Please don't bother me now. I'm in the middle of an important psychological experiment.

Please don’t bother me now. I’m in the middle of an important psychological experiment.

Remember when you were a kid and you called someone a moron, idiot or imbecile?

Maybe you don’t have to harken back as far to your childhood. Whatever.

That's a sack of horse hockey if ever I heard it, you moron...

That’s a sack of horse hockey if ever I heard it, you moron…Stay tuned for more of my interview with Mother Theresa.

Maybe kids called you those names (or you still get called those names). Whatever.

The point is that we (and by “we” I mean “I”) thought they were just mean names to call kids that made you (and by “you” I mean “me”) angry.

Only the people in the white lab coats with prescription pads in their pockets knew that these were diagnostic categories for the mentally or intellectually deficient.

Yup.

The terms aren’t used anymore by mental health professionals, at least not in their work.

Here’s the deal-ee-o. In the early 1900s the terms were developed by psychologist Henry H. Goddard.

Score On Standard IQ Test Insulting But Clinically Appropriate Term For You
0 to 25 Idiot
26 to 50 Moron
51-70 Imbecile

Today, it’s a different world. We know more about psychology–probably because we all had to take a class on it in school.Not that many people knew this “back in the good old days,” when we called each other names for the heck of it, right?

And we (by “we” I may or may not mean “I”) think we’re experts on our own psychoses and the mental imbalances of everyone around us.

How many times do we hear the following terms bandied about in everyday conversation?

*OCD

*ADHD

*Paranoid

*Depression

*Psychotic

*Delusional

*Repressed

*Obsessive/Compulsive

*Sociopath

*Co-dependent Enabler

*PTSD

*Bipolar

*Energy Vampire (well, maybe not this one so much)

But you get the picture.

Who made us the expert on us?

I blame self-help books and Psychology Today, the magazine for unprofessionals in the field of psychology. We read these publications and we (again, may or may not be referring to me) think we know more than we do.

If I read this article, maybe I can become an FBI profiler or at least a better judge of character.

If I read this article, maybe I can become an FBI profiler or at least a better judge of character.

For example, many (and by “many,” I mean “way too many”) people have told me I’m obsessive/compulsive. To the legions who believe that, I have two questions:

1. When did being neat, tidy, organized, on time, clean, having to have straight lines straight, needing to keep the Britta water filter filled to the top all the time, and making sure I have at least three extra of everything in my cupboards “just in case” become a disease?

2. What is the difference between obsessive and compulsive?

If I really was obsessive compulsive, I would already know the difference, wouldn’t I? Ha! Gottcha!

Everyone has quirks in their personality.

Quirks don’t equate to full blown diagnosable, medicatable psychological disturbances.

They’re quirks for goodness sake.

Quirks are “peculiar behavioral habits.” Eccentricities. Traits that make you, well, you.

Your quirks may also drive other people (with their own quirks) bonkers.

If you rearrange those pillows again in descending order according to cushiness, I'm going to scream. Actually I am screaming. Stop it!

If you rearrange those pillows again in descending order according to cushiness, I’m going to scream. Actually I am screaming. Stop it! Why can’t you be normal like me?

Sure, some people have real mental distress and need help. A lot of those people went undiagnosed and didn’t get the help they needed before the mental health revolution.

That’s sad.Β But that doesn’t mean I’m depressed. I’m quirky like that–I’m super sensitive and empathetic. Don’t medicate me, appreciate me!

Oh, and, by the way, “obsessions” are reoccurring and intrusive thoughts while “compulsions” are reoccurring and intrusive actions. And just so you know, I had to look that up.

Makes perfect sense...to me.

Makes perfect sense…to me.

 

What quirks do you have that others elevate to the status of a mental illness?