Mental Health Matters: 8 Stigmatizing Phrases to Stop Using

holding paper x over mouthAccording to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as many as one in five Americans will experience a mental health issue at some point in their lives. Of the nearly 60 million Americans who experience mental health concerns each year, many will never seek treatment for a variety of reasons including social stigma, cultural norms, and lack of access. In fact, a recent report published in the journal Psychological Science and the Public Interest found that an estimated 40% of individuals with serious mental health concerns either never receive care or start an intervention program without completing it.

The stigma surrounding mental health issues can be a significant barrier to care. Unfortunately, many people unknowingly contribute to the stigma simply with their everyday language choices. A poor choice of words not only stigmatizes, stereotypes, and creates unrealistic assumptions about certain people, but also can trivialize serious mental health conditions and their accompanying experiences.

While society tends to tread lightly around language concerning disabilities, race, or religion, it seems that we do not apply the same sensitivity to language involving mental health. For example, while you might be a little taken aback by someone who uses the word “retarded” to refer to a poor decision, you likely wouldn’t think twice about someone calling a peculiar behavior “crazy” or saying out loud that someone’s “OCD” is the cause for an orderly office.

Help Us Erode Stigma during Mental Health Awareness Month

With May designated as Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States, we would like to encourage you to think twice about the language you use and how it may affect those one in five people who may be your neighbors, coworkers, and friends who experience mental health issues.

Show respect and consideration for those experiencing mental health conditions by avoiding these common stigmatizing phrases we hear in our daily conversations:

‘I’m So OCD.’

All too often people say “I’m so OCD” when referring to simple habits they may have regarding organization, such as arranging books a certain way on a bookshelf or keeping one’s own environment immaculately clean. True obsessions and compulsions can be quite debilitating, involving persistent, unwanted thoughts, rituals, and behaviors, all of which are out of a person’s control.

As many as 27% of people experience some form of obsessive-compulsive behavior. By using the term to describe tidiness, we popularize the experience and make it appear less severe than it actually can be. Next time you find yourself tempted to say someone else is being OCD or claim it as an explanation for your own behavior, consider how you might more accurately share your observation or insight.

‘I Can’t Focus; It’s My ADD.’

It’s not uncommon to hear people refer to themselves as ADHD or ADD when they are inattentive or easily distracted. Today’s high-tech world seems to be characterized by ever-shrinking attention spans, and it seems that people are always fiddling with their smart phones and jumping from one topic to another. However, this is not the same thing as attention-deficit hyperactivity.

Though these types of behaviors may be related to a lack of focus, an actual diagnosis of ADHD is far more complex.

People might casually refer to distracted behavior as ADHD or even go as far as to say that they’re ADHD when channel surfing or changing the radio station before a song finishes. Though these types of behaviors may be related to a lack of focus, an actual diagnosis of ADHD is far more complex and has less to do with boredom and more to do with genetics, neurotransmitters, and electrical activity in the brain. In fact, a major distinguishing characteristic of ADHD is impulsivity, which probably isn’t present in most cases where people erroneously claim ADHD as the source of their inattention.

‘My Ex Is Such a Psycho.’

At some point, you’ve probably heard someone refer to a past lover (or friend, or roommate) as a psycho. People typically use this phrase to refer to someone engaging in erratic or irrational behavior, which in reality is far from psychotic.

Psychosis is a serious mental health condition by which a person loses contact with reality and may experience hallucinations and delusions. An estimated 3% of people experience psychosis, which makes it far less prevalent than the many people who claim to have psychotic past lovers might indicate. Try not to downplay the seriousness of this condition by using the term frivolously.

‘The Weather Is So Bipolar Today.’

Sure, it may snow in the morning, warm up for an hour, and then snow again all afternoon, but it is impossible for the weather to literally be bipolar. Likewise, it’s highly unlikely that your friend having a few ups and downs today is actually experiencing the often debilitating symptoms of bipolar. Using the term bipolar in these contexts misrepresents the experience and can minimize the condition.

