#1: Mental Illness
So say someone — a close friend, a co-worker, a random stranger on a forum — tells you that they’ve been having some hallucinations, black out sometimes, are feeling depressed, and find themselves lashing out at people.
a) Tell them they’re just stressed out and they’re making a big deal over nothing.
b) Pull out your DSM-IV and diagnose them with Borderline Personality Disorder or another disease.
c) Diagnose them, then prescribe medication.
If you picked any of those choices and didn’t consider telling them to see a professional, you have Clinical Armchair Psychologist Syndrome (DSM-IV-TR, 2000) and recent studies recommend 2-5 self-administered slaps to the face until the symptoms wear off.
Don’t feel too bad, it’s a pretty common disorder, especially on the internet, which is really weird considering that’s the place where you would have the least information on the people you’re diagnosing. One possibility is that on the internet, people’s description of their problems is in text form, which makes it easier for us to make a pattern-recognition link with that psychology article or textbook chapter we just read. Also, people cloaked in internet anonymity usually feel freer to go into more detail about mental symptoms they’d normally be ashamed to talk about in person, giving the armchair psychologists more ammo to work with.
The opposite side of the coin from people who want to slap an official DSM label on every unusual behavior are people who belittle serious symptoms. You see this most often with depression, which way too many people seem to think means “feeling sad.” They hear someone talk about how they’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression and come in with, “Yeah, I know what you mean, I’ve been depressed before, when my turtle died.”
They’ll belittle any suggestion of you going to a therapist or taking medication, because they didn’t need any of that to get over their turtle. You just need to start thinking about all the people in Africa that are worse off than you (they don’t even have turtles to be sad about), and then you’ll be grateful for what you have and ditch your pity party. Never mind that actual depression is a diagnosable condition that can be caused by physical chemical imbalances and deep-seated mental issues. No, you just need to man up and shake it off.
Anyway, there is one piece of unsolicited advice that I will give to you: next time you want to give someone some advice about something, maybe think twice about whether you’re being a dick about it.
Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_18853_5-topics-guaranteed-to-elicit-condescending-advice_p2.html#ixzz1Drgg2lPr