Thursday, October 10, 2013

Sometimes OCD is Funny

...And sometimes it's not. The trick is figuring out when it's okay to laugh and when it's best to keep your mouth shut. This actually applies to ADHD, too, only I feel the need to put a lot more emphasis on the whole "sometimes it's not funny" bit because DAMN.

So let's talk about the Simpsons. There was once an episode about Bart.

...Oh, do I need to be a little more specific? Fine...

Anyway, this episode was about Bart's inability to concentrate, or something like that. It's been forever since I watched it last so I'm a little shaky on the details, but here's the basic premise: Bart gets diagnosed with ADHD and put on a drug called "Focusyn" or something. He then proceeds to become a jittery, paranoid wreck and starts doing some really strange things. It ends with him destroying a satellite that was spying on people or something and the family deciding that he doesn't need to be on drugs anymore. He'll just take Ritalin and that'll solve everything.

And then there was the King of the Hill episode where Bobby gets sent to the doctor's office, gets a half-assed diagnosis of ADHD, and gets put on drugs that make him act all wonky. Hilarity ensues! LOL!

So, I saw both of these episodes when I was in middle school, I think. That's not too long after I got diagnosed with ADHD and started on Ritalin. And you know what? As much as the Simpsons have a reputation for 'making fun of everybody' and generally being good (at least in the beginning) at tackling social issues and being a pretty well-done satire of stuff in general, and King of the Hill is... uh, a show about stuff, I wish these episodes had never seen the light of day.

See, here's the thing. You can make jokes about mental illness. You can even make tasteful jokes about mental illness. You can make jokes about the misinformation that gets thrown around and the mindset that Drugs Fix Everything and My Kid Isn't Stupid or Misbehaving, He's Just ~S~P~E~C~I~A~L~! But when you do this, you owe it to the rest of us, particularly those of us who HAVE a mental illness that is looked down upon as being made up or a pathetic excuse for lazy children or thought of as being severely over-diagnosed even though the people in the scientific community most involved with said diagnoses are generally in agreement about the diagnostic criteria and the accuracy of properly-made diagnoses, to do some god-damn research about it. It's hard enough getting people to take me seriously about having severe social anxiety, you don't need to make my other disorder into a walking punchline on top of it.

Because that's what's happened. You try to explain ADHD to somebody, you end up hitting a wall most of the time. It's either 'you just need to work harder' or 'are you sure that's really the problem here' and it's just about impossible to find someone who really understands it who hasn't actually been diagnosed with it. It's hard to make ADHD sound like a serious issue that has an impact on your ability to take care of yourself, like the fact that I literally go hungry on an almost daily basis because I can't make myself stop what I'm doing and go eat a sandwich or something even when my stomach is growling and I'm starting to feel nauseous because the meds I'm on make me feel nauseous when I'm hungry.

Of course, I would be the biggest hypocrite in the world if I said that mental disorders should be off-limits to comedians. I make jokes about my disorders all the time. If I didn't joke about it, if I didn't laugh about it, I would go into an ever-deeper spiral of depression and self-loathing. And really, there's plenty to laugh about. All I ask is that the jokes at least accurately reflect the realities of the disorder, and more importantly don't make it more difficult for the average person to get help and support for their mental illness. Because in the end, fffffffffffFFFFFFFFFUCK YOU BART SIMPSON 5T%&*$#@^YTVT ERGJKF%^&DN GSJLD GFJL( Y^*&%Q403 95UTY89*^$^&*(

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