Archive for August, 2013


If you’ve read some of my posts, you probably have noticed that I refer to people who have mental disorders as “people WITH mental illness”, “people WHO SUFFER FROM psychiatric disorders”, and the like. I specifically avoid using the words “mentally ill”. Here is why.

“Mentally Ill” is in the form of an adjective. Adjectives define people through the use of one word. You can call somebody beautiful, generous, defensive, or robust. These are all defining characteristics of human beings. However, having a mental illness isn’t an intrinstic part of a person. I am a strong advocate of the idea that one is not his or her illness. An illness is an external thing that has happened to someone. It is not WHO they are.

By saying, rather, that somebody “has” or “suffers from” a mental disorder, I am not using the illness to define them. I am saying that they “have” an issue. It is something that they are dealing with. I would never say they “are” the issue. I know that, G-d forbid, if I had a mental illness, I would want people to know me as exciting, kind, humorous, and creative. Not mentally ill. This is why mental illness is not made into adjective form. A person is greater than the illness that he or she has. You are not your illness.