Friday, August 18, 2017

Comments by Sera Davidow

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  • Hi BigPicture,

    Thanks for your lengthy and eloquent response. 🙂 I certainly want to believe by ‘doing’, we are leading the way to something different, and in many ways, we see the evidence that we are… And yet, it is all so easily co-opted and then the ‘doing’ can also lead us astray.

    -Sera

  • epthe,

    The Hearing Voices movement definitely isn’t about telling people that it’s safe to come out about hearing voices! It’s definitely understood that that’s a risk for a lot of people. And, at the same time, when people are willing to come out, hopefully they make it a little safer for others to be able to do the same eventually. Totally respect your position, though. 🙂

    -Sera

  • JanCarol,

    Thanks for your comment! Yeah, I’ve noticed more and more the weird little recommendation buttons popping up in my chatboxes on Facebook… or ads that correspond to some element of what I’m saying! :p It is disconcerting to say the least… Though in fairness to Joy, what I’ve seen in her responses suggests a total lack of attention, rather than too much. But, I hear you and your fears on this count seem totally valid to me!

    -Sera

  • John, I do see you last comment got removed for moderation! I can’t quite remember what it said. :p Joy does seem fair game, though, all things considered… Someone recently e-mailed me to let me know there’s a new bot on the Facebook scene called ‘Woebot’, too…

    That one is… I don’t know. Different. It gets around Joy’s biggest issues by simply providing pre-determined bubbles one can choose for response. :p

  • Thanks, Stephen. I agree he doesn’t have too much understanding at all… Precisely what I meant to convey with these lines:

    “This isn’t your world. You don’t belong here, at least not without some humility and a guide.”

    “Joy basically is Danny. All his good intentions, hopes and dreams, naivete, ignorance, arrogance, and blind spots are there in equal measure.”

    I wish he’d recognize that.

    -Sera

  • Hi Bradford,

    Actually, just for your reference (and anyone else’s), if you go to ‘About’ in the Mad in America drop down menus, and then go to ‘Contact Us’, there’s a drop down menu from which you can choose any Mad in America employee or author and send an e-mail.

    People have definitely contacted me that way! I also don’t mind giving people my e-mail, but I’m reluctant to post it here for spam purposes.

    I’ll also be upfront that while I do my best to respond to all e-mails I do sometimes read something and then lose track of it, if I can’t respond right away, and so sometimes it may require people to ‘nudge’ me to bring me back around…

    I heard someone else talking about that film, but I at least *thought* they responded more positively to it.. I don’t know much about it myself at all.

    In any case, I’m realllly overwhelmed in work life right now, and am headed out of town for three weeks mid-summer, but I’m willing to give it a go, if you think I can somehow be useful up there!

    -Sera

  • Matt,

    Yes, it does seem invisible to many who are on the inside of it! I think even of commenters here who are simultaneously challenging the validity of this article’s claims, while unknowingly pointing out some of the fundamental pieces of exactly what the article says makes the whole system tick along. It does all end up feeling a bit like asking the organization to change is like asking a human being to learn to not only live but prosper without food…

    Anyway, thanks for reading and commenting!

    -Sera

  • Thanks, messenger48! I tried submitting one article to Counterpunch, and didn’t get through. (I think the first time is always the hardest!) I’ll have to try more. I’m certainly interested in reaching a broader audience. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder to give it a go.

    -Sera

  • Hi epthe,

    Thanks so much for sharing some of your experience. The involuntary outpatient commitment stuff is *so* short-sighted… So limited. So harmful. I’m glad you had the support you needed to find a way out… I wish more people have access to what you did to help push for more options!

    -Sera

  • Thanks, CCHR. Unfortunately, I worry your posting here under that name and promoting that website will suggest to people that this article is somehow related to Scientology, given that CCHR does seem to be linked. I do, at least, want to be clear that what I’ve shared here in this article is actually independent of any CCHR research, and includes sources like Mother Jones, New York Times, and even some very conservative sources like Pete Earley and DJ Jaffe. I don’t mean to suggest, either, that CCHR doesn’t include some valid and independently findable research, as well… But I do worry about the motives that are at the roots.

