I’ve said it many many times before and I’ll say it again: illness is not a metaphor. Sontag wrote about this stance insofar as the individual dealing with illness is concerned, but I extend that logic to the way culture thinks about illness and how we project that sort of thought onto individuals, causing this deleterious metaphoric thinking in the first place. I realize now that my solidarity with neuroatypical and neurodivergent people is not enough. Speaking and making places for other voices is not enough. I realize now that I need to hold you closer, that you matter so much to me and that we are in this together.
Being in this together means being there for you, next to you if you want, away and helping you get what you need if you have to be on your own. Between us the pinnacle of brilliance and joy and the depths of struggle and sadness will occur. I’ve talked to too many people recently who have been told that they are “too much”. For me, you are all just enough; you deserve all the friendship and love and happiness you can glean from this earth. sometimes insecurity and the impulse to address it is mistaken for confidence, for being comfortable with yourself and the things that you say and do. to do something is not to be comfortable with doing something, or to want to do something. be careful when making assumptions about ones internal world.
Copypasted from the inimitable and awesome Yawn Davidson “ok, so let me strike down the idea that neuroatypical people are risky/bad to have as friends. to presume that neurotypical people are inherently stronger and more equipped to fill the role of a “friend” is baseless, even in such cases where one is expected to respond in a particular way in a time of crisis. those who need not attend to mental turmoil on a daily basis in fact might not be as prepared to be your “rock” as people who do. stability ought not be conceived as a stand-in for strength, or for “goodness”, for the depth and breadth of mental and emotional experience is something valuable to confer upon another, even if not reliably. stability, on one hand, is in my view a poor parameter for judging what is a good friend, for the strength (that is, the coping mechanisms they have developed from trial and error, the familiarity of certain kinds of emotions) and perspective gleaned from life experience exceeds that of some other neurotypical people. still yet, a hypothetically constant state—that is a “stable state”—of depression, anxiety, and so on still exist in such a way that brings a useful vantage-point for assisting others in their struggles, and beyond that mere psychological utility i find that sometimes such conditions give rise to compassion by virtue of heightened sensitivity to and receptivity of others. i have come to terms recently with the fact that i am not “grounded”—i am not naturally in one place—but i am “grounding”.
in the constant flux of my emotional weather i am tasked with centering myself and using my arsenal of tactics to make my days bearable. i have formulated ways to bring about resilience, to ground myself. what i mean to say in all of this is that those who are “grounded” do not necessarily have any greater value as a friend than i do, or people like me (and even those quite dissimilar to me in other dimensions of mental illness). to conclude, i love my friends and you constantly inspire me. this all comes from a place of observing shitty attitudes towards people dealing with mental illness in the social sphere.”