Monday, 17 July 2017

Mental Health Mondays #7 : Watch Your Words Part 1

This is the first in what will probably be a three part series of posts, each focussing on a commonly used phrase which may be upset those who suffer from mental health issues. Such phrases often add to the negative stigma of mental illness and/or make those who suffer feel invalidated and uncomfortable. As always these are my views and I try and make sure what I say is as well informed as possible but to a certain degree this is my own interpretation from my experience.


The phrase this week is:

"The other day _____ caused me to have a mental breakdown..."

This is something I have heard very regularly amongst my friends/acquaintances and it appears to be used to basically mean "this person upset me and I cried". So let me explain to you a little thing about what a mental breakdown actually is: mental or nervous breakdown is defined as a period of intense mental distress where you can't function in your normal day to day life; your symptoms are basically so intense (both the mental and physical) that it stops you from being able to continue doing what you were doing. This is not the same as when your bf dumps you and you cry and are generally sad and don't feel up to getting out of bed for the rest of the day because the latter is a perfectly acceptable and understandable response to the given situation whilst a breakdown can (not always but sometimes) be caused by something small or may have no obvious cause at all.

See the term "mental breakdown" is something which is serious it affects peoples life in a huge way but the more it's used as a way of dramatically expressing how something upset you the more it loses it's validity within society and people think that those who have had a real, life-changing breakdown are actually just making a fuss over nothing/being lazy etc - clearly adding to the stigma which these people experience.

Other phrases that you could use which are less offensive include:

"I found _____ so difficult the other day and it really upset me."

"I'm struggling to know what to do now that ______."

"____ is really stressing me out and it's really making it difficult for me to feel good about anything."

"The other day ______ really upset me and I'm still struggling with it."

I know these suggestions are a bit lame but I'm just trying to demonstrate that there are lots of ways to express how something upset/bothered/stressed you without using "breakdown" incorrectly. A lot of people may not even realise the severity of a mental breakdown and how drastically life changing it can be which is why it's so important to make sure you're watching your use of words such as these when you don't fully understand what you're saying.

What do you think? Are there any phrases like this that really bug you? Let me know in a comment below.

P.s. In the next 48 hours I'm going to drop my introduction to my question box and I really need as many people's thoughts as possible so make sure you keep an eye out for that post please!

No comments:

Post a Comment