Word Usage

The overuse of certain mental illness words or symptoms is out of control.

I’m sure it used to be much, much worse than it is now.

But the stigma is still here.

“Oh, they’re acting so manic.”

“Oh, she’s crazy.”

“Oh, he’s been so insane today.”

I’ve been a culprit of using some poor choice wording over the years.

I’ll admit, it was not productive.

Actually quite the opposite.

And I’m committed to changing that within myself.

I’ve recently taken the word crazy out of my vocabulary.

And insane.

I use wild instead.

Or intense.

Because that’s what I actually mean.

I was never using these words properly.

I know the slang definitions vary drastically from the original meaning.

And I don’t think that’s a good thing.

At all.

It builds on stigma that’s already abundant.

And misunderstanding.

I think it creates even more disconnect where it’s already thick.

Take the word psychotic.

It’s misused all the time.

In tv shows and movies, someone who’s psychotic is made out to be a serial killer and abuser.

An obsessive and evil person.

When that is not the case in the real world.

Being psychotic doesn’t mean you’re a bad person.

It basically means that you’re separated from reality because your brain is malfunctioning.

Not many people go out and google or look up definitions of these words.

Most folks go off of what tv and movies describe these words.

And so the mental illness phrases that are already stigmatized, continue to be misused.

Because of misdirected descriptors and buzzwords, no one thinks twice about calling someone a psycho interchangeably with psychotic.

When in fact, they are very different words.

I misused the word psychotic almost my whole life.

Until this year.

I labeled people I didn’t understand as psychotic.

Someone I didn’t like.

Someone who was different and I was unable to categorize.

Psychotic means someone has “gone crazy”.

Or someone who’s “insane”.


They’re murderers and kidnappers.

Being psychotic has little to do with my past uses or suggested definition of the word.

I used it when someone was acting out of character.

Not out of touch with reality.

And I would bet most people have done this too.

Let’s say a stranger seemingly bumps into you on purpose and that motion ends up spilling your coffee on your shirt.

What’s your go to response?

What are you, “crazy”?

Maybe “look out, psycho”, if you’re in a bad mood.

When in reality, the person who bumped into you was probably just sidetracked.

Or in a hurry.

Why such word usage?

Why such intense words?

I don’t think most people look too far into this.

In fact, I feel that is the case for far more words beyond mental illnesses and symptoms.

People don’t think words matter but they do.

Some folks think people like me are being too sensitive.

Well, I’m here to say that unless something really affects me, I’m prone to not fully understand the weight of the words involved.

I looked up the word “psycho” for the first time, while writing this entry.

I’m fucking shook.

Woah, huh?

A psychopath or psychotic person.

The first one is a personality trait.

And the second is out of anyone’s control.

How are these interchangeable?

That is what I don’t understand.

How has language merged serious mental illness issues to slang of a person they simply just don’t understand?

Aren’t there better words to use?

Some of these words, like “crazy”, mean almost opposite things when it comes to the slang definition.

Especially in this wave of empathetic, understanding and acceptance of everyone that the youth has now.

I personally think it’s time to revamp everyday vocabulary.

It honestly feels hopeless.

And like mental health issues will continue to face major stigma regardless.

Because people just don’t get it.

Because it’s deeper than people just not understanding.

Not living it themselves.

It’s ingrained in what we watch.

In what we read.

In what we see.

It’s in everything and no one is changing it.

We all allow it.

No one is standing up to say how wrong this is.

There are so many words in the English language and that’s all we can come up with and use?

I don’t buy it.

Misusing words, or being overly dramatic with vocabulary does more harm than good.

And part of me thinks it will never change.

Most people just do not have empathy for what they can’t comprehend.

And it makes me sad.

All misuse of words like these do is drive a bigger gap between us humans.

I may not understand what someone’s behaviors mean.

But that doesn’t mean I have to label them as “crazy” or anything.

I don’t need to put that stereotype out there.

Calling something “crazy” brushes the action off.

And puts it into a box of unacceptable social actions to observe.

Is this why people with mental health issues, mental illnesses, symptomatic, whatever you want to call it, are still shunned.

Because people don’t understand the strength of certain words.

How they categorize certain people.

And usually not for the better.

So, I challenge you to join me in trying to change this type of  misguided vocabulary that surfaces.

I do think one person can make a difference.

It may not be felt instantaneously.

But it will create change.

And maybe if we tried to change our words around it, the people who deal with mentally illness wouldn’t be so ostracized.

– Keren


3 responses to “Word Usage”

  1. I can’t remember what some people that are slightly different than me, but I try very hard to limit the use of st*pid/d*mb and cr*zy. I go for ignorant or foolish (I think that’s the term that people slightly younger than me use) and ridiculous.

    “Oh no, I probably look ridiculous to people.”

    As well, trying to not be hard on myself with certain words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes!! This!! There are sooooo many other words to use! I love that you’ve been making changes too. I think it’s good for everyone involved to make sure they’re using the correct words ✨✨

      Liked by 1 person

      • There’s always a better way of explaining things and putting a bit of effort for people’s comfort/accommodations, but some people think that people they deem evil without quick thought should be outcasted and punished for who they are and if they have to include them then it’s getting rid of their rights and it’s the end times. Questionable.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

%d bloggers like this: