How would you handle a “chill pill” joke? Would you be offended? Would you laugh it off? Would you pull out your …

11 Comments to
The ‘Take a Chill Pill’ Comment: Funny or Offensive?

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  1. Anxiety is a emotional state, occurred through the fear and stress. There are many ways to reduce anxiety, any medication will helps to reduce anxiety, but before using any medication it was good to consult your doctor, to avoid the side-effects in future.

  2. I was told today by I guy I’m seeing that I needed to take a “chill pill & relax” followed by a “LOL”. I have dealt with anxiety all my life & trief meds as a older teen. I don’t take anything now but strongly feel I should start. That btw was my reply. He made sense but I also feel bad. It is not as easy as it sounds because the word relax is rarely used in my vocab. It really isn’t that serious to someone that doesn’t feel the physical. Emotional & mental changes that you go through to try to curb this crap. Why can’t he just stop being s asshole & it may help with my ass wipe intolerance……

  3. How ironic, I just came here and read this and I have just posted on my blog “Take a chill pill” and I suffer and have suffered anxiety/depression. I think it’s a kind of gallows humour with me because I do and have joked about my happy pills and it really doesn’t bother me. I think it’s just my way of not getting too bogged down and heavy about what is really a shit situation already.

  4. I say to hubby “take a chill pill”- I am so empathetic to his moods ( 21 years as friends, almost 13[next week] married)that I FEEL his distress. I have chill pills also ( who needs mental illness when you are a female with raging hormones!)I find that his lack of organization ( ADD) leads to my OCD going into overdrive- when I am tempted to say “take a chill pill” I take one as well- and peace regiens and he listens to me as to where he last had his ‘X’. I LIKE my chill pills, the anxiety would kill me otherwise!

  5. I probably wouldn’t react to “take a chill pill” as it always sounds a bit like “whatever”. I’d be more likely to think, ok there has been a communication breakdown here. Even the comments about people forgetting to take their meds wouldn’t really offend me. I see things like that just as poor attempts at humour, throwaway lines and often said when the speaker doesn’t know what to do or say next.

    The phrases I do react to are the ones said to me that directly relate to my mood state (bipolar and social anxiety). These are along the lines of “oh just get over it” or “just do it”. I want to say, well if it was that easy I would!

  6. Hi Summer,
    Nice post.
    I wouldn’t take offense at a ‘take a chill pill’ comment but I suppose it’s down to personality and the mood the person on the receiving end is in.
    I have seen many people react badly to this form of comment, similar to ‘pull yourself together’ and ‘calm down’, although ‘chill pill’ to me sounds slightly more humorous and tongue in cheek as it’s euphemistically delivered.
    Using a more direct terminology may well enrage the other person (which I have seem many times over) especially in the workplace, and especially if that person as indicated in another reply is suffering from anxiety or depression. Many years ago when I suffered from depression, a close friend told me to pull myself together, I could have punched him between the eyes. Of course, I didn’t, and when years later he suffered from a prolonged spell of anxiety he realized just how affected you can become.
    I guess people don’t think when they say things, how would they know? best thing is to always air on the side of caution.
    Regards
    Chris

    • Chris, very true. It’s so difficult to truly say the right thing unless you’ve been through the same type of situation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard comments like “just suck it up” or “just relax” from well-intentioned friends and family members. It doesn’t really help. At all. The problem just isn’t that simple!

  7. Thanks for this article. I was thinking about this recently after a co-worker and my supervisor both quipped about whether they should ask a difficult person whether he had taken his meds that day. I don’t think either of them meant to be insensitive – they’re really great people. It just never crossed their minds that it might not be a good joke.

    I do feel can trivialize and dismiss mental health conditions. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for people with any sort of serious condition getting through life with a little gallows humor. But when you hear someone say such things, you don’t always know which camp they fall into – dismissing non-sufferer, or wise sufferer using a little humor.

  8. Also I think I might get that pyjama set – love the irony.

  9. I find it a bit offensive because it’s usually meant dismissively. “Leave me alone,” “stop the drama” or “take a chill pill” are the same thing.

    You inadvertently brought up another of my pet peeve language issues in your post, too. Why is it that people with less than sunny attitudes are always Debbie Downer or Negative Nancy, women, and not David Downer or Negative Ned? There are sexist connotations as well as being hurtful towards people with depression.

    So many language issues around mental health, I can’t get wound up over them all. Guess I should take a chill pill. ;)

    • Sandra — wow, great point about how there only seem to be female alliterative names for negativity. Since I read your comment early this morning, I’ve been racking my brain for male equivalents…and I’m still stuck. In fact, I can’t think of ANY male names that follow the same pattern — even for a neutral or positive personality attribute. But “Chatty Cathy” also keeps coming to mind!

      Also, I just found this column from a college newspaper. It basically echoes our conversation on this!

  10. “If someone who also deals with a mental health disorder (like Chato Stewart in his Mental Health Humor blog) cracks a medication-related joke, does that make the joke more tasteful? Easier to handle? More appropriate? Most importantly, why?”

    Summer I would have to go with “why”… Yup, “WHY” is my answer so take a chill pill… Or like my girls call them… Happy pills.

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