Mental Illness Words You Can’t Say

As a writer I take claim to any and all words. They are mine and I do with them as I please. This includes mental illness / mental health terms. However, some people would argue that as a mental health writer and advocate, it is my responsibility to promote certain language and verbiage.

I did not agree to that.

I agreed to be a writer. I agreed to be opinionated. I agreed to be passionate. I agreed to be well-researched. I agreed to be intelligent. I did not agree to push a political agenda.

Mental Illness Words You Can’t Say

Nevertheless, people still insist that I not use the following words / phrases:

  • Whackjob
  • Nutjob
  • Nutbar
  • Crazy
  • Bonkers
  • Off his rocker
  • Mentally unstable
  • “The mentally ill”
  • Bipolars
  • “I’m bipolar”

And about a million other things. The politically correct people have told me I’m not allowed to refer to anyone’s mental capacity in anything but the most politically correct way. Which is, in case you were wondering, a person with a mental illness or a person with bipolar disorder, etc.

Again, not to flog a horse that happens to be dead, but I have poetic license which means I get to do whatever I want with words.

I’m Bipolar. I’m Crazy. Sue Me.

I’ve talked about saying I’m bipolar before. I do not consider this to be belittling or stigmatizing and I’m sorry that you do, but that’s really not my problem. It’s a proper English statement with actual English words and if you don’t like it, feel free to take it up with Funk and Wagnells.

This is similar to the statement of I’m crazy. I am. It’s just the way it is. It’s reality. I’m using the words in a proper English fashion. Sue me.

Creative Terms for Crazy

And given all the political correctness in the world I certainly can’t use a term like whackjob or nutbar. Except, of course, that I do. I don’t use the terms liberally, I don’t apply them to the mentally ill, but I do use them. Because they’re words and I need words in order to express what I’m trying to say.

(In the case of something like bonkers I’m referring to someone with a tenuous grasp on logic, reason and sanity, which is not to say mentally ill. The most mentally well person can be nutbar – trust me.)

Words You Aren't Allowed to Say Mental Illness

But I’m Offended!

Sorry to hear that. But perhaps you could respect a writer’s right to actually use words for self-expression. When I start using actual mental health terminology in a degrading way you can call me on it. Until then, I’m not terribly interested.

I’m Passionate. I Eschew Political Correctness.

One of the things people like (or perhaps loathe) about me is that I am passionate. That I am insanely (yes) attached to ideas and concepts and am willing to say so in a way that makes sense for me. And that doesn’t fall within the bounds of political correctness. Art never does. Poetry never does. Shakespeare never did. Political correctness forces tepidity. I have no intention of being tepid.

Fine Then, I Don’t Respect You

I’m sorry to hear that. But that’s OK by me. If you read more than a smattering of my work then you’ll know who I am – virulently defendant of me and my kind. And if that isn’t enough for you to respect, because you don’t approve of the letters that make up a sentence, that’s your prerogative. But I’m not going to stop because the political winds blow. I have no desire to offend but I do have desire to describe. And I’m going to do that in the best ways I know how.

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  1. Call it what you like it’s up to the reader to decide. If you bipolar you will say it. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are millions with mental health issues that’s to proud to except if and choose to be a idiot and end there life’s. I’m bipolar and I’m not ashamed. I am crazy at times and my friends love if. I’m mental and my husband understand. I’m bogies and my family except it and support me. Just my opinion

  2. Dear Natasha,
    Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the US Constitution. Poetic License is an established, literary principle. I enjoy
    and value your work. I have worked in human services for 44 years. I am concerned about stigma, but I also know that prejudice goes much deeper than words. People can say all the right phrases and politically correct words, yet harbor a malignant heart. Much depends on context and intent. I do not chose to use pejorative words intended to cause hurt.
    But, I believe common sense should be our guide in such matters. On the other hand, people who begin to dictate what we say are, in my opinion, skating on the fringe of Facism. I will always argue for free speech, even if some words could offend because the alternative means we are no longer free. I support your opinion here and believe the value of your intent and contributions far outweigh any so called “violation” in political correctness. There is a wide gulf between malicious intent and your freedom of expression. Keep your outstanding work flowing freely, as you are greatly benefiting the human condition. I know what you stand for and I stand with you.
    Steven B. Uhrik, LCSW

  3. I once went to a NAMI conference where one of the presenters only referred to folks with mental illness as ” persons needing services at this point in time”. Nice thought, but man, is it ever clumsy. However, ever since then when my bipolar is acting up I just tell my husband that I am in need of services and we both giggle.

