Having A Mental Illness Is Not A "Cute Quirk" To Brag About
Health and Wellness

Having A Mental Illness Is Not A "Cute Quirk" To Brag About

It won't make you "endearing" or "special". Having a mental illness is a struggle that shouldn't be taken lightly.

Having A Mental Illness Is Not A "Cute Quirk" To Brag About

People need to stop claiming that "they have OCD"... it's not a "cute little quirk" to brag about. It can be absolutely terrifying. I'm tired of people throwing it around, treating it as though it's not a serious issue because IT IS. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder isn't just wanting things in order. Try having intrusive thoughts and obsessing over one little thing to the point of isolation and panic attacks - to the point where it's hard to function some days. Right before I was diagnosed with it last year, I had gone through some of the most scary, and painful things I had ever endured. I never want to go back to that place again. It's not cute. Today, I'm doing better, but each day is another obstacle course and it can be debilitating, especially when you don't know if you're going to be triggered excessively that day. Stop claiming you have it when you don't. Just because "you're organized" doesn't mean you have it. Educate yourself, PLEASE. -Me

We hear these things almost every single day . . .
"You're so moody today. Would you stop being so bi-polar?"
"I'm so depressed, man."
"I just cleaned the kitchen again. I'm so OCD!"
"I talk to myself a lot. I swear I'm schizophrenic. It's kind of funny."

We hear these statement daily, and there is more where it comes from. Because people say it so much, we have become overall immune to understanding it's actual seriousness. Someone might say "I am so bi-polar today" without even thinking about what might mean to the next person. Or another individual could say something along the lines of "I cleaned my bathroom again, talk about Obsessive Compulsive!" and the listener wouldn't think too much about it. For each person, it's different. One might not even hear the comment because we're so used to it, but another might take offense to it because they are part of the population who is battling that specific mental disorder.

I personally believe that mental disorders should not be taken lightly, and frankly, I don't understand why people have morphed these serious illnesses into everyday language - just something to add for "humorous" effect, or for additional description. But that doesn't matter at all. There are other ways to describe how you are feeling, or what you're like without using something that is actually hurting people each day behind closed doors. They're battling depression, bi-polar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and schizophrenia and you're simply saying that you "must have OCD" because you scrubbed your bathroom toilet for the third time this week? I know it seems as thought I'm getting defensive, but this hardly recognizable issue has been going on for awhile now, and it's only been looked at insensitively. I feel as though most people still think that physical illnesses and diseases such as lung cancer, or having heart issues is more important of an issue than having severe depression. But that is false. Both hurt. Both are hard to cope with, and each day can be equally debilitating. Just because you can't see the depression physically all the time does not mean that they aren't dealing with their own traumas.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can't stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. No matter how many times people tell someone that they are beautiful, that person still thinks they are hideous. No matter how many times people tell someone that they are skinny, that person still sees themselves as incredibly fat. There's something different going on when they look in the mirror. Sure, they might actually be in good shape, or they might be gorgeous - but their mind plays terrible tricks on them - it's all psychological. When you have this disorder, you tend to obsess on your appearance, wear bagging clothing or cover yourself up in general to hide your body. You constantly feel as though you need to "fix" something, and that just leads to a more downward spiral. Some symptoms of this illness are constant make-overs, surgery, and still not feeling satisfied, starving oneself and then binge eating the next, excessive grooming, hair and skin picking, avoidance of social situations and feeling as though people only see you in a negative light by your physical appearance.

Bipolar Disorder
is a brain disorder that causes a lot of shifts in moods - from extremely elated and full of energy, to the very lowest of lows in depression. Symptoms of mania or manic episodes include an overly long period of feeling "high" of an overly happy and outgoing mood. Another example of mania is extreme irritability. People with bipolar disorder who experience episodes of mania are usual fast talkers, have racing, creative thoughts (usually stay up late, insomnia, finishing projects at rapid rate) behave compulsively, usually with spending an excessive amount of money or making poor decisions to get a thrill or a rush, and sleeping too little or too much. After this subsides, people with bipolar disorder are hit with an extreme low, resulting in severe depression. They end up feeling "slowed down", they are extremely irritated, have issues making decisions, they can be restless, or they can end up thinking about suicide and death - or attempting suicide.

Still think it's "cute" to claim these disorders, or talk about them in an insensitive light?

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder involves a lot of unwanted, disturbing, and intrusive thoughts usually brought on by triggers. It can also be accompanied by urges - or compulsions - that intrude into the person's mind which causes extreme anxiety and discomfort. This results in repetitive rituals and behaviors to decrease the anxiety, but someone only makes it subside for a little bit before the anxiety and compulsions return. I can resonate with this a lot because I have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Examples of OCD symptoms are when people need to wash their hands an excessive amount each day, and the exact times. If someone says something and it doesn't sound "right" to the person with OCD, then they have to add something to it to make it sound better. An example is when someone says "Cake", and the person with OCD finds the "k" sound at the end of "Cake" to be disturbing and uncomfortable. Therefore, they quickly add an "s" sound at the end of each "k" sounding words. A few obsession are fear of contamination, symmetry and exactness, accident harm to self or others, and unwanted/forbidden thoughts. And if each of these rituals aren't done in a timely matter for the person, it results in them having panic attacks, depression, and major anxiety. Compulsions include constant toilet wiping and cleaning, hand washing, showering rituals, counting, ordering, mental, tapping, touching and rubbing rituals.

