I find the way people like to describe the lives of the “severely” mentally ill people quite annoying. So this post, is going to be part rant and part me trying to me trying to make a point. Come, Alice, follow me down the rabbit hole.
People just love to romanticize those who were considered either highly creative or intellectual masterminds from the past who, also, ended up being severely mentally ill, by today’s standards. The tortured artists. The brilliant yet broken scientific minds. Famous examples include, Van Gogh, Isaac Newton, Ernest Hemingway, the list goes on. These types of people are romanized and appreciated for their genius. Their life stories are told as, if they were some type of Shakespearean tragedy.
Moving forward to today, where we have modern medicine. In this political climate, the mentally ill are seen as nothing but pawns in polarized political debate. While shootings are always truly tragic and terrible, it is sicking how obvious it is that news anchors are only paying lip service to feeling actual emotions for the victims. Instead, they are, quite simply, just happy to have yet another argument about guns vs. mental health.
My simple point is this: society cannot have it both ways. People cannot use mentally people’s lives to fulfill their personal needs for quaint stories about “tortured geniuses,” meanwhile posing the question where society would without its “misfits,” and then, turn around and turn us into the boogeyman. At the same time, they seem to forget we are all real people, facing real pain.
Imagine going into surgery. The surgeon says, “Luckily, it’s modern times we have anesthesia. It has a good chance reducing the pain of me cutting out your appendix. A minority of patients even sleep through the whole surgery! You know, you’re really lucky it’s not the 1950’s.”