nilly-willy  asked:

Hi, sorry if this is received badly, but why won't you watch Split? I don't know anything about the movie, and am genuinely curious about this. Thank you for answering!

Not received badly at all! Thank you for asking :) Split, from its trailers, appears to be about a man with disassociative identity  disorder (formerly known as split personality disorder) who kidnaps and tortures a group of women. The whole “OMG” factor of the movie is that he actually has twenty-three personalities and only one of them wants to kill these women.

Now, I have a problem with this because it means Split is another movie in the long, long list of movies that demonizes mental illness.  Mentally ill people are generally not violent and the idea that “oh no, one personality is going to kill us all!” just feeds the belief that mentally ill people are generally violent.

This is, of course, not touching on whether or not DID actually exists. That’s still up for debate and it is very rare to have a confirmed case of even one alternate personality. I, personally, believe it does, but I also only completed two years of my psych degree which hardly makes me an expert.

What I can say is that mental illness is generally categorized by symptoms. For example, if you have a hard time leaving your house, you might be called agoraphobic. However, if you have a hard time leaving your house because you fear interacting with people, you have social anxiety. Both conditions might have the same symptom (not feeling comfortable leaving the house), but, ultimately, they’re different conditions.

What this means is that, a lot of the time, people are getting diagnosed for a group of symptoms they’re exhibiting. Bipolar disorder can manifest in a number of ways, and there are literally half a dozen variants of schizophrenia. Medications are prescribed not to “fix” bipolar disorder, but rather to alleviate some of the symptoms.

Think of mental illness names as shortcuts. They tell you what the likely symptoms/behaviors are, but they by no means 100 percent predict what someone with a mental illness will do.

(I hope this makes sense).

What this all boils down to, is that it is super irresponsible to keep predicting people with certain mental illnesses as dangerous! Especially when the numbers show that, by and large, they’re not.