Mental Illness: It’s Not Hard to Understand

I’ve had this on my Facebook notes for probably a few years now, but it’s the sort of thing that works on here too.

I’ve noticed some people having trouble with a couple simple statements and terminology regarding mental disorders etc.

I have attempted to clear up a couple problems here.

OCD == “I have a genuine medical condition that causes me significant stress and problems in my daily life.”
OCD =/= “I have to keep things sorta neat! LOL! And I kind of like *this number.* It’s not really a problem – sometimes it’s a little fun!”
OCD DEFINITELY does not mean “Obsessive Cullen Disorder.” Whoever came up with that needs me to hit them.
PROTIP A: If you refer to your “OCD” as “fun”, you DO NOT HAVE IT.
PROTIP B: Sorta wanting something, and actually feeling like you NEED it, are two COMPLETELY different things.

Self-harm == “I feel like I cannot stop harming myself, and have no other option.”
Self-harm =/= “I, like, scraped myself with a pencil once, like, on *purpose.* Then I wrote a poem about blood, cause I’m so *emo.*”
PROTIP A: Cutting is not funny, or cool. When in doubt (or even when not, if you’re a douche), shutting up is ALWAYS a good option.
PROTIP B: You may be able to relate to my feelings of depression, but don’t try to relate to my cutting/other self-harm problems if you haven’t, you know, DONE it. Trust me, I feel bad enough that I did it. I don’t need to hear your saga about how you *almost* did it, but were stronger and beat it with positive thinking or the power of God or whatever. This DOES NOT HELP.

Depression == “I spend most of the day feeling like there’s no point and I can’t go on.”
Depression =/= “I got a B on my test today. I was mad for a little bit. Then I went to go play sports and forgot about it.”

Suicidal thoughts == “I want to kill myself.” (This SHOULD be simple to understand…)
Suicidal thoughts =/= “Oh my god! I embarrassed myself in front of the class today! I just want to SHOOT myself!!! …hey, do you want to play volleyball?!”
PROTIP: If you’re going to make a dumbass suicide comment, at least be reasonably sure the person/persons to whom you are speaking are not actually considering it.

Rape == Anything sexual done to a person, without that person’s consent.
Rape =/= “A bad movie.” It does not equal “this song I don’t like.” It does not equal “that thing I laugh about because I don’t really like to think about it.” IT DOES NOT MEAN ANYTHING ELSE. EVER.
(I realize this doesn’t quite belong in a “mental health” file, exactly, but I’m gonna say it anyway, cause it needed to be said.)

Medication == “I kind of need this doctor-prescribed, dose-regulated, scientifically approved substance in order to function properly. I may not need it someday, but right now, I do.”
Medication =/= “I’m taking drugs whenever I want.”
Medication =/= “I’m weak and can’t deal with things on my own.”
Medication is not from the devil or whatever your preacher/pastor/priest/bishop/cardinal/pope/Flying Spaghetti Monster/Inquisitioner/L. Ron Hubbard told you. And just because I’m taking it doesn’t mean I’m making you do the same.

The Psych Ward == The place you send people when they are in imminent danger of causing SERIOUS physical damage to themselves or others.
The Psych Ward (sometimes) == The place you threaten people with (I’m sorry; it’s true).
The Psych Ward =/= That place with the magical wands that makes people happy again! You should send every depressed friend here! It will help them!
PROTIP A: Psych wards are not day-long therapy centers. They are emergency prisons that make it harder for immediately-suicidal people to commit suicide. (I said they make it harder. They definitely do not make it impossible.) Cutting does not mean immediately suicidal. Psych wards are last-ditch, desperate actions, not casual plans.
PROTIP B: Psych wards, in a word, suck. If you haven’t been there, you probably have an image of a sort of boring hotel room and relaxation techniques. No. Just… no. The people at Psych Wards do not know how to deal with mental illness any more than most people. Their job is to prevent people from dying, and not get sued. I have a feeling lawsuits are a very big deal with those places, because they would rather do nothing than risk doing the *wrong* thing. Problem there is, “nothing” IS often the wrong thing to do.

“I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know how to stop it.”
“I feel like I’m drowning and I don’t know how to stop it.”
“I just want attention. I’m whiny. Don’t bother with me.”
PROTIP: It is rare, in my experience, but sometimes people fake or exaggerate depression for attention. And sometimes people kill/hurt themselves because everyone thought they just wanted attention. Keep this in mind.

“I feel depressed.”
“I feel depressed.”
“I’m too weak to regulate my emotions. I need a cheery pep talk about how to lighten up and see the bright side! That will solve all my problems!”

*explains something bad that happened*
“I REALLY want to hear YOUR sad story! Don’t listen to mine, tell me YOURS!”

“I hate it when people invade my space. I have a pretty big personal bubble. *hinthintstophuggingmewithoutasking*”
“Except you, obviously. Go right ahead!”

This is really just a personal-experience thing. I don’t profess to have a deep knowledge of psychology. If you have anything to fix or add, comment and all that good stuff.


5 thoughts on “Mental Illness: It’s Not Hard to Understand

  1. Vern March 16, 2013 / 2:11 AM

    Great stuff Hannah. Who in the hell is hugging you all the time? lol.

    I love how you write in direct response to personal things that are coming up as you go through your life… obviously there is a lot that bothers you about what others are doing. Good to get it off your chest. Don’t be afraid to tell people directly too… I found that when I started doing that I put up with a lot less from others, I just told them my true feelings. If they could deal with it – great. If not, that’s great too. It’s a learning experience for both.

    Ever thought about going into the mental health field and straightening it out?

  2. Teresa March 16, 2013 / 8:56 AM

    Thank you Hannah. Your right sometimes we don’t understand. You have cleared up a few things for me, as well.

  3. Laura Lindsay March 22, 2013 / 8:35 AM

    Who is this rambly prophetic teenage girl, and why doesn’t she post more often???

  4. Kerry Black March 25, 2013 / 7:24 PM

    Thank you for sharing such insight.

  5. MikeFook October 27, 2014 / 8:02 PM

    Guess not

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