A person experiencing bipolar is likely to experience serious shifts in mood that may range from dangerously euphoric to suicidal. These drastic changes can seriously hinder one’s life if left untreated. Instead of using the term bipolar, consider describing the weather as unstable or unpredictable, and referring to your friend as being in a bad mood or having a hard time.

‘This Makes Me Want to Kill Myself.’

You fail your math exam and you exclaim in frustration, “I just want to die.” Or something else mildly unfortunate happens and you casually say, “This makes me want to kill myself.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with almost 40,000 Americans dying from suicide each year. People who commit or attempt suicide do not necessarily want to die; rather, they may want to be free of pain.

If you find yourself upset with your circumstances and wanting to express your frustrations, be mindful of your word choice in this matter. It’s very likely someone in your vicinity has been touched by suicide in some way.

‘Stop Being So Paranoid.’

Paranoia is a symptom of many mental health conditions and can be detrimental to a person’s life. True paranoia can cause people to have serious trust issues and unwarranted fear and anxiety, as well as feelings of persecution and exaggerated self-importance.

When you find a friend may be worrying too much or over-analyzing something, avoid using the term paranoid and replace it with other descriptive words such as mistrusting or fearful.

‘I’m So Addicted.’

You might find yourself saying something like, “I’m so addicted to this TV show” to mean that you really enjoy it. But most likely, you are not truly addicted to it. Addiction is a serious mental health issue that can destroy lives, both of the person addicted and that person’s loved ones.

There’s a considerable difference between appreciating or enjoying something and being addicted to it. Be mindful of this distinction when you speak.

Although more than 23 million Americans experience some form of substance abuse, up to 40 million additional Americans are indirectly affected by it. These numbers do not account for non-substance addictions such as gambling, spending, or sex addiction.

There’s a considerable difference between appreciating or enjoying something and being addicted to it. A person experiencing addiction may want to stop engaging in an addictive behavior, but may feel unable to do so regardless of its continued negative consequences. Be mindful of this distinction when you speak, so as not to disparage the serious problems addiction can cause.

‘That’s Crazy/Insane/Mad/Nuts.’

It’s becoming far too common to use the word crazy and related synonyms lightly. People may think that using these terms to describe behavior that seems odd, eccentric, or strange is harmless, but it can be damaging to the self-esteem of those experiencing real mental health conditions.

The stigma alone is enough to make people feel isolated, keep them from seeking the treatment they truly need, or cause them to completely deny their symptoms altogether. But these terms, often used in a manner that belittles those who actually experience mental health issues, reinforce the dangerous stigma of mental health issues by painting them in a derogatory way.

Words Have Power; Think Before You Speak

Avoiding stigmatizing terms and phrases that cause shame, minimize experiences, and misrepresent reality can help eliminate a major obstacle to treatment. It’s not simply about being politically correct, requiring that you tiptoe around your words; the point is to simply stop and think about what you say and be mindful of how your choice of words may affect others.

If you would like to learn more about how you can raise awareness of mental health conditions and help remove stigma, check out our blog this month or visit Mental Health America for more information and resources about Mental Health Awareness Month.

References:

  1. Corrigan, Patrick. (September 4, 2014). Stigma as a Barrier to Mental Health Care. Association for Psychological Science. Retrieved from: http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/stigma-as-a-barrier-to-mental-health-carhtml
  2. Mental Health America. May is Mental Health Month. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may
  3. Mental Health America. Mental Health Information. Retrieved from: http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/mental-health-information
  4. Schumaker, Erin. (April 17, 2015). It’s Time To Stop Using These Phrases When It Comes to Mental Illness. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/17/mental-illness-vocabulary_n_7078984.html

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The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • 44 comments
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  • Corinne

    Corinne

    May 7th, 2015 at 10:45 AM

    I know that these things can hurt people, but at the same time it sort of feels like we have all become so sensitive to everything that is said that we can find almost anything to take offense to. I have probably said all of these things at one time or another without ever meaning anything at all negative about anyone with particular thing that they are dealing with. I have even been depressed myself before so I know that it can cause pain! But I am also strong enough to know that just because someone says something like that doesn’t mean anything negative about me.

