We can stop saying mental illness

Neurobiological disorder: An illness of the nervous system caused by genetic, metabolic, or other biological factors. Many illnesses categorized as psychiatric disorders are neurobiological, including autism, bipolar disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome.


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battlescarred, bright, bewildered, bent, blue & bipolar

26 thoughts on “We can stop saying mental illness”

      1. I understand people who hate crazy, but I think it’s just such a normal word in my group of friends (“that show was crazy”, “he’s being crazy”, “my dog is crazy”, “this pizza is crazy”, “stop being crazy”) that it doesn’t bother me.


  1. I go around and around with terminology and connotations. My friends always say “your illness” or “your disorder” or “your condition” and then retract immediately. And that’s in reference to epilepsy or bipolar disorder. I consider it a crapshoot. It’d my crapshoot. I’m either going to feel sick or I’ll or disabled on any given day or I’m gonna feel great. I do my best to keep the odds in my favor. Take my meds. Sleep a lot. Try at least to eat well. That’s life!


    1. ‘Mental’ has successfully been turned into a slur, it’d be interesting to see whether idiots tried to do that to ‘neurobiological’. And for me, it’s also a matter of semantic accuracy.

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  2. I struggle with even saying I’m mentally ill. I hate the way it sounds. Plus, if I come out and tell people that I am, they automatically make assumptions about me. I don’t have a better way to refer to it, though.


  3. For sake of being understood by people I will say my mental illness or my disorder. But in reality I just consider it part of who I am. Something that is not entirely within the realm of my control – like the fact that I was born with brown eyes and I have naturally curly hair.
    Sure my Neurobiological disorder (I do like that term though!) is problematic at times, and worse than that sometimes too. But for better or worse it’s part of what makes me who I am.
    The way I explain to people is – we all have good days and bad days. At times mine can be somewhat more extreme versions of those, and I just have to work harder than other people do to maintain balance. I need a little extra help (from medication and a psychiatrist) to function in life.
    I agree that the stigma around the term “mental illness” doesn’t help those of us who are struggling with our situation in the first place. But I try to focus on making my own life more tolerable, and try not to get caught up in definitions of who or what I am.

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  4. I am in denial of mine (whatever I call it) and always reaching way beyond what I can/should – my therapist stops me cold by saying, “Kathy, you have a mental illness.” His way of saying, you’re not accepting again … it is a good term for me to use, it keeps me from beating myself up. Maybe when I am better at not beating myself up I will come up w/ a new term lol…


  5. I just say I’m bi-polar! Sometimes I get funny looks, other times I get very embarrassed ‘oh’s from people. I don’t elaborate. I don’t feel I should have to. My pals call me utterly nuts! (but meant in a nice way.) I suppose it depends how comfortable you are with your own neurobiological illness that dictates what you say and how much you say to others. My mum calls it my ‘condition’. I am no less the person I was prior to diagnosis than I am since I’ve been diagnosed. Its as comfortable as an old pair of boots to me now and I really believe the more mental illness or neurological illness is talked about, the less stigma will be attached to it.

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