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Personally, I hate the term mental illness, both as a catch-all, and more specifically to refer to my own bipolar disorder/ADD. I don't know if anyone shares that sentiment? I personally refer to my own condition as a "mood disorder', but I'm still struggling to find a more encompassing term to replace "mental illness." My big beef is that the term "illness" feels temporary, like something you can "get over" if you find the right cure, and it's such a popular approach in self-help books, fix-it-quick therapy, etc. When in reality, it's something you live with, and learn to work with. It's part of my life, whether I think I'm 'cured' or not. I think there's also a lot of conflation between mental and emotional, and while they intersect and moods can affect your cognitive and mental capabilities, it's not the same thing.
I've found the healthiest, and most empowering and accepting way for me to think about it is that I'm, overall, a healthy person with a disability, and I don't know how common that way of thinking is. But personally, that approach has resulted in soooo much less self-hatred, anger, and frustration for not being able to control my moods, and how that interferes with my ability to function, and that the coping mechanisms I've learned and the medication I take are what enable me to function, just like with any disability.
So when depictions of "insanity" aren't based on real-life conditions, and are usually generalized because, let's be honest, it's easier and lazier, and kind of a shortcut, it's hard to find a way to talk about it that veers away from the concept of "crazy" that we're trying to evade. Drusilla isn't depicted as behaving the way she does because of a certain condition; she's just depicted as being sort of "loopy" because, as Angel explained, he "made her crazy" before turning her. I think, if you want to pathologize, both Angel in "Birthday", and Drusilla in general are suffering from severe trauma, and Angel copes with his by withdrawing into his own head in anguish and delusion, while Drusilla seems to suppress it and act in ways that aren't commonly regarded as socially acceptable.
And again, I don't know what the mods think, but I do think it's possible to talk about "crazy" as a problematic cultural construction AS reflected in what we're watching without using it in an oppressive fashion.
The Buffyverse does often feature storylines where a character's mental state or coping capacity is deliberately altered or compromised through supernatural means, and like we saw in Season Five, it's completely different than diagnosed medical conditions, so there's no real way to compare it. Naq vg'f fbzrguvat jr'yy frr rfcrpvnyyl va na hcpbzvat Ohssl rcvfbqr, juvpu, BU ZL URNEG. Gung'f fhpu n shpxrq hc qrcvpgvba bs cflpubybtvpny urnygu pner, wrfhf shpxvat puevfg. V'z xvaq bs tynq gung V'yy or bhg bs gbja naq vagrearg-yrff sbe gung rcvfbqr.
THROW ALL THE HATS!!
[youtube oBTWF1bDPn0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBTWF1bDPn0 youtube]
But yeah, dating someone closeted? NOT GOOD EVER. (Also, that link leads to one of my favourite blogs ever; Krista Burton is my hero.)
It's basically why my heart explodes into mass amounts of squee and insatiable lust every time I see Brienne of Tarth.
"fifty shades of BUTTS" totally makes me think of Butt magazine, though, and their dedication to printing in at least fifty shades of PINK.