  • Bruce S

    Bruce S

    July 15th, 2017 at 3:28 PM

    Although on a basic level, I do agree that people have become very sensitive, but as a person with a severe mental illness (severe generalized anxiety, severe chronic depression, PTSD), one of the characteristics is to have difficulty interpreting meaning of words, and to be overly sensitive – I am glad you were able to be strong enough to overcome your illness and reactions to things that are said, but it is not true in the early stages – it can be dealt with in therapy, but in instances of severe mental health issues, or in the early days, it is a very difficult process.

  • Gabi G

    Gabi G

    May 7th, 2015 at 3:59 PM

    Usually it is a case of being innocent but without ever stopping to think about how those words actually come out sounding to someone who is struggling in their life.
    Think before you speak is a lesson that all of us can stand to relearn and think about from time to time.

  • pete

    pete

    May 8th, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    It is especially hard when it comes to the issues of suicide and addiction. These are two of the most dangerous things that someone could be living with and to make some offcolor or flip remark about either of those can be very hurtful to someone. The thing is you have to be mindful not only of your company but also how something like this could make another person feel.

  • jacquie

    jacquie

    May 8th, 2015 at 3:28 PM

    I totally agree that we need to be more careful about what we say, and also when and how we use certain words or adjectives. This not only applies to those with the mentioned mental illnesses but across the whole board. It’s no different that someone saying “I feel so fat or I look so fat in these jeans” and they’re a size 2 saying it in front of someone who has struggled with weight issues, or someone saying “what a retard” when referring to something someone said or did that seemed clumsy or stupid and not thinking that could offend someone who is mentally challenged and has no control over it.

  • cat c

    cat c

    May 9th, 2015 at 1:21 AM

    One thing missed in discussion is family members ridiculing a sibling or child that has a mental illness. Depression is not chosen, and you can’t just “get over it already!” Same with Bipolar disorder and Schizophrenia. One can’t just “heal themselves.”
    Hearing these words from family members lowers self-esteem and self-worth.

  • Gracie

    Gracie

    May 9th, 2015 at 10:43 AM

    Jacquie you are so right! It does apply to these things but really we need to think before we speak about so many different things
    It does feel at times like we have to be a little PC about everything, but I would much rather do that than risk hurting the feelings of someone who is totally innocent.
    You are never going to be able to avoid this all the time because the chance is pretty high that somewhere along the way someone is going to be offended but it is better to try and fail then to simply not try at all.

  • terra

    terra

    May 11th, 2015 at 3:34 AM

    These things can be said so innocently and yet do so much hurt and damage to another person that it is best to come up with another way to express those feelings.

  • Don

    Don

    May 13th, 2015 at 2:17 PM

    I agree that every single one of these things could hurt another, but good grief, so could practically anything that you say. It feels like everything has gotten so PC that you can’t even say you don’t like the color blue anymore. I don’t think that any one of these statements alone is saying that to have a mental illness is a bad thing. It is just an analogy to let someone else know how you are feeling. I agree, you should never belittle someone over something that is out of their control, but is this really something that we need to make such an issue about?

  • Bruce S

    Bruce S

    July 15th, 2017 at 3:32 PM

    This is definitely an issue that needs to be discussed and has nothing to do with being PC. When I was a child some people were called a “ret>>>” I can’t the word to imply they were slow, but some people are slow and that represents differences. Having had a neice with developmental disabilities and having worked in the field, and now a person diagnosed with PTSD, I know that these seamingly meaningless words hold a lot of power and are often said with intent to hurt or to describe someone who doesn’t even have the illness, and for the person with the illness – to be described as crazy hurts, as having a mental illness does not mean we are crazy. But good to have the discussion – i hop you can see both sides here.

  • Nancy

    Nancy

    May 14th, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    I was at Little Caesars pizza. While I waited for our pizza I noticed that their breadsticks are called “Crazy Bread.” They should rename their breadsticks. I do not know how to get people to help to insist they rename their breadsticks.

  • Kathryn

    Kathryn

    May 14th, 2015 at 5:30 PM

    Don: Simply, yes.

    For the same reason people with Downs Syndrome are no longer called Mongolian Idiots.
    For the same reason we don’t use racial terms
    For the same reason people with learning difficulties are no longer called imbeciles.

