‘Dude, You Are Pathetic’

by Bill Brenner on May 1, 2013

I don’t always respond to readers who call me names in the comments section, but sometimes it’s necessary.

Mood music:


When I wrote a post the other day about being released from mental therapy, a guy named Jerry had this to say:

Dude you are pathetic. Be a man, work out your issues outside, or in the gym. Talk to your friends and family. You don’t NEED anything, you just tell yourself you do.

Now, I don’t care that he called me pathetic. After 20 years as a journalist, I have pretty thick skin. I also don’t feel the need to repeatedly justify why I write about these things.

But I see his comment as an insult to anyone who struggles to overcome the demons that hold them back.

So I’ll just say this to you, Jerry:

I agree that people need to talk over their challenges with friends and family. If not for that outlet, I wouldn’t be here. I also agree on the value of the outdoors and the gym as both a physical and mental strengthener.

But mental disorders often require the intervention of a medical professional. In this case, a therapist. If a person’s brain chemistry is off and signals don’t move back and forth properly, venting to a friend or demolishing a punching bag in the gym will help. But it won’t fix the brain chemistry problem, and the person will continue to suffer.

Pathetic? Hardly. It takes courage for someone to admit they need help and then go get it.

If that concept is hard for you to accept, leave this blog behind. I’m sure there are plenty of more manly blogs out there for you to enjoy.


{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

jane. May 1, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Some people just don’t understand. I hope this person didn’t bother you too much. It is really hard to face the world with this illness on your own for the first time. I’m really glad that your doctor thinks you’ve reached a point where you’re strong enough and you’ve learned the tools to try it on your own. Don’t let anyone try to put you down. And there is never anything wrong with getting help. It’s a sign that you wise enough to know that you need guidance.

tr3ss May 1, 2013 at 4:27 pm

I have noticed that people who levy “walk it off” criticism at the mentally ill usually display signs of some pathology themselves. Protesting too much, perhaps.

aloria May 1, 2013 at 4:29 pm

Most reasonable people would never ask someone with schizophrenia to dump the meds and therapy and “deal with the voices in your head like a man.” I wonder if the only reason they do it for depression and anxiety is because they can’t differentiate between neuroses and healthy feelings. Being sad because you got dumped or had a bad day is not the same as waking up suicidal every morning or crying yourself to sleep every night. Being worried about a test or job interview is not the same as nearly having a heart attack every time you enter a crowded room, or obsessing over things to the point of throwing up. They were able to cope with NORMAL emotional responses, so they can’t understand why we’re incapable of dealing with disordered, self-destructive ones.

WhatA Moron May 1, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Some people really need to STFU about things, the have no clue about the impact on those who are affected. It enraged me to read the message, from that uninformed imbecile. Those who do not or cannot accept the fact, theit disease needs real professional medical help mostly end up in very bad places.

Good dammit, that kind of ignorance really pisses me off..!

Penny May 1, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Reminds me of the people who would tell me “it’s time to get over it” on the death of my daughter. As hurtful as they can be, I think that, in a way, we need these occasional reminders that we are now (through whatever circumstance) wired differently. We struggle against our demons. We learn to accept our different selves, celebrate our successes and not to punish ourselves when life doesn’t come as smoothly. Every day we find one thing to be proud of is a good day. I’d like to wish Jerry a string of bad luck or to have completely shitty day, but that would make me as shallow as he is.

Patricia Hanlon May 2, 2013 at 7:44 am

This person obviously has no filter. Sad, but then again, he would probably would benefit from some counseling. He is obviously running from something.

Katie May 2, 2013 at 8:25 am

This guy, this “Jerry” – he’s really Tom Cruise isn’t he? Think about it: he was insensitive, insulting, all while demonstrating a lack of education on modern mental healthcare. I was surprised by the absence of references to taking vitamins as a cure, but perhaps he knew that would give him away. You know, his point that mental health can go untreated and you can gut your way through with self-help and be “fine” is as true as the fact that some women can give birth alone in a field and be “fine”. But, as with most things in life, who in their right (or slightly not right) mind would want to do either of those activities completely alone and au naturel, when a much better experience can be yours with modern medical help. I feel sorry for Tom Cruise (“Jerry” if he insists). He must be lonely with his vitamins. May someone in his life show him the compassion he failed to show you. He must be feeling pretty bad about himself to want to lash out like that. I’d like to say ok to Tom, er Jerry. We will be gracious if someday he breaks his leg and chooses to have a doctor examine it, set it, put a cast on it and give him painkillers, even though we also know that technically, he doesn’t need any of those things, that he only thinks he does. It will be easy because, ultimately, we know it’s not our place to judge another person’s medical choices for themselves, especially when those choices don’t affect us. I hope Tom/Jerry makes a better movie soon and feels better about himself.

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