Lifestyle and fashion.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Mental Illness is not a joke

From mugs saying 'obsessive cat disorder' on it to be people describing each other as anorexic, the conversation surrounding mental health has taken a turn for the worst. No wonder people have a fear speaking up about their own mental health issues when this sort of conversation encourages people to stigmatise psychiatric illnesses.

Source: here.
Speaking up about any illness is hard for sure, but the thing about mental illness is that it receives a lot of stigma. Who would want to speak up about their illness when they might face some sort of prejudice like this? But where is this stigma coming from? Well I have one suspicion and it's from society's conversation! You hear it again and again; people using mental illnesses as adjectives and as jokes. Silly really. Something like:

"You're so OCD"
"She's so anorexic"
"You're so bipolar sometimes"
"She's absolutely schizo"
"I'm depressed"
"I'm going to kill myself if...happens"

It's this sort of ignorance that encourages stigmatisation. It's this sort of ignorance that proves how uneducated society really is. It's a shame because I'm sure a lot of people don't mean to cause offence but they really do. Using a mental illness as an adjective to describe something is not okay and needs to end. It dumbs down mental illness as being a joke, maybe even made up.

How? Well you're not acting as if you're OCD, you're just being a little more obsessive than normal. That person isn't annorexic, they're just skinny or don't eat much often. No you're not bipolar, you're happy today and were sad yesterday. And no you certainly aren't depressed, you're just stressed or sad - and that unlike some mental illnesses will pass. 

This conversation dumbs down how serious mental illness really is and is so offensive on so many levels. Making comments like this makes it seem like mental illness is nothing, no big deal, like it's just something silly or dare I say cute in some scenarios like being obsessive (OCD). Someone please explain to me how anything about this issue is cute or silly as I can't quite see it myself.

But it gets worse. Not only is the literal conversation bad but now stores have made it into a profit-driven industry. You can buy merchandise like 'obsessive cat disorder' mugs which are an obvious spinoff of someone diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. Nothing about this is okay. These mugs makes a joke out of an illness which faces so much stigma only to add to it as being nothing more than a personality trait. Let's make it clear that mental illness is not a personality trait, it is an illness. Yes you can't see it but it's real. Your brain is an organ just like any other and can get ill with psychiatric illnesses just like another organ can get ill with something else. Please do some research before you go to describe yourself as OCD or depressed like it's no big deal.

Where does the problem lie? Education. If there was proper education on mental illness in schools and the workplace people would understand mental illness as being a real thing and not a way to describe themselves. And if the education was informative, maybe people would think twice before buying into an industry making money out of joking around about it i.e. the merchandise I mentioned.

It's a shame society has come to this. If you feel the same as me, comment below and join in the conversion because #MentalIllnessIsNotAJoke.

Liam

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