What You Say About Mental Illness Vs What You Actually Mean

Even in today’s progressive world, mental disorders are still stigmatised. Many people suffering from mental illnesses get told that they are too dramatic, and thus are dismissed as attention-seeking. This is partly because of the misuse of a set of vocabulary that is specific to mental illnesses. People use words like ‘depressed’, ‘ADD’ and ‘bipolar’ to describe their mundane daily experiences that have nothing to do with the mental illnesses that these terms actually refer to. Thus, mentally ill people cannot claim to be suffering from these things without society telling them that it’s ‘normal’ and to ‘stop making a fuss’. The misuse of these words trivialises the effects of actual mental illnesses on people, and it needs to stop.



Annie Erskine Art,CH Staf

Everyone has days when they don’t feel like socialising. Everyone also has aspects of socialising that they dislike. Some people are also simply introverted. None of these mean that a person has social anxiety. Social anxiety is an actual disorder that makes it hard for someone to perform basic but necessary actions in a social setting, such as standing up in a crowd of people to go to the toilet.



Annie Erskine Art,CH Staf

Technically, yes, depression is a legitimate emotion that common people can feel. However, when people are claiming to feel ‘depressed’ even when their negative feelings are not actually that strong, that’s when the problem starts. People suffering from depression, the mental disorder, feel depressed all the time, and it’s not something that other people experience as often as they do.



Annie Erskine Art,CH Staf

ADD (Attention Deficiency Disorder), isn’t even an adjective. Being distracted from your studies for a while doesn’t count as ADD. ADD is when your mind is constantly unable to focus, even when you’re genuinely trying. And the guy playing video games is definitely not trying.



Annie Erskine Art,CH Staf

This is one of the most commonly misused terms. Everyone knows that bipolarity is a legitimate mental disorder, and yet people throw the term around carelessly. Having a ‘mood swing’ once in a while doesn’t give you the right to joke about being bipolar. People also joke about the weather being bipolar. Making the term ‘bipolar’ a joke is detrimental to the stigmatisation of the illness.



Annie Erskine Art,CH Staf

Some people are really neat and tidy, and simply don’t like dirt. However, the keyword of the disorder is ‘obsessive’. It consumes your entire being and permeates every aspect of your life. Some OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) patients aren’t even neat; their OCD is manifested in other ways, such as the one depicted in the comic above.


Watch your words and be sensitive to the people around you. In all these comics, you can see those with actual mental disorders having to listen to people taking them lightly, and it must surely affect their perception of their illnesses. Be considerate in the way you use sensitive terms, and help those around you who need your help.




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