Monday, May 26, 2014

On Mental Health, the Santa Barbara Shooting & #YesAllWomen

The conversation over at Pharyngula with regard to the Santa Barbara shooting really drove home a couple of things to me.

First that the habitual knee-jerk reaction of equating horrific violence to mental illness needs to stop.

And that second, that I need to write and document my travels through mental health care.

Regarding the first point, several commenters brought up that having a mental illness makes it more likely that you will be a *victim* of violence, not more likely to perpetuate it. Further, othering mental illness as default violent doesn't do anyone any good. It just inhibits our ability to have a conversation about the cultural issues that trigger a situation like the Santa Barbara shooting.

I have mild to occasionally severe anxiety. My triggers are often work or stress related. For example, at its worst, needing to perform a telephone call resulted in a debilitating panic attack. That three month period prior to getting a diagnoses I was having one or more debilitating panics a week.

My attacks consisted of shaking, crying and an infi-loop of "I can't do X" where X was whatever task was my trigger. I remember the first one I had (that I realized what it was), I was alone in a hotel room on a business trip. I think that was quite possibly the loneliest night of my life.

I'm lucky. Most of the time my anxiety is not that level crippling. Even luckier, Prozac is able to keep it under enough control that I still occasionally get the brain loops of "I can't do that," but I don't get debilitating attacks anymore.

I'll repeat that. To be able to function "normally" I have to be on an anti-anxiety medication. 

So when you paint this kind of behavior as "crazy" or "insane" you are tarring all of us on the wide spectrum of human experience who don't fall in your little nook of normal with the same brush as a mass-murderer. I don't fuckin' appreciate that.

The guy who did that shooting wrote a manifesto. Was a member of known MRA and PUA websites. No. I will not provide links to those corners of the internet. You go there at your own risk. For certain misogynistic values of "normal" what Rodgers did was the logical conclusion. Because it was never his own fault he couldn't get a date or laid or what-the-fuck-ever his goal was. It was the woman's fault. It was all women's fault.

Fuck that noise. #YesAllWomen have had to deal with smaller slices of that shit on a daily basis. No it's not nearly as much of an outlier as wiping it away with a simple "he was insane" implies. So stop trying to claim it is.


  1. Amenz

    (i stalked you from pharyngula, pheer)

  2. Welcome. I hope you like my niche of teh interwebz :)