I wish to preface this by stating I am a huge fan of Hyperbole and a Half, and have been since I first read her pants-pissingly funny and apt ‘This is Why I’ll Never be an Adult‘. When she posted her Adventures in Depression back in October 2011, I nodded along the whole way, because I certainly could identify with her. I thought good thoughts her way, and hoped we’d hear recovery-based news.
So when I heard the day before yesterday she was transitioning to make a proper post yesterday, I sat up and waited in anticipation. It meant that she was alive, and hopefully, doing better. So when I sat down to Depression Part Two on the back of many enthusiastic friends spamming my Facebook feed about it, I hoped to be similarly charmed. Certainly, I nodded along to a point… and then I didn’t anymore. I looked back over at Facebook, and I looked back to the pictures of corn, and I looked back over at Facebook:
Person One: We are all Allie Brosh!
Person Two: We are all Allie Brosh!
Person Three: We are all Allie Brosh!
And so on. It didn’t sit right with me, because I couldn’t agree. I’ve been dealing with severe and increasingly severe depression since I was a young teenager, and I have never in my life had a corn moment. I’m currently in the middle (start?) of a depressive episode on the back of a month of mixed episode badness, and I felt even more depressed seeing that. Part of Bipolar II is knowing that one is likely to have increasingly severe depressive episodes until they either die, or off themselves. We are not all Allie Brosh. We have not all (and might never) have a corn moment.
And then I felt a bit angry — while I am definitely glad that people identify in a meaningful way, it makes me feel marginalized for not having the same experience. One thing that I have certainly not felt since getting involved with other mental health bloggers is marginalized; I feel that we do a fantastic job supporting each other and accepting that we all have our experiences, and that we certainly accept that and spread the love as we may. I certainly do not denigrate her experience — it is hers to share as she sees fit, and like us, it is wonderful if it makes folks feel better/less alone.
But the problem with where she stands is that people ARE rushing to treat her experience as -everyones’- experience, and that is simply not the case. And in that, I am wary of people trying to force her into being the role model for mental health/illness/depression. I’m probably not the only one who would be concerned by that combination. I know for me, it took a lot of hard work and effort and trying to make myself stand up and share my experience, and be able to say that my feelings are valid; I don’t want the crowd to take one person’s (whether it be mine or anyone else’s) experience and act as if it is the ‘the one’, the only one. I am sure that she would feel the same way if the roles were switched and she were in my shoes, because she is an intelligent, clever, hilarious person with a lot of good things to say and who says them very well. There is very obviously a brain working in that wonderful head.
So no, I don’t blame Allie Brosh for what is happening. I still think that she is a fantastic writer and doodler, and I admire her greatly and would happily give her hugs and chocolate and coffee (I might fight her for the Skittles though. Bitches love Skittles). Nor am I upset that people identify with her. Just remember that in your excitement, you’re telling other people that they’re wrong because their experience is different to yours (and a lot of them won’t have the spoons to tell you so). We are not all Allie Brosh, even if most of us love her too.