Thursday, July 21, 2011

Naomi Clark is my new hero

An Open Letter To Laurell K Hamilton

I agree with Ms. Clark. The tweet she references, in which Ms. Hamilton suggests that she welcomes the deep, gothic, darkity dark thoughts that she is plagued with and other people are just, I don't know, not artistic or gothic or deep or what the fuck ever enough to handle them, makes me sick and offended. I'm a writer. I have a mental illness. And I'm not going to go untreated so I can better pour my tortured soul into my stories about vampires and shifters poking each other.

There's another component to those words that suggest that if you're strong, if you're dedicated to your craft, you don't need help to overcome your mental illness. There is already enough stigma attached to mental illness. We don't need to be glorifying it as a gift from the Gods or something. What is this, ancient Rome? Okay, folks, Caesar had epilepsy, he wasn't "touched by Mars" and if he lived today, he would be on medication for it. (I realize that epilepsy isn't a mental illness, but I've been rewatching Rome lately and I can't get out of that mode right now, okay, Vorenus?)

If you're depressed, if you hear voices, if you live in constant fear and you know that it's irrational, please, I urge you, go get help. This isn't directed as Ms. Hamilton, but to anyone who might read this post and have these issues. Going untreated for a serious mental illness is not a badge of honor. It's not an artistic, deeply feeling thing to do. It's self-destructive and selfish, when it affects the people around you. I repeat: do not go untreated because some successful people feel that you can "create" better if you're struggling with these issues.

Please, do go read Naomi's letter, because she's much better at breaking through her rage and channeling it into constructive words, and she hardly uses fuck at all in there, which is why she's more professional than I am. You can read more reaction about this comment from a group known as the LKH_Lashout on LiveJournal: wherein people who live with mental illness react to those words and the hurt it caused them. It's not pretty.

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