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Locker Room Talk and Stigma

Posted on April 30, 2017 in Bipolar Disorder Clueless Oafs Encounters Frustration Gyms Stigma Violence Writing/Darkness

square960I was in a locker room when a blowhard started on about a coworker who happened to have schizophrenia. “The guy was weird.” He revolved around this point like he was the moon of a tiny planet, say Charon chasing its tail around Pluto. He just couldn’t let go of it.

I had enough after five minutes of this and asked him if he ever thought he might be seeing what he wanted to see. He replied “But you’ve seen schizophrenics. Isn’t there something different about them?” “Not when they are taking their meds,” I said. He resumed where he left off, turning into a comet as he went out the door. I rolled my eyes, buckled my belt, then put on my shoes.

I so wanted to tell him that I had bipolar disorder, that he should watch his mouth because he never knew who was listening. I kept my peace. At least he didn’t go on about mass shootings as they do on Twitter every time some white guy mows down a crowd. I have recited the statistics to them, given them links to studies, and the chant still goes on: These guys just have to be mentally ill. What sane person would do this? I reply “Plenty of sane people — moved by ideology — would carry out a mass execution.”

You don’t need to be mentally ill to be a Dylan Roof.

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