For years, we have been urging everyone to talk more about mental health problems to reduce the misconceptions and stigma around it. While on the brighter side, many have spoken up about their journey and sought help, unfortunately, some others think of it as an adjective. For starters, every minor inconvenience has now become “depression” and every mood swing is same as “bipolar disorder”. For those who have suffered know that depression doesn’t happen just one fine day and goes away the next day after a salon appointment or retail therapy. When someone calls a thin girl anorexic, on one hand, I feel good that “Well, at least they know about the disorder”. But at the same moment, I also know that instead of choosing any other word from the dictionary, they picked a mental health disorder to label her. Why? Because it’s fun and “lunacy” jokes are always funny. Same is the scenario with pretty much every disorder. A nicely organized room is having OCD, not having good nights sleep is insomnia, and a moment of rage is psychosis. It is so simple! We have made mental disorders a joke. More than infuriating, it is hurtful to those who have actually gone through it. And this has got to stop. Here’s why…
Anxiety is not worrying about your exam results or silly things. It is a voice that makes you doubt everything you do. It is a general feeling of worry about everything. EVERYTHING! Anorexia is a morbid fear of gaining weight marked by self-induced starvation leading to significant weight loss. Depression is a constant state of mind where you feel trapped with no hope, no help and no way to get out of the misery. So, every time you are sad (upset, feeling blue, unhappy) you are not depressed. By such causal comments, you are silencing those who have been dealing with their disorder for months, struggling to face each day.
Let’s start by not using mental illnesses inaccurately in everyday conversation. Saying these words may seem harmless to us but there is a huge part of our population fighting their battles every single day. Please don’t take the liberty of diagnosing yourself or your friend with a mental disorder. There are a bunch of criteria that need to be fulfilled to diagnose a disorder. So next time you want to say “My friend is so depressed”, try saying “My friend is feeling sad”, and if severe, take her to a psychologist to make the diagnosis.
These are real people. Their disorders are real. Their struggle is real. Do not reduce their lives to adjectives or seemingly harmless jokes.
We have come up with a brief guide to mental disorders for a simple, basic understanding. You can check it HERE. Stop comparing your one day of sadness to a lifetime of theirs. Be aware. Be responsible. Be human.