Stop saying Mental "Illness"! Please say my Name!

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#1
http://www.change.org/petitions/ame...stop-saying-mental-illness-please-say-my-name

Let's Stop Saying "Mental Illness"!

Stop saying, "She must be mentally ill," "He went manic after he had kids," "That is her ADHD," "Her sister is bipolar," "His OCD is his problem," "There is a schizophrenic that lives on my street." I have a name, I am not a mental disorder label. The use of psychiatric labels as well as the term mental illness in our society is harmful. What a society labels as illness is what that society views as negative, bad, unwanted or disapproved of. Because there are no medical tests for mental illness, what defines people as mentally ill is their behavior. Mental illness is the behavior that our society views as bad or unwanted. When a person is labeled as mentally ill, they are forever labeled as an individual who has engaged in behavior that is disapproved of in our society. Because of this, labeling an individual as mentally ill is inherently stigmatizing as well as saying someone is bipolar, adhd, schizophrenic, manic, autistic, and on and on.

Calling someone mentally ill is an insult in our society. People in our society use mental illness diagnoses as adjectives to describe what is negative or undesirable. Weather is schizophrenic when there is a lightning storm. Girlfriends are bipolar when they are argumentative. Questioning a person’s mental health has become a major way in which we attack each other’s character. Many of us play the role of amateur psychiatrists, making amateur diagnoses of the troublesome individuals that we encounter in our everyday lives.

Every person is individually different. What causes a person to behave a certain way is unique to their own experiences, upbringing, and cultural background. Yet using psychiatric labels to treat human behavioral problems presumes that what causes a person to act the way they do is the same for each person with the same diagnosis and because these individuals all have the same diagnosis the same mental health treatment is adequate for all of them. This is a fundamentally flawed way to help people with emotional or behavioral problems.

Labeling a person mentally ill can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Many studies show that when a person is labeled a certain way they are treated in various ways that encourage actions and behavior that match the way in which they are labeled. When a person is labeled as mentally ill, they are encouraged to act in ways that correspond to their mental illness diagnosis.

Psychiatric labels can be the basis for discrimination. An employer is far less likely to hire someone if they divulge the fact that they have been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Likewise, a landlord is less likely to rent to a tenant if they know the tenant has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

A world without the term mental illness and psychiatric diagnoses is not as farfetched as it may seem. What we call illness in our society is based on consensus. We agree that some conditions are illness and others aren’t. For example, autism is considered illness but dwarfism is not. Because western medicine is rooted in science, most of what we consider disease in our society has a physical basis. However, it is highly questionable whether or not mental illness is physical disease. After over 400 years modern psychiatry is not significantly closer to establishing the physical basis of mental illness. Furthermore, all behavior can be said to exist on a physiological level. For example, scientists can assume that sadness exists on a physical basis. However, this does not mean sadness must be categorized as illness.

Without the term mental illness or psychiatric diagnoses, individuals diagnosed with mental illness wouldn’t need to stop mental health treatment if they felt it benefited them. Individuals diagnosed with mental illness would be treated in the same manner that individuals who see psychotherapists or take psychiatric medication who don’t have a mental illness diagnosis are treated today. Individuals diagnosed with mental illness would simply be treated for the symptoms they are experiencing.

Advocate for individuals diagnosed with a mental illness. Fight discrimination against individuals diagnosed with mental disorders as well as their further stigmatization. End harmful psychiatric labeling and the use of the word mentally ill and sign this petition! Thank you!

Read also a great article by David Oaks called Let's stop saying "Mental Illness"! Let's Stop Saying "Mental Illness"!
 
BradyLady

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#2
The only trouble with this is, I recently saw an e-card online, anti-stigma, that read, "It's pronounced MEN-tl IL-nis. Not KREY-zee." We're already having a hard enough time getting people to *call* it mental illness, and now we're telling them not to?
 
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#3
The only trouble with this is, I recently saw an e-card online, anti-stigma, that read, "It's pronounced MEN-tl IL-nis. Not KREY-zee." We're already having a hard enough time getting people to *call* it mental illness, and now we're telling them not to?
It's complex isn't it? Different people that have MH experiences want it all framed in different ways. Some people want validation of the condition/label, that they're mentally ill (& that there is nothing wrong in that), & others want it all to be framed in non-pathological ways. There are deep divisions, on many levels within the MH community, especially politically. A cursory glance over the anti-psychiatry Wikipedia entry shows just how complex a lot of the arguments & divisions are.

i think there needs to be a far more comprehensive, integral/integrated view all round. It's not really dealing with simple areas.
 
