Sherry,
Charles Chu
92

I really did enjoy this article, but Sherry is 100% correct, you were not making fun of pill popping immoralists or overprotective soccer moms, you made fun of people who suffer from mental illness. Believe me when I say that those who suffer from OCD find no pleasure in washing their hands 30 times a day, and neither should you, it’s not funny. It’s all consuming and paralyzing. Hypochondriasis, known now as health anxiety (they changed the name because a lot of people still think hypochondriacs are hilarious), is completely different and also still not funny. I’m not a hypochondriac, but I have my own cocktail of mental illnesses. I hate that I have to swallow a fist full of pills every night but I do it anyway because they keep me from killing myself, and because they allow me to live (relatively) free from that debilitating fear you think is so funny.

One of the very few “attempt(s) at humor” in this article is taking a swipe at people in pain. It’s not a matter of saving yourself and the world from “political correctness,” it’s a matter of compassion and having an understanding of what you’re writing about. I get that you’re not an expert in mental illness, but I encourage you to do some research. Google mental illness stigma. Read about how words like yours effect not only people with mental illness but society’s perception of those with mental illness.

Rape jokes are hurtful in a very similar way, not only are they painful to victims but they perpetuate a culture in which their pain is not taken seriously. If you think joking about rape is egregious (remember, people defend their rape jokes by crying out for freedom from “political correctness”), consider your own words. Different population, same effect.

I’m not telling you all this because I think you’re a terrible person that I want to tear down. You had a lot of great things to say in your article and I hope that ultimately it will help people. While you’re misinformed about mental illness, you’re also in a position where people read your work and listen to what you have to say. Keep it positive, don’t tear down people who are already torn down, and don’t perpetuate a stigma that you know nothing about.

Also, please learn to accept responsibility and properly apologize when you screw up. We all make mistakes. It’s ok. “Apologies if the snippet offended you” and “some people never get it” put the blame on Sherry and people like me who were offended. We didn’t screw up by being offended, you screwed up by being offensive. That was not an apology. You’re not the only one who offers false apologies, it’s become relatively commonplace these days, but your words have a very different meaning than “I’m sorry I hurt you.” Again, it’s fine, but accept responsibility, learn something from it, and move on to do better next time. Defending yourself by saying it was only a joke, and that you would only write garbage if you had to be politically correct all the time, is not only denying responsibility, but it is also factually inaccurate, and it doesn’t give yourself or your writing enough credit. It’s not hard to be funny without hurting people. I’m sure you’re more than capable of it.