  4. It’s worse than that. You are not supposed to say ‘mental illness’ , you are supposed to say ‘mental health’, ‘behavioral health’, or ‘person with lived experience’. You are not suppose to say someone ‘suffers’ from mental illness, you are supposed to say they ‘live with’ mental illness. You are not supposed to say people with mental illness suffer from ‘discrimination’ or ‘prejudice’ , you are supposed to say ‘stigma’. You are not supposed to say mental illness can be a lifelong disorder, you are supposed to say ‘everyone recovers’, You are not supposed to say ….

  5. I think that the use of “I am bipolar” is incorrect. . You have the mental illness that is described as bipolar or you suffer from manic/depressive episodes. In my life I am a CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Charterholder. I am not a CFA and the use of the first is acceptable but calling ourselves a CFA could lead to a loss of the use of the designation.

    You are an amazing and wonderful person who uses your words to help me and many others to cope through our mental illness . In my case I have been diagnosed with bipolar type 2 along with generalized anxiety disorder but that is not what I am.

    Keep up the great work and don’t let the internet trolls derail you from helping us.


    With Vigor

  6. I really appreciate this column! I often find in the mental health community that language is very scrutinized, especially when using any of those terms you listed. There’s a list of bad words (as if you’re going to get bleeped if you say them on TV) that people are encouraged to avoid. We change “mental health” to “behavioral health,” and “mental illness” to “brain disorder.” (I don’t really see how the changed terms provide any less stigma or discrimination, and quite frankly, I find brain disorder even more offensive. Not to mention inaccurate – not all mental illnesses are biological in nature).

    I found on a website over 250 “less stigmatizing” words for mental illness, and I was amazed at how awful some of these sound – “Psychiatric survivor,” “Mental health consumer,” “User of mental health services,” or my personal favorite – “Person labeled with a psychiatric disability.” How are these any better??

    As a function of the volume of people in the world, someone is going to get offended, no matter what words you use. As for the notion that words have stigma, I offer that is due society’s claim on the word. Every so often, it seems that we change the connotation of words beyond their original denotation. I also think that just because you use a different word, doesn’t mean that the emotional perception, or the stigma / opinion can’t follow to that word too. A prime example is the word “consumer.” This was a perfectly acceptable word until recently, it was deemed offensive. I’m not sure as to why, but the word clearly describes a person who uses something. I buy a candy bar, I’m a consumer.

    Ultimately, words like the ones you listed have no meaning (more like offense) unless the person receiving them accepts them as such. I could care less if someone calls me “crazy” as I would fully admit that at times, I certainly can be.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. If you hear these words of disdain they may not bother you. Why? Low self esteem . Nothing bothers you when you play at dissasociation. I never had a choice, no matter what I did. As a result each accomplishment was over shadowed by my own lack of self esteem. Consequently it lead to a dirth of personal appreciation while lifting others to a station reserved for my efforts. Point in hand – toot your own horn. We never loose the ability to play.

  8. You are awesome. I am all of the things that you’re not allowed to say. People constantly chastise me on the words I use to describe myself. I’ve been told that somehow, the words I use to describe myself, give other people license to use similar words to describe others.

    I only wish I were that powerful. I’m sure I would do absolutely crazy, insane things if I were powerful enough to influence people in different social circles, different cities, different countries to use words they would never otherwise use,. I would be a crazy she bat dictator, I’m sure.

    Thank you for writing about how people get so caught up in being politically correct about the words we use to describe people with mental health issues, rather than being compassionate towards the person, or educated about the disorder.

  9. Good on you for saying that! I told my GP that I was seriously “bat-shit crazy” the week before the curse, and because I have Bipolar Disorder II, I got the most incredulous look! It was the only way to describe it, though! That’s how it felt! I told him it was like I wasn’t on my med’s. He was quite taken aback. I said the same thing to my Pdoc and he barely batted an eye LOL. PMDD. Goody.

