MHAW18: I Have, I Am – Talking About Mental Illness

I Have, I Am Talking About Mental Illness

For tonight’s post, I’m talking about language, specifically the language around our own mental health. How many time’s have you heard someone referred to as ‘Bipolar’ or ‘OCD’ as an identifiable trait? I can guarantee that it’s happened quite a few times. Years ago, as a teenager, I was even guilty of it myself before I became more aware.

Here’s the thing whether you, or someone you know, has Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety or any other mental illness it is an illness. By describing someone as their illness it takes away from them as a person. You wouldn’t say that someone is Cancer, because it’s an illness they have, not their own personality.

This is mostly used in a negative way and it really makes me think about why we talk this way about mental illness. I think that, in part, it is because we know that most mental illness impacts our behaviour in some way and so it’s how people process the changes. That doesn’t make it right but, it’s just a thought.

I also think that when we can separate an illness from a person it becomes much more manageable. Saying ‘I am depressed’ makes it sound like it has consumed you, that is all that you are. It can feel like that, believe me I know BUT you are more than an illness, a word. The same goes from the people you love. If they are ill that’s not the reason you love them, that’s not why they sparkle for you. Whatever impact the illness has on them that is a small part of them, even if it may become larger from time to time.

By saying I/They HAVE Depression, Anxiety/OCD etc it shows that this is just something they are dealing with. That it’s not a solid identifier, nor should it be. This isn’t a naggy post to get mad and tell everyone off it’s just something to think about in a week of awareness.

How do you feel about this? Let me know in the comments below!

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