How To Weep In Public
Drag Star Hamm Samwich On Finding Your Perfect Diagnosis

Figuring out your mental health quirks is often unnecessarily boiled down to a hunt for a diagnosis that fits.

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Figuring out your mental-health quirks is often unnecessarily boiled down to a hunt for a diagnosis that fits. While those fancy clinical words are a chance to understand what's happening with your mind and body, because of the complexity of evaluating your mental health, it can be helpful to think of them as just a starting point. At least, that's the interesting case drag star Hamm Samwich makes in the latest episode of R29's series How to Weep in Public with host Jacqueline Novak. "My therapist doesn't believe I suffer from depression, and I'm beginning to think that I don't, either," Samwich tells Novak. "I think what I have is a kind of anxiety that is maybe comorbid with a rage problem that is activated literally just when I'm running late." Of course, Hamm is at least partially joking. But the language we use to talk about our mental health matters because we're also using it to define a large part of ourselves. As Novak puts it, you're searching for a diagnosis that "you can really sink into." "I really hate the word 'bipolar,'" Hamm goes on to say, "I vastly prefer 'manic-depressive,' seems to poetically encapsulate both states — mania and depression. Whereas with bipolar you're just saying, 'I have two states.'" And as part of a generation that's used to finding exactly what we want when we want it, we feel "entitled to our diagnoses," Hamm continues. "We would like the language that we use to describe our feelings to map onto [those feelings] in a way that feels accurate — and I think that's not just us being brats." The lesson: Finding the perfect words to use when talking about your mental health may be a long journey, but it's definitely worth it.
Jacqueline Novak, Hamm Samwich Mental Health Dry HumorReleased on May 24, 2016

R29 Original Series