I’d Be Angry…

… but I am merely amused.

Robin Hobb has apparently declared medication for mental illness to be “cheating.” Yoon Ha Lee takes her apart. ((Yoon Ha Lee, by the way, is a totally awesome writer. I am in love with her stories something serious.))

ETA: Kaigou then disintegrates Robin into tiny pieces and it is glorious and wise. Link via Wogglebug.

I have to say… if my medication is a cheat code, I want better ones.

Vis a vis, does Robin Hobb actually have manic-depression or does she just think she has it and thus actually isn’t operating with a handicap?

If someone is actually bipolar, they tend to take their condition more seriously by the time they’re Robin’s age. ((Well, actually, they might not take their condition seriously. That means they’re dead by their late 30s. Poor souls.)) Having the actual illness means that, before you’re even 25, it’s already caused serious damage—certainly more serious than drinking too much coffee and talking to oneself with the radio on. Untreated bipolar in familial members also leads to a childhood life that is more than just “tinged with darkness.” Swallowed by darkness, may be.

So I’m inclined to believe that Robin Hobb does not know what the fuck she’s talking about, which wouldn’t exactly be a first for her.

I can name many people who’ve managed to stay alive and mostly sane in the game of life on extra-hard mode. And let me tell you, Robin, if you don’t need power-ups or 1-ups, you ain’t even doing it on normal.

9 thoughts on “I’d Be Angry…

  1. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

    I mean . . . I’m not sure what’s going on in my brain. As near as I can tell, I could probably make it through life without taking anything for it. But I have discovered it is nice to have to devote significantly less time to staring at the wall and sighing at the hopelessness of everything.

    Yeah, I guess I’m stuck at angry. :)

  2. I had to hug Overcow for a good long time before I could make it to a point where I could write this.

  3. I’m sorry you have to put up with people like that–I know I have it pretty damned easy in comparison.

    It’s just . . . did she ever consider *asking* anyone what medication can do for them before proclaiming to the world what she thinks? She treats it like it’s the most mysterious thing ever. Like we have to examine the fossil record to determine, maybe one day, if anyone has ever been helped with Ritalin.

  4. Robert Hutchinson,

    Yeah. It’s unfortunate that Robin’s misconceptions are all too common, even outside of the more reality-bending-and-detached writer set. And now she’s propagating them. Sigh.


    Wow, Kaigou’s post is seriously epic and wonderful. I’m going to need to process it some more. I’ve always thought of my bipolar as a mental illness, and my PTSD on top of that an additional mental illness. They disable me, but there’s a part of me that thinks I’m just a sick person in my head. For all that I denigrate Robin here, what she says resonates with the uglier, darker parts of me that think I deserve nothing more than personal annihilation. Even though I know they’re wrong.

    And that is not the least of the harm she’s perpetuating.

    I admit I was so angry (at Robin and at myself) I didn’t think too far about what Robin is doing to her own daughter, OMG.

  5. I know a person with bipolar who didn’t get treatment until the kids were grown and out of the house; this person still doesn’t think of the bipolar as a mental illness, only the crippling depressions. The mania is talked about as times this person’s innate extra special wonderfulness occasionally shines through.

    One of the kids talks about childhood quite a bit, and will tell stories that start out “one of the times my parent was really crazy…” that are actually really scary…but told as more sort of zany/slightly eccentric. Another kid had coping/acting out stuff but went to therapy and got adjusted for it and the parent thinks that’s the story; weird kid, needed adjusting. No reflection on the parent.

  6. Oh gods, the mania… for me, it was so easy to think of the mania as a wonderful phase, because it was like being on all the uppers in the world. Unfortunately, mania makes it difficult to deal with real-world issues.

    I hope they’re all okay. :(

  7. I should have ended with the happy part of the story! Everyone came out very well, actually. I met Parent after medication and get impatient with the ticking-timebomb treatment the grownup kids give hir, but in general all is well.

    The level of denial that is possible is amazingly high, though.

  8. Thank you for the ending. :) And you’re right… never underestimate the persistence of denial.

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