Definitions of Common Terms

  • Ableism: Discrimination on the basis of disability.
  • Batshit/batshittery: My affectionate term for losing touch with reality due to my mental illness.
  • Bipolar: A psychiatric disorder characterized by long periods of mania and depression. See mania, depression, mixed mood.
  • Brain Cooties: An affectionate term for neurodivergence.
  • Depression: A psychiatric disorder characterized by feeling sad; loss of interest or pleasure in all or nearly activities; significant fluctuations in weight and appetite when not dieting; sleeping too much or too little; slowing of thoughts, speech, and body movements; loss of energy; feeling worthless or excessively guilty; difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions; recurrent thoughts of death and suicide, or planning or attempting suicide. 5 or more symptoms must be present most of the day, every day, for at least 2 weeks, and the symptoms must cause impairment in important areas of functioning. tl;dr: You feel worthless, everything slows down, nothing matters, and dying doesn’t seem like a bad thing.
  • Mania: A psychiatric disorder characterized by a period of abnormally elevated or irritable mood which lasts at least one week. During this period, three or more symptoms must be present: inflated self-esteem; decreased need for sleep; talking much more than usual/feeling pressured to keep talking; subjective feeling that thoughts are racing; distractability; increase in goal-oriented activity; and excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high chance of bad consequences, such as buying sprees, reckless driving, sexual indiscretions, foolish investments, etc. The symptoms must be severe enough to cause marked impairment in occupational or social funtions, or to require hospitalization to prevent harm to self or others, or if there are hallucinations or a loss of touch with reality. tl;dr: You don’t need to sleep, your mind is racing,  you feel like the greatest thing in the world, and you want to do every crazy thing you can think of.
  • Mixed mood: Meeting the criteria for depression and mania at the same time for at least a week. It must cause significant impairment in occupational or social functioning, or to require hospitalization due to safety concerns, or if there are hallucinatioins and/or a loss of touch with reality. tl;dr: All the self-loathing of the depression plus all the energy of mania. Everything feels wrong and you need to fix it right now. The period of time where you’re most likely to kill yourself.
  • Neurodivergent: Having a neurology outside of the statistical norm. Examples: autism, learning disabilities, mental illnesses, epilepsy, and other neurological disorders. Abbreviated ND.
  • Neurodiversity: The entire spectrum of human neurology, encompassing the neurotypical and the neurodivergent.
  • Neurotypical: Having a neurology within the statistical norm. Abbreviated NT.
  • Person-first language: a way of speaking that was designed to emphasize the person rather than their differences. Examples: person with autism vs. autistic person; person who has bipolar vs. bipolar person. Some communities love it; others think it minimizes the person’s core attributes. I fall into camp two.
  • Spoons: In the spoon theory of disability, every little thing you do costs you a spoon, and you have a limited amount of spoons. You must allocate your spoons wisely, because once you’re out of spoons, you’re done for the day. Spoons represent mental, physical, and emotional energy.
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