The “About the Site” page has just been written. It says this:
Upfront Disclaimer: This site is NOT about diagnosis, prognosis, or treatment. We are not licensed anythings, nor do we want to be. Further, I personally do not care what your diagnosis is. Whether you’re schizophrenic, bipolar, agoraphobic, major depressive, have Asperger’s or anything else for that matter, if you’re high-functioning enough to convince people you aren’t mentally ill, you’re in. If you get by and are the only person in a given room who knows you’re just “getting by,” you’re in.
Define “Functioning” hopes to be a forum for those deemed the “high-functioning mentally ill.” The Central Thesis of this site is the belief that the higher up a mentally ill person sits on the Functioning Spectrum, the less that particular spectrum (or its definition of “functioning”) actually describes that person.
This is not to say that we are not grateful or cognizant of our abilities to function. Nor is it to say that we have it as hard or harder than our not-as-high-functioning brethren. What we have and how we live is different.
This difference is what the site is about. Well, not really. It’s not so much about the difference, as it is the result of the difference.
This site is for those of us who know that we are functioning well enough to fool everyone else, but are having a hard time doing it. We are mothers and fathers, employees and bosses. We function well enough to have interpersonal relationships, and thus we are also often husbands and wives. We are friends, colleagues, brothers, and sisters. We don’t want to bother people with our difficulties, and we don’t want to suffer their imagined responses, but this day-to-day stuff is HARD. We need people to talk to about how hard it is to pull this off.
Many of us might be in remission. And we’re scared of going back. Many of us have not always been High-Functioning, but we are now. And we’ll do anything to maintain that.
Really, honestly, I don’t think most people give the “high-functioning mentally ill” much thought. My theory is that this is mostly because we aren’t a burden on society. We don’t require institutionalization (right now). We hold down jobs just fine or better, and we know how to produce. We figure out some way around our respective disorders in order to contribute. We don’t stand at intersections preaching about the End of Days. If we hear them, we know the voices in our heads aren’t real, and therefore we don’t listen. We know it takes us twice as long (or longer) to do the simple things. And while most of us will never admit that, we do those things anyway. We’re what I call “Closeted CrazyPants.” The stigma of our less-functioning brethren is something we can’t abide. It’s something we fear more than screwing up. We’re noble people. We’re proud. And, if you’re like me, we’re scared.
And honestly, this might not be completely bad. One, of many, things I wrestle with is the value of reminding people that we exist. Would there be more support? Would we be able to easily explain or state our disorders and difficulties? Would not having to work so hard at hiding it make it easier to live? Would we still be taken seriously? (Or would our moments of creativity and our shortcomings as symptomatic?) I don’t know. I wonder, and I hope. But, if you’re like me, then there is a lot at stake and your life as you know it is too much to risk on being wrong. So, for now, I will say this: We are. I am. ∃.