  10. I have bipolar disorder (am bipolar…whatever you want to say) and I call it “my crazy.” I actually call “it” a her…and I gave her a name (it’s not Susie but let’s just say that for fun). And when I have a rough spell I say “Susie came to visit!” or “Susie is here!” And I may even talk about how much of a bitch Susie is and how she is ruining my day. It’s my disease…my crazy and I call it what I want to! And frankly my friends appreciate it. They will even ask me how Susie is.

    I understand people wanting to reduce stigma and think they are doing so by being politically correct. But when it comes to my illness I call it and myself what I want to.

  11. Yes! Yes! Yes! I started a Facebook group recently and we were talking about ourselves as being bipolar (” I’m bipolar,” “bipolar people” and so on), when a very indignant lady suddenly appeared and said: “First of all, there are no bipolar people, there are people who have bipolar disorder…if you don’t understand, I can explain it to you…” I responded that we were all people who “have bipolar disorder” talking amongst ourselves, and I thought we had the right to refer to ourselves however we wanted to. That I did get the point, and if I were speaking in a public context, I would probably use that terminology, but not because it was “right” and ours was “wrong.” She came back with “No, you don’t get it….you can look at my article in the NYTimes where I explain this.” So, I look up her article in the NYTimes and it turns out she is the model for the bipolar character (I mean “character with bipolar disorder”) Carrie in Homeland. Her sister was a writer on the show and she based her depiction on this woman’s experience. Which turned out to consist, according to her article in the NYTimes, of a bad episode in her 20s after which she was put on lithium, and never had another episode of mental illness. And went on to an illustrious career as a journalist and board member of worthy institutions, etc. …..(The NYTimes article is “My So-Called Bipolar Life.” Look it up and educate yourselves.) To which (had she not left the group angrily, saying she couldn’t waste her time on a page where we were too lazy or ignorant to use the proper language), I would have replied: Perhaps you HAD bipolar disorder. Some of us have HAD it so long and lived it so strong that we ARE bipolar. Badge of pride not shame. NO WRONG WORDS.

  12. I totally agree with you. I am an intelligent writer and, yes, I am crazy. That is the way it is and I don’t need to catch any flack for the way I talk about my illness. Great post, Natasha.

  13. I am appreciative of how you use your words. Words in and of themselves are not bad or wrong it is how they are used. You use yours to build people up and empower them! If a person called me a “wackjob” out of a maliciousness, yes I would be intensely perturbed but wouldn’t most people? I personally, am more offended by the medical term”Mental Illness”. I am not “ILL”, I am Bipolar…I am not sick, I am different. The medical and even the mental health community is for blame for the stigmas and myths attached to our differences. Why, because some of us choose to rely on medications to improve our quality of life? Many people eat certain diets and take supplements in hopes of improving or maintaining their quality of life, how is that different? About 80% of the time I love who I am and how my brain functions. Yes, I struggle at times but I find comfort in the fact that many of the greatest minds in the world have struggled similarly. I am creative, I am deeply compassionate, I am passionate, I think outside of the box…I am different than others but I am not SICK. Perhaps when the Medical industry stops treating us like lepers, the world will too. I commend you for your work.

    • Yes! These terms can be used maliciously – or not. Glad someone brought up the distinction. It sort of reminds me of the N-word. The N-word with an “a” at the end is used as a greeting, or what one rapper calls, “a term of endearment”. In this context, rather than being insulting or degrading, they are taking the word, owning it, and thereby empowering themselves. However, I don’t think this works out quite the same way if some stranger of another race uses the term. It can start a pretty ugly brawl, even if it is used in a joking manner.

  14. hear hea! ,. p.s. porgs did not get any taller simply by stopping them being called dwarves., crips, cripples were not magically moblised bu being called disabled., death meabs death howver ii’s labelled and so on

  15. It’s the STIGMA that goes along with those words. And being a mental health advocate, I refrain from using those kinds of description words. The haul is a long one and bringing awareness to the table has not been easy. Especially when you have people that are looked up to in society, IE Brian Williams, Dr. Phil and their most recent comments towards mental illness.

    Stigma will always be addressed by me because this is my passion. I’m a mental health mentor for a national organization along with having a child in a state hospital.

    The attitude of not ‘caring’ what other people think only creates more negative stigma.

    • I hear what everyone is saying and I’m listening deeply. As a person working in the mental health support field and with a son living with bipolar disorder, it goes against my training and work to not be so-called ‘politically correct’…and I find it so hard to not use the slang terms from time to time, I”ll tell you.

