‘A Little Bit of OCD’: The Downside of Mental Health Awareness


From The Guardian: People often claim to experience mental health problems only to excuse their unpleasant or hurtful behaviors. This can exacerbate prejudice toward those labeled mentally ill and increase societal scapegoating of “mental illness” for violence.

“In truth, exploiting mental health issues happens all around us, so it’s no wonder people are OK with it. From the media, citing mental illness as the cause for any violent attack where the perpetrator has inconvenient political views/is white, to drug companies and affiliated professionals labelling an ever-expanding range of psychological phenomena, like grief and tantrums, as disorders that need medicating. Lovely, profitable medication.

However it occurs and is perpetuated, invoking mental health to explain unpleasant behaviours is clearly a widespread habit, and even if it is sometimes understandable, it’s not really helpful.”

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  1. Seriously, OCD!?

    This is a rather ridiculous piece. Someone who claims to be on the, speculation has it, autism spectrum is a number of waste and reproductive body parts. The author, however, finds OCD debilitating and real. S**w “mental health” ‘awareness’ week, month, year, century, etc.! It’s all about “mental illness”, isn’t it?

    Lighten up. Develop a sense of humor. Send your OCD packing. Who knows? I hear, despite the author’s denials, doing so is well within the realm of possibility.

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    • I do think he’s pointing out a real phenomenon, though. It’s another big downside of this whole labeling craze. Having a label gives teachers an excuse why they can’t teach kids, gives parents an excuse why they don’t have to learn better skills, and gives kids and adults a built-in excuse for why they “can’t behave.”

      My son had a friend whose little brother was allowed to annoy him on purpose for years, and every time he objected, his mom would say, “Oh, you know he has a disability, he can’t help it!” Of course, it took a very short time before the kid (who was only 6 or 7) figured out the deal and would himself tell his brother, in a teasing and sarcastic way, “You know I have a disability, I can’t help it!”

      Of course, I’d ditch all the arbitrary labeling for other reasons, starting with the fact that the labels are just made up from cultural bias and the convenience of those in power and have no validity whatsoever, but I do think it’s important for us to note this as one of the bad things that starts to happen the minute you start blaming brains and absolving humans of responsibility for their actions.

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  2. This sort of thing might be less common if affected individuals would use diagnostic terminology in a more positive (yet annoying)way-“I didn’t get the flu because I’m schizophrenic, and therefore more resistant to virus diseases than straight people who don’t take vitamin C…” Or-“I won the senior beauty contest because I age more slowly than straight people…”

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