Labelling could be inherent to identifying objects and sometimes people too, but the modern world is obsessed with labelling themselves whether for fad or fact with names of debilitating afflictions. Why are we marketing every facet of our human lives with FOMO frenzy by saying things like – “I’m OCD about cleaning” or “This actor has PTSD from playing an iconic movie character for the past few years of his career”.
While such psychological labels would help people suffering from serious conditions understand their situation better and feel inclusive and supported. But populating everything descript or non-descript with objective labels does not offer clarity or comfort. Instead it vulgarizes the situation with a clearly marked distinction of who is a friend and who is a supposed foe! But that is not why these ‘labels’ were created.
Such solecism with serious labels only perpetuates a culture of discrimination amongst otherwise simple folk. This cultural plague of seeking comfort by defining ourselves with what we are not segregates us rather bringing everyone together. Not all tidy self-proclaimed perfectionists are suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorders. And not all under-performing children who aren’t topping every exam have dyslexia or ADHD.
Banding around words like PTSD or OCD after simply tripping over a loose slab of concrete or having your newly bought phone screen scratched trivializes the original use of such words. Moreover, it shifts the focus from offering any credit to the truth. Yes, such mishaps are unpleasant and often unfortunate, but they are in no way comparable to being a prisoner of war or having had shots fired at you and grenades hurled at you.
As a writer I often have to cloak harsh truths and complex concepts with catchy wording and strappy messages, and sometimes they take the form of unintentional corporate propaganda. But I do not support the new culture of dotting every ‘I’ with an impactful label that stereotypes and alienates real humans with specified behavioral traits. And if that makes me a high functioning sociopath then so be it!