I’ve been remiss.
It has just occurred to me that I’ve been arguing against a definition of “functioning” without ever actually stating the definition with which I have a metaphorical bone to pick. In the About the Site I wrote that “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.”
The most prevalent “spectrum” is the Global Assessment of Functioning Scale. Go ahead. I DARE you to find one (and only one) place where you could confidently put yourself on this scale.
I’ll go first: Given my everyday, normal life I could put myself anywhere between 35 and 65 (but not really in the 40s). Because I am in a good marriage, someone who knows me well would probably put me between 60 and 70. Precisely because they don’t know me, anyone else would probably see something above 90 when they look at me, my work, and my life. That being said, at least twice a month, I fall to about 25 for a day…but had I not just written that, no one would know. Since those low points aren’t persistent states, I don’t think anyone who uses this scale would care about them. AND THAT’S THE PROBLEM.
The problem with the “high-functioning” label is that it’s based on these strange and seemingly arbitrary metrics. This is a scale that might make sense for some, but what happens to people who look like a 90 and feel like a 20?