If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll have probably noticed how much I like to use the word ‘mentalist’ to describe myself and others with mental health problems. I’m generally quite cautious when I use this term- it does sound a little offensive and I do use it sparingly, but it’s my favourite work to use when talking about mental illness and it’s the first word I would use when describing myself.
I like it because it feels offensive- it’s like how a lot of woman are starting to embrace the word ‘slut’ (but maybe not to the same kind of extent) I think a lot of the time I feel like I have to normalise my illness, I have to play it down an pretend constantly that I’m like everyone else and that I’m not a threat, but sometimes I get sick of that. I just want to be honest and open about it, I want to embrace it
I just love the word- I was explaining this to my brother the other day, ‘mentalist’ sounds like ‘mutant’ or ‘magician’ or something else cool and empowering. Whilst ‘mentalist’ is British slang for ‘a mental person’ its primary definition relates to magicians (especially people like Derren Brown, who is just every single kind of awesome.)
I also love the fact that it takes away the ‘illness’ part. I’m not ill, I’m not weak or sickly or a victim… this is a part of me, a bloody major part and I’m not going to lie or gloss over or glamorise it.
I can understand that some people might not feel the same, there is something about the word that’s harsh and offensive sounding- personally I think it’s an awesome word I’m so sick of everyone else throwing labels and health related words around, it’s my life and I have to live with these things, they’re how I’m introduced and how people see me and if I have to have a label then I’m going to bloody well choose it for myself.
This is my life, I’m Wren and I’m a mentalist.
’til next time x