Misses of mental disorder terms can lead to insult

By: Sierra Steen

It’s your stereotypical Iowan week, with the start of it being sunny and warm, the next few days being stormy and the weekend bringing in partly cloudy skies. During weeks like this where the weather is constantly changing, I have overheard the phrase “Iowan weather is so bipolar” used a few too many times.

People attribute mental and physical disorders as adjectives more than they do actual disorders.

I’ve heard many people say things such as “This movie depressed me so much,” “I’m really OCD about this,” “She skipped lunch yesterday, how anorexic of her” and every single time it twinges a certain string inside me.

These disorders affect approximately 15 percent of the world’s population. They make it harder for those affected to go about their daily lives, and many of them have to take medicine, therapy or other methods to help cope with them. It’s a true struggle that is crippling a large portion of the population, even if the issues aren’t visible from the outside.

Knowing that people think it is acceptable to use disorders as a way to describe things that either cannot or do not have said disorder frustrates me. No, the weather does not experience mood swings that can send it either into a manic or a depressive state for long periods of time. A movie will not cause the chemicals in your brain to suddenly become unbalanced and make you unable to focus on tasks or sleep at night.

I think one of the problems is that people who do not have to deal with these disorders don’t know what it feels like to go through days not knowing if or how you’re going to get through them, having to take medicine every night to try to control your mood.

They know little that people who do have these disorders have to go through. I would know. For the past few years of my life up until even today, I have struggled with depression issues which eventually were diagnosed as bipolar II disorder. I had to go to therapy sessions and am now on medicine in order to help control my mood swings. I do not choose to have this disorder and would not wish this or any disorder on anyone. It isn’t funny to hear people throw around the disorder I have as an adjective for things incapable of having it.

It’s incredibly frustrating and disrespectful.

Mental and physical illnesses are not a tagline for jokes. They aren’t something to use to describe how people act certain days and they certainly aren’t simple words to describe inanimate objects. There are plenty of other ways to address how you feel without being insulting to those with disorders. You can say that the weather is very unpredictable or that you have to do something a certain way to make you comfortable.

Be careful of the words you choose to say around others. By using disorders as adjectives or jokes, you may be putting down the person sitting right next to you without you ever even knowing the battles they’re going through.

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