Mental Illness Doesn’t Make You Special by Freddie Deboer
Before I get to the link and excerpts to the essay by Deboer, which are below, I wanted to say this:
I had clinical depression for around 35 or more years (I was diagnosed by one psychiatrist, and it was verified by more psychiatrists as I got older and moved from state to state), I still have an anxiety disorder, and I used to have social anxiety disorder, so I know what it’s like to deal with mental health issues. I had to deal with these issues largely all by myself for years.
I also know that most people who’ve never had depression, anxiety, or any other type of emotional or mental health conditions are clueless about it, and they tend to be insensitive about it, or make insensitive comments and suggestions.
But in the last few years, I have seen people – usually people in their teens or 20s, and some of the adult, far left mental health professionals – almost act as though having depression (or whatever mental health condition) makes them unique little snowflakes and deserving of lots of attention and pity.
This attitude and behavior makes me want to barf.
I used to have a friend named Mary (not her real name) who I met online (who I now suspect is borderline – borderline personality disorder), and while I briefly mentioned to her early a time or two in in our friendship that I had depression for years, I never made a big fuss out of it, nor did I tell her for years that I also had suicidal ideation.
(I mentioned having depression to her a time or two after Mary began sharing with me that she had mental health issues.)
It was not something I was proud of.
I spent years researching depression and how to get rid of it. I also read up on tips on how to get rid of anxiety. I did not like having either condition. I did not use either as pity ploys or to get attention from others.
But this suspected BPD friend of mine, Mary – who was a drama queen – often would come on to our forum where we participated to complain about how life was so unfair, and she was going to kill herself.
I took her suicide threats seriously for many years – until around the 6th or 7th year of this. It was then that my intuition was telling me she was using such threats as attention-getters, as pity ploys.
It became a predictable pattern with her: about once every 8 to 9 months, she’d storm on to the forum complaining about how life was so terribly unfair, and how she was going to go kill herself.
So after several years of this, I stopped addressing Mary’s posts where she threatened suicide. Once I stopped doing that, she would come to the forum later, behave sheepishly, and admit she was being a drama queen and just wanted attention.
I do see more and more people in the past few years wearing their mental health problems like some kind of strange badge of honor.
They feel that having a mental health problem makes them “special,” “unique,” and they want attention and sympathy for it – this is never how I approached having anxiety and depression, so I find this very foreign, weird, and off-putting.
Unlike today’s mental health sufferers, I didn’t get a sense of identity or purpose from having depression or anxiety, either, nor did I want to, because that is not a healthy thing to do.
I also didn’t go around frequently, loudly, broadcasting all the time that I had depression and anxiety. When I did discuss it (online), it was under a pseudonym.
I have grown to dislike the word “neuro-divergent” that these people who act like fragile, attention-seeking snowflakes have developed. One can no longer just say that she “has depression” but one now is expected to say that she is “neuro divergent” or “not neuro typical.” It is to barf.
I’ve met people over my life, whether they have clinical depression, a personality disorder – whatever it may be – and some of them absolutely use their mental health problems (which may be accompanied by a personality disorder) to as a way to get attention and compassion from others.
It’s almost as though they don’t really want to be healed, be cured, and move on – no, they take a perverse sense of comfort in having whatever mental health problem, and they may even use it as an excuse about why they supposedly cannot get up and move on in life.
I’ve written posts on this topic before, so I won’t go into detail here, but during the years I had clinical depression and was very codependent (a people pleaser and a good listener),
I kept attracting other clinically depressed (or other types of troubled) people to me, and while I was there for these people, offering them months to years of emotional support, most of them offered me little to none in return. I’ve since learned to detach from such troubled people, which I’ve written of before in other posts.
Why do neurodiversity activists claim suffering is beautiful?
BY FREDDIE DEBOER
April 29, 2022
Marianne Eloise wants the world to know that she does not “have a regular brain at all”. That’s her declaration, on the very first page of her new memoir, Obsessive, Intrusive, Magical Thinking.
The book catalogues her experience of a dizzying variety of psychiatric conditions: OCD, anxiety, autism, ADHD, alcohol abuse, seasonal affective disorder, an eating disorder, night terrors, depression.
By her own telling, Eloise has suffered a great deal from these ailments; I believe her, and wish better for her.
But she would prefer we not think of them as ailments at all. And that combination of self-pity and self-aggrandisement is emblematic of our contemporary understanding of mental health.