Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lili's thought for psychiatry week

Let's stop using the term "mental health" as a euphemism for "psychiatry", "mental disorder" or "mental illness". And who was it who decided that the word "sick" is off-limits, to be replaced with the euphemistic-sounding "unwell"? Australians are a race of people who love to call a spade a spade? My arse! We are actually a race of people who invent and embrace euphemisms.

Could we also please stop crapping on about the importance of "mental health"? When someone claims that "mental health" is an important issue, that could be taken two ways. Either is is nonsense, because an "issue" is supposed to mean a problem, and health cannot be a problem. Alternatively one could take that statement as a sloppily abbreviated claim that the maintenance of good mental health is an important thing to be aware of, but this interpretation implies that mental disorders can be avoided by practicing healthy habits and doing approved activities, and for many mental disorders this simply is not true. There's plenty of evidence indicating that the more serious psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are caused by various factors, many of them beyond the control of the patient. We cannot choose our genes and we cannot choose the womb that gave host to our earliest development, but we can choose our lifestyle. If you feel dire are a result of unnatural sleeping habits, a diet of junk, alcohol usage or drug abuse, perhaps your problem isn't "mental health", more likely a quite ordinary problem of "physical health". To claim that we all need to take good care of our "mental health" is to trivialize the serious issues of a small minority of people, who are becoming lost among a sea of fools who aspire to play the victim one minute, the next playing the amateur psychiatrist. I can't wait for them to go find another hobby.

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