A friend of mine recently had a seminar about mental health and it raised some important conversations.
We can trivialise mental illness when we use phrases like, “I’m so OCD” to talk about being tidy and organised. I like to think our intentions are not intentionally hurtful, but misguided. Every person will experience some form of mental health issue during their lifetime and we need to have the perspective that this is a normal part of our lives. However, there is a difference between experiencing mental health and diagnosed mental health conditions.
OCD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that seriously impacts the sufferers life and well being. We may trivialise its severity if we try to joke about it or reference it off-hand. This I hope is not malicious, but ignorant. And I know I’ve made this mistake before with many things.
But we can help to raise awareness by educating others when phrases like this come up in conversation. We don’t have to be condescending to the people who make these mistakes, but can instead gently have a conversation about mental health. If we do it with the intention of teaching, we can contribute to the conversations we all need to have about our mental health.