We all hear it, the ones who are “strange”, “not normal”, living lives outside of what society understands. Usually from a troll, the phrase is very familiar to all of us. “You need help”. [tw: ableism, otherkin hate, trolling behind this link]
It always has bothered me, for reasons I tried to put together. One is that the people who say this are not sincere. They hide behind the idea that they are a concerned member of society wanting you to “get help”. But in reality they do not care whether you are helped or not. They clearly do not care about you or your mental health, or they would not be trolling. And I don’t believe for one moment that the people who say they are just trying “to snap people back to the reality”, really wish to do this. They know that their techniques only make people feel worse. They do it for the thrill of mocking someone.
So, of course it bothers me. But, there’s something else too, and a few days ago, I realised what this is.
Said by these people, “you need help” is a statement of violence.
Of course, it is not always. A concerned friend might say to you the words, “you need help” and really mean that. If it is truly misguided and based on a bad knowledge of that person’s experiences and needs, or if it is said to a person who genuinely does need to get help at that moment and is denying it, it is not aimed to hurt (though of course, it can still hurt). But, when said by these trolls, mostly it is a statement of violence.
And, we should be calling this out.
Why is it violence?
Because, the attitude behind these words always is, “you need to stop doing what you are doing”. The idea behind the words “get help” is this: the person finds you offensive, deluded or wrong, and they wish you to stop being that. “Get help” is, in other words, “change”. It is “there is something wrong with your thinking. Go to a doctor and get it fixed so you can be like the rest of us.”
Of course, in reality, “getting help” is not always about this. A good doctor will accept what you are and help you work to be more comfortable. A good doctor is not focused on changing you to fit society, they are concerned about your health and comfort. If you are happy, comfortable and not doing harm, a good doctor will say, this is not a problem. If you are comfortable with some parts of your nature (like being autistic) but you have issues that really are affecting your comfort, a good doctor will help you manage those issues as an autistic person, not trying to change everything about you. Of course, not all doctors (even most) are good doctors, but, that is the idea of medicine… to treat the problems of the patient, not shape them to fit society.
But, what these people are supporting, is the most dangerous and harmful kind of use of mental health medicine: the kind of “medicine”, the kind of “therapy”, that forces a person to be normal, against their desire and against their deep nature. The kind used by bad doctors, abusive doctors. [tw: link talks about painful treatment of autistic children and can be very triggering] The kind that destroys people and destroys lives, because the brain is not meant to be forced to work completely different from how it naturally works for that person.
When someone says “get help” to say your statements are worthless and deluded, they are trying to say, “I don’t like how you live. You are wrong, you are bad. You need drugs and therapy to make you normal”.
Except, we were never “normal”, otherkin, autistic people, other neurodiverse people, we were never the way that these people want us to be, and the only “treatment” for that is to erase our personalities and replace them with something “more acceptable”.
That is what they mean, when they say “get help”. The only “help” they imagine for us, is for doctors to beat us down until our personalities die.
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