      But I ask this of all of you – what about the person living with bipolar disorder who says the words some of you banter about do hurt? (I’m now referring to my son)…I hear him too. I care deeply and passionately for erasing the stigma he has encountered since his diagnosis since he was 8 (he’s 15 now). I do agree that the intention with which a comment is said is a big part of it – but what about those that are sensitive to words like ‘crazy’, ‘nut jobs’ or’ ‘psycho’….how do we help them to not feel bad about their illness, to build them up?

      It’s not an easy task – so I have lots of questions. As Dr. Frasier Crane would say ‘I’m listening’.

  16. remember cretin, mongol, idiot were technical terms before they started to be used as terms of abuse.This is a repeating pattern.The problem is not the word but the attitude of abuse behind its use and happens to all terms that are used to identify people as agroup that other people seek to belittle

  17. One interesting outcome of this consumertocracy-foisted political correctness, is that people with ‘mental illness’ who identify as such, have been shunted to the sidelines within the mental health movement. To be included, one has to agree to be identified as a ‘consumer’, ‘ex-patient’, or ‘survivor’. I wrote on this on “People with mental illness shunned”, here
    Keep up the brilliant work. It’s refreshing.

  18. I am not sure your statment is accurate,
    —As a writer I take claim to any and all words. They are mine and I do with them as I please.

    Words often take claim on us. Many times we are unaware that word is directing us, not we it.

    Harold A. Maio

    • Harold …

      You are “right on”. If we were to allow our choice of language to lead us forward, we would recognize “mental illness” as “the symptom of a serious brain disorder. The constant is the “Brain Disorder”. A person with a Brain Disorder, in treatment, free of symptoms, is often described in newsprint as experiencing “mentally illness”. This is inappropriate, for such a person is symptom free, no longer symtomatic. His/her brain disorder is responding to treatment. The person needs to be described by their given name, then lead into a description of his/her brain disorder. We need new language for the new scientific times in which we live!!!

  19. Years ago I was asked by a therapist why I identified myself by my diagnosis… I responded that I didn’t, she then told me how I had just done so and proceeded to repeat my words back to me, after which she asked me if I’d been diagnosed with cancer, would I identify myself the same way. Her argument made sense, and I’ve been passing it on ever since, and yet I LOVE your post!! :-D

    This same therapist cautioned me about sharing my diagnosis with others, especially upon first meeting as it wouldn’t give the other person a chance to get to know me. That was advice I tossed out the window, I figured if I took the time to get to know a person and THEN shared with them my diagnosis, and they decided to “hit the road” so to speak, I would just as soon tell them in the beginning, and not waste my time or theirs. In doing so, I’ve found that it’s opened up opportunities I never would have gotten to share pieces of their lives as well.

    By the way, you wouldn’t happen to have any spare marbles around would you? I think mine are running amuck again!! :-) (all joking aside, years ago I made up very special marble packets for friends and co-workers, complete with a humorous little card I designed to go with them. I even gave these packets to my current psychiatrist, and therapist, My psychiatrist every now and then brings out his marbles to show he still has them!! It’s wonderful to know that even some of the professionals contribute to my humorous antedotes in this way.)

    Gonna have to read more of your blog. Sounds like your marbles are intact!! ;-)

    • Hi Sue,

      Well, therapists err on the side of caution and on the side of politically correct, which may work for them, but doesn’t for me. They do try to challenge thought processes, including subconscious ones, which may be reflected in language choice. This may be beneficial but it’s not something I, personally, need.

      As for marbles? I haven’t had any of those in years ;)

      – Natasha Tracy

  20. I LOVE this post!! If we cant see life with some Humor then we are all in trouble. ‘Politically correct’ has gotten out of hand. If you were to attack a mentally ill person verbally with some of those words well that would be wrong, but you know that! We are all a little Crazy, Im Bipolar, but that doesn’t define me. I am also a lovely person who cares about people and reaches out to help others, with the occasional moody outburst or down right rage. Its part of who we are but doesn’t define us. We should all have a sense of humor. I even use some of those words when joking. Thank you for this post, I absolutely agree with you!!!

    • Hi Shauna,

      Thanks. I agree that seeing humour is critical. We all need to learn to laugh at ourselves, that’s a human challenge in general.

