Author Topic: Derogatory terms about mental illness  (Read 9584 times)

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TurtleDove

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #75 on: March 19, 2013, 04:49:37 PM »
I'm glad you seem pleased with the resoltion, OP, and glad you got an apology.  With the update, I guess I think you overreacted, or at least I disagree with you.  I absolutely think it is fair to call the neighbor's behavior psycho, whether she is mentally ill or not.  The behavior, standing alone, is psycho in my opinion.

JustEstelle

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #76 on: March 19, 2013, 06:15:25 PM »
I didn't say that I'm pleased, merely that she apologized.  Those among that group who disagreed with me were not nearly so gracious about it as you guys have been. 

DavidH

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #77 on: March 19, 2013, 07:03:15 PM »
I think you have to decide how much insensitivity or bigotry depending on how you see it you are willing to tolerate and find a groups of people that share the same standard.  As in the examples earlier about poor usage of the word depressed or psycho it is enough of a grey area that if you cannot abide someones usage you may need to accept that you can't change them and move to another group.  I'm not saying they are right to dog pile on you for expressing your thoughts, but it is not realistic to think that you can change their language usage when many would not consider it particularly offensive. 

Psycho isn't the nicest term, but calling the neighbor crazy doesn't seem like much of an improvement.  The best way to have expressed this would have been to have said, I'm tired of all of the neighbor's eratic and unpredictable behavior.  Although I realize it might be related to their being biopolar that doesn't make it easier for me to deal with. 

Another example might be those who consider waiter or waitress offensive and prefer the terms waitron or server.  It may be the case that using the gender neutral words is better, but many would be peeved if they were corrected on their use of waiter or waitress.

LadyL

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #78 on: March 19, 2013, 08:22:44 PM »
Another example might be those who consider waiter or waitress offensive and prefer the terms waitron or server.  It may be the case that using the gender neutral words is better, but many would be peeved if they were corrected on their use of waiter or waitress.

Or terms like secretary vs. administrative assistant. I mess that one up all the time because growing up, my dad had secretaries, my stepmom was called a secretary. I'm not sure why the term is really that offensive vs. just having fallen out of favor.

TurtleDove

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #79 on: March 19, 2013, 10:17:41 PM »
I'm not sure why the term is really that offensive vs. just having fallen out of favor.

I feel this way about a great many terms that are currently considered un-PC.  I can't even keep up, and the standards are not at all consistent.  Flight attendant v. stewardess; Administrative Assistant v. Secretary (so should it be the Administrative Assistant of State instead of the Secretary of State?); African American v. Black; I could go on.  To me, for the "grey area" words it is generally clear to me who is intending to be offensive and who is not. 

JustEstelle

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #80 on: March 19, 2013, 11:04:50 PM »
Maybe I'm particularly sensitive to things that stigmatize mental illness.  I have a close family member on disability because of clinical depression.  I've personally struggled with depression, especially following chemotherapy.  To me, these derogatory terms aren't much different from racial and ethnic slurs in that they marginalize the people these slurs are directed at.

As far as the group this problem came from, I am distancing myself from them.

Thank you for your input and insights regarding this matter. 

mbbored

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #81 on: March 20, 2013, 12:55:35 AM »
I want to say thank you for this thread.

I've often tossed off-hand terms like "I'm feeling so ADD today" or "guess my OCD is kicking in" without ever considering what that might sound like to those who have those disorders. I'm going to try and reduce my usage of those phrases so that I come across as making light of those who do deal with those on a daily basis.

I'm not sure about terms like "psycho" which isn't attached to a particular mental illness, but it's definitely food for thought.

jaxsue

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #82 on: March 20, 2013, 12:54:14 PM »
I've had clinical depression more than once in my life; after both babies, I had severe PPD. I have a son who has autism, a nephew with OCD, family members with ADD and ADHD, and my X's sister has schizophrenia. As my friends would say, "I know from issues."

That said, my radar definitely doesn't go off as soon as it does for some others. That's not a judgment; it just is. Yes, some terms are offensive, but I personally don't play PC police with my circle of friends. If someone crosses a line, I definitely don't approve. I have let go of relationships when that person has proven himself or herself to be a bigot time and time again.

But, IME, you get more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Education is more important - and effective - than correction. Putting someone on the defensive shuts them down. And let's be honest - is there anyone who is perfect all the time? We all have our slip-ups.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #83 on: March 20, 2013, 02:12:50 PM »
Unless you can hear what thoughts are going through a persons mind, there is no way to determine if their use of "I'm depressed" over a soda is hyperbole or not.

I think it gets dangerously close to language policing to dictate how and when people can use hyperbole. If I say "this weather is depressing" am I being hyperbolic? Actually a spate of recent dreary weather was leaving me feeling cranky and exhausted all the time, to the point where it actually was mild depression, which thankfully improved when I got a SAD lamp. But few people knew if my meaning was literal or not when I'd call the weather "depressing" and I wouldn't appreciate being called out for "lack of sensitivity" or something.

First, I'm glad that the SAD lamp helped you. That must have been a nasty experience.

