I agree with you that she is acting irrationally, and am also confident you have no intention of causing offence. However, please be aware that there is a difference between "strong emotions" (from which Leah is undoubtedly suffering right now) and "mental illness".

Mental illness is a malfunctioning of the brain, whereby it behaves in such a way as to cause detriment to the human suffering from the illness. The term is also often used to refer to what I would call "alternative mental wiring", where the 'malfunction' is both permanent and harmless. Leah does exhibit such an alternative mental wiring (being transgender), but (as you have mentioned) that was not to what you were referring. In case it needs to be mentioned, I in no way condemn or believe such alternative mental wirings to be problematic; I myself exhibit one, and am not at all ashamed of it.


High emotions often cause similar symptoms to certain mental illnesses, but they are not malfunctions. Rather, they are a core part of the human body's defence mechanism. Irrationality is not a failing of these, but rather a key part of maximising mental agility in situations where it is needed.

Whilst I honestly do believe you had no intention of harming anybody, please do be aware that calling sudden outbursts of irrational or childish behaviour "mental illness" helps reinforce public stigma against and misunderstanding of mental illness. Recent public discussion of such issues has been extremely problematic in this regard, no doubt due to the presence of a high-profile political candidate whose behaviour is extremely offensive to an array of different groups, and it is thus particularly important now to ensure "mental illness" does not become synonymous with "offensive/irrational behaviour".

Once again, please note that I do not take offence at your choice of words. I just hope you realise the potential damage such applications of the term "mental illness" cause, and will consider attempting not to use it in such contexts in future.

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