Sat, 02 Mar 2002 21:39:12 -0800
You know, I came to the same conclusion tonight. I was a volunteer at the
grand re-opening of our local historical movie theater. I am pretty much a
soft-spoken, non-descript middle aged man so I was thinking that I have a
long, long way to go before I am even attract attention to myself,
especially here in the university town, hippie center of Santa Cruz, Ca.
Just then the drag-queen contigent walked in and I thought, now there is way
to get out there. I have never been psychotically manic so I have never
gotten in trouble in public. I have no business calling myself mentally ill.
It is not even a useful thing to do. I was only doing it in solidarity with
my unmedicated friends who have trouble coping.
My mania only expresses itself when I get on the internet or write code.
Posting to this list has helped me clarify this issue. I can either stay off
the internet and quit writing code or I can just go for it. I am leaning
towards the latter.
At 07:55 PM 3/2/02 -0500, you wrote:
>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!"