Second, let me clarify: I object to people saying they themselves are depressed over a trivial matter. I know that the weather can and often does affect people's mood, even if they have not been diagnosed with depression, so I would not be irritated or upset about that.

Third, I only said that I am irritated when people use improper terms. I never said that I would call them out - that would be rude. My internal emotions are not necessarily what I show to others. I say what's on my mind here because I have no other conveyance of my thoughts than words.

If it were someone to whom I was close, I would say, "I understand what you mean by what you're saying, but I feel as if the condition I live with is trivialized when you speak about it in such a manner. I really would prefer you use another word to describe what you mean," and I would hope that someone to whom I was close would want to be kind to me and thus try to use language that is less offensive to me.

Violinp,
I'm very curious about your view on the use of the word "depression".  I had heard the word depression as in "feeling sad or blue" for years before I ever learned about clinical depression as a medical/psychiatrict condition.  I have never thought of someone suffering from depression being offended by others using the term in a non-clinical depression context.  Here's some examples of how I might use the word. Which of these might offend or irritate you?

-I watched a documentary about slave trade and it's left me feeling drepressed all day.
-My daughter found the perfect pair of shoes to match her dress but they didn't come in her size. Now she's been acting depressed all day.
-My aunt is over critical about everything. Talking to her is so depressing.
-Geez, I'm so depressed.  I thought we were finally through with this project but they've decided to extend for another 6 months.

hobish

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #84 on: March 20, 2013, 02:25:18 PM »

As someone else who "knows from issues" the use of "psycho" is not even a blip on my radar. Watching someone get publicly corrected for using it might make me want to defend them, as well. I am not sure i would categorize that as "mean girl" behavior, but i wasn't there. Distancing sounds like a great idea, and i wouldn't be surprised if they do the same if they feel like they need to monitor their words all the time. Sometimes there is neither a right or a wrong, sometimes people just aren't meant to be friends - and that is ok.

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JustEstelle

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #85 on: March 20, 2013, 04:15:58 PM »

As someone else who "knows from issues" the use of "psycho" is not even a blip on my radar. Watching someone get publicly corrected for using it might make me want to defend them, as well. I am not sure i would categorize that as "mean girl" behavior, but i wasn't there. Distancing sounds like a great idea, and i wouldn't be surprised if they do the same if they feel like they need to monitor their words all the time. Sometimes there is neither a right or a wrong, sometimes people just aren't meant to be friends - and that is ok.

Defending is one thing.  I don't mind that so much, but they didn't just defend.  They resorted to name-calling and other similar behavior, turning things around on me.  It got very ugly.

« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 04:17:34 PM by JustEstelle »

Calistoga

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #86 on: March 20, 2013, 06:30:14 PM »
I think it's fair to say that different people find different phrases offensive, and when you encounter language that you find offensive, you should let people know. However, I don't think it's right to scold people for their language- as I said earlier, I think it's better to say "I find that offensive, that offends me" instead of "That's offensive, don't say that kind of thing." There's no one word that is universally offensive to everyone, but I'm sure that every word offends at least once person. Letting someone know that you, personally, are offended, lets them know that when they are around you, they need to watch what they say. It also helps to open their eyes to the fact that the way they talk can be hurtful to others. 

I'm going to guess that the backlash the OP received was the result of basic herd mentality to return perceived hostility with more hostility and defensive behavior. We're they right? No. Is it understandable? From a psychological standpoint, yeah. Best way to avoid that kind of thing in the future is to let them know they've offended you, not that they've offended everyone.

Shea

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #87 on: March 20, 2013, 08:56:17 PM »
But they can be depressed. The economy can be depressed. We have depressions in the weatjer. Unless they are claiming clinical depression without diagnosis yheir usage is not proplatic. Correcting them is what should produce the eye roll.

Agreed.  I think some posters are looking for offense in the colloquial language of others.  Yes, words mean things, but there is so much nuance to how someone speaks, and how words are commonly used and understood. I run with a crowd that understands sarcasm, subtleties, word puns, hyperbole for effect, etc.  Not all conversation is a dissertation that requires the use of exact dictionary definitions that  are certain to never offend anyone.

Yes, exactly. And I say this as someone who suffers from clinical depression.

Me too. It would never occur to me to be upset if someone said they were depressed because the vending machine was out of Coke. I'd assume they were being hyperbolic and think nothing more of it. That's not to say that others can't dislike the usage, but to say that it's wrong to use "depressed" in a hyperbolic manner because you (general) don't like it, well, I don't think a single person gets to make that call.


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Allyson

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Re: Derogatory terms about mental illness
« Reply #88 on: March 21, 2013, 02:15:50 AM »
As for 'depression', the term has existed long before clinical depression was even a recognized thing. The disorder was named after the feeling, not the other way around. Same for anxiety. I would probably think that someone who complained about being depressed due to the machine being out of coke was being overly dramatic, and rather silly. But my annoyance wouldn't be based on the fact there's also an illness that has that name.

Obviously people are bothered by what they're bothered by, but sometimes interacting with certain groups *can* feel like walking on eggshells, and I feel like that's not really helpful to changing minds and attitudes.