Walks like a duck

Although my last post was exhibiting some despair, this one is actually coming from a good day, good mood. And now I’m going to unleash a big, fat annoyance of mine:
the dumbing down, softening, and/or sanitising of perfectly functional terminology to make conditions such as depression more socially acceptable.
What I’m on about…
Those of you who have been around my little nook on the interwebbins will likely already know I am a bipolar ADHD case. Diagnosed, treated, medicated, I am the real deal. What I don’t have is “low mood,” which seems to be a new and increasingly popular replacement term for depression. And here I thought we were all finally getting somewhere with the stamping out of stigma.

Low Mood is insulting. It’s a kind of filter to make depression seem not-so-bad and easier to tell the parents/employer/lover/grandma about. Well, fuck you, users of this new, Now With 20% Less Awkwardness phrase. You have successfully taken progress for acceptance of mental health issues back about ten years. Worse yet, I find that the really wonderful people at Outlook are using this term in tweets. They’ve even hashtagged it, which seems to make my blood boil just that little bit more. (And I really do like Outlook SW– I have received great care from them.)

Depression is not something we should hide, be ashamed of, or whitewash with kinder, weaker words. It is what it is and if you suffer from it, trivialising it through innocuous and pointless vocabulary can only serve to damage, not help to cope.

I had a couple of tweets earlier, ranty things, and I’ll share them:

I get annoyed when #depression gets downgraded to a more socially innocuous #lowmood. To get rid of stigma, call it what it is, folks.

Calling #depression #lowmood is like calling death “permanently unresponsive.” We don’t need sanitised terms, we need acceptance.

If you have depression, get help and don’t be ashamed to ask for it. I’ve been both untreated and treated, and believe me, you deserve to live a better life with support and acceptance.
Dare to wear the brand, and then blow the minds of those around you with your capabilities. You are not weak for asking for help– you are brave and strong for daring to want a better life for yourself and those around you.

And please, don’t ever let anyone trivialise the things that matter to you. That goes for everything, really.

2 thoughts on “Walks like a duck”

  1. This may not be correct, but I’m wondering if a new term may be tried because depressed/depression is being used to mean ‘I’m just a little bit down’? As in the word is being diluted by being used by all and sundry. However, if a new term was being used, ‘low mood’ is not the right one!

  2. Rachel, you are pointing right in the spot where Jen is trying to shine light.

    There is indeed a question to be asked as to the frequency of the term “low mood”. Currently, there is a strong indication that the pathology is spreading like wild grass, and one of the main dangers of depression is minimizing it, or not accepting it.

    Therefore, as the illness grows more frequent, it is crucial not to use “politically correct” words. People suffering depression should have the strong word immediately available and not a washed down word they will feel better using due to peer pressure.

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