  • Michael,

    Unfortunately, part of NAMI’s gig is to suck up all the air so no other ‘gas station’ is able to grow. It’s not as if they just benignly offer supports that people can take or leave… They are a part of a machine that conveys *one* way of thinking about such distress (intertwined with capitalistic interests), that lobbies for force and money to be taken *away* from alternatives and put into more ‘clinical treatments’ (that’s, after all, part of what the Murphy Bill aims to do…), etc. etc. etc.

    -S

  • Thanks, Catnight, for all your thoughts.

    You mentioned a church you thought was progressive… I think one of the things we’re up against, is that people who are generally ‘progressive’ see ‘reducing stigma’ and increasing ‘treatment accessibility’ *as* the progressive things to do, without ever really stopping to understand that all the ideas that underlie those things are decidedly *not* progressive at all. It’s a huge part of the struggle.

    Sometimes theater pieces help, and there’s been the occasional good media piece (this for example! http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/496/an-open-mind), but *so much* that is geared toward making people think is just going out to the same audience as always.. So, part of the challenge is not just how to construct those pieces, but to find a way to expose people beyond our own bubble to them and *then* have those dialogues. Such a complex web to sort out…

    -Sera

  • Carrieb, I am definitely no expert when it comes to search optimization, but I’d like to become one… I think it’d be good for our community to learn far more about that. As far as Mad in America goes, in the background they are paying attention to ‘SEO’ ratings which help articles rank higher… I always make sure my SEO rating is ‘green’ (good to go!) before I submit it for consideration, and I know there are Mad in America staff that will help with that if the author isn’t familiar with the process. And yet, that’s certainly not nearly enough to compete with NAMI just yet!

  • Pat,

    I spent some time trying to figure out what you mean about ‘Split’, since I never actually refer to anyone as a “good boy”…I think you must mean this passage:

    First you have the goodhearted soul loved by all (or at least most), but who inevitably slips up every now and again, falls off their drug regimen and gets at least a tad out of control… Perhaps all in effort to provide a sort of ‘Public Service Announcement’ about just how bad it can get when one is so ‘non-compliant.’

    Maybe not? I’m not sure. I guess, if you mean that passage, I think you may be misinterpreting the point. The point wasn’t to put down people who actually have that experience, which is valid, but to put down the use of that experience as a boiled down stereotype used to scare everyone else into never trying to withdraw from their psychiatric drugs.

    I feel like there are a lot of times when you are misunderstanding what is being said, or reading a lot more into it… Not just here – where admittedly my sarcasm and ‘snark’ are turned on high a lot of the time – but in other settings and with documents and conversations that aren’t mine. I think you have a lot to offer from both your own experiences and your work, but I’m left wondering why there’s such a barrier to simply understanding what’s being said…

  • Steve,

    Fair enough. This whole science conversation is an interesting one… How easy it is to discredit actual science as anti-science when it simply doesn’t fit with the power structures and dominant beliefs…And how hard it is to get people to listen to the *actual* holes in the ‘science’ that supports them.

    Sera

  • Thanks, Truth. I don’t blame you for wanting to make change from within, and if it were merely a matter of opening people’s eyes to different information (rather than getting powerful entities to give up a lot of power), I might be more hopeful about it. I hope your alternative efforts are successful!

    Sera

  • Steve,

    I agree with your comment.. .AND, I would add a point which I also tried to make in this blog (as well as – perhaps more strongly – in my Autism Speaks blog): While local chapters may sometimes be miles better than the national NAMI, at least part of what that accomplishes is to give national NAMI an opportunity to say ‘see, we’re not so bad!’ and distract people from a very serious problem. In other words, it’s great when local NAMIs are better… great for those local people… but still, in some ways, potentially harmful to the bigger picture.

  • Hi BillDare,

    Thanks for reading and for your comment. Yes, there’s lots of articles and fear circulating with Elinore, with the potential new appointments to the NAMI national board, and with so much else. Not too sure where it means we’re headed, or what conversations we might be having in a year, or two, or five as a result…

    -Sera

  • Hi Christopherj,

    I really appreciate your sharing your experience! What you say makes a lot of sense… about individuals verses groups. It’s frightening in its way, but if we look at history (of all sorts of things, not just NAMI), it makes all the sense in the world.

    -Sera

  • Michael,

    NAMI has never pushed drugs? Hmmm… Aren’t they essentially doing that by pushing the Murphy Bill and Involuntary Outpatient Commitment?

