It was a quiet Sunday morning at the restaurant I work at, not a single booth was filled, and it was just myself, a manager, and one of my favorite bartenders. As we joked about how painfully slow it was that day, I began telling them a story about a similar day I had when I was serving in Huntington Beach. The day began very similarly, not a soul to be served, so I assumed it would be a $50 day and I would get to leave early. Only 20 minutes later, I was the only server on the floor slammed with 3 parties of 15+, a full patio, and about 5 tables inside. It was one of the most frustrated serving days I've ever had; I did not make a single mistake, but the notorious post-church brunch crowd already donated enough to their parish, and wound up tipping me on average 4%. As I finished my tale, I told him that is why I have PTSD for brunch shifts. Jokingly, my thick skinned friend that served 2 deployments told me not to say that because he actually does have PTSD. Though he meant it comedically to "mess with me", it resonated with me. As the narrative voice of my mind took over, I began pondering all of the times I see this happen and don't think twice.
More often than not, we use mental illness terminology to describe simple emotions. It seems you cannot go a day without hearing someone say a guy who doesn't match his shoes to his belt gives them "anxiety", or the new Billie Eilish album is so beautiful, it makes them "depressed". It's important to recognize how insensitive it is to abuse language that completely dictates an individuals life. Mental illness is incredibly real; it is one of the most difficult things to overcome in life. I have always been someone that has appreciated a good joke, the darker the better. However, ever since I embarked upon my recovery, I have not been able to have any form of a sense of humor towards eating disorders. With that being said, it is difficult for me to hear people describe sick, dangerously thin things as "anorexic". In this, I can understand how hurtful and awkward it is to suffer from a mental disorder and hear it tossed around so casually. I encourage all of us to be weary about the language we utilize and understand that mental illness is real.