      “We are all a little Crazy, Im Bipolar, but that doesn’t define me. I am also a lovely person who cares about people and reaches out to help others, with the occasional moody outburst or down right rage.”

      Right on.

      I suppose part of it comes down to us knowing the truth about who we are and that what other people say can’t change that.

      – Natasha Tracy

  21. Love your posts N.
    This one in particular has given me a bit of an insight to your humour, priceless. What I wanted to comment on has already been said by your readers, so I shall just say this, you may well use certain descriptions vis mental illness/health that are considered not PC by some, but N you own them, we the nutters out here own them, So tough PCers if you bother to have an understanding as to where Natasha is coming from… well yawn need I go on. Keep it coming N.

  22. Yay! Go Natasha, go girl! You are right on the button with this! This very subject is a hobby horse of mine – I’m sick of non-medical people involved in mental health care telling us what’s good for us to hear and what is not, especially when the closest they’ve ever got to being a nutter is being sat next to one! If someone wants to label me as “a Bipolar”, that’s great! It’s a medal I can wear with some pride because it shows I’ve got a dangerous illness yet I’m still alive! It means I’m tough, I’m strong BECAUSE I’m alive in spite of the BP. That’s good, right? When people say to me (about something or other), in jest, “you must be mad” I reply, “Too right, and I’ve got a psychiatrist to prove it!” Why hide it? The truth will come out eventually anyway. And besides, things are often not so bad when it comes out anyway – it never ceases to amaze me how many people I know declare they are, or are related to someone who is, Bipolar.

    The point is this: Sure, people are stigmatised by their having a mental illness. We are too often judged before we ever walk in a room and introduce ourselves because many people have a preconceived idea of what is Bipolar Disorder, especially when they only know the old name, Manic Depressive. But re-labelling us ain’t going to stop that. Being open about what we are, who we are, and showing what we can do – some things better than others – that’s the way to beat the bias.

    • Thanks Graham.

      It’s true, non-medical people deciding on medical correctness is frustrating. Luckily, medical professionals often don’t bow to it. They actually use words in the way they are defined in medical writings. (Such as referring to the bipolar population and not “the population of people with bipolar disorder.”)

      “…things are often not so bad when it comes out anyway…”

      Often true. We add to their power by hiding them and being afraid of them.

      “Sure, people are stigmatised by their having a mental illness. …But re-labelling us ain’t going to stop that…”

      I tend to agree. If someone is insulting you, that’s one thing, but just changing words for the sake of political correctness doesn’t help people.

      – Natasha

  23. Brilliant. I completely agree. As someone who writes about personal experiences with mental illness a lot, I too find it frustrating when people try to tell me which words I should use. Political correctness is for politicians, not writers.

  24. I am not bipolar, but was diagnosed as one, once — is that as good as playing one on TV? Actually, manic-depressive was the term of the time and I *did* grow up with one of those. Untreated, AFAIK, all his life. I am, however, bent: mentally and physically. I’m also kinky, poly and bi. Those are all words that can be used to describe aspects of me, but don’t tell you who I am. If you want to know that, spend some time getting to know me. You’ll learn that I *am*, in fact, crazy, I also happen to have PTSD — they are not the same thing. I’m also low spectrum ASD (and the things *that* got called in my childhood really aren’t for polite company), have chronic pain due to epic scoliosis (bent literally) and am in the process of recovering from a spinal cord injury. You’ll also learn (in no particular order) that I’m passionate about causes and get active to support them, artistic, an avid motorcyclist, a long time Ophthalmic Medical Technician, a wife and a Cat Minion, a TBI and stroke survivor. Oh, and an inveterate reader. I OWN all these and a bunch more.

    I have a problem with people who make assumptions based on labels. Interestingly, they’re often the ones misusing the label. The words are just descriptors of elements — which often make them easier to manage — but descriptors still. I am not the sum of my labels. They may set people up with preconceived notions that they can never overcome, or they may be utterly surprised that I identify in certain ways. Or, if we’re lucky, they file the labels as ‘interesting information’ and proceed to get to know ME.

    • Hi Robbie,

      Well now, that _is_ a lot of labels.

      And you make a very important point – no label is ever _you_ no matter how accurate it may be. _You_ (anyone) is very complicated. We are all intricate beings that never fit a label or a preconception but, nevertheless, we need them to manage our world.

