Even in today’s progressive world, mental disorders are still stigmatised. Many people suffering from mental illnesses get told that they are too dramatic, and thus are dismissed as attention-seeking. This is partly because of the misuse of a set of vocabulary that is specific to mental illnesses. People use words like ‘depressed’, ‘ADD’ and ‘bipolar’ to describe their mundane daily experiences that have nothing to do with the mental illnesses that these terms actually refer to. Thus, mentally ill people cannot claim to be suffering from these things without society telling them that it’s ‘normal’ and to ‘stop making a fuss’. The misuse of these words trivialises the effects of actual mental illnesses on people, and it needs to stop.
If people feel like they are out of control, you may see them joke about being off their meds. But, anyone with a mental illness knows that being off prescribed medications is anything but not funny and very often it’s downright scary.
Technically, yes, depression is a legitimate emotion that common people can feel. However, when people are claiming to feel ‘depressed’ even when their negative feelings are not actually that strong, that’s when the problem starts. People suffering from depression, the mental disorder, feel depressed all the time, and it’s not something that other people experience as often as they do.
Everyone has days when they don’t feel like socializing. Everyone also has aspects of socializing that they dislike. Some people are also simply introverted. None of these mean that a person has social anxiety.
Social anxiety is an actual disorder that makes it hard for someone to perform basic but necessary actions in a social setting, such as standing up in a crowd of people to go to the toilet.
This is one of the most commonly misused terms. Everyone knows that bipolarity is a legitimate mental disorder, and yet people throw the term around carelessly. Having a ‘mood swing’ once in a while doesn’t give you the right to joke about being bipolar. People also joke about the weather being bipolar. Making the term ‘bipolar’ a joke is detrimental to the stigmatisation of the illness.
ADD (Attention Deficiency Disorder), isn’t even an adjective. Being distracted from your studies for a while doesn’t count as ADD. ADD is when your mind is constantly unable to focus, even when you’re genuinely trying. And the guy playing video games is definitely not trying.
Some people are really neat and tidy, and simply don’t like dirt. However, the keyword of the disorder is ‘obsessive’. It consumes your entire being and permeates every aspect of your life. Some OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) patients aren’t even neat; their OCD is manifested in other ways, such as the one depicted in the comic above.
No one enjoys being mentally ill, because being mentally ill is by definition the absence of well being: loss in mental ability, physical energy and emotional feeling are all a part of it – if you can imagine being only one quarter of the person you once were, you’d know there is nothing to enjoy.
A common theme in social media feeds is “Choose to be happy,”. Wouldn’t everyone be happy, if they could simply make that choice?
If you are Republican or a Liberal or belonging to any specific political party, it does not mean you have a mental disorder. Well, it might make you crazy, but definitely not mentally ill. That’s two different things.
Images source: wittyfeed.com