    It may seem part of normal culture to have these phrases now, but that doesn’t mean they are correct. They hark back to an arcaic understanding of mental illness and having them in modern day language helps to reinforce the stigmatism and misunderstanding behind a lot of people who have to live with these illnesses.

    For example, the term schizo is a common one that is used to describe a person who is violent. However, people with schizophrenia are not necessarily violent! This causes people to not seek help and to keep the problems they experience to themselves or do not tell friends and family and therefore limit the support they have around them.

    Attitudes towards mental health needs to change and challenging the language we use is a massive part of that. The more you read about mental health, the more apparent this becomes.

    That said – I think this article could be improved by offering alternatives. People use these phrases for a reason, particularly‘That’s Crazy/Insane/Mad/Nuts.’ We need to come up with acceptable alternatives that people can use instead.

  • Belena

    Belena

    December 23rd, 2015 at 10:11 AM

    Even I say crazy.

    And the most confusing answere I always give to the question: ” are you crazy?”

    Is always

    Yes, and if you want to, I let my psychatrist let it write down for you. Do you want to?
    Why giving a simple word the force to bring people in trouble? It’s just crazy.

  • Andrea

    Andrea

    May 14th, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    Great article! Thanks for writing this!

  • Victoria

    Victoria

    May 14th, 2015 at 6:09 PM

    Okay, I understand to a degree where these things are coming from… But the word addicted is a synonym for obsessed. People can genuinely be obsessed with or addicted to a show. Does it plague them? Sure. Some people can’t make it through the day without thinking of the show or a specific episode. Just take a look at tumblr.
    And bipolar translates to “having or relating to two poles or extremities” example: sunning and clear then suddenly raining..

    So before we go assuming that every word is going to hurt someone, why don’t we get out a dictionary.

  • Ryan

    Ryan

    May 14th, 2015 at 9:50 PM

    I’m sorry but when you say something is bi polar it’s offensive to the person… If the weather keeps changing it’s extreme or it’s going to extremes. In bi polar it’s not always a straight up or down. (I know because I suffer from it.) but bi polar is not simply up or down. Think of it as a normal day, normal weather, and then suddenly everything goes dark even though it’s 12 in the afternoon. It’s like that.

  • Brie

    Brie

    May 15th, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Here’s the thing, Victoria. For people like myself who have family members that are bipolar or have the bipolar disorder hearing you compare a mental illness that has literally destroyed parts of my life to the weather is extremely degrading and insensitive.
    Plus, though that’s the “colloquial definition” you got off of Google, that doesn’t mean you’re using it properly.
    Bipolar, when relating to the definition you used, is meant for certain comparisons in chemistry, sociology, and biology. The sciences. Who actually have a use for the word.
    You and others who use it concerning things or people that are negative or that have switched on you (when you clearly don’t know it’s affect and actual proper usage) sound rude and degrading. It annoys me and I know it annoys others to no end.
    So if you can’t comment about the weather in a way that not only makes you sound uneducated but that could offend/trigger/harm someone…how ’bout you don’t comment on it?

  • Belinda

    Belinda

    May 15th, 2015 at 7:02 AM

    I have always said mental minds are what’s wrong with so many things in our world. It’s amazing how one person can take so many lives with there unstable minds. It can take one life but ruin many (suicide) or take many (bombings, war) and destroy many more lives. Why hasn’t anyone really pay attention to what’s really wrong with the world!!

  • Trinity

    Trinity

    May 15th, 2015 at 1:54 PM

    I understand that there can be hurt feelings that are caused by the things that we say but there are others who have no filter, they are not even smart enough to know that what they say could be hurting someone! I am like the other reader who said that we should get out a dictionary or even a thesaurus but I know that sometimes we slip and don’t think because we are just trying to come up with a way to explain how we feel that everyone can relate to and understand.

  • James

    James

    May 15th, 2015 at 5:29 PM

    We don’t always “tread lightly” around disabilities…I’ll bet it isn’t too long since you’ve heard someone use the word “lame” to describe something in a disparaging way.

