It really galls me that although some great articles challenge sanophobia/cognitive ableism, the cognitively mainstream always respond to criticism by anyone they know to have mental health issues with ‘she must be manic’. What ALWAYS? Now I’m ‘insane’ you are immune from ever being wrong again? WOW! Everyone else can be a bitch, silly, wrong but YOUR friend has ‘issues’ and you are sainted and put up with me? You put up with me so well that you keep really calm when you’re actually trying to rile me and are EVER so patient when this makes me cross! Firstly “manic is an inappropriate description do any state not related to bipolar. Since I am not bipolar you should not be using it.
You, my dear friend/family member or colleague can never be in the wrong because YOU have a diagnosis? I have a degree in friends like this! The passive aggressive, the gas-lighting, the denial that they said anything you could reasonably take offence at. I gave up on one elderly friend because post-miscarriage there was NO way I ever wanted to tolerate ever again, “Oh well, you were very ODD you know, I’m sure it was those tablets because you were really horrible to me….” Know what? the biggest issue to me venting about being told to have an abortion is not that YOU were upset! YOU were upset OY Vey! Did my heartbreak hurt you? You are disproportionately obsessed with how much my grief hurt you and _I_ am mad?
No. You, family member who thinks you know me inside out, were rude. Unforgivably so and not for the first time. I lost my cool because you stropped about not getting a Christmas card when I was in hospital when people usually send out cards…. Or because you told me four weeks after my miscarriage that you were never ‘against’ my having kids What? Not even when you told me I ought not be a “burden” on my husband or family by having kids…? but you still think it is “all for the best” that I didn’t have kids. I think that’s not the tablets talking, it’s that I’m not happy!
I’ve had this with friends who should know better, friends privileged with far more personal information on my mental health than an elderly nonagenarian. I did tell you I have PTSD, thinking that you would at least come into contact with it through your work and social justice interests. Having PTSD doesn’t mean I always need to be told to ‘calm down’ but it does mean you might try not blaming me when your actions or conversation centre on things my brain desperately needs to keep clear of. and when YOU ‘trigger’ me for whatever reason.
There are also many situations in which my actions, like yours will be rational. I can get justifiably furious/be calling you out/fall out with you like folk do. Even try getting the damn label/diagnosis right? Friends they know to have mental health issues every emotion are dismissed as ‘Oh she’s having one of her phases’ much as PMT is used to nullify a woman’s irritations with men or calling out of male chauvinism. We may well be having a mental health episode but it might actually be created by external stresses and not by some switch in our own brains purely.
Mentally ill people are the calmest nicest folk on FB. I literally observe far fewer personal attacks or meltdowns amongst the members of purely MH support groups than any other. Yet people always try to excuse meltdowns online by blaming it on the mental health of the person on the attack. : “Some of our members may get upset more easily because of mental illness.’ Right? Can’t they see that that’s like saying disabled people don’t use stairs? Some don’t. Some do. But mostly the stairs are their because it is an ablecentric environment? If we built it we’d build access in. By which I mean, judging our MH by our ability to keep cool under microaggressions and in the face of cognitively explosive strops of those who feel safe letting rip is like judging fish on tree climbing! And in fact we do keep calm: we know we need to in order to be thought sane, others with no label can let rip with impunity!