Being a Horrible Person is Not the Same as Being Mentally Ill

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Came across this tweet in following up on yesterday’s post about Hopkins:

Let me say this loud and clear.

Katie Hopkins has not been diagnosed as mentally ill.

But even if she were, this would not excuse her behaviour.

Being a bitch is not the same as being sick.

Being a horrible person is not the same as being sick.

Being cruel to others is not the same as being sick.

When I was 20, my best friend – who suffered from some of the most intensive bouts of depression I have ever seen – gave me a small and simple mantra to follow when judging his behaviour. He said:

Having a mental illness is not an excuse for behaving like a douchebag.
Although, if you could wait until I’m having a better day before bringing up the times I fall down on this, that would be appreciated.

That has been my guiding approach, throughout life, when dealing with people who are mentally ill and judging my own behaviour during my relapses. Being mentally ill is not an excuse for behaving like a douchebag.

This misattribution is one of the reasons why I wanted to run the call for submissions for Mental Health Awareness Week.

People who suffer from mental illness do NOT deserve (or need!) to be tarred with the same brush as Hopkins.

Stop calling her mentally ill. She has no doctor’s diagnosis, and the only thing that suggests she is mentally ill is (quite frankly) the fact that you don’t like her behaviour very much and you’re searching for a convenient box to put her in to account for the fact that you don’t understand it.

It produces the idea that someone who is mentally ill must be a horrible person. And we are battling enough of that discrimination shit already.

The vast VAST majority of us are good people, doing our best to live good lives and be good to the people around us, while at the same time struggling with the fact that parts of our brains don’t work at optimum levels. Sometimes we need drugs to replace those chemicals that are missing, boost those that are low or tamp down the ones that are in overdrive. Sometimes we see counsellors to learn coping mechanisms, or re-learn things we have forgotten that you take for granted.

We are not like her. We do not want innocent people to die just because they are a different colour, or speak another language, or happen to have been born in a different corner of the world.

The minute a doctor diagnoses her as mentally ill, I will listen to such claims. And still continue to hold her to account for the appalling and disgusting things she says. Because being mentally ill is not an excuse for behaving like a douchebag.

But stop slapping that label on her just because you find her distasteful and need something to blame for that.

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