Zealotry and Rules for Discussing Mental Illness
I am lucky enough to have many people out there who love my writing, love my perspective and yes, possibly even love me. Sometimes these people contact me privately, sometimes publically, but either way, I certainly appreciate all the positivity.
On the other hand, there is a small, yet amazingly vocal, number of people who hate what I have to say, and yes, possibly hate me. These people tend to denounce me, and what I have to say, publically.
And honestly, I don’t mind the differing opinions. Disagree with a point I’ve made? No problem, that’s what the comments are for. But zealous, hateful stances on mental illness, treatments and psychiatry tend to hurt those with mental illness far more than it helps.
Mental Illness Zealotry
There aren’t a whole lot of mental illness topics I feel zealous about. Sure, I have plenty of opinions, but zealous? No, not really. (The possible exception is I feel pretty strongly people with a mental illness work with a doctor on a treatment plan. Outside of that, I don’t feel too terribly zealous.)
On the other hand, there are people and groups dedicated to one thing. Some groups want all of psychiatry and psychology to disappear (although I have no idea how). Some claim that mental illness doesn’t exist. Some are ardently anti-medication. And there are still others who actively pursue more specific mental illness causes.
The Reason I’m not a Zealot
The reason you don’t see me pushing one way or the other or recommending specific groups is actually pretty simple: we learn more about the human brain, mental illness and treatments every day, and I’m unprepared to “pick a side” when it makes much more sense to be in the middle. I also think that decisions on mental illness are individual and it's actually rather ludicrous to generalize.
(I’m also pretty hesitant to be part of a group. Groups do odd things and once you’re a member, people assume you agree with everything the group does. I prefer to choose my own stances.)
OK, You Hate What I’m Saying, and Want to Tell Me So
As I mentioned, the comments are for just that. Feel free to pose a counter-argument, cite a study or just generally say that you don’t agree. I have no problem with that.
What I do have a problem with, is people adding comments that are blatantly hateful or abusive to other commenters, groups of people, or yes, even me. Calling anyone “evil,” or “freaks” or cloaking hatred in sarcasm does nothing for you, me, mental illness or anything else. And it takes whatever discourse was going on, down to a level where everyone gets muddy.
Rules for Discussing Mental Illness
If you wish to discuss your point of view, whatever that may be, I recommend adhering to the following:
- Don’t bother being abusive. It’ll get your comment deleted; it’s HealthyPlace policy.
- Kill the sarcasm. If you have something to say, just say it.
- Don’t bother with hate speech. Yes, I get it; you hate a group of people. Try to discuss it like an adult. Here, I’ll help you, “I firmly disagree with XGroup because…”
- Simply saying something is wrong because “psychiatry is evil,” or similar, isn’t actually an argument. See #3 on how to reformulate your thoughts into something reasonable.
- Cite some credible sources. This one is optional but it will lend credibility to your argument.
Really what it comes down to is respect. Please respect the people and points of view expressed. That’s really all I’m asking for, and as we’re all adults, I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
Tracy, N. (2011, February 24). Zealotry and Rules for Discussing Mental Illness, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/breakingbipolar/2011/02/zealotry-and-rules-for-discussing-mental-illness
Author: Natasha Tracy
It can be hard to get out from under a label, I'm sure many people can identify with that, mentally ill or not.
Remember though, you are you no matter what other people think. And there will be people who care about the real you.
"You make sense."
Ah yes, on my good days...
It's strange how many bipolars say I mind-meld with them. I'm the ultra-mind-melder.
"I am anti-long-term-medication, but yeah, bottom line, treatment is so freaking personal"
Yes, thank-you for saying that. I won't argue necessity of long-term meds, but I really like that you can respect the personal nature of someone's decision. None of us know what it's like to live another person's life, after all.
"hurl abuse in your direction"
Honestly, I can take it. Or delete it. Or whatever. But what upsets me is how it impacts other people. I feel the need to stand up to propaganda and thus take on every fight and not let nasty, hateful things go unanswered. My concern is for all the people who see it and then don't get help for their illness. That's what I worry about.
"And the fact that you keep writing so honestly regardless speaks to your immense inner strength!
And even though we may be in different camps on treatment, I really value being able to read a fellow bipolar voice. We don’t have to agree on every detail to make each other feel less alone. So, thanks. "
Now that is incredibly kind, gracious and generous of you.
Honestly, I saw your name come up on my comment list and I was preparing for something contentious and I was thinking that I didn't have the strength for that right now. (I guess it goes to show what I've come to expect from the internet.)
But I was completely wrong, of course. I would like to thank you for having a differing opinion and being so entirely reasonable about it. I think you make a fine contribution to our group of commenters here.
Thanks for being part of the discussion.
I'm so sorry some people feel the need to hurl abuse in your direction. The fact that they do so means you're pushing some buttons, which is a necessary component of change. And the fact that you keep writing so honestly regardless speaks to your immense inner strength!
And even though we may be in different camps on treatment, I really value being able to read a fellow bipolar voice. We don't have to agree on every detail to make each other feel less alone. So, thanks. :)
Thanks for chiming in. I hope it brings some levelheadedness.
That's a good quote alright. A lot of pain is fear, it's true.
As my wife says, the brain is the final human frontier. Very rarely do we get to use the object under observation to study the object under observation. Talk about bias! So it takes a while for the results and ideas to coalesce into something useful. Thanks for discussing this, Natasha!
"The pain is in the effort it takes to hold on to the thought that you're not going to be able to survive the feeling. . . " I saw this the other day and it struck a powerful chord. Fear IS the mind killer.
Anyway - I have some news to share with you - hope you want to get involved and can spread the word.
I have decided to do a linky - its called Monday Madness and its for those of us who blog and have some connection to mental illness. ;D I'd love a community of us to find out about one another and support each others blogs. These things notoriously take time to get going but I'm starting it now. Of course please come and link up too if you participate in such things.