Language and the Quiet Alarm

Hello Escritori,

Since I made peace with my condition I’ve been able to make some great new friends and that too without fear of stigmatisation.

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I’ve been so privileged since diagnosis to have people disclose their mental health condition to me, knowing I won’t judge them. Many of them are amazingly talented artists too. I’ve laughingly dubbed them “The Invisible Underground” because the world has generally ignored the existence of this well-spring of talent out of fear.

The key thing we do is CHECK on each other – because we look at health in general as a holistic thing, which also includes mental state. You’ll find us working it into conversation by saying:

“I had a bad mental health day today…” in between ideas for workouts, healthy recipes and conversations about writing and art, life, the universe and everything.

I much prefer THIS METHOD of normalising the discussion about mental health than what really incenses me and a lot of my friends – the casual overuse and MISUSE of psychiatric terms in day to day life:

“Wow, the weather’s acting really bipolar today… Do you think we’ll get some sun?”

“I think he’s just a bit depressed…” 

“She’s acting so OCD.” 

“Oh yeah, the office was totally manic.”

Call me precious and pedantic – my mother often does –  but this is far more than an issue of semantics to me. I’m also up in arms about the derogatory connotations ascribed by straight people around the word gay. “Don’t do that, you look so gay” meaning ‘foolish and idiotic’ – just to consolidate my point.

The language in which we choose to express ourselves becomes of our time because of repeated usage, and that is why the meanings of words change and others fall out of favour: but they never cease to be important and to reflect our attitude about a certain subject.

That’s why I’m going to urge you to check yourself before you wreck yourself please, because you never know who might be on the receiving end of believing that you may have a discriminatory attitude towards them – rather than being an ally they can trust.

Keep scribbling!

~ Pola ~

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