WHAT’S IN A WORD?
I’ve always believed in the power of words. However fancy or acerbic they may be, words form a binding connection between the utterer and the utteree. There’s also the whole fun of using them for self-gratification or self-incrimination.
In the course of my fascination for words, I noticed how some people use “serious” words rather lightly or loosely. And as I am one of those who have been guilty of that one time or another, I realize how most people don’t get to digest how big a deal certain words really are.
For instance, when someone couldn’t take how a person maltreats her for eternity, she would say something like “I hate her so much, I’m gonna explode!!!” or “I want to take my arm off and throw it at her!”
Things like that, of course, bear no real motives. But not all things are meant metaphorically.
For the former, there is the idea of spontaneous combustion. For the latter, spontaneous regeneration.
Hyperboles are fascinating. It’s one of my favorite figures of speech. But it’s just not my mere fetish for hyperboles that takes the spotlight here. It’s how these statements have the potential to be real and when taken in their true concept are actually disturbing.
While some people use them for cutesy stuff (!), others actually suffer from them.
These are my top three examples:
People often confuse perfectionism to being obsessive-compulsive. When someone has this habit of consciously aligning desk materials on her table according to a certain angle, he/she credits it to just being OC. Writers who are too vigilant with grammar, syntax and sentence construction claim it’s natural to be OC about these things. When a 16-year old girl arranges her clothes, bags and shoes according to color, fabric and texture, she defends herself by saying she’s just OC about her stuff.
But the thing is, being OC is never just something that people can play around with, to describe mere habits or themselves as snotty perfectionists.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a real deal. Experts have deduced it as both a neurological and psychological sickness that deal with chronic anxiety. Ask Sarah if you don’t believe me.
OCD includes both obsessions and compulsions. According to MayoClinic.com, OCD obsessions are repeated, persistent, unwanted ideas, thoughts, images or impulses that you experience involuntarily and that appear to be senseless. Examples include:
- Fear of being contaminated by shaking hands or by touching objects others have touched
- Doubts that you’ve locked the door or turned off the stove
- Repeated thoughts that you’ve hurt someone in a traffic accident
- Intense distress when objects aren’t orderly, lined up properly or facing the right way
- Images of hurting your child
- Impulses to shout obscenities in inappropriate situations
OCD Compulsions, on the other hand, are repetitive behaviors that you feel driven to perform. These repetitive behaviors are meant to prevent or reduce anxiety or distress related to your obsessions. Typical compulsions revolve around: washing and cleaning, counting, checking, demanding reassurances, repeating actions over and overand arranging and making items appear orderly.
If left untreated, these symptoms might lead to difficulty in leading a normal life, hence maybe to suicide.
So next time you decide to brand yourself as OC, bite your tongue.
Or maybe, don’t.
2. Alzheimer’s Disease
Because of the mass-acclaimed The Notebook, Alzheimer’s Disease became pretty much a household name. That’s why in most casual conversations, those who often forget about people’s names, birthdays, important meetings, and just about everything are often coined as people suffering from Alzheimer’s. And I wonder why some actually just laugh back as retort, like it’s a “normal” thing.
Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder named after German physician Alois Alzheimer, who first described it in 1906. Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today, it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States.
It is the most common form of dementia, a general term for the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. (http://alz.org)
Alz.org also gives 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s vis-à-vis normal “forgetful” moments that people most likely experience: Among these signs are the following:
* Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information.
What’s normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.
* Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game.
What’s normal? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.
* Problems with language. Forgetting simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for “that thing for my mouth.”
What’s normal? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
* Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home.
What’s normal? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.
* Poor or decreased judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold.
What’s normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.
* Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used.
What’s normal? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.
* Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl.
What’s normal? Misplacing keys or a wallet temporarily.
* Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason.
What’s normal? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.
* Changes in personality. The personalities of people can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member.
What’s normal? People’s personalities do change somewhat with age.
* Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities.
What’s normal? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.
DISCLAIMER: Forgetting that your date with your boyfriend is set to 7 p.m. is not Alzheimer’s. Don’t fret. Maybe you just don’t love him anymore that’s why you chose to forget. 😛
For me, the most overused word to be taken too lightly thrives in the sentence “I think I’m paranoid!” Singing the Garbage song over and over again, however, doesn’t exactly make you one.
Yes, your boyfriend might be cheating on you with Carmen Electra. Or your neighbor plots the best way to kill you. Or your bestfriend is actually Hannibal Lecter in sheep’s clothing. The thing is, in these situations, either they’re all true or you just sulk too much over Jennifer Love Hewitt movies. Get over yourself.
According to depression-guide.com, Paranoia is more than what anyone can bargain for. Its main symptom is permanent delusion. In paranoia, the symptoms of delusion appear gradually, and the patient is sentimental, suspicious, irritable, introverted, depressed, obstinate, jealous, selfish, unsocial and bitter. (I can think of names. LOL)
Anyway, seriously. The person suffering from this disease does not acknowledge his own failures or faults, and by sometimes accepting certain qualities as belonging to himself, even when imaginary, he develops paranoia.
There are seven (7) kinds of paranoia:
- Persecutory paranoia – Patient makes himself believe that all those around him are his enemies, bent on harming him or even taking his life. In this delusion people of an aggressive temperament often turns dangerous killers.
- Delusion of Grandeur – In this patient believes himself to be, a great individual.
- Religious paranoia – Patient believes that he/she is the messenger of God who has been sent to the world to propagate some religion.
- Reformatory paranoia – Patient turns to considering himself a great reformer. He accordingly looks upon all those around him. As suffering from dangerous disease, and believes that he is their reformer and curator.
- Erotic paranoia – Patient often tends to believe that some members of the family of the opposite sex, belonging to an illustrious family, want to marry him. Such people even write love letters and there by, cause much botheration to other people.
- Litigious paranoia – Patient takes to feeling meaningless cases against other people and feels that people are linked together to bother him. Sometimes he even tries to murder.
- Hypochondrical paranoia – Patient believes that he is suffering from all kinds of ridiculous diseases, and also that some other people are to blame for his suffering.
So, paranoid much? 😀