20 Bull$h*t Phrases We “Crazy” People are Sick of…

At UNC, I took a Rethink Psychiatric Illness training on mental illnesses and how stigma impacts those with mental health conditions. When I went through the training, I honestly didn’t see what the big deal was with some of the phrases they stated should be off limits.

What… no one should use the terms “crazy” or “psycho” just in case someone with a psychiatrist is in the room? That’s silly. Whatever. Don’t be so hypersensitive. Years later, after personal experiences with anxiety, mania, and depression, I know why certain phrases should be off limits. So, don’t be a part of the stigmatizing language.

1. Did you take your meds? Take a chill pill.

Psychiatric medications should not be a joke. Many people do not realize how hard finding the right medications can be for patients. Some people have treatment refractory conditions. They struggle to find the right meds for years.

2. I am sooo OCD.

This is often used in the context of having a neat living space or something to that effect. Clean is not the same as having intrusive thoughts for hours each day or behaviors that ruin your life. Yes, some people have OCD tendencies in relation to organization or cleaning, but that is not always the case.

Just because you like your desk a certain way does not mean you are the same as someone who has a germ phobia that causes them to wash their hands over 50 times a day, despite the constant skin irritation, breakage, and bleeding.

3. I am having a total panic attack about it.

Are you really? Are you feeling a little anxious about an upcoming deadline or are you literally struggling to breathe as your heart races, your stomach feels sick, and you are certain you are about to die? Anxiety is normal. Panic attacks are not.

4. I am pretty depressed right now.

It is likely that you are temporarily sad in relation to an event, or even something like watching a movie. This is not the same as clinical depression.

5. He is so bipolar.

The statement is often used in reference to someone who flips emotions suddenly. Bipolar disorder refers to mood episodes; such states can last days, months, weeks, or even years. It does not mean that someone is happy one second, mad the next, and crying, all within 10 minutes.

6. She’s schizo.

This is a stigmatizing term that refers to schizophrenia, as in hallucinations and delusions. Rarely does someone mean that someone is exhibiting schizophrenic symptoms. They just mean they are crazy.

7. What a batshit crazy person.

What do you mean, exactly? What is “crazy”? This used to refer to psychiatric illnesses… is that what you mean? Are you intending to call someone mentally ill?

8. That’s insane.

If you have ever danced on the line between sanity and insanity, you know that “insane” should not be an everyday term. At all.

9. Don’t be retarded.

“Retardation” used to be used to describe the population that is currently labeled “intellectually disabled.” Come on. You know better.

10. You’re mental.

“Mental” is meant to say that you are straight up not thinking logically or are not “right in the head.” Don’t use this one.

11. This is so hard. I’m just going to kill myself/jump off a bridge/shoot myself.

Suicide jokes are never OK. Many people with mental illnesses struggle with suicidal ideation or even attempts. How is suicide funny?

12. She’s so anorexic.

Anorexia is one of the deadliest mental illnesses. People quite literally starve themselves to death through this condition. It’s not funny at all.

13. The weather is so bipolar.

Once again, bipolar should not be associated with instability. Many people are stable and not rapid cycling.

14. I’m really OCD about being clean.

Your tendency to dust does not mean that you have phobia-drive behaviors or obsessions.

15. My girlfriend is psychotic.

I doubt your girlfriend actually has psychotic symptoms.

16. I’ve had 3 shots. I’m such an alcoholic.

This one, in particular, is overused by college students. What college drinker hasn’t joked about what an alcoholic they are on a wild night? Binge drinking once in a while does not mean you are an alcoholic. Alcoholism destroys families, careers, health, and lives.

17. I can’t focus. I’m so ADHD.

Do you seriously mean to say that you are mentally ill just because you’d rather scroll through social media than study for your exam or write that paper?

18. You’re depressing.

Hopefully, no person actually gives you depression.

19. Stop acting crazy!

What is “crazy?” Unstable? Psychotic? Moody? Delusional?

20. I’m losing my mind.

Unless you are having full blown mania with racing thoughts so severe that you can’t even thinking clearly, you probably don’t know this feeling in reality. It is a terrifying experience, where you are not certain what is reality and what is not, whether or not you can trust your own view of the world.


So, if you have never had mental health issues, good for you. However, it is very likely that someone you talk to has mental conditions or symptoms of one.

Be sensitive. Be educated. Be against stigmatizing language. #EndTheStigma

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