Monday, June 10, 2013

Are You or Aren't You?

I saw a post on tumblr that kind of made me angry. A bit. I don't have the link to the original, but the first two lines were as follows (and in this format):
  • You are not a sociopath just because your favorite character is.
  • You are not a psychopath just because your favorite character is.
Ok, valid points, guys. This is entirely true. I just feel that before we so cruelly cut down people who identify with fucked up people like Sherlock Holmes (in any incarnation), Hannibal, Dr Who, the guys on Supernatural or any of the others we should take a step back and consider those people's feelings. For instance, I know that I am not a sociopath (although to be fair I've been called that by more than one person). I do have awkward social tendencies and a memory for detail that at times puts me in embarrassing or awkward situations. These things make me relate to Sherlock just a smidge. (Also the part where I'm a grown-ass-person who does have long sulks and temper tantrums because she feels like people aren't listening to her.)

I feel like calling people out who identify with these types of characters is just kind of mean. I mean, of course you shouldn't want to be a psychopath, but if you feel like one maybe posting about it on the Internet is some kind of therapy for you. (This is the part where I know I'm not a sociopath- I have tons of empathy for underdogs.)

I don't know. Maybe I'm wrong. Or maybe I took that tumblr post in an entirely wrong way- maybe they weren't even talking about Sherlock. But it relates to a conversation I recently had with a friend who was talking about how every blogger seems to say in their bio that they have social anxiety and are awkward when they aren't online and have no friends offline, but online they are huge web presences. And as much as I agree with her, there are a ton of people claiming certain disorders recently that I've started to wonder who is just playing along and who really has them, I have to defend my peeps. You see, I DO have social anxiety and I HAVE struggled with it. I used to not be able to leave my house and it's taken many many years to get where I am now. I still have days where I can't look other people in the eye because of nerves.

I think what a lot of people forget is that with the invention of the internet, the world became lots and lots smaller. People are connected now in ways we never thought we'd be. So yes, some people do exaggerate characteristics, build online personas that are "not good", and I do think there is a little bit of "it's trendy to be mental" going around. BUT but but but, to some degree you should take into consideration how connected we all are.

Example: When I was younger, I didn't know more than two other people who wore vintage/second hand clothes like me (or like I did before I learned how to sew). One was older by two years and one was in my grade (she liked to sew, too). Now, thanks to the Internet, I'm seeing TONS of girls in docs and vintage dresses and part of me wants to scream - "I've been doing that since I was twelve! Before it was trendy, dammit!" - but I realize that... maybe they were, too, but because we didn't have the internet then, we didn't know each other. We didn't realize there ARE other people out there like us. In the wide world where we isolate ourselves in our own heads, we forget that no idea or person is truly truly unique and original. Everything has been done before.

So before you bash someone because you think they are faking a disorder, or maybe because their problems hit too close to yours and you'd rather them be a fake, maybe you should think for a second that perhaps this person is telling the truth. Maybe this person needs some help or a friend just like them (maybe just like you). I wish that people would get along better. I really, really do.

Am I awesome because Party Poison is? No. I would be awesome anyway.


  1. Good points, buddy. A valuable post.

  2. This is beautifully written. I know I have often pondered the personality profiles of bloggers--because in real life I too am a bit of an introvert.

  3. *applauds*

    Judging by the grammar in the statements, that person just might agree with your opinion, that people are not necessarily a certain personality type just because they like that type of personality in their tv/film/book characters. And if a person can identify with a fictional character that probably means they have quite a bit of empathy, thus precluding the notion that they are a sociopath or a psychopath.

    And I'm very glad to have found some of the people I have discovered on the internet... but that also makes me forget how very mundane and boring the majority of people can be (when I go out in the real world), because you guys are just comparatively so much more interesting!

  4. The internet is also a lot different venue. One where we can show only what we want. It's a construct that we control - our words, our looks. We can delete our bad days, stay invisible when we're vulnerable, seek help without the judgement of "real people".

    People only know what we show them.

    But that's also the beauty of the internet, is the connectedness those of us can have if we have so many issues in real life.

    Maybe you took it personally because it had merit to be offended by.

    I think it's awful how hung up on trivial things people get. Wearing fedoras? Sure it's become an incredibly popular thing with some less than "popular cool" standards, but spending so much time being worked up over a goddamn hat is incredibly stupid.

    I listened to a 20+ year old woman talking on her phone today, complaining that someone online told her that her and her friends were "copying" them on instagram.

    REALLY?! That's what we're getting worked up about?

    I like to believe that I'm getting away from that mindset. There is too much goodness and beauty and friendship to be had without being bogged down by hate and petty problems.

    Some of us may be psychopaths or sociopaths. It doesn't mean we're inhuman. It's doesn't mean we can't learn the rules and function in society. It just means our brains are a little different. Literally, the brain of a psychopath is different.

    And not all psychopaths are criminals, just as all criminals are not psychopaths. Television and media may call them that, but biologically, scientifically, it's not always true.

    I think if you can find someone to empathize with, even if it is a psycho/sociopath, it's a good thing. It means you are capable of that empathy.

    I am a person with an anxiety disorder and OCD. I've grown up most of my life, living as a fairly extroverted person in an attempt to cover that. It's led me to hiding in my room for long stretches, not answering my phone, being so queasy from over-stimulation of being around people that I can't eat. But I have found help. Help is out there. It doesn't take away all the fear, but it does make functioning easier.

    And allows me to laugh a little at myself and the things I identify with in characters like Sherlock or Sheldon. ;)

    1. Additionally, I think that we demonize identifying with a villain or anti-hero, when in fact, those characters are sometimes more complex and interesting - flawed individuals - than the heroes.

      That's the beautiful part of Sherlock, he's flawed. Characters, like Data of Star Trek, are windows into our own humanity. Data remains one of the most beloved characters because of his robotic artificial intelligence and inability to understand human emotions the way we do. But at the same time he idolizes humanity and it's his ultimate wish to attain the very thing his is incapable of (feeling, growing old, etc).

  5. Dude - if it wasn't for the internet we wouldn't have met and that would be sad! I don't have much to add as I think its all been said. But I for wish the internet was around when I was younger - like a teenager/early 20s, then I would have realised I wasn't alone with my huge body image issues and I wasn't the only girl struggling with that kind of stuff. That would have been rad.