Wednesday, April 25, 2012

You aren't bipolar. You're fucking moody.



For whatever reason, there seems to be a trend among annoying people these days to misuse terms designated for serious psychological conditions in order to describe mild character traits.

The trend arguably began with the rampant over-use of the label "Obsessive Compulsive Disorder" to describe people who are neat or those who do things frequently.

"Oh my god, you keep checking your phone, you're like OCD," or "Yeah, I like to keep my work area clean, I'm kind of OCD like that."

No.

OCD is a an anxiety disorder, so unless you feel extreme anxiety about not checking your phone and you compulsively check it to attempt to ease that anxiety, you're not OCD, you're just easily distracted and you have no interest in the person you're hanging out with.

And unless you have severe emotional distress about keeping your desk clean--to an extent that you become irrationally obsessed about it-- you are not OCD, you're just fucking tidy.

So shut up.





I recognize that people don't really mean "OCD" in the clinical sense and that it's kind of like a linguistic device for dumb people, but seriously, please shut up.

At best you're just being lazy or hyperbolic (Do you think you sound more interesting this way?) and at worst you're being mildly offensive to the person who actually has these disorders.

Two men are in a public washroom. Man One is at the sink washing his hands. Man Two emerges from the stall and washes his hands, then uses paper towel to open the bathroom door. 
"I'm really OCD," he notes.
"Yeah, me too," notes Man One as he continues scrubbing his hands until his knuckles bleed. 

The most common offender these days for this psychology-in-common-speech fad is "bipolar." Every fucking moron who has a mood swing is apparently bipolar these days. Hell, even the weather is bipolar from time to time, apparently.

People have changes in mood, this does not make them bipolar. Right now, I'm relatively neutral. Earlier today, when a guy cut me off with his car on my bike ride to work, I was really, really angry. Tonight, when I get home, crack a beer, and watch PVR'd Game of Thrones, I will be happy.

These are called moods. All humans have them, and they change. Showing a range of emotions does not a bipolar person make.

Bipolarism is a condition where people experience drastic swings from mania (not just a good mood, full on mania!) to severe depression (not grumpiness, you stupid asshole). The changes are sudden and unpredictable and rarely triggered by external factors ("She got all bipolar when Todd called her!"). Furthermore, the manic and depressive phases can last months.

Months!

Do you recall a time in your life that went on for months during which you exhibitted these symptoms:

  • Reckless behavior and lack of self control,
  • Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use,
  • Poor judgment,
  • Sex with many partners,
  • Spending sprees,
  • Very elevated mood,
  • Excess activity,
  • Increased energy,
  • Racing thoughts,
  • Talking a lot, or
  • Very high self-esteem?

No?

Then you aren't bipolar, you're just fucking moody.

And lastly, but certainly not least, if I hear one more person describe someone who changes their mind as schizophrenic, I'm going to beat them to death with a copy of the DSM IV (Yes! Introduction to Psychology reference! I knew I'd use that class one day!).

People who have various opinions are not schizophrenic. The stock market is not acting schizophrenic. Your dress is not fucking schizophrenic.

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that makes it difficult to have normal emotional responses, behave normally in social situations and which makes it hard to tell the difference between real and unreal experinces--it is not a fucking synonym for "varying."

I'm not trying to advocate for extreme politcal correctness here--I think even a red-headed, mouth-breathing turd could see that's not really my MO. I'm just advocating, yet again, in favour of the proper use of the English language. If we start letting this sort of lazy hyperbole get the better of us it won't be long before we start hearing things like "I'm not going to the party, I'm bloated and I'm feeling really body dysmorphic," "That Taco Bell gave me encopresis" or "Bro, I'm so hungry I'm literally autophagic."

And that, as I'm sure you all know, would just be wrong.

You might also like: