Mad Women by Rebecca Donaldson

Mad women
Sad women
And not accepted
Our experiences of child abuse and suicidal ideation can’t possibly be connected

We are said to be “crazy, hysterical, and abnormal,”
And then later diagnosed in our car with BPD by a psychologist dressed in floral

We are the ones the world puts down and abuses
We are the ones the world gaslights and later calls liars full of excuses
We are the sexually abused
And later told we are identity confused

We are the scapegoats
The misfits
The ones who cry too much
We are the “Borderlines” or the “witches” who men justify are okay to touch

We are too loud
Too quiet
Too angry
Too scared
We are women with histories of trauma the patriarchy harmed, but nobody cared

We are the ones labeled as being attention seeking
The ones nobody listens to when we are speaking

We “Borderlines” are your sisters, your mothers, and your lovers
We are the ones psychiatry calls a bunch of “cutters”

We were beaten, bruised, neglected, and thrown away
We are women who sought help only to be referred out as a castaway

They call us personality disordered and sick
Without acknowledging that many of us have been raped by someone’s dick

We are women who are told to grow up and regulate our emotions
We are the ones who were asked at a young age to meet men upstairs with lotion

We are the poetic ones and the ones who wear our hearts on our sleeve
While our therapists whisper to each other, “She’s crazy, can’t you see?”

We are the ones that can’t articulate our trauma story
Because after age eight, we stopped taking inventory

Of the name calling
Of the violation
We are later sent to DBT where we sign a contract at orientation

So, we tell each other to look white, cisgender, and upper class
And write each other to never say you’re suicidal if in DBT and you want to pass

Don’t shave your head
Don’t shed a tear
Look lady-like
And never show fear

Don’t talk about your pain
Don’t say anything
Because the end-goal is for the DBT therapist to think that you are sane

“Borderlines” they call us women who do not feel well
Not strong
Not survivors, who if given love and kindness, could excel

No, us women are nothing but witches
The ones behind closed doors therapists call manipulative bitches

We receive behaviorism treatment like DBT
Not pathways for healing our trauma, but rather money-making b.s. with unaffordable fees

It’s time to recognize us women for who we are
Not personality disordered or sick
But rather, women who survived and who have made it thus far

Stand in solidarity with all of us women who have been harmed
Knock on the doors of the psychological associations and sound the alarm

This harm needs to stop right now once and for all
There are thousands of us who are asking that you stand up and make a phone call

Call your Psychological Association
Tell them enough of this shit and that you do not concord
At the way we continue to treat these beautiful women seeking help who should be nothing but adored


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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.


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