Conspiracy theorists are upset that their views are dismissed and they thesmelves are marginalized. I say this is an excellent dynamic and I’ll tell you why, as a mental health peer advocate.
When I first started this peer advocacy thing – ten years ago – and began attending community behavioral health meetings in New Mexico, I was continuously “complimented” by others for “being so articulate… for a peer.” Yes, this is incredibly ignorant, biased, discriminatory, and just plain mean, and I could have gotten upset and demanded peers be treated with professional and basic human respect.
But I didn’t.
Why? Because as long as these minimizing well-wishers underestimate peers, we can get through all sorts of necessary change with little bureaucratic pushback. Being seen as intellectually deficient and less capable is a stigma worth capitalizing upon. So I did and I encourage fellow peer advocates to do the same.
The point is:
Now, my conspiracy theorist friends, a number of your ideas seem absolutely whack to me, but that’s a good thing. I take you seriously AND I think you’re nuts (at times). Folks like me are primed to accept your conclusions when we’re shown otherwise and logical proof. And to let you in on an observation, theorists friends. You’re more right that wrong, it just takes most of us longer to catch up.
So being tagged as a conspiracy theorist is a gift, not an insult. Let it ride. And, you can perpetuate their self-constructed myth even further with primely chosen words. For example:
Mental health community stakeholder: “Steve, you’re so articulate FOR A PEER.”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what half of those words mean.”
Just know going in, invariably the gift is rescinded when they figure you out. This gift to peers hasn’t been available to me for years. In fact, I’m seen as “too functional,” and because of this, mental health colleagues either didn’t recognize or simply ignored that I was falling into a seriously dangerous suicidal episode by volunteering to help the Albuquerque Police Department. But that’s a different tale for another time.
For now, always keep this chestnut cliche firm to the chest, ready at mind, and primed at the fore: Self-care, self-care, self-care! And this is a great number of articles for another time.
And again, let them underestimate you. It’s a great way to get things done with little resistance.