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Mental Health

Top 5 Words We Should Stop Throwing Around For Fun



With everyone using social media as their diary these days, everyone feels the need to express how they’re feeling at the very moment they feel it. It’s become so easy to type out tweets and posts out of fleeting anger or sadness, which also makes it easy to point fingers because no one goes online to blame themselves for their own pain! This mentality has led to a trend of people turning mental illnesses into buzzwords in order to perfectly exaggerate their emotions in order to get likes, retweets, follows etc. But this trend has spread even further into people’s daily lives as a way to be “relatable,” and this can have a deeper effect on those who actually do suffer from these experiences and disorders than just being offensive. So here’s a list of the top 5 words/phrases we should stop throwing around for fun:


  1. Panic Attack

Words such as anxiety and depression can be used both clinically and casually to describe strong emotions, however saying “I’m going to have a panic attack” whenever you want is not so easily justified. A panic attack is not simply being worried or stressed in one moment. In reality, it is a serious episode of intense fear, discomfort, anxiety or a combination of these three that lead to symptoms of rapid heart rate, sweating, nausea, chest pains, detachment and more. Using the term carelessly invalidates what people who have panic or anxiety disorder go through.


(Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels) 



Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, has two main components: obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. People with OCD have these thoughts and compulsions that are beyond their control, thus it can cause immense difficulty for them to live a “normal” life. OCD is not just simply “being organized,” or “wanting a clean space,” nor is it a “quirky” trait to have.



Toxic has become an easy replacement for emotional abuse. People began to use it to describe friends, and mainly partners, who did things like lie, manipulate, and gaslight at the expense of other, thus making the relationship unhealthy. Yet, now people use it to describe anyone they don’t like or anyone who gets angry with them, which strips away the true meaning behind the word.


(Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash) 



Having bipolar disorder is not something to take lightly. Those who have this disorder may experience immense depression followed by extreme mania. Saying “OMG you’re being so bipolar right now” is not applicable to describing the general “mood swings” of your friends. Bipolar is not a switch you can turn on and off, it is a mental illness.


5.Kill Myself

Most of all, the use of the phrase “I’m going to kill myself” has gotten way out of hand. Social media has sadly allowed the spread of negativity to become normal, something everyone can relate to. Suicide should never be reduced to being used as a punchline for a tweet or someone’s catchphrase on one bad day. It is never “cool” nor “trendy” to encourage self-harm.


(Photo by MMPR on Unsplash)


These words all have meaning that is incredibly important and should not be erased. Those who suffer or have suffered from anxiety disorder, emotional abuse, OCD, bipolar disorder and/or suicidal thoughts do not deserve to have their experiences belittled by people who are simply uneducated, which is how it feels when these words are thrown around carelessly. People with these mental illnesses maybe even afraid of telling their friends and family what they are going through for fear of being mistaken as over exaggerating as so many others do. Their emotions are validated, but your reason for using these buzzwords to be “relatable” is not. So next time you find yourself exaggerating by misusing one of these words, try to think twice about another phrase you could use and who may be suffering nearby you.

Shanelle Huynh

UC Riverside '22

I am a fourth-year creative writing major, business minor at UCR learning to define my own way of living as a "writer" and sharing what I find out on my journey along the way.
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