Once I cut myself in my friend’s house with a kitchen knife; the other kids left the party because they were afraid of what I would do.

January 8, 2008 at 11:47 pm (funny things, politics, stupidity) (, )

The title is in response to this.

Life is incredibly strange.

Like sometimes locusts reach a certain age, and change shape, and form swarms the size of storm clouds.

Other times, smart people have strange, nonsensical ideas, like that depression is not a mental illness. To which I can only say, believe me, I am mentally ill. Believe me, both my parents are mentally ill. My girlfriend is obviously mentally ill. Our many years of pain and madness, of anguish, of self-harm, were not “normal human emotions.” They were symptoms of a serious, crippling, treatable disease. I am mentally ill and I have the scars to prove it. I have dozens of them.

And other times, you’re playing Mario Party with your friends, and it’s a perfect allegory for the Democratic primary.

I, Daisy, was, who else, Princess Daisy, the friendly player who got hit with with a lot of bad luck, red space after red space; try as she might, despite her merit, she just can’t win — Mike Gravel. Came in far last.

Emily was Toad, the slick, skilled player who’s far ahead the whole game, resented by others. Her luck suddenly turned in just the last few turns — Hillary Clinton! Overtaken by…

…Brenden as Yoshi, lagging throughout the game but making a sudden, unexpected surge forward to fill Toad-Clinton’s shoes. John Edwards, gaining enormous ground in those final moves, but ultimately losing to…

Who else, Chris Bennet as Warrio. The favorite son, with great prospects from the beginning, tying sometimes with Clinton-Toad but never falling behind. Yes, inevitably, Obama-Warrio took the cake and ATE IT.

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11 Comments

  1. Daran said,

    Other times, smart people have strange, nonsensical ideas, like that depression is not a mental illness. To which I can only say, believe me, I am mentally ill. Believe me, both my parents are mentally ill. My girlfriend is obviously mentally ill. Our many years of pain and madness, of anguish, of self-harm, were not “normal human emotions.” They were symptoms of a serious, crippling, treatable disease. I am mentally ill and I have the scars to prove it. I have dozens of them.

    I believe you when you say you are mentally ill. I was not when I was depressed. It appears that the word “depressed” describes several different conditions, some of which are mental illnesses, and some of which aren’t.

    Either way, it sucks.

  2. Daisy said,

    Hi Daran!

    Clinical depression is a mental illness. It’s an unfortunate fact of the English language that we use the word depression to refer to more than one phenomenon. The post I was responding to, though, was definitely trying to assert that there is no mental illness called “depression.”

  3. Daran said,

    I was diagnosed with depression. My experience of it was being so deeply, endlessly, gut-wrenchingly, hopelessly, suicidally unhappy, that I just couldn’t function on a day-to-day basis. But there were reasons for my unhappiness – problems that I was unable to solve. It was like being unable to stand up because I had been nailed to the floor.

    That’s different from being unable to get up because a wasting disease has weakened your muscles. The right drug might help with that. Drugs could not help me because they didn’t address the problem. Neither could some of the therapies I tried. Only by identifying and prising out the nails was I able to get up.

    It’s not clear to me that “clinical depression” doesn’t also refer to more than one thing. If not, then I was misdiagnosed.

    Are you sure you’re not trying to claim the word to refer to your condition only?

  4. Daisy said,

    I’m actually probably bipolar, though my official diagnosis is clinical depression, for reasons that are basically political. So it’s a big mess, with few clear delineations. It’s quite possible you and I have both been misdiagnosed.

    I want to honor the existence of experiences like yours — I believe that such experiences happen, and that treatments like medication are inappropriate there. I’ll try to do a better job of acknowledging that end of the spectrum in my use of the word “depression.

    What I don’t want to honor, though, is the idea that all depressed people are actually perfectly healthy, and having a rational reaction to bad circumstances. That’s patently untrue (unless misdiagnoses is far, far more rampant than one would hope), and it makes me uncomfortable that someone would go so far as to create fabrications just to get out of identifying as mentally ill. What so wrong with being mentally ill? If you’re* not, great; but why no just say so, instead of trying to claim that everyone with your condition (which you apparently don’t have anyway) is actually healthy?

    In Elaine’s series of posts, she wasn’t just saying that she had an experience like yours, which would be perfectly valid. She was making extremely broad, extremely unfair universalizing statements implying that all “depressed” people are having that experience, that no depressed people truly need medication, that all depression could be cured with diet and sunshine and happy thoughts.