    They have also pushed ideas like that psych diagnoses are unquestionably brain diseases, chemical imbalances, and/or ‘just like diabetes’…

    And, if you disagree, well, they’ve got that great little ‘anosognosia’ section on their website..

    These are all pushing drugs in one way or another… In fact, they’re much more effective ways of pushing drugs, then if they literally pushed drugs in the ways you seem to be imagining we mean…

    -Sera

  • Hi Michael,

    So, I can appreciate you have felt helped by NAMI, and won’t attempt to take that away from you. However, when you say this:

    “aside from helping me come to terms with an illness and encouraging that I listen to recommendations by a psychiatrist, NAMI has done nothing to sell me or feed me drug information.”

    I say THAT is exactly what I – and the pharmaceutical rep I quoted above – am talking about. NAMI *does* engage in overall advocate and lobbying that help drug companies directly, but more notably they push people into the paradigm that *leads* them to take the drugs…

    The pharma rep’s point above was exactly that. That direct pushes toward specific drugs are NOT the most helpful approach. But that the more indirect approach of just convincing people they *need* drugs via advocacy to regard one’s self in a particular way… that’s proven quite effective.

    So, I’m not surprised what you say… in fact, it fits well within what I’d expect.

  • Thanks for your post and thoughts. 🙂 I fear that we have a longgggg way to go before we can really say that it’s mainly just the politicians/1% that are pushing in the psych drug direction…. BUT I do think there’s nonetheless validity in what you say, and we should definitely be paying attention. It makes sense that it would be that way when we think of the ways in which systemic oppression works.

  • Steve,

    Yes, I think you’re on track and are understanding what I’m getting at very well. I *would* ditch the world ‘client’ (as you seemed to realize during your post) as I’ve seen too many people internalize that they are ‘client’ into their identity and that *alone* can keep them stuck in a system that often isn’t truly helping them. But the rest of what you say is great.

    Kurt, I don’t think anyone here (myself included) are trying to say that you are ‘bad’, but I am saying that you haven’t hit the mark yet… You and co-workers may be miles better than the average clinician who hasn’t considered some of the things you have… But you *and* your co-workers and students still seem to be missing a huge piece of the puzzle.

    If, as you indicate below and Steve says above, you’re only here because you care about Bob’s work and the problems with the pharma industry, you’re missing how deep some of the system’s problems run. I don’t mean the occasional time when it got so big that you were able to see it again (as you’ve named a few exceptional examples above), but when it just stayed at that sort of day-to-day level of bad and power-ridden and oppressive so that it was mostly invisible to those who weren’t looking for it.

    This is the nature of most systemic oppression. The big and obvious examples are able to seen by *most*. But the system actually runs on the more insidious, harder to see stuff… Harder to see because you’re on the power end of it, and so it just looks like business as usual to you. And by you, I don’t mean *you*, but really anyone who is living on the privilege end of the stick (so, also you).

    It’s the *same* phenomenon that means the average white person *can* easily see the really egregious examples of racism, but has a much harder time pulling out the conditions or microagressions that are truly what sets up the environment for those bigger things to happen… Same with sexism… and homophobia… and all of it.

    I hope you’ll spend some more time trying to see.

    -Sera

  • Yes, I misapplied *one* statement (about people being ultimately happy to be in hospital). Everything else has been a response to you. Nothing I said in my last comment – and only one bit of my first comment – had anything to do with what I misapplied.

    Kurt, You’ve come here to this site for the first time… a site full of people who’ve lived these things (though that’s certainly not representative of all bloggers here or the site’s full point), but you don’t seem to have a lot of respect for that. Or, at least, that’s how you come across to me.

    No, I don’t know who you are. But, I do know that what you’re conveying – as I believe someone else said – comes across as feeling tone deaf to me. You’re talking about what you believe to work in the world of ‘suicide prevention’ (a problematic concept at its very roots), but you are speaking in some of the least human-sounding language about what is the most human of matters: life and death.

    I don’t think you can fully see it, which is why I brought up privilege. I hope something makes it all more visible to you at some point.

    Sera

  • Okay. I was trying to be reasonably polite. This might be somewhat less so.

    Your response – and much of your blog – comes across as pretty pretentious and … well, I’ll leave it at that.

    In fairness to you, I did mix up some of my notes and was attributing some of what Dickson said above to you…So, apologies for that much.