  • Nick

    Nick

    May 15th, 2015 at 8:01 PM

    its ironic in an article promoting de-stigmatising language, you perpetuate the very stigma around suicide using the word “commit”.

    Please remember the survivors of suicide bereavement, who wince and hurt each time they hear you talk that way about their loved ones death. Talking the same way you talk about murder and rape.

    People die by suicide. Die of suicide. They suicided..

    Food for thought author.. Xx

  • Tracey

    Tracey

    July 18th, 2015 at 9:41 AM

    The major problem is the way ignorant people behave and communicate. I am bi polar and during an episode of severe depression I was told that depression was a very selfish illness and I was a very selfish person: it was actually the people around me who were suffering. I was also advised that when this particular person felt a little down they found that hoovering helped. I can’t begin to describe the shame I felt. Words are very powerful and can’t be taken back.

  • Mona

    Mona

    July 18th, 2015 at 9:00 PM

    You are NOT bipolar. You have bipolar disorder. If you had cancer you wouldn’t say you are cancer. The disease is not who you are but a part of what makes you who you are. It is a disease like any other. You can no more will it away than cancer. If it weren’t a medical disorder medications wouldn’t work. Try that explanation. Education is a large piece of our battle.

  • Angelina

    Angelina

    June 30th, 2016 at 8:18 AM

    I like your post. Well said 👍

  • Mike

    Mike

    July 19th, 2015 at 10:37 AM

    Obviously, the best option for us all is just to stop talking and lock ourselves in our rooms for the rest of our severely shortened lives. Then we would all be much healthier and our precious self-esteem left pristine and unblemished.

  • fasiullah

    fasiullah

    July 20th, 2015 at 8:11 AM

    thnk u sir.but im not perfct in english. iam in fully dipression iam taking medcin . iam in schizophrenia plz hlp me.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    July 20th, 2015 at 1:01 PM

    Hi there,
    Thank you for reaching out! You can search for a therapist in your area who helps with schizophrenia by using the GoodTherapy.org Advanced Search, here:https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html Please select Schizophrenia in the drop-down menu list called Concerns.

    We’re wishing you the best!
    The GoodTherapy.org Team

  • Annalise

    Annalise

    July 20th, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    Ok… but I am OCD. Can’t I de-stigmatize it by speaking about it openly and emphasizing the points in my life where I’ve learned to have it work for me rather than against me? I’d rather do that than focus on where it makes my other mental illness even more difficult to deal with.

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    July 20th, 2015 at 4:48 PM

    Absolutely, Annalise! That is the best way of using these terms: educating others, empowering yourself and others with the same issues, and normalizing your experiences. Thank you for your comment!

  • RJ

    RJ

    July 22nd, 2015 at 3:19 AM

    I have to say I disagree. I am an addict (recovering). My addiction has seen me in massive pain and at one point in front of a judge for a bankruptcy hearing (where I was vilified and punished for it being my fault). If I hear someone say they are addicted to popcorn I couldn’t care less. They are using a metaphor not demeaning my experience. If we can only ever speak literally about every single thing where does it end? “I love Breaking Bad!”. “Oooh you shouldn’t say you love it in case someone who has been heart broken hears.” “Oooh you shouldn’t say heart broken in case someone who has suffered a heart attack gets dead upset.” “Ooh you shouldn’t say dead in case someone recently bereaved hears you.” Where does it stop? Metaphor is part of our language. In some cases e.g. schizo it represents a total misunderstanding of the illness and maybe a bit of education is needed. But paranoid is a word in its own right. You can be acting in a paranoid manner without having a disorder characterised by paranoia. We need to stop looking for trouble and accepting the intended meaning of communications

  • Steve

    Steve

    September 19th, 2015 at 9:08 AM

    Here’s another perspective to consider: saying these things can be seen as normalizing some of these behaviors and therefore reducing the stigma. Yes, the true forms of these illnesses can be awful, but I am also very concerned about making people even more overly sensitive to the point where it gets very difficult to have a conversation without feeling like everyone has to walk on eggshells. When a person is under that kind of stress for too long it can breed resentment too. I’m a therapist myself and we have got to stop the growing trend where people are in a rush to be hurt from any perceived slight, whether it was intentional or not. There will always be people that use cruel words or act inappropriately. By all means educate those who are willing to listen, but quit with the increasing levels of censorship.

