I've had a lot of random thoughts floating around in my head as potential blog topics, but this is the one I've been coming back to for the past couple days.
NaNoWriMo is coming up soon. I wasn't really intending on doing it this year, but then someone mentioned it on Twitter, and now I can't get it out of my head. So, I'm probably going to go for it again this year, but more on that later. That's not what this post is actually about.
No, this post is about something that occured to me while browsing the forums. It's funny, people will create topics for just about anything. There's a forum for 20-somethings, and on the very first day (forums are wiped clean and relaunched every October, to get ready for the event) some kind of war between the ages broke out, and every single age has its own thread now. Another forum is called "Writing Groups and Clubs," where you can seek out other wrimos who are single, or married, or unemployed, or LGBT, or wiccan, or knitters, or on Pottermore, or hockey fans upset about the lockout, or . . . you get the idea.
Inevitably, there is always a thread for those suffering mental illnesses and disorders. And, I think it's great to seek out support in whatever setting you happen to be. And, I think it's probably easier to open up about these things online because there's a sort of veil of anonymity.
But the introductions to these posts . . . I feel like it turns into a contest of who has the most wrong with them. I feel terrible thinking this, but some people seem almost proud when they list off their 5-10 different disorders. It makes someone like me, who "only" suffers from depression, feel like I don't belong. (I'm actually fairly certain that I have some type of social anxiety disorder as well, but it's never been diagnosed.) Plus the fact that I don't take medication, or see a therapist . . . so what I have obviously can't be that bad if I've managed to survive this long without any of that.
I'm curious why, though, so many sufferers seem to have multiple problems. Is it because mental disorders are so much more complex than physical illnesses? Is it some form of hypochondria ("I'm screwed up in one way, let's see how many others could apply to me too")? Are doctors over-diagnosing? Whether it's real or imagined, these disorders do seem to snowball (at least among the very small sample size of people posting on forums I've come across on the internet). Or is it just that the ones who do only suffer from one problem just don't contribute to the discussion because, like me, they feel intimidated by people who are worse off, in the same way you wouldn't go visit a cancer ward and complain that you have a sore throat?