Colloquial misappropriations likening these disorders to weight loss strategies or bad habits, as well as associating them with celebrities and tabloid stories, serves to belittle these disorders and shame those living with them. This can cause persons living with an eating disorder to feel afraid to speak out for fear of being misunderstood, or for fear that they will be shamed and referred to as “crazy.”
Although persons living with OCD and bipolar disorder are often high functioning individuals, many have at some point felt debilitated by their diseases, or have encountered feelings of distress, depression, and alienation. In contrast, a person without bipolar disorder who has a mood swing, or enjoys being punctual, does not have to live with these same symptoms. This type of misappropriation can prevent someone living with mental illness from speaking up or reaching out for help since they might fear not being taken seriously or being met with ignorance.
Welcome to the fourth segment of Social Justice Synonyms, a column at The Talon that discusses harmful and discriminatory language embedded in our culture and provides ways to unlearn this language. This week’s word is retarded. The word “retard” is derived from the Latin word retardare, meaning “to make slow, delay, or hinder”. It was […]