For people who have psychological or neurological type conditions (or whatever the person themselves calls it, labels at the end of the day are more descriptive than scientific) it can feel very overwhelming growing up and eventually becoming an adult. When I was 18 and started to question my autism and depression diagnosis (diagnoses?), it seemed to become about more than just me. There were the mainstream mental health folks who said I should take pills and do CBT, who told me I should be a “good depression patient” and “acknowledge and take responsibility for my disease” there were the natural health folks of all kinds, who suggested everything from veganism to putting butter in my coffee to large doses of vitamin b12 to fecal transplants (don’t google that if you’re eating your breakfast!) There were also the crowd who say it’s all in my head and all I needed was to go for a run, sleep for eight hours and stop eating cake, all of which I already have been doing for the last 20 years! (Mum raised me to be fit and active, so I was already well used to very little junk food and strict bedtimes anyway!) I don’t know if there’s an objective diagnostic criteria for fat lazy slob syndrome, but why the hell they think all depressed people are those things is beyond me! All these different people made me feel ashamed and judged, like maybe it is my fault, if I stopped eating tofu and started running ultra marathons instead of the regular kind and popped the damn SSRIs like candy then maybe I’ll finally be a good little patient and make all the doctors and naturopaths and even the Karens very happy and I’ll wonder why I ever bothered to go to all the trouble of faking being a very sad misfit. I get that the discourse around illness and faking it is complicated. But why do we need to go on witch hunts and force people to spend years trying all these different treatments just to prove they are “a real disabled person” or “traumatised enough” or “disabled enough” How can I possibly know when I’ve isolated every possible origin of my distress? Does life and identity need to be a court case? I know it’s possible I could have rare, hidden allergies I don’t know about. I know I haven’t tried EMDR or DBT or Gestalt therapy. What I do know is that I am human, and that if I had stable housing and a job that didn’t make me suicidal, I would feel a lot better, and could be in the world in a much happier state. Whether that is enough, whether I am “enough” is a question which may forever perplex me.