Harry Potter and the Wizarding World have been a central part of my life since I was four years old. I was a very sensitive young child, and those books gave me a place to retreat. I was rather bright and eager to learn, too, which made me a target of bullying for several years. Hermione was the one person – and to me, she was a real person, not just a character – I felt connected to, and she made me feel less ashamed of the way that I was. As a severely depressed and anxious teenager, I made sense of my mind through the metaphors that the story provided me with – and it helped me to articulate my pain and fears to others, as well. I’m 20 years old now, and Hogwarts is still home. The Philosopher’s Stone is still what I turn to when I can’t get out of bed. Reading that book is the one thing I can do when I am otherwise simply not functioning – because, at this point, I don’t even have to read it; I know it by heart.
I honestly don’t care that you regret killing Snape or wish that you had paired Hermione with Harry instead of Ron. That doesn’t truly bother me. The day that you closed the page on Deathly Hallows was the day that your opinion on the unsaid parts of the story ceased to hold any more weight than mine, or any other reader’s. Reading is an active, creative process – we produce our own meanings, and they are just as valid as yours.
However, there are other things that you have said that I cannot disengage from. I read a tweet in which you made a joke about Donald Trump – I can’t believe I just had to type his fucking name – having a personality disorder.
I don’t know whether I’m more upset or angry or simply frustrated.
You see, I have a personality disorder. Borderline Personality Disorder (also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder), to be precise.
Donald Trump is not a good person. He is a monstrous person. Unfortunately, I understand where the link to personality disorders came from. I am all to accustomed to reading about myself on the internet, depicted as a monster. I am even used to thinking of myself as one.
But the thing is, that’s bullshit.
People with personality disorders aren’t evil. We can be manipulative, yes – but can’t everyone? We can be hurtful, sure – but *gasp* so can people without mental illnesses. I’ll admit that sometimes I have the capacity to be more manipulative than the average person, but it’s not that simple. My manipulative side is not about power, or hatred. It’s about fear, and desperation.
You seem to think that ‘personality disorder’ is synonymous with power hunger and bigotry. But do you know what a personality disorder is actually like?
Having a personality disorder is experiencing drastic swings in mood every 40 minutes. Having a personality disorder is often feeling nothing at all.
Having a personality disorder means having a constant need for reassurance, a constant fear of being abandoned and/or rejected.
Having a personality disorder is chronic instability. Having a personality disorder is wild and chaotic and messy and fucking painful and confusing and often scary and frequently destructive, but the only people we intend to hurt are ourselves.
We are an immensely vulnerable population, always – but particularly in the world we are currently living in. To equate us and our illnesses to a man who is making our lives even harder than they already were is FUCKED UP. Mental health care is already underfunded – and, as a result, often woefully inadequate – but Trump’s government want to cut back on funding it even more. His pal Theresa May here in the U.K is doing much the same thing. Trump may not talk and attack mentally ill people as explicitly as he does other minorities, but that does not mean we are not affected. We are, and in terrifying ways.
You cannot truly oppose Trump whilst actively participating in perpetuating the stigma and oppression of seriously mentally ill people. You are not cool or funny or clever by using my illness as a rhetorical device. I am not a synonym for evil.