Schizophrenia is looked upon greatly as being the "crazy" illness. However, it's a chronic and severe disorder that has effect A LOT of people in history. People who have this illness may hear voices that other people do not hear. They tend to believe that other people are reading their minds, and that they are plotting against them, planing to hurt them or harm them. Symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, speaking little - even when forced to interact, trouble focusing or paying attention, and not making sense when they talk. I've met someone who had severe schizophrenia, and I could see the changes in them from when they were in a good mood, to when it was a bad day. They would get very aggressive and snappy if they were in a energetic mood, and when they were sad or angry - they were quiet for the most part, and irritable the next. This person who tell me about the voices that they would hear, and whether or not they were quieter that day. It was truly interesting, but I couldn't begin to imagine living a life with that much stress and debilitation.

Borderline Personality Disorder is a disorder that I've known a few people to have. It is a serious mental illness that causes unstable moods, behavior, and relationships. A signature trait of having Borderline Personality Disorder is when the patient pushes someone away, but wants them to not leave them at the same time. They have problems regulating their emotions and thoughts, which causes them to lose train of thought and organization. They are impulsive and they sometimes demonstrate reckless behavior. Being in a relationship with someone who has BPD can be a struggle, because they have constant mood changes, and they can't really control what is going on in their minds, or what they want. Other symptoms include fear of abandonment, unstable or changing relationships, suicidal behavior or self-injury, varied or random mood swings, feelings of worthlessness or sadness, stress-related paranoia, loss of contact with reality as well has being more prone to starting fights - physical or verbal.

Depression is a very common mental illness in the world. Depression is when someone feels intense sadness, feelings of helplessness, worthlessness and it can last for many days to a week. Symptoms of depression aren't that difficult to miss or pinpoint. A few symptoms include fatigue or loss of energy almost every day, losing interest in hobbies or passions, insomnia or hypersomnia, a sense of restlessness or being slowed down, significant weight loss or weight gain, feelings of guilt, and impaired concentration. It really bothers me when people think depression is "no big deal", and we do it "just to get attention" and we should "get over it" and "toughen up". That's just ignorant and silly. Just because you can't always see the depression, doesn't mean it doesn't exist. It's a chemical imbalance and it's painful. I was diagnosed with depression when I was about eleven years old, and the year after when I started middle school, was insanely difficult. I would isolate myself from people as well as making new friends, I was incredibly negative and only focused on the bad things happening to me, and I didn't think living was really worth it anymore. It was a lot for a twelve year old to process and go through. Today, my depression comes and goes in waves. After living with it for some time, I know how to handle myself when it gets really bad, and that I am thankful for.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder
or GAD, is also very common. In short, it is a common anxiety disorder that involves chronic worrying, nervousness, and tension. Most people that have this illness worry about the same things that other people do, but they take these worries to a new level. This anxiety is less intense than a panic attack, but much longer last, making normal life difficult and relaxation impossible. It's almost like every single minute of your life is spend worrying and dreading something. There is a difference between "normal" worry and GAD. Worries, doubts and fears are a normal part of life, and that's what makes "normal" worry an okay thing. Normal worry is the kind of worry that is necessary to keep your life on track and to get things done. They don't necessarily intrude your thoughts to the point of panic attacks or sickness, but is more of a reminder going off in your brain. An example is when you forgot that a paper was due the next morning, and you stress out that you will not do so well in the class - but know that it will somehow be resolved. Someone with GAD, however, will spend the night tossing and turning, can make themselves sick and dread going into class the next day. It's almost as if the world is going to end.when it comes to GAD, excessive, intrusive, persistent and debilitating are the four key words when describing it.
So . . . still think that claiming you have OCD when you know you don't, just to be funny is an okay thing? What about depression, or schizophrenia or bipolar disorder?

These are obviously not the only mental illnesses out in the world - there are countless others, some that we don't really know too much about, and that's kind of scary. If you're someone who subconsciously uses phrases such as "I'm so OCD" to describe your cleaning habits, or use "I'm bipolar" as an excuse or crutch for why you've been "off", please reevaluate what you are speaking. It's such a small thing, and it's understandable for accidentally saying it. However, it still hurts . . . a lot. The fact that people throw these words around as if they're no big deal, makes me feel offended and that I cannot be taken seriously. What if someone who was sick with the flu said "I feel like I have leukemia"? (for an example) I know it's far fetched, but you get my point. Mental illnesses are JUST as important as physical ones, too. And it's important to educate oneself when speaking about them. Do it for us, please. And remember what we have to go through each day.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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