      It’s good you’ve come to terms with all your possible labels because, well, I think it makes you stronger. And you sound pretty, darn strong to me. I have great respect for those living with ASD as I’m sure that must be extremely challenging.

      Thanks for reminding us we’re all complicated. I know I sure am.

      – Natasha Tracy

    • Paul,

      You’re absolutely correct in saying they are not for everyone in every situation. I like to think I am able to use words with wit, humour, passion and point as a writer, but not everyone has that gift. And, whenever the intent is to hurt, well that’s another thing altogether.

      And of course some people won’t take it well no matter what and it’s best not to broach the subject at all. So you’re right, it varies.

      – Natasha Tracy

  25. Great subject. I’m always up for breaking down the PC language barriers in favor of accuracy, spirit, richness. Heck, I still like to call myself retard from time to time. But I get that’s off limits these days. So, I guess when I’m kicking myself for forgetting someone’s name I’ll say to myself sarcastically “Good job mentally challenged one” . . . Geez.

    • Hi Jeff,

      Well, admittedly, “retard” isn’t a word I’d use because, well, I find it offensive. So there goes my argument altogether.

      However, intention is an important point as is who one refers to and referring to oneself may always be viewed differently.

      – Natasha Tracy

      • What’s wrong with the word ‘retard’? Would you rather the PC term ‘intellectually disabled’. I was recently diagnosed by a doctor, just like being diagnosed bipolar. Is it really offensive if I say my doctor thought I was retarded.

        • Where’s the correct button for us people with Intelctually difficulties? Seriously though typing on macs sucks. Okay, but seriously, most people don’t know the term intellectual disability yet. Wouldn’t it be like saying manic depressive is offensive, or saying ADD is offensive? They are just saying the same thing as bipolar, and AD/HD predominantly inattentive type. Also who even comes up with that? Time to get a new patent on meds. Why they decided to combine the names like that is beyond me. It’s bizarre. Could go on ,but I think it’s all been said.

  26. Hi Natasha,

    I really loved this post. I agree that as a writer you should be able to express yourself freely and as you see fit and I believe people should respect your right to do so. We all have different opinions, ideas and ways of thinking about ourselves and the illnesses we have. There is no one right way to do or to think because we are all unique, and we need to express ourselves in ways that feel comfortable for us as individuals. Differences in self-expression and opinion make for interesting reading!

    So power to you! I love strong women who aren’t afraid to stand up for themselves, their beliefs and their positions. I find it very inspirational.

    All the best,

    • Thanks Sara.

      “There is no one right way to do or to think because we are all unique, and we need to express ourselves in ways that feel comfortable for us as individuals. Differences in self-expression and opinion make for interesting reading!”

      I tend to agree. One of the things people like about me is my non-PC passion but I realize it rubs some people the wrong way.

      But you can’t win ’em all. If you have something to say, and I certainly do, then someone is going to want to say the opposite.

      I’m glad you find inspiration here.

      – Natasha Tracy

  27. Great post, Natasha. While I endeavor to use words that do not offend (being a non-nutbar psychiatrist), I respect people with mental illness who use less PC terms — they’ve earned that right.

  28. This is a great post. Focusing on words too much can spark tons of unhealthy compulsions and obsessing for lots of people. It’s a common symptom in OCD. I often encourage people to get comfortable with any word because fear of words and trying to correct other people’s words just leads to all sorts of stress.

    Much of what you wrote here, however, is exactly what I was thinking when I was reading your post on Behavioral Health vs Mental Health.

    I totally agree that we want to move to a more brain-based understanding/outlook. And I loved what you said above about people getting offended. But I don’t see the difference between somebody saying “behavioral health” and somebody saying “nutjob”. Can you explain why “behavioral health” or “mental health” was stigmatizing but not other words. Aren’t they all just words?

    • Hi Mark,

      You’re right, they are all just words. In the case of behavioural health though, it’s a judgement compared to other readily available options and a newly minted one at that. It suggests that behaviour is the problem with mental illness, and it is not. The pain’s the thing.

      And I take issue with clinical words vs. colloquialisms. “Behavioural health” is a term used by professionals whereas “crazy” has a dictionary meaning but no clinical one. Certainly if a doctor called me crazy, that would be different than a writer using the term less formally.

      – Natasha Tracy