“I totally understand the plight of the mentally ill. I took Psychology in university, and some of my best friends have depression!”
I’ve gone from closeted sufferer to sideshow so quickly my head is spinning. Although it’s probably always spinning. See: Mental Illness
We have become fashion accessories. We are the new gay best friend. The Latina house keeper that everyone has. Mental illness is the newest Bentley, and anyone who’s anyone is depressed or knows someone who is.
If I weren’t a psychopath this notion would hurt my feelings. Luckily for me, I have none. What I do feel is anger, anger on behalf of myself and my community who want nothing more than respect. I understand that you can’t understand me. No amount of Wikipedia articles can put you in my head, just as I will never know what it’s like to live in yours. I am painfully flawed, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be dressed up and paraded around to all of your friends.
No, you can’t try any of my pills.
No, I can’t recommend a good therapist.
No, I don’t want to diagnose you based on my ‘expertise’.
I want to live my version of normal, have my own friends, deal with my own situations, and most of all, not have to worry that I’m too fucked up for the cute white girl who totes wants to be friends with me because my mood swings seem exotic. I’m not a puppy that you can stuff in your purse, I am a human being. I am no less than you, and I shouldn’t have to choose between acceptance and being a cast-away because I refuse to use my mental illness as a party trick for your enjoyment.
What is going on inside of my body and head are real things, sometimes terrifying, always confusing, and having shallow hipsters writing me slam poetry at the vegan coffee club does not make my situation any better. You don’t have to understand me, you don’t have to coddle me, you don’t even have to like me – but what I do need is respect. It’s what all of us need, and I would rather crawl back into my cavern and suffer in silence than pretend to suffer happily for your benefit.