What we mean when we talk about mental illness

(Want to give a non preachy strap - sugggestions?)

When we say: “I am so OCD, you know!”

What we mean: “I’m particular about things being in their place”

What OCD is: OCD is a disorder in which the person has recurrent obsessive thoughts that lead to compulsions - excessive washing of hands, checking doors repeatedly, etc - which they cannot control, even though they know that these thoughts are irrational. In some cases, these thoughts can be so obsessive that they interfere with the person’s ability to lead a normal life.

 

When we say: “The weather is so schizophrenic!”

What we mean: The weather keeps changing from hot to cold, I wish it would make up its mind!”

What schizophrenia is: Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which is characterised by unusual behavior such as hallucinations, hearing voices, false perceptions of the world and strong, bizarre beliefs. A person with schizophrenia may have spells when they are lucid and reasonable, and some other when they lose touch with reality. During the latter, they are unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Schizophrenia is a severe disorder and affects the person’s physical and emotional wellbeing, their relationships with family and friends, and their ability work or care for themselves.

 

When we say: He’s so bipolar!

What we mean: He was feeling angry this morning and is happy now.

What bipolar disorder is: Bipolar disorder is a mental illness and is not the same as having mood swings. A person with bipolar disorder has severe and unusual mood swings. They may have high moods followed by low moods for weeks on end. These moods may also switch quickly - within a matter of days, in some cases. During either phase, the person may experience intense emotion, restlessness, uncontrollable thoughts and overly high or low sense of self esteem. They cannot control how they feel, or switch moods at will or by pursuing a different activity. Bipolar disorder is an illness that needs lifelong management.

 

When we say: I’m depressed!

What we mean: I’m feeling sad today.

What depression is: Depression is an illness where the person experiences a prolonged period of sadness for at least two weeks at a stretch. The person loses interest in daily activities, feels tired or a lack of energy through the day, neglects their work and perosnal responsibilities, and may even have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

 

All of these words are terms used to refer to mental illnesses - and in some cases, severe ones that can have a large impact on the person’s ability to lead a normal life. Using these words are mere adjectives contributes to the stigma around mental illness by making light of their real life struggles.

If you think you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, get in touch with a mental health expert immediately.