As awareness around the critical issue of mental health grows gradually, we face another issue we are yet to tackle. Mental health terms and disorders have suddenly become words that are thrown about in casual conversations.
Most people use these phrases mostly to create a dramatic emphasis on their experiences, blissfully unaware of the people they hurt in the process and the consequences of words they use without thinking them over.
Ever heard someone tell you they are ‘so depressed’? Or that they get ‘OCD’ from that mess in your room? Or heard someone getting judged for being ‘dyslexic’ when the person is simply uncoordinated in their actions? I think all of us have come across at least some of these sentences, maybe even used them.
But that, right there, is the trivialization of mental health. In simple words, taking away the magnitude of serious and critical mental health disorders and using them casually to exaggerate our own feelings.
Our feelings are not less important, but using the terms so informally takes away from the seriousness and graveness of the experience of people who have gone through these disorders.
Of course, mental health disorders should not be a taboo topic in a way that we abstain from speaking about it, but we must be mindful when we approach the topic to not put the audience in any kind of uncomfortable position.
There are things we can do to be careful when talking about mental health disorders. The first and the most important one is to educate ourselves on the topic.
We have to know; and I cannot stress enough on this, but we need to know what mental disorders are and have some basic information about them, from credible sources, so that when we use terms as heavy as ‘depression’ or ‘OCD’, we are using them in the right context.
Substitute mental health related terms with simple and lighter adjectives when you want to emphasize or stress on what you are feeling. It is not trivial, but you need to be mindful of what you speak.
The last point is simple to understand, be kind. Compassion and understanding are the fundamentals of humanity. Use kind words. Express yourself in ways that do not hurt others.
Stop to look at Instagram posts talking about such important issues. This may annoy you, but is actually going to help you gain the two most important things you need to have today - awareness and sensitivity