Toasted Crumpet

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#4
Labeling a person mentally ill can be a self fulfilling prophecy. Many studies show that when a person is labeled a certain way they are treated in various ways that encourage actions and behavior that match the way in which they are labeled. When a person is labeled as mentally ill, they are encouraged to act in ways that correspond to their mental illness diagnosis.
Yeah this totally resonates with me, once i was labelled BPD on the basis of a self-harm incident at college, I looked up the things people with BPD do, figured I am damned anyway and got on with the "risk taking behaviour".

A similar thing happened with the schizophrenia diagnosis - I couldn't convince the MH team I didn't have it, so I just started acting like one, with a pinch of irony but they didn't get that.
 
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Nicola398

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#5
I don't like any of the alternative phrases the author suggests, they are too indepth descriptions of what I have, I don't want to give too much detail of what I have gone through, they are all kind of labels.albeit some more descriptive than others.I agree you shouldn't refer to people like this eg a bipolar moved in next door , that is wrong,and upsetting.But I don't want to use long-winded phrases to describe it which go into detail about what I have.Can't I just say I've been ill,and then if asked say I've had a depressive illness which is what I do now and feel comfortable with.Is it still ok to use the term mental illness between ourselves or is anyone here offended by it?I mean most of the labels, the actual symptoms consist of depression don't they so depressive illness fits most don't it and everyone knows and understands depression,even people not diagnosed have it and it is not considered as much as a disorder, normals get it too and understand it, it doesn't for example single out a label which denotes someone is more ill than another person or abnormal like some of the labels do carry that unfair connotation.What do others here think?I am also comfortable telling some people I have suffered psychosis, they usually ask what that means then I go into explanation, I breakdown mentally, lose touch with reality, can't look after myself, hear voice and get overwhelmed by telepathic abilities.
 
Toasted Crumpet

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#6
There was that awful song, that went on about say my name don't call me baby, think it was an r&b tune, god I hated it, it's in my head now let me google it....

here it is so you can all suffer with me


I bet it is someone's favourite tune on here, sorry for the offense
 
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Dottyone

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#7
My CPN refers too the things i do as 'its all part of your diagnosis'

No its not, its all a part of being me, doing things as an individual seperate to the lable and all that they think we are.
 
BradyLady

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#9
that would annoy the f*** out of me
Yeah, me too. I do recognize that game. I've seen it played so many times. Treat a person like crap until they feel so bad they want to do something self-harming, and then blame that self-harming behavior on the depression. Or pick, pick, pick at somebody until they blow up, and then you can tell them they have anger issues, and did they take their medicine today? Even people with mental conditions do have reason to be sad or angry sometimes, and it shouldn't be automatically discounted as "just a symptom."
 
SomersetScorpio

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#10
There was that awful song, that went on about say my name don't call me baby, think it was an r&b tune, god I hated it, it's in my head now let me google it....

here it is so you can all suffer with me


I bet it is someone's favourite tune on here, sorry for the offense
Aww I used to love this track. And the video is awesome, they're dressed in different colours to match the rooms around them!
(To be fair, I was probably about 11 when this song came out.. hardly the most refined period of one's taste in music..).

I do get what this article is saying.
It does piss me off so much when people use mental health diagnoses/terms to inappropriately describe things. Also the word "crazy" when used to describe a woman's behaviour always hits a raw nerve with me.
It's like.. wow, what if that person really is crazy? Does that mean she doesn't deserve any compassion?

And don't get me started on schizophrenic.. people just don't seem to have a clue about that one. x
 
supergreysmoke

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#12
Mental Illness is way better than being accused of witchcraft. Get you to hospital faster. If not known personally a illness designation can get you the help needed, like there's a diabetic down the street...no big deal, useful explanatory info in the event of a health emergency.
 
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#13
I personally don't mind calling what I experience as mental illness-- IMHO, the public should be educated. We have a series of public awareness "commercials"debunking the stereotypes here in the U.S. And it's about time. I feel very uncomfortable letting people I know that I have manic depression. I imagine they are envisioning someone who could snap on a moment's notice and become violent. And we have documentary types of crime shows in which someone going on a maniacal murder spree is labeled "bipolar". The only time I have felt homicidal was when my husband confesses he'd been unfaithful all the 20 years of our marriage and I think that was a normal feeling. It annoys the hell out of me when my normal range of feelings are labeled a result of my mentall illness. There are many things in life everyone struggles with and we are just like anyone else--sad things make us sad, unjust,cruel thins make us angry. It really ticks me off when my husband attributes any negative feeling I have to being bipolar. I also happen to be a human being. Enough from me.sorry for going off on a tangent!
 
