Stamping out the stigma: throwaway sayings and why they’re so damaging to mental health

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Understanding the impact of our words, and how they can perpetuate stigma

Stamping out the stigma: throwaway sayings
and why they’re so damaging to mental health

Language holds an invisible power over our lives. More than a collection of words and phrases, it is a vehicle for ideas and experiences, and plays a significant role in shaping how we make sense of the world. While we may not always be aware of it, the words we wield can also be weapons. They can inflict harm and cause pain, sometimes without our realising.

Casual ableism is a routine occurrence in our language. It shows up in everyday expressions, throwaway remarks, and off-the-cuff sayings which perpetuate harmful assumptions and misconceptions about disabilities and mental illnesses. With each time we describe a dull event as ‘so depressing,’ a recollection of frustration as ‘giving me PTSD’, or an occasional habit as ‘a bit OCD,’ casual ableism is increasingly normalised within our cultural vernacular.

In her book, On The Offensive, linguist Dr Karen Stollznow highlights how mental health conditions are often exaggerated through colloquial phrases used to discuss undesirable traits or character flaws: an egotistical politician is described as a ‘narcissist’; a friend who worries that other people don’t like them is ‘paranoid’; and a colleague who has difficulty focusing on one task has ‘ADHD’. This metaphorising of mental illness both trivialises complex conditions, and fuels their association with negative qualities.

“My biggest pet peeve is when people say, ‘I’m literally obsessed with__,’” explains Kayla Kaplan, who was diagnosed with OCD, ADHD, a non-verbal learning disorder in her mid-teens, and, more recently, with PTSD. “It paints obsession as a synonym to really liking something and, in my experience, literal obsessions feel horrible. Being unable to get your brain to stop obsessing over something is one of the most helpless feelings, and it shows me that people who misuse the word have no concept of what it actually means.”

Bev Herscovitch, a healthcare and disability advocate, suggests that these throwaway sayings can lead people with mental illnesses to feel unsafe and isolated, potentially preventing them from opening up to others, or seeking support when they need it. Speaking of her own experience as someone diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety, she says “It makes me feel overwhelmed because I realise there’s so much more work to be done in just erasing stigma and raising awareness.”

More troubling than individuals using mental health terminology in this casual way, however, is organisations and businesses treating them as trends. “I’ve often come across merchandise that says: ‘OCD (Obsessive Christmas Disorder or Obsessive Cat Disorder),’” Kayla comments. “To misappropriate a diagnosis for profit is a whole other level of hurt, and it normalises doing so at a massive scale.”

Of course, not everyone who utters these sayings intends to cause harm. More often than not, people simply reproduce ubiquitous turns of phrase without much knowledge about their origins or implications. Our use of language is habitual, rooted in ritual and convention. When we reach into our mental lexicon, searching for the right phrase to describe a t

Our Waikiki Recap (+ what to do and where to stay)

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Hi friends! I’ve missed you! This is the longest I’ve been away from blogging for a long time, but I’m back now and excited to chat with you. I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that those of my parent friends with kids heading back to school have an amazing week.

We’re back from Hawaii and I have so much to say. It was our first time in Oahu, and it was seriously the most magical, beautiful, relaxing trip. I feel so refreshed and my heart is very happy after a week away. It’s been a whirlwind couple of months (Vegas, staycation, dance competitions, family in town, and then our entire family got sick) and this was the perfect way to cap off an awesome summer.

I’m excited to share a recap from our trip, some of the adventures we enjoyed, and some of the food we ate!

The FOOD. It was everything.. and I’m still having malasada withdrawals….

(These are the malasadas from Duke’s Market, which we had a few times. They’re made from rice flour, slightly crunchy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. The purple ube one was my fave, followed by the haupia filled one. Haupia is a gorgeous coconut custard. #2 on the list of best donuts in my life)

One of the best parts is that my mom was able to join us! The Pilot had to work some of the days we were there, so we asked if we could fly her out to join us. We were all so pumped that she was able to make it and we had the best time with her there.

Our Waikiki Recap (+ what to do and where to stay)

Waikiki adventures:

Beach days

I knew that the kids would be happier just going to the beach than planning excursions with lots of travel time, and that was exactly correct. Also, for many of the snorkeling or sea turtle adventures, you need

Could I be sapiosexual?

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What is sapiosexuality, what does it mean, and how can it affect our relationships?

Could I be sapiosexual?

Attraction. Sometimes it can be hard to define but there’s no denying that we like what we like, and exploring and embracing those desires can be great not only for our relationships, but our mental health, wellbeing, and sexual satisfaction.

If you’ve ever found yourself feeling more attracted to someone’s mind over their body, it could be a sign that you may be sapiosexual.

What does it mean to be sapiosexual?

Sapiosexuality means that you find intelligence sexually attractive or arousing. A type of sexuality, in order to feel sexually attracted to someone, sapiosexuals first have to feel intellectually stimulated.

