You're mental! Are you crazy? Have you lost your marbles?
How often do we use terms like these in our everyday life in a funny, ironic or sometimes even slightly malicious way... Ultimately, it doesn't matter how we use them because the result stays the same: What is wrong with you? Are you sick?
Mental health has been quite a roller coaster ride for several years. The term has slowly but firmly established itself in our vocabulary and is no longer questioned by any of us. That's exactly why we ask ourselves: why not?
As soon as it comes to the nature of our thoughts and, above all, our state of mind, hardly anyone asks detailed questions anymore. It is enough to know that something is wrong with your psyche or your mental well-being. This is one of the few spectrums in which naming, categorization and pigeonholing would be helpful. We don't want to weigh one mental illness against the other, but depending on the diagnosis, our approach to the illness should also vary. When it comes to mental health, there can be no one-size-fits-all solution, empathy or tolerance.
Physical suffering is visible as well as tangible to us. It encounters understanding and suggestions for various solutions. Psychological stress, on the other hand, is often perceived by us as abstract or incomprehensible. Eventhough this concerns us in particular, our emotions, our well-being, our quality of life and also our health. It is and remains a paradox that sentences such as “you can do it”, “it will settle down”, or “just do it” are thrown at us when our psyche, the center of our actions and thoughts, is not functioning properly , but bed rest is prescribed to us when the slightest cold and the possibility of so-called "carrying away" is offered. Isn't it much worse to procrastinate a mental illness?
It is even more surprising that we want to hide, cover and even beautify our well-being, like dark circles under our eyes after a far too short night. Due to shame, fear, stigma, but above all due to experiences with numerous lacks of understanding, the generic term is used like a concealer: "I'm not feeling well. I have mental problems.” But why don't we call a spade a spade?* In a society that is daily confronted with the involuntary receipt of nocturnal dick pics, public discussions of the most intimate bedtime stories and – just because it fits so nicely – the detailed viral one divorce war between Johnny and Amber, it still seems to evoke feelings of shame and fear when it comes to bringing up mental illness. Are we the only ones seeing the double standard?
Another factor is the inflationary use of the word: since too many cooks are known to spoil the broth, the terms "depression", "panic attack", "burnout" or even "trigger" are now widely spread, said quickly and put in the wrong context, that only the word of an affected person is hardly believed anymore, as long as there is no stamp from a recognized doctor under the diagnosis.
Nevertheless, we shouldn't forget that there has been an immense progress in the acceptance of mental illnesses. Even if only the embellishing generic term is still mentioned as a symptom in the case of a sickness certificate, it is now accepted with the same status as physical complaints and absences - at least from a purely legal point of view.
How do we best deal with ourselves and our external influences? Giving a name to this queasy feeling is actually the most difficult but also the most liberating part. BURN-OUT. ANXIETY DISORDER. NARCISSISM. Bingo, let's work with that!
Talking about a mental illness (be it burnout, eating disorders, or depression, just to name the top three) is still extremely difficult. It's up to us to change this once and for all, no matter which side we're on. Listen, ask, name, pronounce*. Once this part has been mastered, there are steady, small steps that bring us closer to our own well-being. Our own psyche sometimes seems to forget how important it actually is, which is why it is all the more essential and valuable to say - whether to yourself or to others - how you feel and what helps you. Open communication about our mental state mostly requires courage and leads to an even softer cloud to land on when this emotional challenge meets an open ear and helping hand.
*Each person decides freely how much and what they want to share