I've written about this before a bit. but does it make anyone else really sad when you're reading a book or watching a movie, and a character who originally seems really stereotypically disabled (this especially happens with mentally ill characters) starts to get more complex and less stereotypical and turn into a cool character, and then it's like, surprise...they actually weren't really disabled. or they weren't, like, organically disabled, if it's a mental thing. they acted like that because of something wrong that someone else did to them and/or because society is messed up.
I'm leery of saying this because it kind of sounds like I'm saying PTSD and other stuff that comes from trauma isn't a real disability. I don't think that but I do think there's this weird division in fiction between people who are "really" mentally disabled (usually: depression, psychosis, autism, social anxiety, sometimes intellectual disability) and people who appear that way, but actually it's someone else's fault, making them actually at their core non-disabled.
obvious example: lisbeth salander!!
I'm not saying some of these characters are proven beyond a shadow a doubt to have entered the world non-disabled. but there is a revelation that at least some of their disability is related to trauma, and they are "sensible" at their core even if they are eccentric. and it's like, other people think that they don't know what they're talking about, and think that they don't know what really happened to them and/or what's really wrong with the state of the world, because they're disabled--but surprise, because they aren't innately disabled, they actually DO know what's going on and what they're saying is actually true.
I read a book recently that didn't exactly make clear whether it was doing this or not. it was a great book but I felt disappointed, I guess, by the one element.
early on a (now absent) character is referred to and described for the first time. she's kind of a typical mentally ill/depressed character, there's a big focus on the strange things she did and how difficult it was to live with her and take care of her. as the book goes on she is described/flashbacked to again and again, and seems more complex, human, nice, and interesting each time. in the second half of the book we learn that she was abused, and that the way her family treated her when she was depressed actually kept her from recovering at least as much as her actual depression did. when she finally appears at the end of the book, she is a heroic character.
I thought this was really cool, but I guess I felt a little sad too, because I knew that most people would perceive the book in the ordinary model of mental illness--i.e. this apparently mentally ill character turned out to be a smart and heroic person who was wronged by other people, therefore she wasn't REALLY mentally ill, it was just because of her family, and by defeating them, she can stop being ill. the book doesn't really assert this but it also doesn't assert the opposite--that she would have had mental health problems anyway and they were exacerbated and used as an excuse by her family. it just doesn't really say.
so I've read lots of reviews of the book that are like, "IT TURNS OUT THAT HER 'MENTAL ILLNESS' WAS ACTUALLY BECAUSE OF HER FAMILY!" wah wah. this may seem nitpicky of me, especially because the author may not even have meant for people to have that reaction--but I just find it disappointing because it would be cool to see an inarguably mentally ill character who's also smart and a hero. also a portrayal of interaction between mental illness and life experience, instead of the idea that you can only have one or the other.