Do You Really Want to Use Mental Illness as an Insult?

I am tired to death of hearing mental illness diagnoses used as pejoratives.

I am tired to death of hearing technical medical terms that apply to me and my friends hurled as insults at political figures, used to describe weather conditions, and employed as self-deprecating comments in the context of life's little challenges.

I am especially tired to death of hearing this language in the postings of Facebook friends and in the pulpit from educated people who should know better.

Especially after I have called them on it over and over and over.

So you can imagine that my eyes perked up at a thread that addresses this issue, posted on Twitter by somebody who goes by the handle @queerfox.

@QueerFox has gone to great trouble to find adjectives for those who are challenged in the vocabulary department. They have given me permission to post their work, and I share it with you to encourage you to

Watch your mouth.

Did you mean: self-centered, egocentric, self-involved, vain, self-serving, intractable, stubborn, self-aggrandizing, pretentious, self-involved, grandiose, overblown, conceited, smug, narrow-minded, inflexible, adamant, intransigent?

Then say that, instead of narcissistic.

Did you mean: cold, uncaring, heartless, cruel, indifferent, sadistic, ruthless, merciless, evil, remorseless?

Then say that, instead of sociopath/psychopath.

Did you mean: erratic, unpredictable, temperamental, volatile, fickle, mercurial, impulsive, reckless, thoughtless?

Then say that, instead of borderline, manic, or bipolar.

Did you mean irrational, illogical, fallacious, incoherent, conceited, intransigent, obdurate, unreasonable, implacable, cussed, ridiculous, implausible, absurd, unjustified, preposterous?

Then say that, instead of delusional, schizo, insane, crazy, demented, etc.

(Not an illness, but on a related note) Did you mean: uncompromising, obdurate, obstinate, ignorant, intransigent, adamant, heedless, inconsiderate, stubborn, indifferent, narrow-minded, indifferent?

Then say that instead of deaf to criticism, falling on deaf ears, etc.

(Also not necessarily an illness) Did you mean ignorant, imperceptive, blinkered, narrow-minded, inconsiderate, oblivious, rigid, obstinate, willful, intransigent, unobservant, obdurate, unyielding, pertinacious, prejudicial, unamenable?

Then say that, instead of blind.

Did you mean anal-retentive, finicky, fussy, pedantic, nit-picky, pernickity, meticulous, fastidious, hair-splitting, puritanical, snobbish, exacting, controlling, obsessive, high-strung, uptight, queasy, prissy?

Then say that instead of OCD or neurotic.

Did you mean: melodramatic, oversensitive, delicate, uptight, clingy, theatrical, artificial, insincere, boastful, ostentatious, pretentious, attention-seeking, insecure, dependent, needy?

Then say that, instead of histrionic or borderline.

The thread continued. You get the idea.

No, this is not about being PC, where PC is your shorthand for fussy, legalistic, and not fun. This is not about the first amendment, the current justification for all kinds of bad behavior. It is about manners.

Remember manners?

So if I take offense, it is because your behavior is offensive.

In the days of manners, Monica Stoupa once slammed me against the gymnasium wall at St. John the Evangelist Parochial Grade School and said, I can tell Polish jokes, but you can't. Just like how we can tell nun jokes, but the Protestants can't.

I learned my lesson in fifth grade, and it has never steered me wrong.

Which is to say, don't bother calling me on my self-description as batshit crazy. I and my tribe can use that language. Unless you are claiming membership in that tribe, you cannot.

Here ends my lesson in basic decency.

You're welcome.

meme from

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