Last time I was on my way to a therapy session, I got the taxi from the station to the psychiatric hospital where they take place. I got into the back and asked to be taken to the name of the hospital.
He said: “Do you work there, love?”
I said: “No, I have an appointment.”
He said, turning slightly in his seat to look at me: “Really? But you look normal.”
I blushed ferociously, fought tears and giggles and said: “Oh, right…erm…thank you.”
I wish I’d had the balls to tell him how small minded and ridiculous he was being but I didn’t. I was too taken aback and also quite at his mercy, in that I was in the back of his car. He also seemed to think he’d given me a compliment and, being stupidly polite, I didn’t want to make him feel guilty. But it all just goes to show, once again, how appalling general knowledge about mental health is. So to anyone who thinks in the same way as this man I ask: what is normal? How does it look? What does it sound like? How different is my mind from that man’s (apart from, I hope, mine being more open). Is it a case of an aura, we mentally ill are supposed to give off or are we expected to bark and cut ourselves in public to be taken seriously?