Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It's not what you say but how you say it

Depressed people unite! We have our own geological formation!

Since I decided to be more open about my depression I've found it easier than expected to talk about. Some people give me funny looks or stay silent a little too long, but most people are surprised and supportive--for which I'm grateful.

The only problem I've really had is accepting a certain term in relation to myself: mental illness. It's the thing that is hardest for me to say out loud. "I am mentally ill" just doesn't roll off the tongue. I think I have a hard time because of the associations I have with the phrase. Let's play a little game. When I type "mentally ill" what pops into your head? Jack Nicholson and Nurse Rachett? A Beautiful Mind? A shaved head and drool?

Well, I have good news for all of you. Turns out I don't have to struggle with "mental illness" because I am not necessarily mentally ill. The new terminology, for those of you who don't know, is "mood disorder". If you check out "mental illness" on Webmd it will still list depression, but really doesn't "mood disorder" sound so much better? I'm sure the term has been kicking around for a long time and I just didn't realize it until now, but, hey, if it makes it just a little bit easier for me to ask for help and talk about things I'll take it!


Breakdown said...

I agree, mood disorder does sound a lot better than mental illness. Got with it!

Misty Lynne said...

Actually, I think that is is much more descriptive then "mental illness". I like terms that make more sense and are more specific. I like it much, much better. Kudos for who ever thought it up.

Kelly said...

For those who may have trouble reading the sign in your photo, let me point out that Laura is making her sad face in front of Depression Geyser during her vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Funny moment there!

I also like the term mood disorder. However, if you told me you had a mood disorder, I would never understand that intrusive violent and even suicidal thoughts came along with that. But it better describes the jump from absolute hilarity to rage to sorrow that occurs.

Charlotte said...

You know, I'm down with applying either label to myself. Personally I just prefer "crazy."

That said - I LOVE your sweatshirt! Roxy?? So cute! That pic of you is great:)

Elizabeth-W said...

Thanks to Kelly for clearing that up!! I was thinking "there's a joke here, and I'm not getting it!".
I think of a mood disorder as a type of mental illness, but I think there needs to be a better term.
Not that long ago the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) was National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. It's a subtle change, but it does make a difference.