I’ve been listening to comedian Bert Kreischer‘s podcast, The Bertcast, for a couple of years. He’s a great guy. He’s interesting, funny as fuck, tells amazing stories, and has a big heart. He’s a family man – loves his wife and kids like crazy – but the last thing Bert could ever be would be a stick in the mud. And he’s from my hometown and knows how fucking terrible this place was when we were growing up (it still is fairly terrible in certain ways but that’s another rant post). Bert is a good guy, means well, and is very open-minded. I got to meet him the last time he played Tampa. Great guy, just all around nice and cool.
All this I say because I heard him say something the other day that really bummed me out.
Bert has a new podcast called Open Tabs, where he shares the week’s Googling. And apparently, there was a video he saw on YouTube that frightened him to his very core. Now, I have not watched the video. I probably SHOULD but I am just not going to bother. Because from the title, it does not seem like much would be going on in it. Because the title is “Catatonic Schizophrenic”.
Bert said, basically, “If you want to be terrified, look up Catatonic Schizophrenic.”
That is just straight-up ignorance. Damn it, Bert, I am so disappointed in you.
Catatonic means not moving, not reacting. Schizophrenia is a mental illness where your brain is disorganized, you are subject to hallucinations and delusions, and you have a flat or blunted affect. Social skills are not so hot. But when medicated, and even when NOT medicated, there is not a whole fuck of a lot to fear from the majority of schizophrenics, any more than there is something to fear from the majority of people. Some people are dangerous and some people are assholes and this is true of the mentally ill but it is also true of the “sane”. It takes all kinds. And just because someone is schizophrenic… Oh, JFC, do I really need to write that sentence? In this day and age?
Bert Kreischer has swum with sharks but he’s afraid of a person who is more than likely just drooling and sitting there. Because he might, um, sit there and drool MORE. Or something.
Yeah. Me, I’d rather be in the ocean with a dozen mental patients than a dozen sharks, man. But a drooling, sitting shark, hopped up on Thorazine or whatever?
OH, FUCK NO! TOO SCARY!
Bert Kreischer doesn’t know this – but he MET and TALKED TO a schizophrenic at his show last year. (Not me. The friend I went to the show with. I am bipolar, thankyouverymuch) And Bert had a nice convo with him, too. And never ever knew that my pal was schizophrenic.
But Bert Kreischer is scared of schizophrenics who pose no threat to him.
Stigma is just not going to go away, ever, is it? I could say a lot about this, but honestly, I just do not have it in me. I don’t have it in me to fight such ignorance. I guess this is because I’m too busy being CRAZY.
You wanna know what crazy looks like? It looks like sitting on the fucking couch trying to process everything in your brain for hours until you can clear out enough space to figure out what the hell you are supposed to be doing today.
Real scary, right?
I am sure there are a couple of schizophrenics out there who are scary. But I am willing to bet they were fairly scary before the onset of their illness, too. I am not a scary person (okay, it’s a matter of opinion but whatever) and I was not scary when I was psychotic. In fact, no one in my family EVEN NOTICED that I was psychotic until four months in. THAT is what’s crazy.
This is not a well-written post and it’s already gone where it was going, so I am retreating now to fret over finances as per my usual, and to feel really fucking bummed out that people are still so ignorant and afraid of people who have a mental illness, because how can I ever think things will get better for me if people – smart, funny, NICE people – still believe this bullshit?
Like, wait for someone to GIVE YOU A REASON to fear them before you just automatically fear them, you know?
It’s so depressing. No matter how hard you try, no matter how well you behave, all it takes is a label. And once branded, it sure as fuck feels sometimes like the only logical thing to do is give up, because people around you judge you by that label, and not by your actions or behavior or intentions. (And yes, I call myself out as being mentally ill – for this very reason. Not to become just the sum of a label, but to show people that those with mental illness can also be other things, not just their illness.)
Damn it, Bert. I like you. Why did you have to be the one to spray futility all over my garden?