    However, the rest is for you. Your overly academic way of speaking, assumptions about what people (including myself) do and don’t know, and globalized way of speaking about *all* of your students and virtually *all* of your co-workers as somehow different and more special than almost every other clinical worker in the country is extremely off putting.

    And sure, you can’t vouch for an entire website of tools… The problem is, if you’re going to blindly direct people to such a thing, you might want to offer *some* information about just how much drek they might have to sort through. It’s not just that some will work better culturally for some groups than others, and vice versa. Some of it is actually dangerous. Some of it is primarily a marketing tool to get kids into ‘treatment’.

    It’s interesting that you defaulted to your whiteness and maleness when referencing my comment about privilege. It is true, you are privileged in that way, and I share the privilege of whiteness with you. However, what I was specifically referring to is your privilege of power in your role. You’ve never been – at least as far as I can tell – on the opposite end of the ‘suicide prevention’ stick. I have. Almost everyone I work with has. The privilege of not having ever been there – and not living on that cusp now – is big, and I do not think that you recognize it.

    You’re all theory and acronyms. I’m familiar with CAMS (and if I wasn’t, I luckily say through the aforementioned extraordinarily painful and offensive suicide training on Tuesday where it was reviewed). I’m also familiar with the BS that is ‘Zero Suicide’, I’m intensively trained in DBT by Charlie Swenson and Cindy Sanderson. Blah blah blah. I *know* what you’re talking about.

    And I disagree with most of it.

  • Kurt,

    I have admittedly only read through your blog and then skimmed the comments, so I may be missing something already said in the subsequent dialogue, but I would like to point out that you have linked to a ‘suicide prevention’ resource that promotes products that are – in some cases – pharmaceutically funded. For example, it includes the SOS program about which I wrote a blog (https://www.madinamerica.com/2016/01/middle-school-invasion-when-the-pharmaceutical-companies-come-to-town/) when they tried to peddle it to my son at his middle school.

    While I understand what you’re getting at with some of what you write, I found myself reacting with concern to a number of points. For example, this emphasis on restriction of means… It reminds me of a suicide and self-injury training I attended earlier this week.. One (of many of) the most disturbing moments was when the trainer said that – after a particular suicide – he restricted anyone receiving services at the org where he worked from living in an apartment that was any higher than the second floor. Great. (Not really.)

    I’m also having trouble getting past your statements about people basically being happy to be locked up and become powerless… I mean, sure, some people experience an *element* of that, but if that’s your main takeaway on most occasions, I fear for what you’re missing.

    On the whole, I hope you realize that when you live the privilege of as much power as you hold, it’s almost *inevitable* that you’ll be missing several elements of what it is like to live on the other side of that power split. I hope you’ll hold that in mind and consider it deeply as you move forward.

    Sera

  • Steve, I appreciate your comments here. I really don’t see autistic people telling other autistic people that they *must* be happy to be autistic, or that points of struggle that may somehow be connected to being autistic aren’t actually struggles… Same for people with various psychiatric diagnoses.

    What I *DO* see is people with those experiences saying ‘let me decide for myself what is ‘struggle’ and why, and stop trying to speak for me, or force your ideas on me based on your perspectives’…

    -Sera

  • Strandra,

    If you haven’t heard people say ‘I want it back’ or, more commonly, ‘I wouldn’t want to lose it’ in regards to some of the experiences that have led to their psychiatric diagnoses, than you surely haven’t been listening. I have heard *lots* of people say they wouldn’t want to lose their voices, especially once they’ve learned to navigate them. I’ve heard many people say they appreciate the benefits their various sensitivities bring, especially once they’ve learned to balance them and navigate the world. And so on and so forth

    As to polio and who was or wasn’t ‘born this way’… Many people certainly do have the experiencing of having been born autistic, or neruodivergent and coming to appreciate many of the benefits that have come with that for them.

    Your excuse that many people who are autistic have difficulty with communicate is immediately belied by hundreds of thousands of autistic voices, several of which are found in the links I have included in this blog. Sure, there are people who would choose otherwise… Many of us would choose something different than what we have, the intensity and variances of our why or why nots are based on many different variables. I’d not take away from someone their desire to be different… but you’re ignoring and discounting MANY people with your extremely simplistic response.

    Perhaps even more importantly, whether or not you think of autism as an example of born neurodiversity, there are many points in this blog that hold either way. And there are many voices that I include that you might benefit from hearing.

