The most banal definition of insanity is doing something over and over again and expecting different results. So I wonder what one is to think of the countless people who began expressing themselves with this definition over and over again and expected to be considered brilliant. Stories that we tell to sensitize the world to the harsh reality of psychological maladies are so often told in a vacuum, that they are absorbed as fairy tales. They are either pure statistics, or tragic personal accounts. So often do people consider the personal accounts a medium with which one could publicly wallow in their own misery. Strangely people find no trouble putting their faith in numbers.
It is odd for the simple reason that numbers can just as easily be manipulated as people. The data tampered on research sheets has no more credibility than the minds played with behind closed curtains. But when an entire community has screamed wolf since it was given a voice and the world dismisses it as a farce, the only logical conclusion that can be drawn from it is that screaming wolf is a greater sin than being one. Generations of prejudice have clouded minds that still preach about how there were no psychological illnesses in their times. unfortunately, just because one turns a blind eye to something, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
As a person who has her own share of stories about coping (and sometimes, failure to cope with) mental illness, the greatest tragedy is the ignorance of those around you. and colleges waste no time in establishing that someone with a mental illness is a danger to everyone around them.
The heartbreak of knowing that you have a malady that most don’t even acknowledge is that when someone is vulnerable due to a physical illness, they might not find solutions, but at least their problems are taken seriously. The callous indifference of society towards something they cannot see is a disgrace. And it is ironic that in a country like India where almost everyone believes in at least one mythical creature that is invisible, somehow people with legitimate problems are ostracised as being insane.
The last bastion of progressive thinking is expected to be educational institutions. So it is strange when they don’t practice the principles they shove down the throats of their students. A Christian college doesn’t want to handle someone with depression, even though they preach nothing but the strongest ethics.
When Elizabeth Wurtzel came out with Prozac Nation, the consensus was that she was an attention seeking brat. Forget the fact that every doctor who met her diagnosed her with serious variation of a mental illness. Forget the fact that a person who had everything she wanted was still chronically in a state of nothing. Countless media figures wasted no time in branding her as a woman who was so consumed in her pity that she could think of no one else. An average depressed mind would go to google the meaning of depression, expecting standard meaningless, over processed answers, and find pages of words in the voice of a woman, a single woman, a spoke with the resonating sounds of millions suffering with mental illnesses, writing down the world of vacuum and nothingness that invaded all of them, that has always been impossible to explain, and apparently unnecessary to understand. And perhaps the only comfort that someone like me could find was in the texture of the pages of that book, someone who was exactly her age when I was hospitalized, and still trying to understand why no one ever could ever perceive beyond their own madness.