Rodent of Unusual Size
Sat, 02 Mar 2002 19:55:59 -0500
Michael Watson wrote:
> You are right, I am slightly manic, a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10,
> although medicated. My psychiatrist refers to it as controlled
> hypomania. I am outing myself as mentally ill here on this list
> as a first step towards outing myself in the world at large in
> order to answer the question "Will people take me seriously if
> they know I am mentally ill?"
Whoa there, pardner! I object to labelling someone as 'mentally
ill' unless it is an untreated or untreatable condition. Someone
whose condition is being treated, with medication or therapy or
whatever, I do not regard as ill. That's like calling someone
who has diabetes 'sick' -- they have an illness, true, but it's
under control and they are *not* 'sick' to my mind.
Mind you, I myself have never been (knowingly) diagnosed as anything
in particular (except perhaps a pain in the arse) by any psychiatrists.
However, I have associated closely and for years with people who
require daily medication to normalise their brain chemistry, and
I have never regarded them as 'mentally ill'.
I consider it a stigmatic label that is often misused (IMNSHO) and
damages people's relations and self-esteem.
Now, if mania is considered a 'mental illness', what about
Tourette's Syndrome? I have found many Touretters to be
awe-inspiringly brilliant and insightful. I have read (and
syndromatic friends have corroborated) that many people
afflicted with Tourette's choose not to treat the syndrome
because, to them, the treatment is worse than the disease;
it makes them feel dull.
Do I consider Tourette's a mental illness, or a Touretter who
doesn't treat it to be mentally ill? I do not, any more than
I would consider someone with a congenital extra (or missing)
finger or toe to be 'crippled'. I think of them as special
and unique (and not in the politically-correct 'special Olympics'
kind of special), and I value their impact on my life.
So I say fie! on you for calling yourself mentally ill, or for
letting anyone else call you that.
Ken Coar, Sanagendamgagwedweinini http://Golux.Com/coar/
Author, developer, opinionist http://Apache-Server.Com/
"Millennium hand and shrimp!"