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I Have Psychosis, but Here’s Why I’m Not a ‘Psycho’

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One of the words I’ve heard overly misused as an adjective is, most of the time, not even correct. That word is  “psycho.” I was a teen battling mental health issues and emotional issues, and people used the word psycho to describe me because my reactions were sometimes overly dramatic and exaggerated.

First of all, psycho can mean two things: the shortened version of the word psychosis, and often a derogatory slur meaning someone is a psychopath.

The truth is, though I might have endured psychosis, I am the complete opposite of what they mean by the word “psychopath.” I am kind-hearted, sensitive and I want everyone to embrace their true selves. A lot of people I’ve met who use the word “psycho” incorrectly are teens or people who lack awareness when it comes to mental health.

We need to stop using the word “psycho” as a slur, or labeling someone as a “psycho,” and instead research and realize the person has deeper issues. Being called a “psycho” is damaging; it made me feel misunderstood and deeply upset. People used a false adjective to define me when I had problems like everyone else. I became self-conscious about how I might come across to others. During my late teens and early 20s, I was incredibly closed off; the people who knew me saw me like that “weird” girl with mental health issues. Apart from my family, nobody I knew at that age was supportive. People hated me for being different.

As I got older and did different things, I hesitated to express my thoughts and feelings and was afraid of getting to know new people. When I felt upset, I never let it show. In college, I just walked away from situations. I was afraid of being labeled a  “psycho” again and I didn’t want my emotions to be student gossip.

As a 25-year-old woman, I can honestly say I haven’t been called a psycho for years. I still get ignorant people who make the odd childish remark and there are still closed-minded people who won’t accept me and others with mental health problems. At last, I have found friends who accept me for the person I am and many of them have faced their own demons too. Next time you use “psycho” as an insult or use the word casually, you might want to choose your words carefully.

Photo by Jake Melara on Unsplash

Originally published: February 14, 2019
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