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I just came across a pretty interesting blog post on Psychology Today (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-hope-preventing-suicide/200910/behavioral-health-versus-mental-health). It was written like 6 years ago, but that’s when the term “behavioral health” was really taking hold across the country, and within CT. Of course there are way too many people still saying “mental illness”, but at least they aren’t calling us “psychos” as often.
Anyways, when dealing with the idea that I have symptoms that can be categorized as a behavioral health disorder, I found that coming up with language that I could integrate into the way I thought about myself was important. I couldn’t say “mentally ill”… that just seemed too close to the movie “Girl Interrupted” (This scene can be triggering, do not watch if you feel uncomfortable with restraint & seclusion, swearing, or general topics related to the inhumane treatment of individuals who experience symptoms of mental health and/or substance use disorders https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JT7ItsxgcMw).
Language and identity are some things that I still struggle with today. I certainly do not want to be Angelina Jolie in Girl Interrupted, but I was… I totally see myself in her. The problem is that I do not want to be that forever and now I find it offensive the way that some organizations, groups, and individuals refer to people who experience symptoms because it brings to mind those scenes – my past, in a way that is kind of insensitive. For me, the term “behavioral health challenges” is something that feels natural. As in, at times I could be thinking about the more difficult challenges I have overcome, while at other times I could associate it with yesterday when I was generally pissed off and I certainly overreacted to a situation that I could have breathed through.
However, I am leaning closer and closer to saying that I struggle at times with a higher level of emotional distress than what other people might experience in a similar situation. What do you think?
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