When ‘you think mental illness’, according to Piper, ‘you think schizophrenia and crazy people, and I’m not crazy, I just get really nervous.’ In making this distinction, interviewees like Piper and Jenna not only claimed that they were less impaired than the seriously mentally ill, they also insisted that their experience was categorially different. Piper said of herself that biologically something is just ‘a little off’. She has ‘too little or too much or whatever it is that makes you have these issues’. Distinct from ‘crazy people’, she has control over her mind and her story. All she needs is a little pill. Yet at the same time, her ‘condition’ is also different from the mundane challenges that normal people might face. Piper was adamant that her nervousness in social situations is different from ordinary shyness. Her taking of medication is warranted. She has a third condition caused by an ‘imbalance’.
He goes onto say, not in these words really, that (a) there's still a huge self- and social-stigma, and (b) it's more important for those with broken brains to talk about what they do day to day, how they struggle and succeed in life.
One of the most frustrating things with mental stuff is that the diagnosis of it is so…magical. It's hard to distinguish when you brain is broken versus your life, versus you "self." I think what this dude is suggesting is that it sort of doesn't matter: what matters is what you do after the diagnosis to cope and keep living.
Original source: Let’s avoid talk of ‘chemical imbalance’: it’s people in distress