  • Josie

    Josie

    September 20th, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    I agree that requiring too much from the overly defensive will get no message of acceptance across. Censorship of words is the least effective way to deal with an epidemic. The Problems are a lack of patience and understanding of a person. A whole person with a propensity for being sensitive or excluded. To listen and set healthy boundaries does not have to be as problematic as a cynic would say it is.

  • Raffaella

    Raffaella

    September 19th, 2015 at 10:22 AM

    RJ, thanks! I find it idiotic to misuse “OCD” or “schizo”, but crazy or addicted? Come on. It would be WAY better if people actually knew the difference between, say, being nervous and suffering from pathological anxiety. But someone saying “I’m anxious about my school test results” doesn’t offend me because I suffer from anxiety. Hell, I use that phrase too.

  • tina

    tina

    December 23rd, 2015 at 7:26 AM

    I think that having a mental illness is having a mental disorder. That there’s a chemical imbalance or a disfunction. That’s how I’ve experienced it. But now better these days.

  • Belena

    Belena

    December 23rd, 2015 at 9:59 AM

    This is so interesting. Why not telling what’s on my mind? If I am suffering or not. Yes, there are things we don’t want to hear. Doesn’t matter if I am sick or not. Or if you are a sick person talking to another person. And yes, there are the opportunities of getting confused, angry, happy, sad. For the healthy and the “unhealthy” person. I have more than one diagnosis. For me it is dangerous to get angry. Because if I would get angry, my diagnosis explains, it could be dangerous for other people. So, I stuffed it down. And people did what’s not to be done. At least even I was wondering why I let them. What I didn’t get at that time was that I thought, I would do worst things to them as they did to me, because I would not be able to handle my anger and that it would be uncontroled. So I surrendered every single time right before a fight even started. Now, that I allow myself to become angry at once and killing verbal at once what would kill me verbal, I find out that the fight ends at once. But: Now I need to handle with the fear other people are having just because I make my point clear. Fear lets us hear louder, turns a strong and clear voice that just speaks up for itself into an almost body attack. Although I am just sitting at the table. Speaking. Not shivering, not leaning forward. Maybe a little bigger eyes. As soon as my speaking partner is in fear of me attacking him, because my diagnosis opens this possibility to him, I need to fight for us. For the point I try to make clear, because it can go lost at once in the fear of my speaking partner. And I don’t want to discuss this again and again. For the strength of my partner to listen to me and not to his fear of my “unhealthyness”. At least for me to learn to make my point clear again and again without returning into surrendering as soon as somebody is remembering the dangerous sickness I’m surrounded by. It’s difficult sometimes, because it hurts to see my own family in fear because of me. And of course, life is dangerous. Flying, driving, cooking:) but do we stop to fly? Do we stop to cook? Mostly not. So, why not saying: you really don’t look depressed. It just means, you look healthy. You look good. If you think so, say so. Yes, it can be the wrong sentence, but it can also be the best sentence you could have said. Never tell a friend or family-member not to speak up. At least it is said the sick one should talk to a stranger about the intimatest things they do because they don’t dare to talk to their friends or family members. Friends need their friends. Families need their family-members. Speak up, remember, it may be half as hard as you think it sounds. Use your own words. They will help anyway. I remember times that I was asked How are you? And I asked how do I look like? Good. Then, I’m feeling good. If the answer would be hm. Not that good. Or confusion signs. Or anything else, you know… It’s up to me to stay. Or not to. But you look good, I’m feeling good. It worked. And we learn from our mistakes. People can think by theirselves what was said wrong and what can be made better. Or leave. Or stay and listen. We are not perfect. Not every single word must be thought over again and again because it could cause anything.

  • Nena

    Nena

    December 23rd, 2015 at 11:53 PM

    When I say “I can’t focus, It’s my ADD/ADHD,” It’s because I actually have it.