    -Sera

  • John,

    Sami is great. I’ve met and interviewed him for a film I’m working on.

    However, I don’t feel like it’s my place to argue against such a diagnosis, when people who are quite empowered and educated about their experiences say otherwise.

    What’s clear to me is that the approach of Autism Speaks and NAMI are abusive and damaging, and that can certainly drive a diagnostic process that is dehumanizing (such as the one that led to my own pscyh diagnoses, which I’ve since discarded). And, I’ve certainly heard from people who’ve been given autistic diagnoses that oppose or feel harmed by them.

    But, I don’t think it’s necessary to buy into a ‘autism diagnoses’ are inherently bad or wrong framework in order to see that was Autism Speaks has to offer is terrible!

    -Sera

  • Hmmm… Looking at the 990s for the overall orgs is interesting. Have you checked them out?

    Here’s what I find for Autism Speaks on the contributions/grants line:

    (2012) 53,245,999.
    (2013) 63,725,069.
    (2014) 57,552,851.
    (2015) 58,085,859.

    Unfortunately, that shows an overall upward trend, albeit gradual/small.

    For NAMI, I find:

    (2012) 8,375,875
    (2013) 8,605,802
    (2014) 11,226,125
    (2015) 7,934,069

    So, they each have a bump year where things were substantially higher and that seems not particularly reflective of the overall trend… NAMI seems less clearly going up, but not exactly consistently headed down either…

    And *holy crap*, I didn’t realize that Autism Speaks was that much bigger than NAMI overall.

    Interesting stuff.

  • The_Cat,

    I don’t know if there’s an easy way to truly measure that… When I personally just googled ‘NAMI criticisms’ two of the articles that popped up on the very first page were:

    https://www.cchrint.org/2009/12/15/nami-is-on-the-defensive/

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2013/07/nami-and-robert-whitaker/

    I myself have also written about NAMI on more than one occasion:

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2014/03/dear-nami-apologies-ive-unfair/

    https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/09/do-nami-and-mha-suffer-from-anosognosia/

    (Though I’m certainly not making the front page of any google searches)…

    And while I wouldn’t choose to promote anything from CCHR (being the Scientology front group that they are), all four of the above links note the NAMI/Pharma link.

    And, as I said at the top, I’m just not sure how to measure the success in fighting back. It doesn’t seem we’re too successful as of yet on either front. Hoping we can change that somehow!

    -Sera

  • Thanks, Feelingdiscoruaged.

    I should clarify that the woman’s org analogy was from an autistic blogger who goes by codeman38.

    I intentionally quoted and referenced a number of autistic people here, because I did not want to be just another non-autistic person speaking about autistic experiences, without actually including those voices. Though I recognize the risk in doing so under my name is still that their words could be attributed to me, so I want to be careful about clarifying that when I can, too.

    I really appreciate this point: “Normal people are allowed to be assertive, independent and have good self esteem. For the “mentally ill” these are no no’s.”

    I’m glad it feels like your voice and awareness are coming back.

    -Sera

  • Pat,

    I’m not sure I’m totally following what you mean? I love to write and stir things up, but as you know, I also work in a world where many of us are out there doing the work in person, too.

    I really don’t think there’s agreement on this national certification business, including that it needed to exist at all. Thus, I don’t know that the answer is to simply offer MHA some competition.

    -Sera

  • Julie, I hear you. I think the only challenge with *no* training if we’re going to do this whole ‘peer’ thing is that *so* many people go through some of those life experiences and come out the other end all full of internalized oppression. I have to admit that I do find *some* training helpful on top of all that personal life experience to help work through some of that, think through what it really means to ‘be’ with people, be curious, support, etc. But overall, I appreciate your post a lot. 🙂

  • Stephen,

    If I had more time on my hands, I’d be fascinated to do some research that involves not only comparing licensure requirements between these various professions and the peer role, but *also* the logistics involved in meeting those requirements as they differ for each, *AND* how they’re applied… For example, I imagine a requirement that one put their licensure on ‘hold’ as a dentist is *likely* to bear many fewer actual risks and lower likelihood of abuse than for a peer role. Oy. What a mess.

