Blurring the Line Between “Us” and “Them”

Diana Spore
29
1169

During the coronavirus public health crisis, many of us have come to understand that we do not walk alone.  While retaining individuality, we are stronger by acting as one, following guidelines for protecting ourselves and those around us. Heroes and heroines have arisen, some who are “hidden,” but all are alike in wanting to make a difference. In short, overall, during this fight, individuals are more alike than different.

This “movement” has also affected how we view the “mad” or “labeled” who walk or hide amongst the “normals.” The line between the “normals” versus the “abnormals” or “non-normals” has blurred.

In the past, certain behaviors were viewed as abnormal. These included wearing unusual headgear (for example, covering one’s head with aluminum foil), not allowing others to come into their homes, secretively peeking out windows, being suspicious, not wanting to be touched or touch others, and keeping people at a distance. Staying isolated in one’s home constantly and avoiding attempts by others to connect with us physically was viewed as strange or bizarre.

During this pandemic, these behaviors make sense or are deemed to be appropriate for the most part in light of what is happening now. What were defined as “symptoms” of being “mentally ill” are experienced by many of us—particularly depression and anxiety. Even suicidal ideation makes sense in this “coronavirus world,” not that it should be ignored. Words that would have been viewed as delusional, even psychotic, are not immediately taken as fact that the speaker is truly mad. In short, the “normals” and the “mad” can be viewed as much more alike than different at this time.

In addition to our “similar” behaviors, thoughts, and reactions to this crisis, many of the “mad”—some of whom have felt disempowered and have been routinely stigmatized—have risen to the challenge of making a difference. Those who have been viewed as mad are engaging in urgent advocacy efforts, are making face masks, are writing letters to those who are isolated and at high risk of being exposed to and dying from the coronavirus, are using the power of the pen, and are finding and using their voices.

Likewise, the wall between mental health consumers and mental health providers has leveled to a certain extent. The power differential is not as clear-cut. We are more alike than different. Mental health providers are experiencing many of the same emotions as the mad (including fear, anxiety, anger, and frustration). Like the mad, mental health professionals are making rapid-fire decisions about how to prioritize tasks and efforts when time is precious for all of us. Just like us, they are making mistakes. Plates are falling despite their best efforts.

Most, if not all, mental health providers, will face dealing with major ethical issues. In their quest to reach as many consumers as possible, to streamline the process, to be as efficient as possible during this pandemic, was the therapeutic process truly helpful? Were key components of what “should” happen between both parties still prioritized?

These components include shared-decision making and promoting personal choice: Allowing consumers to chart their own lives and make decisions about treatment options. Will the consumer decide to follow through on what is recommended? Will mental health providers remember that consumers are the experts on what has worked in the past and what is unlikely to work now? It is way too easy to provide recommendations rather than suggestions during this pandemic, when streamlining the process has to be prioritized.

During this time period, were therapists and psychiatrists working with the mad in finding ways to be empowered even during this pandemic, to distinguish between what we could control (such as our reactions to what was happening in the outside world) versus what we could not control? Or were we, in effect, basically told what to do, think and feel? How many of us were told that our mental health providers were doing the best that they could, and that certain questions could not be addressed because they were too busy?

By disempowering consumers along the way in their quest to streamline the therapeutic process (an assembly line approach?), were the mad coddled? Were we treated as if we couldn’t handle the pressure associated with the pandemic, couldn’t make decisions, and needed them (who still thought they knew best) to make decisions (even provide orders) for us?

The bottom line is that making progress in the recovery journey is hard work. We are survivors—perhaps at varied levels. And by facing so many challenges in our lives and overcoming them, we have developed the strengths to survive what is happening now.

Some of the mad take advantage of peer support programs in which they can find support from and forge healthy connections with peers. However, were these programs promoting self-empowerment and making personal choices, preparing us for whatever headed our way, teaching us how to advocate for ourselves and others, and promoting recovery in all realms? Or were we being treated as children who could not think for ourselves?

