15 July 2014

♫... Maybe I'm crazy. Maybe you're crazy. Maybe we're crazy...♫

I'm angry. I wasn't 20 minutes ago. I was exhausted. 3 days of migraine will do that to your energy levels.

But then I read this. When newspapers publish such offensive bollocks you can always show your utter distaste by using it as toilet paper. Can't really do that with online publications. I'd say "I don't want to get shit on my computer screen," except with that article open in a browser window: There's already shit on my screen.

If you can't be arsed to click the link, here's a one sentence summary: "I'd only date a disabled person if they were trying really, really, hard to not be disabled."

I guess it gives him a slight moral edge over the 70% of the population who'd never shag a cripple under any circumstances, but it's a fucking thin line.

He gets bonus wankstain points for "since she's doing the right things to beat her illness, then over time, she eventually would."

Some people "do the right things" and never beat their illness. Someone really should give him basic lessons in how health works. I take a fistful of meds twice a day. I don't drink, or smoke, or eat meat, or take (non-prescription) drugs. I'm a fucking angel. (OK, I swear a lot. That may not be very angelic, but it is good for you.) All my medical conditions should have vanished years ago according to Mr Baker. Instead I can't even go for the most basic hospital tests without getting slapped with yet another diagnosis.

Secondly: An ill person has no obligation to do what Baker thinks are "the right things". I've been told I should do all sorts of bollocks. Things "helpful" people have suggested include quitting prescription medication in favour of eating cherries and sticking my feet in mud to "ground" myself. Even the medical profession sometimes come out with a load of shit. I have a bone disease. My right jaw joint is crumbling. I once had a hospital appointment in which they didn't even bother to take an x-ray; they simply told me there's was nothing wrong with my jaw, it was just depression, and talking therapies would make my jaw better. Obviously I told them where to shove their group counselling cos if anything the flapping up and down would make my jaw hurt more. Eventually someone did take an x-ray of my jaw and I was vindicated.

Baker said he wouldn't date someone who wasn't "doing the right things," and that it's not "stigma" but "self-preservation". I get that some people with mental health problems could be triggered by being around other people with mental health problems. That's life. It's no different to how people with cystic fibrosis shouldn't be around other people with cystic fibrosis because of the risk of cross-infection.

But when your objection to dating someone with a mental health problem isn't about them triggering your symptoms; but about whether or not they're doing what you deem to be "the right thing": It's not about self-preservation, it is stigma. It is discrimination. It is a morality judgement.

This whole thing about having to be A Good Disabled to be accepted is bullshit. You have to smile politely at the person that just grabbed you and dislocated your shoulder. You have to be polite when a stranger starts praying for you and not tell them in graphic detail where to shove their bible. And now, apparently, you have to read self-help books if you want to be dateable.

Ultimately it all comes down to what I call "the Glen Hoddle mentality". He's really the figurehead of the notion that illness and impairment are a punishment for sinning. In this case "if you're a Good Disabled that tries hard, you'll be rewarded by your condition going away! (And as a bonus I might go out with you.) But if you're a Bad Disabled that doesn't try their best, you'll never get better. (And as an extra loss, I won't go out with you.)" If your conditions don't vanish: You are bad and you deserve everything you get.

The decision of whether or not you want to go on a date with someone should ultimately all come down to one question: "Do you fancy them? Y/N." None of this "oh, they're disabled," or "they're just not doing the right things." Although I imagine that even if I were straight I'd have a tough time getting turned on by a moralising wanker who thinks my ill health is my own fault.


  1. Yes, yes, yes! And thank you for writing this. Plus his list of what the "right things to get better" are is incredibly judgemental, and completely ignores fact many people can't even get therapy, or don't find meds which work, or cannot eat or sleep right, or find "self help" books a pile of patronizing crap. (I have many more rages at the piece of course, but you've said all it so well already.)

  2. Sunny Clouds10:57 pm

    Thank you for writing this. I believe that I am the sort of person who can usually express myself well, particularly when it comes to mental illness and disability, but this article has left me rather stunned and frustrated, so it is helpful to be able to refer people to what you have written to express what I'd like to express.

  3. Agree completely! The whole article seemed to be him showing that he'd completely missed the point of disability equality and people not needing to be cured.

  4. Well done, Lisa! I don't want to stigmatise anyone (a phrase which now, after such repetition, conjures the image of a person with a post-it note on their forehead) but the original article was dreadful. I don't think he left his girlfriend because she was sick - it sounds like he left her because she was getting drunk, starting fights and threatening to kill herself. These aren't symptoms of mental illness - they can be behavioural responses to symptoms, but they're not unique to mental illness, and they involves some (if sometimes diminished) choice.

    However, you're completely right - he's confusing a personal issue to a moral one. Like the difference between "I don't like the smell of tobacco" and "I think smokers are bad people". Either is a fine reason for not dating a smoker. Neither of them is a universal experience you need to warn others about.

    I also think this kind of talk around relationships and mental health helps support the very common idea that a partner who behaves badly, whether in an abusive or dramatically self-destructive way, is mentally ill. Alas, that's just a crap person to be around.

    (As an aside, self help books do not make people well. Self help books make people buy more self help books.)

  5. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck ... oh FUCK this tourettes. What the fuck was that arrogant git on about? And thank you for a refreshing piece of humanity to counter balance the utter trite sanctimonious, hypocritical, judgemental, condescending, fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck ... oh FUCK it.

  6. Great response to the article. I just hope he never tries to advocate for me.

  7. So Mr Baker calls himself a MH Advocate! What a lie. Suggests he gets some professional training starting with acceptance and being non-judgemental.

  8. I'm not going to click through. Anyone wanting to restrict their dating pool to those with no neuroses or maladaptive quirks, which can be very minor and still categorised as a mental health problem, are either going to be alone forever or spend the rest of their life cuddled up to an android.

    At what point does introversion become a mental health problem? At what point does a desire to keep ones surroundings very clean become a mental health problem? At what point do mood swings become a mental health problem? At what point does being affected by negative life events or news stories become a mental health problem? At what point does not wanting to spend much time apart from your partner become a mental health problem? At what point does worrying about ones appearance or not worrying about ones appearance become a mental health problem?

    I suspect the answer is: when you're not behaving exactly the way he would like.

    This man should not have been given a platform to talk such crap, and what's more that whole attitude is a big red flag for refusal to accept a partner having their own needs. That's why I, as a nutcase, do not date bigots; they're not just objectionable, they tend to be bad partners in other ways too, even in the short term.

  9. Anonymous9:26 pm

    Please look into the Paleo diet. I'm not saying it will definitely help you, but it might, and it probably won't hurt you. Good luck and peace and light to you.

    1. You're taking the piss, right? I have a rant about people suggesting ridiculous "cures" and you respond by suggesting a ridiculous diet that causes things like a vitamin D deficiency? I have a fucking bone disease already!