Guardian - Opinion Nobody I’ve been locked up with in a psychiatric hospital felt ‘proud’ of their illness Eleanor de Jong It’s great mental health is now openly discussed but the sickest people I’ve known – myself included – have had almost no part in it In the 12 years since I was diagnosed as manic depressive – now commonly referred to as bipolar type one – mental illness has come roaring out of the woods. Now it’s hard to get through a month without a mental health awareness campaign rearing its well-meaning head. In 2013 I was advised by psychiatrists to withhold my diagnosis from employers and be judicious with everyone else, as understanding of mental illness was limited in the public sphere and highly stigmatised. This was, at the time, absolutely the right advice. But in the last decade I have noticed a shift in how openly mental health is discussed; how many people are willing to claim psychiatric disorders as their own or armchair-diagnose those around them. But the sickest people I’ve ever known – myself included – have had almost no part in this opening up, as if we’re suffering from a different condition altogether. [...] The pointy end of mental illness is not photogenic or particularly quotable. It’s desperate and it’s sad, and all people want is to get off the ward and live a normal life. So I find it hard to understand how that level of illness has become entwined with mindfulness, mental-health days and self-care. What I sometimes see now is normal emotional pain and hardship – grief, heartbreak, stress – becoming medicalised. I also hear the widespread adoption of psychiatric terminology to describe common adverse human experiences. This is concerning as it trivialises the experiences of those battling severe mental disorders and misrepresents how debilitating these illnesses are. [...] More at link.