Culture

A TV Doctor Would Probably Call Me Crazy

Presidential physician Ronny Jackson at a White House briefing, January 16, 2018. (Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)
But there’s a difference between weird and ‘mentally ill.’ The latter is a serious issue and shouldn’t be used as an insult.

If I were the president, a TV doctor would probably call me crazy.

On Twitter, I’ve divulged that I still use my (don’t read this, Brandon!) ex-boyfriend’s brother’s password for Netflix, that I get absolutely everything delivered because I refuse to move my actual legs and go to a store, and that I feel a sense of power when I glare at children and they stop crying. I’ve called anyone who listens to Christmas music before Thanksgiving a “sad person with a sad life,” and I’ve shared the fact that I want a line of people vaping instead of incense at my funeral. On Instagram, I posted a picture of myself alone at a pumpkin patch with the caption that I look like a single mother’s pregnancy announcement, and another of me at a protest with a sign saying, “I’m almost 30; I shouldn’t still have acne.”

As for my eating habits? If you think Donald Trump’s McDonald’s thing is bad, I have no groceries in my house. I can’t really make scrambled eggs without them tasting like crap — in my defense, I could probably Google it and figure it out — but it doesn’t matter, because (like everything else!) I always get them delivered. In fact, I eat egg-and-cheese sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, and mustard (yes, mustard!) almost every single day. Today I’ve been feeling pretty sad, so all I’ve eaten (so far) is a yogurt (with peanut butter, okay?) and a beer, but I’ll probably order some Auntie Anne’s pretzel bites for delivery before the sun comes up. Does anyone want to do a TV segment on how a single day of beer-yogurt tummy might be affecting the fitness of my mind? I’d probably watch, but only because after I submit this, I’ll have nothing else to do.

I can walk or jump around on the front of my toes, and sometimes I do it at parties. I still listen to “Return of the Mack” constantly. I’m the only person in my entire generation who is (yes, still) obsessed with Alf, and an Alf bobblehead doll is the first thing I see when I wake up (alone!) every morning. I have about 34 pairs of penguin socks, and you’d better believe that I wear those babies year-round.

The truth is, like most people, I say and do a lot of weird stuff — but that doesn’t make me “crazy.” Looking at all my idiosyncrasies, though, it would probably be pretty easy to make the case that I am. Most people my age can probably scramble a mean egg and maybe even have some children (zero) or a spouse (not even close!), and all of this proves that I’m certainly not like everyone else.

Do any of my quirks mean I’d be a bad president? I mean, maybe — but “mentally ill” and “bad president” are two very different things, and I think it’s important that we talk about them as if they’re different.

‘Mentally ill’ and ‘bad president’ are two very different things, and I think it’s important that we talk about them as if they’re different.

See, the fact that a doctor came out and said President Trump is “mentally fit” doesn’t make any difference to me. It’s not a huge victory; it’s not a huge relief. I’m not thinking, “Phew, I guess he’s sane,” I’m thinking “Alrighty then; I’m kind of hungry.” He still has problems — many, many problems. For example, his recent alleged “sh**hole” comments suggesting that he prefers immigrants from Norway or Asia over immigrants from (black-majority) countries such as Haiti and nations in Africa. Or the fact that he has no problem calling out terror by name when it’s Islamic, but not when it’s white supremacist, and the fact that he’s willing to call out the former exponentially sooner than the latter. Then there’s the fact that he nonchalantly tweets what could be construed as threats of nuclear war at North Korea — the list goes on and on.

Some of the things he’s said and done could certainly suggest that he’s racist, or that he’s a loose cannon without the ability to make the kind of measured response that his office demands, but they don’t necessarily make him “mentally ill.” What’s more, “mentally ill” shouldn’t ever be used as an insult. So, if you’re one of those people who are out there saying, “The president is mentally ill,” when what you really mean is, “The president is an a**hole,” then shame on you. I shouldn’t have to tell you this, but there are plenty of people out there who suffer from things like anxiety and depression who would probably make excellent presidents. In fact, a little anxiety about what to tweet versus what not to tweet would probably be a good thing.

Mental illness is a serious issue, but it has nothing to do with a person being “good” or “bad.” It’s also certainly not something that anyone can diagnose based on only a cursory understanding of a person — and if we really get to the point where any random stranger can “diagnose” us, and have that stand as gospel? Well . . . then we’re all f***ed.

READ MORE:

President Trump and the Dangers of Armchair Psychiatry

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