When we needed to be prepared for dealing with any challenges and thinking for ourselves, were programs focusing on socializing, promoting social events as ways to connect, offering “busy work” to keep engaged (such as adult coloring to reduce stress)? Or was programming offered to develop skills needed to survive in the outside world, to retain individuality while receiving support, to find ways to connect in healthy ways, and to use a variety of mechanisms (tools) to promote recovery? And were they using trauma-informed care approaches in all interactions?

Having these approaches in place at any time makes sense, in efforts to make programs “safe” for all participants. The pandemic is a major trauma, adding to having been traumatized and re-traumatized in the past.

The bottom line is that the mad and the normals are much more alike than different in this rapidly changing, evolving world. We are all alike in facing the risk of being exposed to the coronavirus, of becoming ill, and of dying. This fact may sound brutal but it is true nonetheless.

One could argue that a “gift” from dealing with this pandemic together may be a marked decrease in us being stigmatized by those who are “not-so-normal” anymore.

In closing, please be aware that I am viewed as abnormal. I have the label of “Bipolar Disorder” with periods of psychosis and mania—fortunately, not recently. But during this pandemic, I am alike with others in trying to make a difference, even if my efforts are small. For example, I am working on developing writing exercises, preparing examples, and networking with other writers to help promote writing as a therapeutic tool during this pandemic. I am going to be helping print letters to patients in psychiatric hospitals who cannot have visitors.

Small steps to make a difference. But I am fully aware that, for me, the wall between me and the normals has blurred. While the following comment may be viewed as insensitive at this time—I feel more empowered than I ever have during this urgent public health crisis.

Stay safe and well.

***

Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this piece.
    I am glad to see you feel the lines have blurred.
    I honestly don’t know if lines were ever blurred and if they were, I put them there, because I don’t have any desire to NOT have a concrete line between myself and oppressive label toting forces.

    Just now, I saw a Dr. House program -actually it’s my spouse watching, but I hear snippets- and there were a few docs walking in a corridor and chatting about a patient. One doc says “schizophrenics are known to make irrational decisions”

    My mouth dropped. I’m not sure how old this program is, not from the 50’s for sure, but which writer is THAT stupid? Which show producer? Which Network?
    That is IDENTICAL to a doctor referring to a people with cancer as “those cancers”.

    Even if a person had “something”, one still would never refer to them as that something.

    Even in a hospital setting, one can refer to someone as being fearful, distressed.

    So I am disappointed that the lines are not blurred on TV, but at the same time, why would I want it to be blurred? So no one can tell the difference between me and the yahoos that wrote the DR HOUSE EPISODE (tag) And the PRODUCERS OF DR HOUSE, and the NETWORK IN CANADA that aired it. And last but not least, the shrinks and the UN that support the othering and minimizing of humans

    • Mental workers have been known to “diagnose” people in notes with things like “worthless piece of sh*t.”

      Read an article in a medical journal by a psych nurse joking about it.

      They talk a good game to SOUND kind and polite in public. But even then they try to scare the public by explaining how dangerous these Subhuman Others are.

      So House is not far fetched.

  2. I don’t know that the line between ‘normals’ and ‘abnormals’ has blurred any. There seems to be a hypervigilance regarding symptoms that you describe to ensure that when ‘normals’ do it, its well …..normal, and as per the regular psychiatric play book when the ‘abnormals’ do it they’re nuts.

    We find this type of defining ‘markers’ in the field of terrorism also. It needs to be defined in a way that it is something ‘they’ do, and when ‘we’ do it it’s not terrorism. The hypervigilance of seeing a man with a beard and carrying a bag on public transport these days requires urgent action, he might be normal but ……… suspicion breeds confidence.

