MENTAL HEALTH. OUR VOCABULARY NEEDS AN UPDATE

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Currently it’s mental health week and here is our contribution

Words have a tremendous impact and they can’t be taken back once spoken out loud. We know that. But sometimes it’s too late. Your spoken word maybe hurt someone right next to you and you have no idea. How often do you you hear people say “That’s retarded” or “She is crazy” or “I am so OCD”? Carelessly. Or even hear family members, friends or acquaintances talk super loosely about topics like depression or anxiety stigmatizing mental health issues and being insensitive to people that are affected without noticing. Our vocabulary needs an update.

What we need to understand that we need to be more mindful and more conscious about our words we chose.

What we need to understand that we need to be more mindful and more conscious about our words we chose. It’s become a trend to describe sorting your closet after colors as OCD or if you have a busy week ahead of you, suddenly you tell everyone you got “major anxiety” about it.  Have you ever lied in bed crying hardly being able to breath and not being able to speak because you couldn’t climb the mountain in front of you – and actually this huge mountain that makes you feel so helpless and alone is actually is really just a pebble. And it overcomes you and you can't do anything about it in this moment?

With this topic, ignorance is no bliss. We all need to educate ourselves to end the stigmatization and the huge misunderstanding that comes along with it. It makes an illness, or a psychosis look ridiculous and being taken not seriously. What we need is more respect and compassion.

What we need is more respect and compassion.

Retarded
I hate this word. I always cringe when I hear it. A lot of people use it so carelessly in their everyday dialogues describing an incident (or worse, someone) that is "stupid". Whenever you overhear it, bring it up simply asking them not to use it anymore.

OCD
This is simply not just arranging your closet neatly by colors or being super tidy in your kitchen. Suffering from OCD means having repetitive, unwanted thoughts and compulsive actions that interfere with daily life (!) even though they don’t make sense. They often last more than one hour per day and people are often unable to stop them. 

Depression
My cousin suffered from severe depression most of her life before she decided to end it recently. I always hated it when family members called her lazy and held it against her that she didn’t work as much like a “normal” person. Depressive disorder is more than just feeling sad or down or having a bad time or simply stress at work. Depressive disorder usually changes how people function day to day, which can mean from anything to change of sleep, loss of energy to feeling hopeless and empty to having suicidal thoughts.

Bipolar
Another one that got so "trendy" and common lately to use. A serious mental illness is no way to describe a mood. Suffering from bipolar disorder puts the person in a roller-coaster of intense high and low emotions. “Bipolar” is not someone who changes their mind or moods often.

Psycho/Insane/Schizophrenic/Crazy/Mental
Using the terms above carelessly is simply disrespectful towards the ones suffering from these conditions. There are many more out there (hello, ADHD), and we are all learning constantly, yes! So let’s think twice before using them. Thank you.

 

by Teresa