Is Mental Illness Fair?

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No one has ever come up to me and asked me to stop complaining about the extra difficulty I have in life, travelling the same life paths as others, but with extra weight—often unbearable for spells. No one has really said to my face: “you’re a drag, a downer.” But those would be direct confrontations, and I spend a lot of energy constructing a façade where such confrontations are less prone to happen. Why? Because all of these thoughts, from others, are there. I know that, because I can step outside of myself, and—well let’s just say self-hate1 comes with the territory here.

I am a drag, since we live in a world of relativity. Relativity is not just the stuff of physics—it works socially as well. Most people do not have mental illness to as great of an extent as I do. Therefore I am separate, different, odd… a lot of words fit here.

So I am that, and it is a negative. Or seen as such. Because I frame it that way when I am most honest—which usually comes from exhaustion and the inability to fake it any more. I will tell people2 I have an extra weight on my shoulders that lies on top of everything else anyone else has on their shoulders. I have it worse. I must—if we’re ranking things, and I love ranking things, let’s consider any negative life situation on a scale from one to one-hundred. Whatever anyone else scores any situation at, put me in that situation and add twenty-five.

We’re often taught of equality among people. I’m not going to get into anything socioeconomic on this site3, but we will stick with what happens in our brains, all of us. And because we’re talking about that pinnacle of amorphousness—the brain—we need to look at equality a little bit differently here. We all sit somewhere socially, in the realm of intelligence, and even physically and somatically. It isn’t level, but for purposes of this argument let us level that out. We’re all even4.


Some of us are wired incorrectly. That last word—incorrectly—is fervent. It can be debated, and I will argue for and against it at another time—but it is essentially true. We are put here on this earth to experience it. It is really that simple in my mind, meaning-of-life-wise. What else are we doing but experiencing? Nothing doesn’t fit into that sole category.

Thus, the “except” part. We with mental disorders are experiencing with parts that facilitate the experience broken, missing, and/or negatively flawed. We have salt added to a dish that shouldn’t be salty. An encumbrance. On top of all else that I evened out for the sake of this argument, that we can make uneven again and still retain the argument.

But wait! We’re also taught, contradictorily, that “life’s not fair.” But I posit that this truism does not—and can not—take into account the very essence of life. This truism is a truism about something outside of that—the unfair life experience, the root of which must start fair—or else the phrase means nothing according to the ideas of relativity. What I am getting at is that the idea that life is not fair suggests a line of fairness existing, and everyone is above or below that line for myriad reasons.

But for those of us with mental illness, that very line of what is fair is moved upwards for us to reach. Because we are exceptional. No, not in the positive definition of the word from which gold stars and cookies are awarded. “Exceptional” as in an exception to all of existence. And it all has to do with the brain.

Compared to other things that make us all different—and thus contribute to our standing in society—the brain is collectively where we all are supposed to be even. And things are supposed to be fair. Why? Because all of our brains experiencing life together, without regard to that which exists outside the brain, we are all on the same plane. That is to say if life only existed with human brains5 connected to each other, no one would take issue with everyone being equal. Again, it is the stuff outside of our collective brains that sets us somewhere above and below the line of fairness.

So we take that form of existence—all brain—then we with flawed brains are indeed continuously an exception. For the worse.

Here above and before you is the diagram to where we land—and that is mental illness is exceptionally and by all natures unfair.

Can this be an item of complaint above all else? I think so. But we with mental disorders should be as careful as we can be with our honesty. It is often not perceived well, and we do all live in the same society.

At the same time I would implore others to understand that with everything in life, we have an extra, overarching something we must approach every situation with. And, well, a complaint may fall out here and there.


1 I still posit that self-hate can be healthy if used judiciously. It can be a much more powerful self-reflection. I’m not saying you’re a bad person—but try to see reasons you’d hate you. Just as an exercise. Try it!  [BACK]

2 Or with my social anxiety, allude.  [BACK]

3 I did that in a previous lifetime. And well. But for naught in our… climate.  [BACK]

4 I just friggin’ healed you like a televangelist!  [BACK]

5 Don’t. Don’t say that in a zombie voice. Just don’t.  [BACK]