If an oncologist is diagnosed with cancer, does he forget how to treat it? Does he forget the symptoms? Is he any less certified to treat cancer patients? No.
He knows everything about his illness and how to treat it, but legally, he can’t. So goes the same for those of us who struggle with mental health and are intellectually high-functioning, no matter how socially isolated.
The doctor learned about his illness in medical school. I learned about mine from thirty-four years of living in the field of practice.
People think if I can use all the right terms and string words together just right, I don’t struggle. They think if I can be as “successful” as carefully selected social media highlights would suggest, I should smile a little bit more and cry a little less.
If I reach out to professionals and I sound like I know what I’m talking about and I need their help, I’m met with judgment or hostility. Sometimes it’s loud. Sometimes it’s silent, but it is always there. It’s not just my imagination.
Every single counselor I’ve had has told me, “Your problem is you are too intelligent.” As if to suggest that is an excuse for lack of treatment options and blatant neglection of resources to meet the needs autonomous to me and my mental health. No!
My problem is my intelligence should be empowering to my recovery, self-advocacy, and wellness, but standardized mentalities and approaches, ill-equipped to not only identify but also help those who fall outside the treatment box, leave me with 75% less help.
Call it middle-class mental health care or intellectual disparity. Either way, some people— the people we least expect, are silently slipping through the cracks of a broken foundation, and it’s our fault.
Mental health treatment requires an individualized approach to restoration and prevention.