199 Words: Have Labels Become Excuses?

Are you into labels?

“I’m having a lousy day” has become, “I’m suffering from … anxiety.”

“I need to work on concentrating, being less distracted”—a critical life skill—has morphed into, “My Adult ADHD prevents me from putting my phone down when with people!”

Have these labels become our … excuses?

Disclaimer: Yes, humans can suffer from certain conditions. Yet, when we apply broad labels for our behaviors, it’s like, “Well, this is beyond my control and there’s no fighting it.” Or …

I. Can’t. Change.

Take depression—a real physiological, psychological state professionals can diagnose and treat. But now “I’m disappointed I lost the sale” “I feel hurt by the actions of a friend” or “I’m frustrated about my career” becomes … I’m depressed.

Bluntly, employer organizations have promoted much of this by converting time off to “mental health days.” 😬


Rather than assigning labels, would it be better to acknowledge feeling frustrated, angry, hurt, fearful, etc. and pinpoint specifically what’s driving those emotions? Then ask these QBQs (accountable questions tutorial):

“What can I do to resolve this problem?”

“How can I move forward from here?”

“What can I do to change me today?”

Now that’s good mental health. 👏🏻



5 Responses

  1. I hadn’t looked at it this way, but I really like your comments and the underlying thought process. Thanks for publishing!

  2. I agree with most of this post that labels have become extremely ubiquitous and that in turn does dilute the power when those that actually have those issues.

    I would like to push back a bit on the blunt comment about employers converting to Mental Health Days. As one who suffers from depression, I appreciate that I don’t have to be physically sick or other previous standard excuses to request and be granted a day off if needed.

    Additionally, isn’t this itself painting with a broad brush? Others that say these labels is like: “Well, this is beyond my control and there’s no fighting it.” I know a lot of people with anxiety and diagnoses with ADHD that do believe they can adapt (another word for change) but have to look at other ways. And that is where your questions are so beneficial.

    Again, I don’t disagree as a whole. Just offering my two cents.

  3. I am on a personal mission to eradicate the societal stigma of shame that prevents people who are suffering with a mental illness from seeking the help they need to recover. Personal accountability and asking the QBQ is a critical skill that helps people recover. It is important to acknowledge how you are feeling or what you are experiencing. Sadly, most people stop right there rather than asking themselves the critical questions they need to recover. Asking yourself “Now what” or “How can I continue to improve myself so that this is no longer a barrier of significance that keeps me from being my best self” are how you eliminate victim treatment and enter your warrior mindset required to surpass the obstacles others cling to.

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