Profile picture
VƎX IS RUNNING D&D @vexwerewolf
, 22 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
I think the most dangerous and potentially harmful inaccuracy of society's portrayal of mental illness is that it implies that mentally ill people act "randomly" or do things "for no reason."

That's not how mental illness works.
It doesn't suddenly turn your decision-making process from a flowchart into a diceroll. It adds or removes steps on the flowchart, inserts bizarre loops, changes decision branches. It alters the internal logic by which you operate.

But there's still an internal logic there.
The problem for the supposedly sane, neurotypical people of the world is that it makes certain disturbing things much less far removed from them.

The veteran suffering from PTSD who pulls a gun in a drug store after something falls off a shelf suddenly isn't "randomly violent."
That man has, through trauma and stress, come to associate that sort of noise with an immediate and very real threat to his life. Within the bounds of his internal logic, it is entirely rational and reasonable for him to produce a weapon and seek to defend himself.
The problem comes when his internal logic directly conflicts with the external logic of the world. There is no actual threat to his life, and now he's pulled a weapon and is possibly a threat to other people.

We don't see the reason. We only see the result. It looks scary.
The thing with the shell-shocked veteran is that, upon learning that they've served in combat, you can possibly intuit the chain of reasoning that led to him being like this.

It's not much but that's still a lot more consideration than most mentally ill people get.
It's harder for people to grasp the chain of events that led someone to be dancing naked on an intersection, holding up traffic. Or why someone is writing on the walls in their own poop. To many people, it seems so far removed from common understanding that it must be unreasoning
And the fact that people associate wild, inexplicable, unreasoning acts with mental illness often causes them to mistake less obvious behaviours as NOT being signs of mental illness, because they CAN imagine a chain of reasoning that would explain it.
People who have trouble maintaining their personal hygiene are seen as lazy or slovenly.

There are sometimes periods during my deep depressive episodes when I feel reticent to take a shower because I will be alone with my thoughts without a distraction for 10 to 15 minutes.
(Note: even during my depressive episodes I almost always manage to force myself to take a shower every day anyway because eventually the discomfort of not having showered makes my depression bad enough that the cost-benefit analysis changes)
I don't tidy my room often because the stuff I need to find at short notice is almost always accessible to me and I don't really see any use in expending the effort to tidy up the things that I don't use very often.

My dad is the same and he isn't seen to have a mental disorder.
People would probably consider my pathological aversion to schoolchildren odd if they didn't know that their mannerisms often give me very distinct memories of the people who made my life hell when I was one myself
People think when I fold my arms or don't make eye contact, I'm being rude or shut-off.

No, folding my arms is comfortable and eye contact with strangers makes me feel extremely uncomfortable. Mild mental issues, but mental issues nonetheless.
It may seem like a weird thing to digress into, but a character in @unarmedoracle's Call of Cthulhu adventure described Lovecraft's take on mental illness as "complete dogshit" and although I could fanboy for hours about how good his adventure was, this was particularly on-point.
I think it's on-point because to some extent the way Lovecraft seems to describe mental illness the way in which society looks at mental illness in general. You start out with Sanity Points, and then Bad Things happen to you, and you lose Sanity Points.
At some arbitrary threshold of low Sanity Points you become Insane and you roll on a table to see what Weird Inexplicable Bullshit you start doing. Sometimes that's writing mathematical treatises on non-Euclidian geometry in your own excrement, sometimes it's stabbing prostitutes
There's this heavily mythologised "breaking point" in human consciousness before which a person is sane and rational and after which they're a gibbering lunatic. The idea that there is a very specific moment where a switch is flipped from "Sane" to "Insane."
While it may be partially true in the cases of people who suffered one particularly traumatic or stressful life-changing event, it's not even a remotely complete or accurate description of how mental illness works, its causes or its symptoms.
It's comforting to think that only an earth-shattering trauma could make people "act crazy."

The truth is that merely interacting with a cold and uncaring society on a daily basis can do that equally well.
Remember, also, that "insanity" was (and still is) often used as shorthand for "beliefs or behaviours that differ substantially from the norms of the time period."
For a long time after (most) people realised it wasn't acceptable to just murder homosexuals, we were treated as if we had a mental disease that needed to be "cured," a belief that didn't stop despite qualified medical professionals collectively agreeing that this wasn't the case
(Note that this exact same thing is currently occurring with transgender people)
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to VƎX IS RUNNING D&D
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!


This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member and get exclusive features!

Premium member ($30.00/year)

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!