More excellent albeit cynical perspective from Stacy McCain. You may or may not appreciate his blunt approach, but the bottom line is, the mental health discussion needs to happen.
Just wrote a long e-mail to a friend who, in reaction to last night’s 3,000-word rant about the nature of mental illness, described some of the emotional issues experienced by relatives of those usually non-emotive people with Asperger’s syndrome.
Depending on the severity of the affliction, what happens in such cases is that people who have to cope daily with the problem end up adjusting their mental categories of “normal” behavior. This is true as much for other disorders as it is for Asperger’s. Friends and relatives of Lindsay Lohan grow accustomed to her patterns of behavior — the relapse, the binge, the crash, the rehab, the court hearing. They’ve coped with it so often it doesn’t really seem extraordinary to them.
I keep recommending Christopher Lasch’s The Culture of Narcissism: American Life in an Age of Diminishing Expectations as a guide to understanding a lot of what causes these problems. Not every kook or weirdo or celebrity basket case is a narcissist, but whenever you see people who can’t ever seem to take responsibility for their own problems, there’s usually a narcissism issue somewhere in the vicinity.
Please read the whole thing.