In use since 1998, the term has become more mainstream since the mid-2010s, when dating sites began including sapiosexual as a sexual orientation option. The term itself is derived from the Latin sapere, meaning to be wise or to have sense.

If you are sapiosexual, the first thing you might notice about a potential partner is likely to be their intelligence. You find the way other people’s minds work, or how intellectual they are, to be attractive. You may not find other common points of attraction people talk about (e.g. height, shape, hair colour, humour, body type, facial features) to be something that you find attractive or stimulating in and of itself. Sapiosexuals often do not feel lust, desire, or sexual gratification without first being stimulated on an intellectual level.

Can anyone be sapiosexual?

Anyone can identify as sapiosexual alongside being heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, or any number of other sexualities. You may find yourself attracted to men, women, those who identify as trans, nonbinary, genderfluid, or those of any gender or sexual identity.

One 2011 study revealed that intelligence may actually be one of the top three traits we look for in a potential partner – meaning attraction to intelligence could be a lot more common than we realise.

Is sapiosexuality the same as demisexuality?

Being demisexual is not the same as being sapiosexual. Someone who is demisexual needs to form an emotional bond before they can feel sexual or romantic attraction. A sapiosexual may immediately feel attraction if they experience intellectually stimulating conversations or debates.

Is sapiosexuality really an orientation?

As a relatively new term, it does come with some controversy, as some believe sapiosexuality is not an orientation, but a type of attraction (alongside types of attraction such as romantic, emotional, sexual, physical, or platonic). However, many who describe themselves as sapiosexual say that intelligence, for them, is more than just one quality they appreciate in a potential partner: it is the driving force behind their sexual attraction.

For some, using the term can be seen as controversial, as some critics have called sapiosexuality a form of discrimination, as well as calling it elitist, Read more

Peach Coffee Cake

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Tender buttery Peach Coffee Cake is filled with sweet bites of peach and topped with an irresistible brown sugar crumb topping – what is not to love??

coffee cake on blue plate with peaches

Peach Coffee Cake

I am at a loss to describe just how awesome this coffee cake actually is. I’ve made it three times now and each time it has disappeared lightning fast both with friends and with family.

I simply can’t get enough of the fresh sweet peaches when they’re at their best in the summertime. I look forward to making homemade peach jam and friends look forward to receiving it too.

For something a little unexpected, this Peach Habanero Jam is the ultimate balance of sweet and spicy and it’s an awesome addition to your next cheeseboard.

This peach-filled coffee cake recipe is inspired by and adapted from my often made and very much beloved Blueberry Coffee Cake.

The peaches add a good bit of moisture to this recipe, so err on the side of extra time while baking this coffee cake. Be sure to test with a toothpick for doneness, it should come out clean or with moist crumbs 

peach coffeecake stacked on plate

Peach Coffee Cake Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8″ square pan with butter. Beat the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy, about 6-7 minutes. Add the eggs and the vanilla, mixing just until combined.
  2. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Place the peaches in a small bowl and sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of the dry ingredients, plus the cinnamon. Stir gently to coat the peaches.
  3. Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and stir to combine. Add the sour cream, mix again, and then add the remaining dry ingredients. Mix just u

Easy Herbed Peasant Bread Recipe

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Easy Herbed Peasant Bread Recipe

With this easy herbed peasant bread recipe, fresh homemade bread has never been easier! It is golden and crispy on the outside and soft and tender on the inside. It is also super versatile and done in a just a few hours.

A few of my friends make peasant bread every Sunday, and when you’ve got three friends who don’t know each other but are all doing the same thing, it’s high time to try it.

We baked it last Sunday for the first time and we are totally sold. It is so simple (you make it all in ONE bowl) and so fluffy, and I love that I can start it after church and it’s ready to bake for dinner. It also scores major bonus points for being a no-knead bread dough! You’re going to love it!

a photo of a loaf of baked peasant bread that has been sliced in half with a couple more slices of bread leaning against it and they are all sitting on a wooden cutting board.


Ingredients Needed for Peasant Bread

The ingredients for peasant bread are simple and likely things that you will have on hand already. We love adding the fresh herbs for extra flavor. You can experiment with your favorite combination of herbs or leave out the herbs altogether. Here is what you will need:

  • Flour – just regular all purpose flour works great, or you can use bread flour
  • Kosher Salt – adds flavor
  • Warm Water – the ideal temperature of water for activating yeast is 105-115 degrees F
  • Sugar – feeds the yeast so it can properly activate
  • Instant Yeast – I’ve found that instant yeast works best rather than active dry yeast
  • Rosemary – fresh is preferred, minced fine
  • Thyme – fresh is best, but if you want to use dried, just add a couple of pinches
  • Parsley – fresh, and finely chopped
  • Butter – used for greasing the bowls that the bread will bake in, and when the bread is fresh out of the oven, brush the top with melted butter (or olive oil)
  • Flaked Sea Salt – we love sprinkling a little salt on top for extra flavor

The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.

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