    So while our elites are behaving in an ‘abnormal’ manner it will be considered normal, and once their (note I do not say OUR) crisis is over, it will be business as usual. My faith lies with other than man, who will after all not be worrying about me on the Day of Judgement. Though I do recognize the opportunities to do good deeds during these times, I can’t help but wonder why I would do that for people who turned their backs on me while I was tortured and kidnapped, and then slandered for complaining. I guess the fraudulent documents were a crime against my community that simply doesn’t care if this is how our hospitals operate. I assume they might feel a little more concerned given that they might end up in the very situation I found myself in, in an Emergency Dept and outside the law, where an unintended negative outcome would be overlooked by police because they can’t find their copy of the criminal code, and killing ‘patients’ is now a medical procedure and fraudulent documents can be distributed to conceal any ‘indiscretions’ by hospital staff.

    All that is required is a “sophisticated knowledge of the law” the Head of the AMA tells us. It really isn’t that sophisticated, make it look like an accident, keep your mouth shut, and trust the administrators to do a cover up via fraud and threats to peoples families for you. I can make referral to an Operations Manager who is a little ‘coarse’ with her cover ups, but does have support in some very high places, and thus the doubling down on the misconduct is usually very effective. Imagine removing documents showing their ‘spiking’ of ‘patients’ from lawyers, and replacing them with others and then claiming that the victim is a paranoid delusional requiring treatment. It certainly explains why the lawyers became afraid of me and were prepared to throw me under a bus for these criminals. Clever, vicious and dangerous, and given full support by the Chief Psychiatrist and the Minister.

    Still, if they’d return my property and let me have my passport I’d leave this place, because if this is how the State does ‘business’, then I’d like to see out my days elsewhere. Let them have the joint if convenience killings in Emergency Depts are standard operating procedure for the State to do cover ups. It’s not the government I worked for. I feel sorry for the police in many ways, having the threat of mental health services hanging over your head from organised criminals running rampant in our hospital system. It explains why they might make such statements as “it might be best I don’t know about that” (referring to the ‘hotshots’ being administered in the ED). It might be Senior Constable, because your name might go on the list if you do your duty, rather than neglect it.

    • In fact, according to the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency there is no line. I have a letter here form them stating that all Australians are ‘patients’ and anything a doctor does to them is lawful. Which I guess means that any complaints to this body are fruitless because a distinct lack of knowledge of the law would render the decisions made by their “Board” arbitrary. So for example in my instance they believe it is fine for a Community Nurse who they register (and thus be aware that he has no prescribing rights) is allowed to unlawfully ‘spike’ citizens with benzodiazepines and then lie to police in claiming that the victim is a ‘patient” (as stated we are all patients according to their Board) in order to give the appearance that his kidnappings are lawful.

      One might not expect them to be able to understand the Convention against the use of Torture, but surely they would be capable of understanding that the ‘spiking’ of citizens with date rape drugs may constitute a crime? Especially those who comprise of their “Board”? And a National one at that.

      This of course must create problems when doctors are spiking young registrars in order to sexually assault them.

      https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/oncologist-john-kearsley-jailed-after-drugging-and-indecently-assaulting-doctor-20160826-gr1q75.html

      I guess the police must have found their copy of the Criminal Code in this instance, though AHPRA could not have deregistered him as according to their Board he was practicing medicine. Note half the ‘dose’ of what I received (quarter if one considers Kearsley consumed half the bottle), and done by someone who does have the right to prescribe the same drug. Perhaps if Dr Kearsley was a psychiatrist this would be considered treatment? It certainly would if he were a Community Nurse, in fact police would have assisted in restraining his victim according to AHPRA.

      This blatant negligence is quite possibly the reason our hospitals are constantly in a state of crisis. When the watchdog bodies are nothing but kangaroo courts designed to give the appearance of fairness, word gets around pretty quickly.

      No lines at all in Australia. Its carte blanche with zero accountability.

      • You don’t know the start of it. Which is why Pharma may have helped this epidemic along if not outright created it.

        They will also be wanting to test everyone for both viruses and antibodies and limiting their freedom on that basis in many ways. They have been laying the groundwork for this for a long time.

