Proud Member of the “Word Police”!

“PSA: OCD stands for “obsessive-compulsive disorder.” It is not an adjective. You’re not “a little OCD” because you just picked a cat hair off your shirt or arrange your dvds alphabetically. You may think that’s cute or harmless, but it’s actually condescending to and dismissive of people like me who legitimately fight every day to function without being crippled by their illness. Five minutes in my head on one of my bad days and I guarantee you’d have a screaming meltdown.
Grow up, look that shit up on wikipedia and quit co-opting other people’s suffering to show everyone how ~quirky~ you are. I was going to apologise for wording this harshly, but honestly, I’m not sorry, and I’m not going to say anything that could possibly validate this behavior. Now get off my lawn, you damn kids.
/soapbox” – My friend Julie

Further down in the dialogue a man who we’ll call B says this:

“O, Word Police, I’ve always been taught that words may have multiple meanings with different layers of depth and gravity, i.e. someone can be “depressed” without actually suffering from clinical depression. By the same token, I would assume those who suffer from clinical depression do not get offended when a doctor uses a tongue depressor. Of course, slang continually adds new words and new definitions of old words to our vocabulary as language evolves. I just really want to know if I can continue to use the words “paralyzed” and “paralysis,” which both have meanings that are not associated with spinal injuries. I don’t think these mere words should cause people to get so bent out of shape*. * – not intended to be offensive to those who have suffered major bone damage.”

I think there’s a difference between saying that you’re paralyzed with fear versus saying that you’re deaf, or blind, or depressed, or having a nervous breakdown. There are OTHER WORDS and other ways of saying it. You didn’t see something, you couldn’t hear someone over the loud music. You’re SAD. You’re very upset. Language is a beautiful thing!

It didn’t bother me that the word “blind” is so overused until I really thought about it in graduate school. Why did perfectly sighted people call themselves blind and then laugh? Why did others say they were having a nervous breakdown over a piece of homework, but be perfectly capable of functioning in class 2 hours later?

The English language (and many other languages) provide us with so many opportunities to make use of words we don’t use often enough that I wonder why we have become so lax with our speech. I question the validity of calling people the word police, when indeed, they are simply trying to get you to use the correct words and language for what you are feeling. You are sad that you did not get to purchase a ticket to see Lady Gaga. It did not destroy your life. You are not suffering from clinical long form depression.

I have a friend who is schizophrenic, her least favorite use of that word?  “My air conditioner is being so schizophrenic today.”

Words have power. Words have meaning. Use them wisely and kindly and they will get you far in this world.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Proud Member of the “Word Police”!

  1. lifeandothermisadventures

    Can we add “in a wheelchair” to this list? I hate that phrase, I really do. It’s as if a person’s entire existence can be summed up in a phrase which implies a physical melding with the chair seat – like they are stuck to it with glue.

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