Saturday, 26 April 2014

I’ve Calmed Down a Bit So I Want to Say Something Without the Cussing

There are a lot of people in the world. And there are a lot of people in the world who are mentally ill. And typically we have been pushed to the margins. We’re used as props in movies. Our torture at the hands of institutions is used as a setting for cheap thrills in the theater. Sometimes we’re spectacles or inspirations. But never real people who can speak for ourselves.

Your first attitudes about what a mentally ill person looks like, and what mentally ill people do, are most likely to be wrong because of this. Our voices have not been included. Unless we’re visibly crazy in ways we can’t hide, people don’t even know we’re there in the crowd. And when we dare to stand up and say, “Yes, actually, I’m here. I’m a part of your world,” people shout us down and call us fakers, so they can go back to thinking mentally ill people exist “out there, somewhere, but not part of MY society.

And sometimes yes, lots of us are in institutions. Lots of us disappear. We die on the streets or in prisons. And nobody is aware of it. And that’s why it’s so incredibly important for people to be aware that we DO exist, and we DO matter, so that instead of taking our absence, and our deaths, for granted, maybe they’ll stop to think about it. Maybe they’ll stop to wonder why there is so much written about us, but so very little written BY us.

Sometimes people know some of us. But that doesn’t help. They just end up thinking every mentally ill person should look EXACTLY like the one mentally ill person they know. Because we’re not fully realized people in their eyes. We’re not individuals.
And it’s so incredibly frustrating for people to act like the only reason to claim mental illness is so you can feel special, when that’s the OPPOSITE of what I want. I want to be able to talk about my life casually. My BRAIN is not something I can just put on a shelf and forget about when I want to have polite, publically appropriate conversations. I don’t want to be on the margins anymore! I want people to know that I exist and that my life isn’t about horror, or tragedy, and I should not have to HIDE who I am. I want to be able to say that I’m schizophrenic the same way people can say they have brown eyes or they’re short.

And when people have all these freak-outs about self-diagnosers, and about fakers, it feels like, on a visceral level, they are trying to push me back into the margins. They are trying to shove me back into the institution, so they don’t have to think about me anymore. I am profesionally diagnosed, but that distinction doesn’t matter to me, because people automatically treat me as suspicious anyway. There are entire websites out there devoted to the idea that mental illness doesn’t exist, that it’s just people trying to “make excuses for bad behavior.”

I’m not stupid. When people act like they’re all concerned that “fakers” are ruining things for me, I know that what’s actually going on is they don’t want to accept the full range and humanity of mental illness, they want mentally ill people to stay in easily containable categories so they can choose just how much at any given time they want to deal with the fact we exist.

And that is my main problem with anti-self-diagnosers. To me, that’s a way bigger issue than even just people not being able to afford to get diagnosed. It’s because I am already seen as deceptive by DEFAULT and this constant vigilance against “fakers” is just ableist concern trolling.

So I hope at least somebody, somewhere, will think about that next time they get mad that someone who “CLAIMS” they have depression was caught- gasp!- being happy the other day, or someone who SAYS they’re bipolar doesn’t act EXACTLY like the bipolar character in the movie they saw. We are real people, and we’re not out to trick you, we just want to tell jokes and reblog things and, sometimes, vent about our lives. Just like everybody else.

Source: So A Mage And A Cleric Walked Into A Tavern