        Hopefully people will start taking their blinders off. Fear is an effective deterrent in a nation of sheep.

        • You are overestimating Pharm. There is such scant science, I doubt they could create much, I mean obviously it could potentially kill their mommies lol.
          As it is, I’m sure they educate their aged parents on what statin to stay away from lol.
          Do they have mommies? Or were they test tube babies.

          • The primary “science” Big Pharma relies on is the science of marketing. Actual medical science serves only as marketing’s handmaiden, and when medical science stops serving marketing, it is quickly and unceremoniously discarded.

  3. Thing is we actually are no longer like the “normals”. Until they wind up drugged to the gills or having had electricity run their brains (and I really hope they don’t), the idea they are like us is not true actually. Having a brain that isn’t damaged by drugs or shock or other invasive procedures is not the same thing as having a psych system induced brain injury. And they aren’t carrying a permanent stamp of “crazy” in their medical records either. Albeit some poor people are about to have that happen and will find out in future how beneficial psychiatry really is.

  4. “Words that would have been viewed as delusional, even psychotic, are not immediately taken as fact that the speaker is truly mad. In short, the ‘normals’ and the ‘mad’ can be viewed as much more alike than different at this time.” It should always have been that way.

    Distress at 9/11/2001 was misjudged as “distress caused by a chemical imbalance” in my brain alone in late 2001, but now distress caused by a distressing event is NOT a “life long incurable genetic mental illness?” Make up your minds, debunked DSM “bible” worshippers.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2013/transforming-diagnosis.shtml

    “the wall between mental health consumers and mental health providers has leveled to a certain extent.” Probably because the DSM “bible” was debunked in 2013. “The power differential is not as clear-cut. We are more alike than different.” We always have all just been humans, the majority of “mental health” workers just used to believe they were above others.

    “mental health providers, will face dealing with major ethical issues. In their quest to reach as many consumers as possible … was the therapeutic process truly helpful? Were key components of what ‘should’ happen between both parties still [be] prioritized?”

    No, the “invalid” DSM deluded have been murdering 8 million innocent, DSM misdiagnosed people a year, for decades. Based upon your “invalid” DSM disorders, and with your neurotoxic psych drugs.

    https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/directors/thomas-insel/blog/2015/mortality-and-mental-disorders.shtml

    “Or was programming offered to develop skills needed to survive in the outside world, to retain individuality while receiving support, to find ways to connect in healthy ways, and to use a variety of mechanisms (tools) to promote recovery? And were they using trauma-informed care approaches in all interactions? Or were we being treated as children who could not think for ourselves?”

    All DSM disorders were claimed to be “life long, incurable genetic mental illnesses,” despite this being a lie. And most of the “mental health” workers, for decades, treated all their clients as children, and with staggeringly ungodly disrespect. And denying and covering up child abuse has been the primary actual societal function of the “mental health” workers for decades, which is the opposite of “trauma-informed care.” Not to mention, illegal behavior.

    https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/01/23/18820633.php?fbclid=IwAR2-cgZPcEvbz7yFqMuUwneIuaqGleGiOzackY4N2sPeVXolwmEga5iKxdo
    https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/04/heal-for-life/

    “The bottom line is that the mad and the normals are much more alike than different in this rapidly changing, evolving world.”

    We’ve always all been just humans. The “mental health” workers as a group are now just starting to overcome their “delusions of grandeur,” and realize the globalist banksters will destroy them. Just as you destroyed the ethical small American banking families with your BS DSM stigmatizations, and the DSM’s systemic child rape covering up crimes.

    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/your-child-does-not-have-bipolar-disorder/201402/dsm-5-and-child-neglect-and-abuse-1

    “One could argue that a ‘gift’ from dealing with this pandemic together may be a marked decrease in us being stigmatized by those who are ‘not-so-normal’ anymore.” I’m not sure to whom “us” is referring. But I’m quite certain those that the “mental health” workers claim to be “not-so-normal,” those who do not worship from the DSM “bible,” but believe in the Holy Bible instead, will continue to speak out against the systemic crimes of the DSM “bible” thumpers.

