Saturday, April 20, 2013

Misconceptions of the Mentally Ill

I think I am loosing my pea picking mind. As my son pointed out, you can't loose anything you never had, Mom. Sigh, sarcasm that kid, I don't know where he gets it.

A couple of days ago I was told by someone that everyone had a little OCD. Eye roll.....My reaction was one of anger and frustration. I wanted to punch something. I can't punch anything because my middle finger has been broken and is in the process of healing. Albeit, it is kind of gnarled and crooked still.

Then I realized I can not be angry by this person's slip up. It is not their fault they have been misguided or led  to wrong conclusions. There is still misinformation out there. I feel like my posts can be redundant and repetitive on this subject, but apparently I need to keep talking about it.

I have never met anyone that is proud to have OCD. We are too busy sitting in a back room somewhere knitting ourselves a sweater out of our tears and guilt. We are proud that we are learning to live our lives with  this disorder, but certainly no one is proud to have this pain in our lives.

One would never say everyone is a little bipolar or everyone is a little schizophrenic. If they do, I have never heard of such. It really burns my butt. Seriously, it irritates me. I try very hard to put out the correct information out there without being snarky. Sometimes it is an up hill battle.

So  I am going to list some common misconceptions, bare with me.

 Anal retentive or quirky people. Some people are anal retentive and quirky. This does not mean they suffer from OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder that may or may not have symptoms of being organizational or liking things in a certain way. If there is no identifiable anxiety then it is not OCD. If there is no intrusive thoughts or obsessions then it is not OCD. Some people just like to be orderly. There is nothing wrong with that and it does not mean that there is mental illness involved. Everyone has quirks not OCD. It is not called, Quirky compulsive disorder, after all.

Awkward people. There are a lot of people that are awkward in social situations. They are awkward in their clothing choices, body movements, and awkward in their own skin. Awkwardness is not mental illness. There is nothing that says being odd means you are mentally ill. It might mean there are self esteem issues that might require therapy. Therapy is not for just people with mental illness. Self esteem issues, in itself, is not a mental illness. Although, most of us with mental illness struggle with self esteem issues. Some awkward people do have mental illness but not all and therefore we can not just assume that they do. Some people are just awkward and there is nothing wrong with that.

Angry people. Some people have anger issues. Anger issues is generally a learned response. There are always exceptions to the rule. It is good to have therapy if you suffer from anger management problems. Anger ,in itself, does not mean that you have mental illness. We can not assume that if you have an anger problem that you have a mental illness unless you have been diagnosed with one. Not all angry people are mentally ill.

Manipulative Asswholes.  Some people are manipulative, self serving, selfish, asswholes. This is their personality. They want what they want when they want it. This is a personality flaw and not mental illness. They can be users and emotional vampires. They are predators of the weak and nice. They take and take and take. Yes, there could be a mental illness in some of them, but guess what? Some people are just jerks. We can not assume that because they are rude, mean, narcissistic, or manipulative that they are that way because they are mentally ill. Some people are just asshats.

 Bat (expletive for poop) crazy. Some people are so far gone in their illness or lives, they have lost the will to feel to the point they are bat (expletive for poop) crazy. They most likely have had some form of mental illness but have lost the will to be treated. They no longer have normal human emotions. They do not care of consequences or feel any empathy towards others.These people are the most damaging to the normal mentally ill. The media jumps on the mental illness diagnosis band wagon, when bat (expletive for poop) crazy people become violent and do horrible things. None of these, by the way have been diagnosed with a particular mental illness. If they have, it has not been released to the public. There have been rumors and these are damaging as well. It promotes false fear and stigmatizes us in the mental illness community. People become unfairly afraid of us. Most mentally ill people are NOT bat (expletive for poop) crazy.

Just because there are times that you come across someone whose awkwardness or quirkiness makes you uncomfortable, does not not mean that they are mentally ill. There is a problem with labeling actions that we don't understand as mental illness. There is many personality flaws that can be misconstrued as mental disorders. That does not make them so. Just because someone upsets you with their anger management issues or tries to manipulate you, does not mean that they are mentally ill. They could be in need of therapy or just have that kind of personality. Mental illness has to be diagnosed by a psychiatrist. If you are not a psychiatrist then please do the mental illness community a favor and not try to diagnose anyone. It is hurtful and down right annoying. Be aware that people with mental illness are mostly caring, sensitive, and creative people. [tweet this]. That we are working on a daily basis to be better and deal with the hell that mental illness causes in our lives. We are trying and we ask you to do the same. Thank you.
                                              Neurotic Nelly


  1. I really enjoyed reading what you have posted. I have a mental illness as well (although not OCD) and what you have shared means a lot me. People with mental illness seem to be easy targets for blame by the media. There also seems to be a lot of stigma with seeking help. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. Thank you so much Nathan! We do get a lot of blame for issues that usually do not pertain to us. It needs to be realized that not every uncomfortable situation or person that makes us uncomfortable has anything to do with mental illness. Most people with mental illness are kind, considerate, caring individuals and we should be represented as such.

  3. Thank you very much ReBeka! That means a lot to me!