Random, but was having a conversation at work the other day. The topic was mental illness and disability. My coworkers were going on about all the individuals unfairly demonized, forced to endure the stigma of being branded “crazy” and either not getting or being afraid to get the help they need. I pointed out that they wouldn’t be stigmatized if they didn’t feel the need to inform the world at large of their supposed “issues” every ten minutes. They were appalled at this. Expected me to explain myself.
Before I do, I’ll point out that I am bipolar, seasonally affected, have severe self-esteem and abandonment issues, and more than one doctor has entertained the possibility that I suffer from borderline personality disorder. So I’m buckets of crazy, myself. That’s before we get to the water phobias and paranoid ideations. Maybe I lucked out in developing a set of conditions that mean I already assume everyone hates me and thus don’t care much what others say or think on the subject, but I’ve attempted to avail myself of “help.” Generally hasn’t actually helped much, but *shrug* What can you do?
Anyway. I pointed out to them that it seems roughly 99% of the population under 40 seems to feel the need to tell the world about everything they do. They tell Facebook when they’re constipated, they Tweet when they get high, and flood Snapchat and Instagram every time they hit a red light at an intersection. These same people, when phone is in hand and a psychiatrist appointment is looming, are liable to what, exactly? Right. Yammer about it. And what happens then? Their 800 “friends” all want to chime in with an opinion – and the friends of their friends and the spammers who tricked one of those friends into friending, and so on. Quickly leads to potentially thousands of strangers – who the original individual counts as “friends,” remember offering judgement. And the internet being the Internet, odds are most of it is poorly phrased, badly spelled, judgmental as hell and yet somehow deeply important even to people who aren’t deeply depressed or delusional.
I posited that much of this “stigma” they harp on is not a result of family or extremely close friends, but rather this extended community that so many people seem to think is so important and that if the internet as a whole were not continuously alerted to every minute aspect of their existences, things would probably be better.
They seemed to think this was a possibility, but ultimately seemed more inclined to believe that social media was an asset to the disturbed rather than a potential detriment.
Given that I was already considered outcast in the conversation by pointing out my belief that most diagnoses of DID, ADHD, autism and dyslexia were incorrect at best and malignant manipulation of the system to avoid punishment or provide excuses for not behaving like a human being who has to follow rules at worst, I’m unsurprised.
Still. I think it’s probably something that should be looked at. Both in context of the mentally ill and the greater world. Why do we need to tell everyone what we’re doing? Why do we worry so much about people we’ve never met, probably never will, and whose sole contribution to our lives is an occasional like or “lol”?