The Urban Definition of Mental Health

For those of you unfamiliar with Urban Dictionary, it is a reader-based dictionary of slang words and phrases in addition to regular words. For a fun activity on this rainy afternoon, I decided to search some psychiatric disorders to see what users wrote. Here are a few of my favorites:

Anorexia nervosa: “Although looked down by society due to health issues involved, it is a condition that can make women extremely attractive.”

Bulimia nervosa: “A method of food consumption recommended for people who love to eat but don’t want to gain weight” or “something fat people should try.”

Psychosis: There were several long-winded definitions, but I found “a nutcase” at the end of one.

Schizophrenia: “When a person thinks they hear or see things that don’t exist and usually think they are someone else at times but to you, they’re not. Watch out for these f***ers, they’re crazy!” The sentence given with this definition was “She’s talking to the air man. She must have schizophrenia!”

Post-traumatic stress disorder: “The traumatic stress you feel between the moment you post something on the internet and the moment somebody likes or responds.”

Dissociative Identity Disorder, formally known as multiple personality disorder: “The pretense of having multiple personalities for the purpose of sucking attention and sympathy, blaming others for one’s unhappiness, possibly obtaining disability income from the government, and denying responsibility for one’s own life and f***-ups.”

Bipolar Disorder: “Condition given to women’s nipples that do not point in a parallel direction, instead the nipples are oriented on opposite poles of the breasts.”

Bipolar: I have to say that there were many exceptional definitions given for bipolar; however, this search yielded the most negative results, especially towards women:

  1. “Being nice and sweet one minute and being a total b***** the next”
  2. “When she says that she loves you one day and next she completely ignored you.”
  3. “A polar bear that likes girls and boys”
  4. “A crazy girl who has wild mood swings, normally around her period time.”
  5. “Girls use this as an excuse so no one tells them like it is.”
  6. “It’s like PMS [premenstrual disorder] on crack”
  7. “A psychotic crazy b*****! Symptoms: contradicting yourself, loud, selfish, and lack of personality”
  8. “Another word for a defective and moody a**hole. Many f***tards have it…”

The definitions listed above are only a small sample of what is on Urban Dictionary. I did not list several of the definitions because they are extremely inappropriate and vulgar. While some of these definitions are meant to be humorous, they portray mental illness in a very negative light. Many of the user-provided definitions used different mental illnesses as personality traits to describe someone’s negative behavior or actions, which causes the reader to associate these fake definitions with real mental illness.

The use of Urban Dictionary to attach negative connotations to mental health demonstrates a topic I am extremely passionate about right now: social media and its affects on mental health. While I am going to write about that subject in a later post, I want to mention that I believe social media and websites like Urban Dictionary help lead to an increase in the stigma against mental health. Thus, it is important for us to pay attention to the resources we get our information from about mental health.

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Taylor Francey

About Taylor Francey

Taylor is a 23 year-old nurse from Bangor, Maine. She battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at the age of 15 and have since battled post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and most recently, bipolar Type II. She enjoys reading, spending time outside, being with family and friends, and of course, the Red Sox.