Thursday, February 18, 2016

Mental illness as identity

From Passenger:
the coopting of mental illnesses on [Tumblr] is really out of control. few years back everyone had depression and/or anxiety, now I feel like every other blog I look at is claiming to have bpd or autism or whatever the fuck. I think this culture of Adopt-A-Mental-Illness is majorly abetted by the fact that identity politics reign supreme on here and an otherwise unremarkable individual can, with one edit of their bio, suddenly have clout on a subject they otherwise would be shut out of. shit is annoying
I always thought it went ADHD, autism, and now PTSD. Now I'm not questioning any of those simply because many people claim to have them. ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and post-traumatic stress are all pretty common. But I do question the co-opting of mental illness as identity. Maybe it's important for some people, but the way it's used online fits into a particular narrative that says "only those afflicted can talk," and it's easy too see why someone would want to identify with an oppressed group rather than an oppressor one.

Brendan O'Neill recently wrote about mental illness becoming fashion, and I grudging agree with him when I see someone's grocery list of afflictions listed on their Facebook or Tumblr, but I'm more concerned where it's under-diagnosed and under-treated, and that's among poor people. And I certainly don't need to list my own medical history to advocate for that.