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  • Emma Levinson

Diagnoses are NOT Adjectives

“today is so depressing”…”you are so OCD”… “you are such a psycho”… “the weather is so bipolar”… “I’d rather slit my wrists than do that”… “you almost gave me a panic attack”… “you look so anorexic”… “yesterday I felt so depressed”… “I was up until 1 am, my insomnia is so bad”… and the list goes on.........

Phrases like these really grind me:

These phrases are used all too often.  I will openly admit pre embarking on my mental health career I would be guilty of using phrases like these.  But now, after seeing the reality of people living with these illnesses I have seen the effect they have on their and my life, there is no way I would.

These phrases trivialize these illnesses.  They are making a mockery what are serious illnesses, that have a tremendous impact on lives, and can take lives.  It is an insult to those seriously struggling on a daily basis with these conditions.

The number of times I’ve wanted to say something when I’ve heard these phrases is countless, but for some reason I haven’t been able to bring myself to do.

My Dad however has done – and I was so proud and happy when he told me.. 

He had seen a post I posted on twitter venting my irritation on the matter and it had made him think. A few days later he was in a restaurant and overheard the waiters saying that the weather was so “bipolar”. On leaving he pulled the waiters aside and said to them nicely that they really need to think twice about the words they use.  They looked confused and didn’t know what he was talking about or what words he was referring to.  When he told them, they realized what they had said had how they were using the words and hadn’t even contemplated for a second what the words really meant. 

This shows people really have no clue what they are saying, the words just come out.  It has become so mainstream to use them to describe trivial things.

By knowing my Dad did this and the response he got made me realize how I and we should all pull people up on it when they use illnesses as adjectives.

So I am saying to you all… every time you describe someone as “psycho”, “schitzo”, “bipolar” think about what you are saying.  Mental health issues are serious, not adjectives and they should not be thrown around as if they are.  So please, please, please think twice before describing someone or something with these words, they are serious illnesses NOT adjectives.

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