    Another analogy would be that some people can’t walk because they’re missing a leg, and some people can’t walk because they’ve got one leg stuck in a bear trap. I’ll probably need crutches forever; you just needed to get out of the trap (and heal). The condition “unable to walk” (depressed) applies to both of us. I think what’s up in the air is whether the label “disabled” (mentally ill) applies across the board, to conditions both permanent and temporary.

    * General “you” there, of course.

  5. Daran said,

    What I don’t want to honor, though, is the idea that all depressed people are actually perfectly healthy, and having a rational reaction to bad circumstances.

    To use my nailed-to-the-floor analogy, someone in that situation is not healthy, nor is their inability to get up “rational”. Rather it would be better to say that being unhealthy and not being able to get up is “normal” under those circumstances.

    However I agree that this does not adequately describe every depressed person.

    Another analogy would be that some people can’t walk because they’re missing a leg, and some people can’t walk because they’ve got one leg stuck in a bear trap. I’ll probably need crutches forever; you just needed to get out of the trap (and heal). The condition “unable to walk” (depressed) applies to both of us. I think what’s up in the air is whether the label “disabled” (mentally ill) applies across the board, to conditions both permanent and temporary.

    I don’t see permanent vs. temporary as being the distinction, but internal vs. external. You might need medication forever. Or you might find that tomorrow they’ll come out with a new drug that stabilises your mind in a comfortable place. Either way, the origin is internal. Or at least, that’s how it seems to me. Feel free to tell me just how wrong I am.

    I am disabled (not physically). There are many things I cannot do now as a result of externally-caused damage that I suffered for my entire life up to about 27. It’s like losing a leg as a result of having been in the bear trap. I can move around now a little and the pain is mostly gone. But at no time was I ever ill. I was injured. Now I’m crippled.

  6. Daisy said,

    I don’t see permanent vs. temporary as being the distinction, but internal vs. external. You might need medication forever. Or you might find that tomorrow they’ll come out with a new drug that stabilises your mind in a comfortable place. Either way, the origin is internal. Or at least, that’s how it seems to me. Feel free to tell me just how wrong I am.

    You’re right.

    I am disabled (not physically). There are many things I cannot do now as a result of externally-caused damage that I suffered for my entire life up to about 27. It’s like losing a leg as a result of having been in the bear trap. I can move around now a little and the pain is mostly gone. But at no time was I ever ill. I was injured. Now I’m crippled.

    That clears a lot up for me — that makes perfect sense. One of my big anxieties about Elaine’s post was what I perceived as her desire to get out of the “disabled” label at all costs.

  7. This is your brain on continued survival. « Our Descent Into Madness said,

    […] 17, 2008 at 4:29 pm (disturbing…, health/healthcare) (Context: 1, […]

  8. Daran said,

    One of my big anxieties about Elaine’s post was what I perceived as her desire to get out of the “disabled” label at all costs.

    Actually I disliked “disabled” as a label – I used it above because you did – because it implies “can’t”. I prefer the word “handicapped” which means “hampered” but doesn’t exclude the possibility of “can with difficulty”. Unfortunately “disabled” appears to be the preferred term, while “handicapped” is frowned on.

    That said, my experience of my disabilities/handicaps are more in line with “can’t” than “can with difficulty”. I haven’t worked (in the remunerative sense of the word) for nearly twenty years. I’m forty three now, so that means for all but a few years of my “working” life.

    Whatever the exact word on the label, it’s one that I’m actually quite desperate to wear. One of the problems I have is that my handicaps are largely invisible and difficult for people to understand. Why aren’t I working when I’m clearly so capable? Etc.

  9. Daran said,

    Actually I disliked “disabled” as a label

    I meant to write “dislike” not “disliked”.

  10. Daisy said,

    Whatever the exact word on the label, it’s one that I’m actually quite desperate to wear. One of the problems I have is that my handicaps are largely invisible and difficult for people to understand. Why aren’t I working when I’m clearly so capable? Etc.

    And that’s the big difference between your problems with the label and the ones I thought Elaine was having. It’s the difference between identifying as “queer” because you have disagreements with the word “gay” and identifying as “straight” because being homosexual doesn’t make you gay or queer. If that makes sense.

  11. Tyler said,

    This is pretty cool – it’s like moss on the North face or something…

    http://www.janvormann.com/dispatchwork.php

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