How Do You Feel About The Term “Mental Illness”?

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So for starters I haven’t posted in a while because if you’ve noticed WordPress has recently updated and changed the login process and all my info was lost and blah blah blah…..  sorry.

 

Anyhoo, lets talk mental illness.  And for this I genuinely want your responses because this is a question I ask myself all the time.

How do you feel about this term?  Im torn.  On the one hand I feel like this:

 

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I hate the term.  To me it makes me feel like I have an incurable disease.  Like depression is a lifelong systematic destruction of my body like Lupus, cancer, or HIV.   I personally never say “I suffer from mental illness”.  i feel like its just so dark and dirty.   Like I’m almost admitting that it had complete control over me.

Have any of you been reading my posts from the start?  If so you’d know back in 2013 and 2014 I was a fucking mess.  I was literally collapsing on street corners and was seeing a therapist twice a week because I was so convinced that I was dying all the time.

The list was going on and on:  Major depression, dysteria (the opposite of hysteria), social anxiety, agoraphobia, hypochondriasis, sex addiction.

Now Im far far far from perfect right now but hey, I managed to move to a new country by myself! Im currently writing this post in a public cafe, I have a steady job, and I don’t feel like I’m digit anymore  (well…I still have my moments)  But the point is, this hasn’t killed me. This isn’t a cancer.

 

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But then I also think this:

 

But not everyone is me.

What if someone does have a serious mental problem that is so far out of their control they may not even know they have it?  Split personalities, schizophrenia, and so on.

If mental illness isn’t seen as an illness what does that make them? Weak people who can’t get their shit together?  Because I don’t think thats fair nor do I believe thats true.  I knew a girl back in college who had schizophrenia and when she would tell me stories about how she would get these impulses to just do horrible things when she wouldn’t take her meds….well I was just fucking terrified.

 

So, what is mental illness?  Is it a broken leg?  Find the problem and fix it? Or is it a cancer?  A condition that you’ll never get rid of.  Just a festering disease rotting you away?

 

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Or is “mental illness” with all its good intentions, just a horrible phrase.  A blanket statement so broad and foggy that it shouldn’t be used?

Maybe there should be different terms?

Maybe something like depression shouldn’t be seen as the same “illness” as schizophrenia?

Does the term “Mental Illness” make it seem like any and all mental problems stem from the same mysterious “illness”?

Are mental problems fixable?  Or are we all just fucked?

And lastly, is it possible that the reason people who suffer from mental problems have them for life due to a stigma form society?  Maybe if they felt embraced to seek help sooner they would not suffer so much?

Maybe they wouldn’t have to feel the shame of mental illness?

 

So tell me!  What do you all think?  I genuinely want to know.

~ The Dark Horse

(no this wasnt proofread…. i never proofread :p)

 

 

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14 thoughts on “How Do You Feel About The Term “Mental Illness”?

  1. “Having a mental illness” doesn’t sound much better than “being fucked up”. I prefer being specific eg. “I’ve been having problems with depression this year”.

  2. I prefer “mental health problems”… Just because it doesn’t have the same finger-pointing feeling as “mental illness” does. Does this make sense? Otherwise no, no real bad feeling towards the term…

    And re: different classifications of mental illness, I’ll get back to ya!

      1. I don’t know, thats a good question. I think suffering sounds dramatic…..but i think mental problems are quite dramatic. I think we feel a level of dread and pain most do not…..but yes i will readily admit my feeling on the term is mixed

        how do you feel about it?

  3. I just wish everyone got along and terms like “weak” wouldn’t exist. It’s not enough thAt you’re trying to keep yourself up but then if other people judge you just don’t want to care about life anymore

    1. exactly and that is one of the biggest problems with people who are suffering. They know there is nobody to go to.

      as much as i hated it at first, i always encourage therapy. I LOVE LOVE LOVE therapy and think its a huge help to be able to speak my mind without fear of being judged

      1. Aw, yes. When you have the right therapist, it must be good and freeing 🙂 I have read a lot of other blogs where people have gotten such a close relationship with their therapist who is looking out for them 🙂 So sweet. Good luck!

  4. As a certified crazy (that’s what I call myself and my family anyways)… I don’t really like labels. But….As a clinical nurse…shit this is gonna sound horrid…but… labels are great for direction of treatment… Other than that I think there should be more of a focus on planning not labelling. The term mental illness is such a loose term too. I’ve got myself a nice swag of “lables”. What we are up to number 5 in the diagnostic manual. The whole world uses this manual for set criterion for diagnosises. It’s engrained at a tertiary level. Either way, I’m not too fussed on the term. But that’s just me. I’m a crazy and I’m a nurse. So I see it from both sides.

  5. I know this is an old post, but I saw a link to it from your latest article and just had to read it, and put my thoughts out there. Up until a month ago, I HATED the term “mental illness”. But now, I’ve realized that’s why the stigma of mental illness exists. Because even those of us with it, hate the term. Cancer is NOT a lifelong illness. Sure, when it’s in remission, there is a chance it will come back, but NOT always. Mental illness is like cancer… A cancer of the mind. We’re not doomed, it can go into ‘remission’, but there’s always a chance it will come back. I know someone who had major depression growing up, then for more than 10 years, she was fine. But then, it flared up again, and she’s been struggling with the depression for a couple of years now again. Just because something is termed an “illness” doesn’t mean it’s a lifelong thing. There are plenty of physical illness’s out there, and most of them aren’t incurable. But in the grand scheme of things… It’s still an illness.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts. 🙂

    1. ya actually I agree with you. Since writing that post Ive come to not hat the term “Mental Illness” anymore. But I still wonder if some people may lose hope of a better life if they become convinced they have an incurable illness… but, unfortunately, I guess theres always people who won’t get better. Thats just how it goes sometimes…. And thats true with any disease or illness

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