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#14
Bipolar or Manic Depression (as it was formally called) is a serious mental illness, but the people with it usually do well with the right therapy at medication (though it can take a while to stabalise).

Some of the most wonderful people I have known have the disorder, and I knew a wonderful person with full blown bipolar in Queensland, that unfortunately due to my slackness I lost cotnact with when I moved state. He had it very severely but lithium and other medication kept him entirely stable. He was a great, social guy and had a lot to offer people.

I have noticed people with bipolar can often be brilliant in certain ways..

I don't see people as mental illness labels. I see people as people, I am happy to be friends with any person that has any type of mental illness, Once stable, mental illness typically becomes a background issue in your life and its no different to having something like Asthma or a physical disorder.
 
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Callalily

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#15
Mental Illness is way better than being accused of witchcraft.
Murder is seen as "worse" than assault, that doesn't make assault "good" ...

I personally don't mind calling what I experience as mental illness. ... It annoys the hell out of me when my normal range of feelings are labeled a result of my mentall illness. There are many things in life everyone struggles with and we are just like anyone else--sad things make us sad, unjust,cruel thins make us angry. It really ticks me off when my husband attributes any negative feeling I have to being bipolar. I also happen to be a human being.
There are some who have been labelled with mental health problems that feel that is exactly what the label had done. Maybe all our "symptoms" are just our way of reacting to life in the best way we can, the only way our mind is able to. Giving someone a label of mental illness negates all the experiences that have led a person to that point. This thread is worth a read http://www.mentalhealthforum.net/forum/thread80772.html

I have noticed people with bipolar can often be brilliant in certain ways.
I think all people have the ability to be brilliant in many mays, regardless of diagnosis.
 
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firemonkee57

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#16
It annoys the hell out of me when my normal range of feelings are labeled a result of my mentall illness.
This is what my mother did especially in the early days, any animation on my part especially if it involved having an opposite view was met with "Are you taking your pills? I think you're getting ill again. "

Personally I don't mind the term mental illness,but do mind that for some people all actions must be related to it and you're a label not an individual who happens to have mental health problems.
 
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Meredithmay

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#17
First and foremost we are all human beings. It can be worrying when a label becomes a way of identifying
someone and especially so when that individual identifies themselves in accordance with the label assigned to them.

This is such a complex area and people are usually very well between periods of severe mood changes. This is true in my case.

Because of the systems wrt DWP, there needs to be some common understanding whereby an individual can
seek financial support when in an episode. It would be no good being assessed by Atos and playing the whole thing down or asking for them to be less specific about labels etc.

I have felt mentally unwell/ill at times and have needed help to get me through it. Sometimes this has involved hospital admission, other times more Community support and then got through some patches myself.

When well, I reflect and wonder why I felt that particular way.

What I feel strongly about is the stigma associated with Mental health.

I have been assertive at times then been asked if I have taken my medication. It really is annoying and there have been many more instances.
 
Gajolene

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#18
I've never like the term mental illness, I refer as often as possible and only when asked directly that they are mental health conditions and sometimes can make you ill, for me it's easier to hide my condition than it is for my sons to do the same. For me a stranger would never know I have chronic complex ptsd unless I was in relapse and symptomatic even then it could be assumed I was just a shy person.
I often get well both your boys are scitzophrenic, or the worst aren't they psycho's :curseyou: Then the labels have to come out because there are big differences overall between the two conditions, I use them to counteract stigma and educate people who for the most part are either clueless or unnecessarily afraid. I want to alleviate those fears so people will accept them more as themselves.

In the hospital is where the labels and correct diagnoses is most important. Mismedication or overmedication can be a big problem if you are in an unfarmiliar emergency room not farmiliar with your families conditions. But outdoors I try hard not to bring any of it up at all if I can help it.

It's harder for us I think because we are in a small town where rumours spread quickly and everybody knows everybody, to hide the fact that maintaining mental health is not a big part of our lives is impossible.
 
shaky

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#19
I am confused in myself

I don't see what I have as a wrongness
But it makes me very unhappy and unable to function - at times.

If life is going well, I seem to function alright - or at least, within acceptable societal parameters.
But if not, I can crack up and do things injurious to my health and well-being

But some of what I do is always present
But it's just me
I am unique



And yet
I like having a name for it too
Helps me to talk to people about it, helps for reading research and articles that might relate to me.
And makes me feel a little bit special

But it's not an illness
It's a condition.
Like being a man, or being gay, or being right-handed.
 
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#20
But it's not an illness
It's a condition.
Like being a man, or being gay, or being right-handed.
i also struggle with the assumptions/prescriptions/language that these experiences/conditions are wholly illness - especially that it's all primarily biological illness.