For some, this word can feel like a trigger because it signifies a label, a name, assigned to a person. Describing a human as "psychotic" takes away every other part of them that makes them a person and asserts that the only thing that matters is their psychiatric experiences.
"Psychotic" first appeared in the English language in 1889 to describe persons experiencing "psychosis." Psychosis meaning an abnormal condition of the mind, life, or soul.
Putting aside the fact that psychosis is still used in clinical documentation today, today's blog will focus mostly on the -ic used to take away the humanity of individuals living with mental health challenges.
Labels such as psychotic, schizophrenic, and, even, diabetic imply that a person is nothing more than their experience with some sort of challenge.
These labels do not create room for recovery or improvement of any kind.
Person-centered language has been receiving a lot of attention throughout the last few years, and yet we continue to see these labels floating around and robbing individuals of their right to exist outside of their challenges.
Some people have experienced episodes of psychosis throughout the course of their full lives. They are also parents, children, siblings, lovers, members of your community. They have lived through challenges and celebrated successes. They have loved and lost. They may ride a bike or drive a car or walk everywhere. They have stopped to smell the roses. They have danced in the rain. They have lived every bit as much as you have. They are humans. Just. Like. You.
Would you want your worth, your identity to be reduced to one of your most challenging experiences?
I didn't think so.
The labels we put on people have the potential to create real damage to their self-esteem, their self-worth. Making recovery from their diagnosis that much harder. Individuals that have lived through and survived real mental health challenges do not need any more roadblocks--do not burden them with labels.
Provide them with hope.
After all, we are all humans with experiences.