    “I am working on developing writing exercises, preparing examples, and networking with other writers to help promote writing as a therapeutic tool during this pandemic. I am going to be helping print letters to patients in psychiatric hospitals who cannot have visitors.”

    Sounds good, I do agree writing does help those misdiagnosed with the make believe DSM disorders, think through and overcome the incessant insanity being spewed at them, by all the DSM “bible” believers.

  5. Valuable article!

    Diana, you said: “It is way too easy to provide recommendations rather than suggestions during this pandemic, when streamlining the process has to be prioritized.”

    Can you please tell me what you consider the differences are between “recommendations” and “suggestions?” To me they are synonymous.

    Thanks!

  6. Personally, when I see “newspeak” linguistic fabrications such as “individuals facing mental health challenges”, i no longer barf and puke in disgust, i only roll my eyes and softly groan in dismay at the babbling sheeple. So-called “mental illness” is something that either ALL of us have, or else NONE of have. Could be both, can’t be neither. ALL “mental illnesses” are in fact STD’s. The mental health system gives them to you….

    • Promiscuous and so not picky. They screw everyone. Presently doing remote online ‘stuff’. They can probably make diagnosis over the phone or online, since no testing required.
      There was “science” required for the chemicals, but none in order to actually use chemicals.
      It is exactly the way chemical warfare works.

      • We could easily replace all shrinks and mental illness centers with kiosks where vending machines print out a diagnostic label and others dispense the appropriate drugs. But then who would malign us on national TV and write defamatory articles to the Boston Globe?

        • I was observing how many churches and denominations there are. The tolerance for different perceptions about god loosened up, but how long did that take!
          And I realized that amid psychiatry, there is most likely not ONE who sees it the way the next shrink.
          Perhaps there is one “base” belief. That their “flock” are sinners, failures in the eyes of themselves.

          Orthodox psychiatry, new age psychiatry, and so it goes.

          We don’t need a church, nor a priest to save us.

          • Their flocks are “defective.” Not sinful. Sin does not sound scientific. You can’t attone for bad DNA.

            Not sure I’d call psychiatrists priests. More like tiny deities of their secular cult. (Yes. Some secular groups count as cults. I heard speculation that MLM can count.)

            Because it exists in your core being you cannot repent and reform. You are the cancer to be eliminated or frozen so it won’t spread.

            There can be no propitiation or sufficient penance when your existence itself is a sin.

            I believe that’s why I couldn’t kick my suicidal urges after my diagnosis as “SMI.” Rejecting it gave me a new lease on life.

  7. “I believe that’s why I couldn’t kick my suicidal urges after my diagnosis as “SMI.” Rejecting it gave me a new lease on life.”

    Rejection of cults, rejection of someone elses ideals, and beliefs, is the place of insight. There is nothing more humiliating, and whole person destroying, than to be called defective. This naming does not only affect the person but gets sanctioned by government.
    The governments actually ALLOW some yahoos with their own laws to run rampant with nothing more than accusations.
    Obviously there are very few that actually behave in “defected” ways, unlike the officials in governments and “hospitals”.
    If we want to control “defective” people, well it has no end, so let’s just pick on teenage angst, on kids that can’t sit still, on mothers and fathers who are simply sad, fearful, anxious.
    It’s an unbelievable injustice what goes on, and how any shrink is comfortable knowing the end results and possibilities, yet keeps practicing his garbage cult.

  8. “https://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/instead-of-coronavirus-the-hunger-will-kill-us-a-global-food-crisis-looms/ar-BB135Gbv?ocid=spartanntp”

    This article points to the not so “great equalizer”.

    I have been concerned about food shortages and believe there is a lot we do not hear. It is true that certain lines become blurred, yet not so much, when it comes to food. Affluent can isolate easier, get food easier.
    One needs a pretty severe apocalypse type of event to bring the lines close.

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