In today’s world, mental health terms and diagnoses seem to be everywhere. social media, YouTube, and everyday conversations are filled with references to anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. While this trend may help to reduce the stigma around mental illness, it also raises questions about the appropriate use of psychological terms and interventions outside of clinical settings. In today’s episode, I explore the pros and cons of this trend and consider the potential impact on individuals and society as a whole.
While mental health terms and diagnoses can help reduce the stigma around mental illness and make psychological concepts more accessible, oversimplification and overgeneralization can lead to misuse and misinterpretation. The use of terms like boundaries and toxic relationships in modern relationships is also a concern, as they can be used too frequently and without proper consideration of the complexity of relationships. That is why we must examine our need to diagnose ourselves and others and seek help when necessary. On a lighter note, there are some great TV shows and podcasts out there that are both entertaining and uplifting!
A New Yorker article
According to a New Yorker article, the increasing use of mental health terms and diagnoses in everyday language has positive and negative implications. On the one hand, it helps to reduce the stigma around mental illness and makes psychological concepts more widely accessible. However, the oversimplification and overgeneralization of these terms, often in bite-sized social media videos, can lead to misuse and misinterpretation. That can cause individuals to diagnose themselves and others without the necessary expertise and potentially do more harm than good.
A Bustle article
I am impressed by younger people who are in tune with their emotions and relationships, but it worries me that they lack the tools to manage them. They fear that the normalization of mental health and feelings has resulted in using them as an excuse for bad behavior or addressing everything intensely before moving on. That’s why my daughter sent me a Bustle article that interviewed young adults who had experienced bad breakups with friends, and they used psychological terms like boundaries and toxic relationships. The interviewed individuals were often caught off guard and surprised by the intensity of the conversation, with some not even realizing that they were being accused of being bad friends.
Boundaries and toxicity in modern relationships
I am concerned about the use of the concepts of boundaries and toxic relationships in modern relationships. While I believe in the importance of setting boundaries and being aware of toxic relationships, it worries me that these terms are being used too frequently and without proper consideration of the complexity of relationships. Relationships are not always easy or clearly defined, especially as people grow and change. So instead of focusing solely on boundaries and toxic relationships, I believe we should reassess our relationships and take stock of whether or not they are serving both parties.
The problem with setting boundaries
Setting boundaries can lead to conflict and disappointment, and toxic relationships are not just difficult relationships or disagreements. That’s why I advise people to examine why they feel the need to diagnose themselves or others and ask them what they will do with the information. If it helps them get support or manage symptoms, then that’s a good thing. But if it is just an excuse to avoid or continue something, they should seek support and help instead. Identifying a relationship as toxic can give people the freedom to make different choices. However, sometimes people mistake not getting what they want out of a relationship for it being toxic, which could be due to old trauma.
Misuse of psychological terms
People often misuse psychological terms like narcissism and toxic relationships without fully understanding them. People may label their partner as narcissistic or their relationship as toxic when they are simply going through a rough patch. Additionally, many people come to therapy when they are already in a toxic relationship triggered by past trauma, and the conflict cannot be settled easily because of the fight or flight response. That’s why I suggest that instead of using psychological labels without understanding their meaning, individuals should examine their motivations and seek help accordingly.
What are you noticing?
I have recently been watching and listening to two television shows and two podcasts.
The television shows are Tiny Beautiful Things and Single Drunk Female. Tiny Beautiful Things is based on the Cheryl Strayed book, Talking About Miss Sugar. I enjoyed it because of Kathryn Hahn’s performance, and I liked how the storyline ends hopefully, despite being a little messy. Single Drunk Female is a fantastic show about a young woman getting sober and trying to live her life back in her hometown. It is good fun! It has a rich storyline, great characters, excellent character development, and a good supporting cast.
The two podcasts are Smartless with Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes and Fly on the Wall. Both podcasts are entertaining and full of silliness, typically with well-known celebrities interviewing other celebrities. Fly on the Wall is hilarious! It features Dana Carvey and David Spade, both former Saturday Night Live actors and comedians who have been in multiple other shows.
Links and resources: