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The mental illness stigma - Tim Lieder [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Tim Lieder

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The mental illness stigma [Jun. 12th, 2014|08:58 pm]
Tim Lieder
There was a moment a few months ago when I thought that I might have Depression - unipolar or bipolar - and I was thinking of going to a therapist and getting some drugs for that. It would definitely explain some seriously messed up things that I've done and thought. I could also explain the reluctance to get any treatment based on the stigma. No one wants to admit that they are mentally ill (or alcoholic or a drug addict or a hoarder) so maybe I've just been dealing with this stuff on my own. That was around the time that my mom mentioned that when she went to a psychologist (according to her it was to stay on welfare benefits and not be forced to get a job) he diagnosed her with bipolar depression (or manic-depression as it was called at the time).

Not to diminish the fact that I would probably benefit from some therapy that doesn't involve me typing away on stories about doomed love and monsters, but that explains things a lot better. I just don't have the manic episodes and the lows associated with depression. A lot of it is based on external conditions - granted these are external conditions that I seek out and then pretend that I'm powerless to prevent it - so it does make more sense that I have been socialized to accept certain behaviors as normal when really they are pretty fucking outside the norm and not in a good way.

Anyhow, I was thinking about this because Pacione has been making the rounds and I don't have much of an opinion - pro or con - about that. I mean I have an opinion but it has nothing to do with Pacione talking shit about me (or my friends) and everything to do with how hard he makes it to sympathize with his plight. Part of his mental illness (I think he's depressive but there are other things - most likely borderline personality disorder) is that he is hostile to everyone and he is always attacking someone. There are many frustrated writers in the world - seriously, guys don't follow your dreams - but Nick tends to be the most vocal and most eager to blame others for his lack of success. I hope one day he gets the treatment he needs - but I think he's already getting some and it isn't working as well as it could.

Also, someone posted a news story from one of those YU papers. It was a guy who was refusing to wear his yarmulke at YU. I read it and found it pretty whiny and rather eager to take a stand where a stand doesn't really need to be taken. I left a sarcastic message, only to find out that my friend had posted that article because this guy killed himself. Seriously dude, don't let me comment on a lame article when the guy who wrote it committed suicide. The thing is that I use a different judgment for if the guy is alive or dead. If he's alive, he sounds like a whiner, but if he committed suicide, he sounds like someone who was going through some seriously terrible shit and one of the ways that he expressed himself was to act out in the proscribed manner of the culture that he was part of. If he was going to a Christian college, he would have expressed some anti-Jesus ideas, etc.

Apparently he hung himself from a tree near a public school.

Of course, we don't know why he did it, or if that article was part of the isolation that he felt in the community or part of his need to be isolated from the community by purposefully testing and stepping over the boundaries.

But the thing about it is that I just read it and thought "douchebag" without bothering to consider that this behavior and article might be part of some deeper concern (I mean a major one and not the deeper concerns that we all have). And I think about all the things that I've said and written and how much I expected others to understand and tolerate me.

So is this going to come to a "what goes around comes around" spiel? I hope not. I don't necessarily believe in karma, but there is a need for compassion and patience. Of course, if you rarely experience compassion and patience how are you going to act compassionate and patient? But then again if you never act compassionate or patient, how are you ever going to expect others to give you the benefit of the doubt?

And why does the "oh shit, I should be nice to this guy" only kick in when there is a suicide or something drastic?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2014-06-13 11:16 am (UTC)
I've been thinking about that too. I've been an asshole online to people who, in retrospect, were obviously deeply mentally ill, Pacione among them. It doesn't entirely sit well with me. On the one hand, I really enjoy vicious mockery and flamewars—I'm not a nice person in that regard. I like to be the verbal equivalent of the kid that goes around beating up playground bullies. And I don't believe that mental illness inherently makes you act like a douche—it certainly can, and did for me, but that didn't turn me into a racist or a homophobe or a misogynist.

On the other hand, how much of Pacione et al. is attributable to aspects outside of their control, at what point does mocking someone for being a shitbag transform into bullying.

But then, it is condescending to not grant mentally ill people agency or allow them to go on spewing bile, unchallenged, because they happen to also have wonky brain chemistry.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2014-06-13 03:38 pm (UTC)
That's true too. And it's the other aspect of the equation. I don't really give alcoholics the same latitude. It may because they are more destructive but there's also an expectation that they need to deal with their shit and there are groups in the world to help them deal with their shit. And I wasn't exactly joining in the love fest for heroin addicts that followed Philip Seymour Hoffman's death.

I do remember a letter about mental illness where the writer said that his mental illness meant that he needed to take care of himself with therapy and drugs and that it was his responsibility to take care of himself in the same way that it was an alcoholic's responsibility to take care of himself.

I suppose the problem is that there really is no road map for this one, and the easy solutions of holding people responsible for all of their actions and holding people responsible for none of their actions are both untenable (and really fucking insulting). So in every case we have to mix and match. I usually get into it with someone until I realize that they are just nuts and later on if they apologize for being off their meds at the time (or having a bad combination), I am ok with that. I don't know.

Of course, I learned early on how to verbally attack playground bullies. Literally. Like while they were pounding me in the head.

And it's a habit that I am comfortable with. Seriously, a friend of a friend started getting into it with me about GMOs and instead of just blocking him for trolling, I first tied him in knots. I even started arguing that not all corporations are evil (the venom-insecticide that is 100% bee safe was just developed by a corporation in order to make profits) and run by humans. He was actually too dumb to do anything but keep repeating "all corporations are evil because they are run by evil humans, missy" so I started in with the fat jokes (yeah like I'm the one to be making those jokes. My arms are muscular, my legs are muscular - everything else is humpty dumpty)
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[User Picture]From: sabotabby
2014-06-14 01:24 pm (UTC)
I suppose the problem is that there really is no road map for this one, and the easy solutions of holding people responsible for all of their actions and holding people responsible for none of their actions are both untenable (and really fucking insulting). So in every case we have to mix and match. I usually get into it with someone until I realize that they are just nuts and later on if they apologize for being off their meds at the time (or having a bad combination), I am ok with that. I don't know.

I'm cool with this as an answer, really.

I mean, ultimately, I am also mentally ill, but not in such a way that I'm not accountable for my actions. If I hurt someone as a result of my brain chemistry, it's up to me to own that shit. Granted, there are some people less in control—I've got a kid right now who has what seems to be early onset schizophrenia and refuses to take meds, and it's very hard to not get horribly frustrated with him when he's a jackass, but it's on me to not strangle him—but for most people, it's mental illness making them less restrained about letting out all the ugly shit that's in there.

Same with alcoholism. My ex liked to blame a lot of his behaviour on being drunk, but when he was sober he was essentially the same angry person.

Of course, I learned early on how to verbally attack playground bullies. Literally. Like while they were pounding me in the head.

I wish I'd been that together. Generally when I tried to get snarky as a kid, it went over their heads.
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[User Picture]From: marlowe1
2014-06-15 05:04 pm (UTC)
Oh I was a regular Hannibal Lector (at least the Silence of the Lambs version where he greets everyone with a verbal attack). It got so I could figure out what my bullies were most sensitive about within a few minutes and then use it repeatedly. Really hard to turn it off. Also hard to realize that in my own way I was being a bully.
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