  • Roxanna

    Roxanna

    January 8th, 2016 at 5:51 AM

    Just a thought i wanted to share. My son and daughter have it as well.(my son ADD and my daughter ADHD) And often times I hear them say they just can’t because its their diagnoses or the way their brain works or something else. And I find myself not defending ADD or ADHD, in a way that protects stigma or stereo typing. but my main focus is to protect their charters and their abilities. The diagnoses may cause challenges but do not prevent someone from perseverance and success. CAN’T is a dirty word!

  • Brianna

    Brianna

    January 7th, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    I’ve done all eight…… Oh well too late to go back (moves forward)

  • Trina

    Trina

    January 14th, 2016 at 5:54 PM

    I’ve been told that the “problem” (if you want to use that term) doesn’t come from the person/people making the comments, The problem is with how does the listener interpret what you meant when you said that “I am soo OCD today! Can’t seem to get ANYTHING done right .” I’ve heard others say similar to this ‘n my reply is typically “You too eh?” ‘n I SOOOO AGREE THAT THIS PC’NESS HAS GOTTEN TO STOP!!! WAAAAY too many people need to pull their big boy/girl panties outta their arses! So, SAY WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND!! ‘n One more,…..You gotta remember that what people say, UNLESS SPECIFIED has nothing to do with you. Seems like there are WAY TOO many people actually LOOKING for someone to offend them. INSTEAD of focusing on their own lives. (The new “addiction”, People seeking recognition by actually WANTING to be offended. I think it’s called The “Superiority Effect” OR maybe something along the line of being Narcissistic, Attention “addict” Needing to be frequently noticed and validified (<–new word?) Anyways, this "Aspie" has kept you long enough. You may resume your normal daily activities :)

  • Jimmy Dunham, BS, MA Clinical psychology

    Jimmy Dunham, BS, MA Clinical psychology

    January 16th, 2016 at 1:03 PM

    It is this level of political correctness that contributes to the stigma. It emphasizes the loneliness and isolation that people with psychopathology feel. Being able to laugh at times at ones circumstances can be very healing. Teaching people not to take others figures of speech personally helps them not feel so isolated. I think this article is completely off base. I don’t think people that suffer from these maladies want others walking around on eggshells editing everything they say so as not to offend. It’s ridiculous.

  • Shawn S

    Shawn S

    January 20th, 2016 at 5:44 AM

    This is just taking it too far. I have Tourette Syndrome and have a humor. I understand that some discretion should be applied as they can be extremely hurtful, however, some of these on this list is just stupid…oops…I said something offensive.

  • christine

    christine

    April 3rd, 2016 at 8:31 PM

    Social maxiism. Look it up.

  • AntDaGamer

    AntDaGamer

    May 7th, 2016 at 12:25 AM

    These things would go a long way. As a black man, I can say my people and my family take my illnesses as a joke. As it’s my own fault. They don’t have any knowledge on how to speak. All the things doctors and counselors would say to not say, they say to me regularly. I’m even outcasted..and alone with no foundation when I need it the most. I’m the local neighborhood crazy..I want to educate people so much just like this sight does. I want to make a difference..it’s weird I have a platform to do so..but I keep being afraid of what it might do to my social status on the internet. Anyway, great article.

  • Pantherguin

    Pantherguin

    August 25th, 2016 at 12:06 PM

    In my opinion, this thinking is too extreme and has potential to actually cause more harm than not. The only diagnosis here that I DON’T personally have/had is schizophrenia (that’s my husband’s domain). These phrases worked themselves into our culture because we are FINALLY having so many conversations about mental health. I use these phrases, frequently. I’m not offended when I hear other people use them. If we start making it shameful to use these phrases, where does that leave our opportunity for free, honest, and open discussion about mental health issues? Will people be so worried about offending someone that these conversations will never start? Instead of being offended, why not turn it into a teachable moment? Personally, I’m glad to be living in a place where these phrases are common. It means that people are listening and mental health issues are becoming increasingly ingrained in our daily lives as something “normal” and acceptable. I feel that this article, however well meaning, only adds to the stigma by forcing people into being overly sensitive and hyper-vigilant about their speech concerning mental illness.

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