Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Adjectives.

'I was so angry. I swear, I'm a bit bipolar!'
'I hate when people don't wash up after themselves. I'm totally OCD about it.'
'His ex is psychotic.'
'You're so thin! You're practically anorexic.'
'It's like she just has two different personalities, she's definitely schizo.'
'I'm so depressed that there isn't more Disney on Netflix.'

Bipolar? Not an adjective.
OCD? Not an adjective either.
Psychotic? Still not an adjective.
Anorexic? Nope, not an adjective.
Schizophrenic? Keep looking, because that's no adjective.
Depressed? Nah, not an adjective.

In case you're not getting my point: mental health conditions are not adjectives.

It might sound like PC gone mad, or like I'm violating your God given right to offend (yawn), but every time you use serious illnesses as a lazy way to describe personality quirks or physical attributes, you undermine people with those conditions by trivialising them. You also trivialise the quirks/attributes themselves.

Because it's ok to get angry. It's ok to like things done a certain way. It's ok to find a relationship breakdown difficult. It's ok to be at any shape or size. It's ok to have mood swings. It's ok to be sad. But that doesn't mean that you necessarily have a mental health condition.

And even if you are talking about a person with a mental health condition, the conditions themselves are still not adjectives. A big difference between a lot of physical health conditions and mental health conditions is that MH ones tend to manifest slightly differently in every person. The lines between them are definitely blurry. My anorexia was different to another anorexic person's and the experiences of one schizophrenic person is totally different to another's. Diagnoses are pretty subjective, and not easily as easily described as with physical health conditions.

There are better, more accurate and interesting ways to describe people than by using mental health conditions. Personally, I like swear words. But that's just me.

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