While reading the “Daily Fail” to my ill mother, I came across this slightly disturbing article.
As an introvert I intensely despise small talk, but I’m not autistic and I do not have Asperger syndrome, unlike actress Darryl Hannah (right). The “Daily Fail” has a rep for misrepresenting facts and blowing situations out of proportion, but I couldn’t help but question if introverts and those that can’t handle small talk are really being labelled with disorders, either officially or by self-diagnosis.
Yes, we’re usually the outsiders in any general group of people but we’re not living in Salem in the 1600s. There are no witches here. Nor am I possessed by a demon. Why must we label the unusual? ‘Variety is the spice of life,’ or so the saying goes. Everyone has their idiosyncrisies that set them apart.
Mental illness as the new must-have accessory
OCD is an acronym rarely used or understood before As Good As It Gets in 1997 and has since become so popular that now everyone has “a touch of OCD” – we’ve all said it, even I’m guilty of it. At the moment, countless TV shows abound about hoarding, cleaning, extreme couponing, etc. Most seem light-hearted, or exploitative with an unsettling freak show vibe, with few deserving the title ‘documentary’. Either way it belittles a serious illness that affects the ability to have a “normal” life that many take for granted.
Perhaps Asperger’s is the next Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
It does seem lately that every celebrity is struggling with mental health problems, with bipolar disorder appearing as the most popular type at present – Catherine Zeta Jones is one of the latest. It pisses me off no end that celebrities use mental illness, whether they truly suffer from it or not, to excuse their behaviour and are furthering their careers by eliciting public sympathy.
Fair enough if they’re trying to raise awareness, like Stephen Fry (pictured below), who’s made several brave attempts to explain to the world what everyday life is like for those tormented by serious mental illness in order to diminish the ignorance and stigma surrounding it.
However, in response, some ardent fans will do everything they can to emulate their idols and may aspire to become just as famous. Sob stories are at the heart of game shows and reality TV right now. If you have no talent then the sympathy vote is the only means to compete. If that means fabricating mental health issues, so be it.
The irony is that instant fame results in instant pressure and stress to live up to potential which can result is depression, anxiety, exhaustion and mental breakdowns. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy; joking and pretending to have mental health issues one minute and actually suffering from it the next. We’ve heard that kind of story before, it’s called The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and we all know how that ended.
- The Telegraph – Bill Oddie: ‘Celebrities are making mental illness fashionable’
- The Daily Mail – Why ARE so many people being labelled bipolar? More and more celebrities say they have it, but here a top psychiatrist warns the disorder is far too readily diagnosed, leaving many trapped on ‘zombie’ pills