Tinx Talks: Has Therapy Speak Made Us All Rude People And Bad Friends?

Bad days are part of the human existence, but that doesn’t mean we have to be bad people, writes Tinx

Tinx Talks

by Grazia Contibutor |
Published on

Social media has been instrumental in destigmatizing mental health issues and therapy. Amidst a crisis of loneliness and a rise in depression and anxiety, I feel grateful that we’ve broken the taboo of discussing this once “private matter” and brought it into the light. I frequently speak about how much I love therapy to my followers - how much it has helped me and how much I rely on my weekly sessions.

Yet, there’s been a growing pit in my stomach. The irksome notion that we (myself included) have gone too far with the casualization of therapy speak and self-diagnosis. The irony is not lost on me that I’m writing this column in May, mental health awareness month.

I fear we may have overcorrected on our quest to democratise therapy. The casualisation of language has gone so far that many medical textbook definitions have completely lost their meaning. Same goes for self-diagnosis. While I think it’s fantastic TikTok has opened so many eyes, watching a 50-second video does not qualify you to diagnose yourself with a mental illness. Only a doctor can do that. 
So what are the implications? We see them in the disintegrating fabric of society daily. Take ghosting for example. A friend of mine was recently seeing someone fairly consistently. They had plans to see each other again when all of a sudden, radio silence. After two weeks of unanswered calls and texts, my friend sent one last Hail Mary saying how rude this behavior was. The other person finally replied, citing a  “bad mental health day” for the reason they ghosted. Let me be clear: I am in no way diminishing mental health issues. I am simply asking at what point we have allowed this vernacular to eclipse all sense of human decency.

I’ve recently seen a few hot takes on TikTok about how casual therapy speak has made all of us, but specifically younger people, terrible friends. A single “anxiety” drop can free you of any commitment, no holds barred. People are self-diagnosing and using these diagnoses as excuses to not show up for their friends. Irony of course being what we could all use in 2024 is more human interaction, more community support and more regular socialization.

Perhaps most troubling to me is the fact that the demographic of people over using therapy speak and self-diagnosing are the very ones who don’t have issues gaining access to the real deal. Those in dire need of actual help, for example low socio-economic groups, are still underserved when it comes to accessible therapy, while some of those with ready access to it have co-opted mental health issues as a carte blanche excuse for bad behavior.

The issue we’ve created is twofold. Firstly the simple fact that for many people the line has been irrevocably blurred between actual mental health issues and a TikTok diagnosis. The second is that we are all paralyzed with fear of seeming insensitive and thus can’t have a constructive conversation around this. There is no hard and fast rule for us to aim for in these new murky waters: we must collectively decide to wade through, be adults and take accountability. Accountability, another of the internet’s favorite words that takes on many meanings in modern day. I mean it in this way: we must hold ourselves accountable to be decent people. Are we having a depressive episode, or are we just having a bad day. (Reminder: bad days are part of the human existence.) Are we having anxiety or do we just want to flake on the group dinner? Was he a gaslighter or was he just a bit of a dick?

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