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Using Mental Health Disorders as Adjectives

Hello poppets,

How are we getting on?

Today on my blog I thought I would talk to you about that tedious subject of using mental health disorders as adjectives. Im sure you’ve all seen or heard them and if you are struggling with a disorder yourself i’m sure your eyes have rolled far back in to your head at them too.

“Im so OCD”

“You look anorexic”

“She’s so bipolar”

Its a funny one isn’t it (without the humour) and i’m surprised that in this day and age were still using such comments and not realising how damaging they are. People just don’t seem to get it.

I think one of the most important factors for me is that the way people use these terms just don’t reflect their true meaning and with that the true meaning is being lost.

Though we have come so far in talking about our mental health it still doesn’t mean we’re 100% and still many find it hard opening up. With that, people may find it even harder to open because they don’t know how their words will be taken because everything has just been made into one big joke.

Now the joke seems to have got worse as everyones favourite mental health adjective of ‘Im so OCD’ is in full force due to COVID-19 and people having to wash their hands and practice good hygiene. With that, it’s also left people thinking that disorders like OCD is just characterised by one thing.

I’m SO OCD!

I remember hearing all sorts of these terms growing up and realising that they were wrong and out of context but it wasn’t until I was in midsts of my OCD and battling with my writing that I truly realised just how damaging they were.

I was in a queue at the bank waiting my turn and heard someone make an aimless OCD comment stating just how ‘OCD’ they were. Before hand, I had spent hours trying to bring myself to sign an important document that I had to take in to the bank. This was before I had stopped writing all together and had spent hours staring at this page before I could bring myself to sign it. It was a one off document and I couldn’t go to my usual method of screwing it up, throwing it out and trying again.

Oh the fear, the true fear I felt in that moment. What if I signed my name and took it into the bank and everyone would laugh at me for having such a stupid signature. I hadn’t even properly ‘created a signature’ I had just aimlessly squiggled my name on a page and it had become my signature. Imagine if everyone laughs me out the bank and they don’t even accept it!

HELP!

Yes, that was my exact thought process all just to sign my name on a document. A task that most people wouldn’t think twice about but a task that OCD made incredibly difficult for me. As I say, I had heard lots of these flippant comments over the years but this one really stuck with me because of the pain and torture I was going through at that current time with my OCD. For me it seemed even more painful the simpler the task was, because I was so frustrated with myself and these intrusive thoughts that plagued my mind. It was a constant fight and battle, but there was nobody else in the room. Just myself.

I didn’t hear the full length of the conversation before “IM SO OCD” was exclaimed by this person but I imagine it was something like doing the washing up or straightening a cushion on the couch. Little did that person know that to make that comment valid she would have had to straighten the cushion 30 times in patterns of 3 only to find it still not right or wash the dishes by washing the same plate 20 times in patterns of 2, putting the plate down and then having to do it all again due to the fear of hurting a loved one if she didn’t.

I remember the exact pain of that comment and how it made me feel. The torture I was feeling inside was being minimised and the seriousness of it made in to a joke. She was laughing and joking through her ‘OCD’ but I was plain miserable with mine. In fact, I could barely function due to it.

Education for the nation!

For me and since my recovery a much more empathetic and reasoning heart has come in to play and I have realised the power of education. I catch my eyes mid roll, take a deep breath and kindly explain to those using disorders as adjectives that not only is it incredibly harmful but that the disorder used is much more than a adjective.

I must say I have never had a bad reaction to how I have explained things and often people end up looking at the floor in dismay.
People seem to do it in humour. That good ol’fashioned banter (minus the humour again) and i’ve come to realise that its all just a lack of education. Oh believe me young Jessica in the midsts of her OCD would have been set on thinking it was just because that person was ‘bad’ or an ‘idiot’ (ha ha!) but, I was wrong.

It’s really hard to try and educate people especially when we’re feeling so hurt by these comments but I truly believe its the only way to stop these things. I would like to think that the majority of people who have said these flippant comments to me wont have said it again and thought before they spoke.

Its a hard one but if you have it in you try and educate those around you. Though it is understandable if all your capable of at the time is rolling your eyes.

There are many many words in the English language and lots of adjectives to choose from. Just make sure you pick a kind one!

Look after yourselves team!

Sending you all my love and positivity at this current time.

We got this!

littlestlady

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