The Envelope: The depressed are not too oppressed to be successful

Benjamin Garcia, Opinion Editor

There is an issue I have been personally bothered by for some time now. It is the fetishization and stigmatization of mental illness. In an egalitarian society, such oppression against a group of people whose affliction is far beyond their control cannot exist. It is inhumane. It is wasteful. It pisses me off!

Perhaps the final straw was when a now former lover of mine made the comment “You should treat your depression how I treat my seasonal allergies and just ignore it.”

He should treat his opinions the way the corporate overlords treat their piles of surplus wealth and not share them!

Men are attractted to the mentally ill for the same reason that they like thier partners to wear heels, it makes it harder for them to run away. Onetime, that same boy made me cry for depending on medication to be able to collect the will power to roll out of bed every morning and brush my teeth; Sometimes I couldn’t find that will power. Yet he used me as his hypomanic pixie dream girl; speaking of which, do you know that neuro-divergent people are more likely to be victims of abuse than neuro-typical people? Scary stuff.

It’s unfair how there is blatant fetishism and stigma. One or the other, please!

Depressed people are often colloquially thought to be more sensitive, talented or vulnerable. First of all, this is counter-intuitive. To the accusation of me being talented, I will have to say “guilty as charged;” but many times people who have mental illnesses, social disabilities and personality disorders have a hard time relating to people and forming emotional relationships.

For example, onetime a boy called me, crying and said “My mom had a heart-attack,” the first thing I thought was “There go all my heart-attack jokes.”

I’m not telling you to not date someone with a mental illness. I’m definitely not telling you to date someone because they have a mental illness. What I’m saying is you should know what you’re getting into. If the person tells you upfront that they have difficulties or needs that are different from most peoples’, you need to be considerate of their time and feelings and proceed if and ONLY if you are prepared to deal with it.

While there is unfortunately, a misguided fetish for seemingly frail mentally-ill people in society today, there is a toxic stigma based on the misinformation that mentally ill people are lazy; this leads to workplace discrimination as 50% of employers say they would be reluctant to hire someone being treated for depression according to a CNN article.

There are much more severe stigmas against people with personality disorders such as obsessive-compulsive and narcissistic (which has been in the news lately since Kanye West was admitted into a mental hospital, I think society’s reaction and the memes that followed are illustrative of the stigma); and schizophrenia; in fact, the first thing I learned in high school health class was that “schizophrenia is scary.”

The stigma leads to people not being comfortable talking about, seeking treatment for and being afraid of being diagnosed with psychotic and neurotic disorders. This is wasteful and inhumane because we are being looked at as second class citizens when we have so much to contribute to society. Even I hesitated in writing this column because I didn’t want to lose my credibility. (Can’t lose what you never had, I suppose.)

I have come up with a way to break the stigma. I’m not preaching it to anyone because it’s radical and perhaps a little unsafe, but lately I have been turning around the stigmas and bragging about psychosis and neurosis.

I’m proud of my mental illness because it is another obstacle to overcome. As I continue to succeed, I am putting more effort into my activities because not only do I have to allocate energy to accomplish the task at hand, but I am fighting a war with my own mind. The people who are not depressed are the lazy ones!

Besides that, it often seems as though people without mental illnesses are dense. Not only do more than 30 academic papers support a link between intelligence and bipolar disorder — among related illnesses; but everyday the bricks and village idiots of the world, grown adults tweet petty complaints about relationships and brainwashed praises of Disney movies; it’s enough to make you heave! They do not care about anything outside their tiny worlds such as revolutions in other countries, systematic oppression, Netflix original series Lady Dynamite starring bipolar comedian Maria Bamford.

If I’m going to be depressed, I might as well use my suffering to write better than all of those pesky, “normal” writers and make things that are truly beautiful. If I am going to be angry, I will overcome obstacles by learning how to focus and command my rage. If I am going to be anxious, I will never be caught off guard for lack of preparation; and if schizophrenia is so scary, I will make myself the scariest person on the planet; an in this way, I will not have to worry about people plotting against me.