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To the Person Who Said I Was ‘Too Intelligent’ to Be Sick

“You’re not sick,” he said to me as I sat in the front seat of his car. “You’re too intelligent.”


“That’s what I’ve been trying to get you to realize throughout our conversations,” he continued.

He went on to claim I got a major payoff out of playing the victim and was living in a story.

This individual wasn’t a therapist or a medical professional. He was an acquaintance I met three months ago who somehow connected with me, although I don’t care about him the same way.

He had been trying to cheer me up and boost my self-confidence. He claimed I was exactly like him roughly a decade ago. “That’s why I’m so useful to you,” he said.

Bring in the cocky.

The following letter is for him, whose name has been shortened for the sake of anonymity.


I haven’t been honest with you since I met you. I appreciate that you care for me and see potential in me, but I’m upset with the way you go about expressing that, particularly when it comes to mental health and learning differences.

You claim I’m “too intelligent” to have a learning difference and mental health issues. I’ve argued that just because you don’t see the physical manifestations of a learning difference or a mental health issue in an individual doesn’t mean they aren’t there, but you never listened.

Instead, you say I’m living in a story, that I’m being a brat, that I get something out of playing a victim and holding said story above my family’s head. I laugh it off when you call me stubborn, and a brat, but it irritates me. You know I’m a sensitive individual, and yet you continue to poke fun at me, even when I have drawn the line and state you have gone too far.

While we have a mutual distaste for therapy and traditional mental health treatment, I don’t agree with the blanket statement you repeatedly made insinuating therapy doesn’t work for everyone. You’re probably sick of hearing me say this, but I will say it again: Just because therapy doesn’t work for me doesn’t mean it’s useless.

I say this because it’s what I see. The changes I have made to my diet and exercise regimen (which you have praised repeatedly) have been much more effective for me than an antidepressant.

One of my best friends (who you also know) chooses to treat her mental health through medication and therapy. It has an effect on her, which means that such treatments aren’t useless.

When you make blanket statements like this, it hurts me. I wish I was the sort of person who could just shake things off, but I’m sensitive. I’m also passionate about this topic because I’ve been there. As far as I am aware, you haven’t. I’d appreciate it if you could approach this issue with a little more sensitivity, not just when you’re speaking to me, but as a whole.

You claim I am victimizing myself and that I get something out of it. You claim until I sort this out, I won’t be able to have a relationship with my family or any sort of romantic partner. Those things are entirely my business, and I don’t think it’s your place to comment.

As far as victimizing myself, my experience is what I experienced. We all interpret things differently. I’m not saying you have to see things my way, but I’d appreciate it if you would stop trying to force your viewpoint onto me.

Everyone goes through pain, and I’m in recovery. I will be in recovery for the rest of my life. I will go through this process in my own time, at my own pace. You saying that I’m not sick doesn’t change the fact that I dealt with mental health challenges in the past. Being intelligent doesn’t automatically make you an exception to mental health issues.

What bothers me is you seem to have unspoken stereotypes about what a mental health struggle looks like and you saying I’m not sick because I don’t fit the stereotype. (See the ending of the last paragraph for my response.)

It may be true I am no longer affected by my mental health struggles to the degree that I once was, but that is the point.

I once was.

I have worked hard to get to where I am today. Your comments aren’t conducive to building my self-esteem or self-confidence (which you know are not where I want them to be), and I don’t appreciate the effect your comments and presence have on my recovery.

As positive as your intentions may be, I have no space in my life for an individual such as yourself.

What’s a part of your condition you live with every day that others might not see? Explain what that experience feels like. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

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