgeable in the chosen field, but you might also develop a blind spot for other possibilities. I noticed this when discussing trauma. There are endless books on the shelf dedicated to this topic, with Freudian etiology thriving. Then you have a small number of people like Adler, who don’t believe in this determinism and created a new term, called teleology, challenging people to take responsibility for their behavior.

The contradictions in knowledge can be very confusing. Here is what I've learned about “gathering information”:

  • Some theories might not even stand the test of the times.

  • Diversity is key. It’s not about being right; it’s about learning that there is more than just one explanation. Read one theory and then its opposite. Then make a decision for yourself. Ask, which of these theories serves me more? Why did I choose to believe that? Challenge your biases and avoid falling for what you want to believe.

  • Be patient. Choose quality over quantity. Nowadays, we’re flooded with facts. You can easily learn the symptoms of a mental health illness in a 30-second reel, while getting a diagnosis from a professional can actually take months. Looking for quality information requires time. Take it.

  • Avoid self-diagnosis. If possible, consult with a professional. If this is out of reach, talk to a trusted person but articulate the feeling, not the illness: express, 'I feel anxious about going to this place,' instead of 'I have social anxiety.' Admit, 'Unchecked ovens make me nervous due to possible disasters,' not 'I have OCD.' Share, 'I feel helpless and sad,' not 'I have depression.' Confess, 'I feel overwhelmed by all the things I have to do and can’t concentrate,' instead of 'I have ADHD.

Do you want to learn more about gaining knowledge?

 ✏️ Get my free worksheet about knowledge

K is for knowledge
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