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Keep it Simple Stupid

Posted on 4 December 2019 by Iain under Thinking Out Loud

And Short!

Over the past decade or more we seem to have become obsessed with labelling everything and, sadly, everyone, and I think it has some real psychological dangers for our mental health & well-being, Let me explain…

We’re all partial to a label once in a while… Such a thing can even get our egos going and have our ego get our wallet or purse out and spending money for purely psychological benefits!

You know what I mean because you’ve experienced this yourself, haven’t you?

The point is that it’s not just those types of labels that can have a significant impact on us.

The desire to write this post was focused after I read an article online about a lady who, although healthy and able to walk, feels wrong when she does but feels right when she is in a wheelchair as if she is actually disabled.

She actually identifies as (here’s a new label on me), ‘Transabled’, meaning that although not disabled she identifies mentally as if she is. Her name is Chloe Jennings-White should you wish to investigate online. I personally fully accept that she has some mental health issues but what most caught my eye was that fact that there is a label for her condition. It is called ‘Body Integrity Identity Disorder’ (BIID), which, according to the Public Library of Science’, is a condition in which there is a mismatch between the mental body image and the physical body. Those suffering from the disorder have a desire to amputate a limb or sever the spinal cord in order to become paralysed.

This got me thinking about how helpful it actually is for there to be so many labels for people’s mental health issues and who it is helpful for?

In simple terms, there are two groups involved in being impacted by and helping to resolve people’s mental health issues

1. The Individual with the problem(s)

2. The Specialists helping the individual

Let me discuss these two in reverse order…

I fully get why the specialists want to label things with long identifying titles that which they will both research and discuss amongst their peers. Any term that helps like-minded people more easily categorise and accurately reduce misunderstanding when working on or discussing a topic is a very good thing and both logical and sensible.

So when colleagues are discussing for example; ‘Body Integrity Identity Disorder’ then calling it that is no issue at all, in fact I can well imagine that they would simply refer to it as BIID as it has fewer letters and is, therefore, easier to both say and type and full understanding will have been transferred without an issue.

My problem is that the specialists/Doctors in my humble opinion should not be the priority in this scenario for determining and deciding on what labels should be used and for whose benefit they should be decided. No, the priority here should most definitely be those that are suffering for the Mental Health problems in the first place surely?

I believe there would be a definite benefit to the individuals if they labelling followed the ‘K.I.S.S.’ principle as shown in the graphic at the beginning of this post. There are some pretty simple psychological truths about human beings in terms of the power of the mind. We all know that changing the way you think can literally change the way you feel and how you experience everything. That truth sits at the root of the Psychological and Psychiatric sciences, and it also at the very root of how Placebo’s work – and they do…

So here’s my main issue with the labelling. If something that you are told you have sounds complicated because of its name, and at the time you are told this you are already below par mentally, you are going to assume and believe that the solution (if reachable) is going to be complicated too and here’s the kicker! Because of the power of belief – if you genuinely believe the solution to your issue is going to be complicated and difficult, it will be – regardless of whether it actually need be or not!

We are all being impacted in varying degrees by the things we believe to be true every single day. Whether they actually are true or not is immaterial in terms of the impact on you!

Think about religion as an example. How many people across the world are being massively impacted every day based on their personal belief… Millions is the answer, but they will be being impacted based on completely different belief systems – such is the power of the human mind.

So I think these labels should be designed and used with the sufferer in mind. They should far more simple and descriptive, easier for everyone to understand and, where possible, designed to sound resolvable for those who suffer the ailment in question and those who support them in terms of family and friends.

I am concerned by the fact that labels continually seem to turn up and do not seem to have been arrived at with the benefits of the sufferer in mind, and all this by an select group of well educated specialists in terms of qualified Psychologist and Psychiatrists that are, on the face of it at least, invested in the cure and resolution of mental illness and the helping of others…

I am continually astonished that these obviously intelligent people in the face of a great deal of evidence both factual and anecdotal as to the impact of labelling on individuals, continue to both create and give out labels that are not designed in any way shape or form to benefit the individual who is suffering!?

Could someone please explain that simple truth to me, please?

There some really interesting articles about this very subject should you wish to dive deeper, such as:

Labelling Theory

The Pros and Cons of Labelling Mental Illness

The Danger of Labelling Others and Yourself

The History of Shell Shock, Battle Fatigue and PTSD

I think that most of us may suffer some element of Mental Illness in our live’s and should no doubt consider ourselves fortunate if it is no more severe than being down in the dumps once in a while because for many people it is often much more than that.

But regardless of labels altogether, always remember that your perception of anything is what determines its meaning and impact to you, and you can often shift your perception with a little work and some internal decision making.

Remember to use the ‘K.I.S.S.’ principle whenever and wherever you can.

Best wishes

Iain Merchant

#TheArtofLife #IainMerchant #Abstract #Art #Canvas #photography #ThinkingOutLoud #ThoughtProvoking #Photo #pics #PhotoOfTheDay #PicOfTheDay #ArtofLife #Life #Live #Love #Learn

4 thoughts on “Keep it Simple Stupid”

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    1. Iain says:

      Thanks very much.

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      Hi, thanks for the kind words about the website, I appreciate it.

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