    -Sera

  • Frank,

    Overall, I agree with you the idea that everyone who goes into the system should come out as its employee. However, there are many people for him that has been a really important path. Many of my co-workers have seen the depths of the system, and now get much satisfaction out of fighting against it in the way that they do. Of course, most of them also work with the RLC which is much less direct than working for a traditional provider. Working in a traditional provider in a peer role is a terribly hard position to sustain and not lose sight of one’s self again.

  • Hi The_cat. Comparing some of what happens in this world with Munchausen Syndrome is interesting… There does seem to be a bit of a common element in terms of somehow getting emotional gratification via public attention associated with one’s child’s struggles… Although, I’d stop short of the idea that most of these parents don’t also really care about their kids and wouldn’t find it much more important for their kids to be in a happier, better place.

    Thank you for the story! I look forward to checking it out.

  • Laysha,

    It is a really good question, and not one to which I have the answer. Of course, my fantasy is that articles like this one and word of mouth will prevent so any people from taking the damn thing – or organizations from being willing to pay for it – that it will fall apart for lack of funding. Unfortunately, that seems unlikely, but it won’t keep me from trying!!

    Do you have any other suggestions?

    -Sera

  • Dan,

    It’s all needed. As you know, I spend most of my day focused on creating. This recent Sun Magazine article speaks to much of what I’m doing with my day job 🙂 http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/496/an-open-mind

    But speaking out against the Globe… and hoping others are listening (both those who might join in the speaking out, and those who might be swayed by the speaking), whether or not the Globe folks themselves are… It’s all important.

    Sera

  • Hi Julie,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment, as always. 🙂 I know it’s true that the Globe is not alone… though it’s beyond my capacity to poke at them at all. :p But almost everything I write could be lifted and applied to these other outlets as well. Though I worry that the Globe’s Spotlight Team has more capital and credibility than most. I mean, they’re saying the same stuff everyone else is, but already seem to have been lauded more than most for doing so… as if they’re saying something new.

    Anyway, I’m sorry about your CBFS experience. 🙁 I wish it were more surprising…

    -Sera

  • I fail to see how you’re interpreting me as having said much of anything about Hilary Clinton, let alone that she would have been some sort of savoir? This blog is quite clearly primarily about the problem of diagnosing Trump. While I do express some negative feelings toward him on occasion, that doesn’t change the primary focus and has next to nothing to do with what I do or don’t think about Hilary or how she would have treated people who’ve been psychiatrically labeled… That seems like quite a leap…

    Sera

  • Thanks, Zippy. I appreciate you’re mansplaining… Though, I’m not 100% sure you’re a man? Are you? An, thanks for your mansplaining explanation… It’s always good – as someone who has experienced a particular type of oppression – to be told by someone who hasn’t when and when not to be offended!

    Thank you 🙂

    -Sera

  • Zippy,

    You’re treading in territory where many of experienced systemic oppression that has crushed their lives and spirits. You’re speaking from a place of privilege when you tell those who’ve experience oppression that you have not that they’re trying to curtail your speech and thinking. What I’m telling you is that that terminology has been used to harm people. It has done harm. It continues to do harm.

    I suspect you could find another way to express your meaning. Kind of like you could express your concern for Trump’s behavior without using the non-science of psychiatric labels that have also harmed people.

    -Sera

  • “We shouldn’t be squeamish about applying DSM criteria upon the powerful. Otherwise it remains only a way of manipulating the less powerful in this society.”

    That’s an interesting point, lizadeeza. You seem to both be acknowledging that it’s a manipulation, *and* wanting to see groups across classes more equally ‘manipulated’? I’m not sure I get that.

    Certainly, many of us see that he’s a danger to this country. I maintain that I don’t need the DSM to see that.

    -Sera

  • It is not my fear. It is a reality. One I see *every* day for hundreds of thousands of people.

    No one is suggesting we ignore people are struggling. What we are suggesting is that these experiences of struggle are very human, and often environmentally related in some way… And that we need not segregate out those who are struggling with diagnosis. This medicalized manner of regarding people’s human suffering came about for many reasons… To make psychiatrists feel more legitimate… For the purpose of billing. As an effort to to reduce what you keep calling ‘stigma’ (and I would call prejudice and discrimination).

    It has succeeded only at those first two causes, ant not to anyone’s betterment.

    -Sera

  • I am suggesting that people struggle. Sometimes deeply. And that it leads us far down the wrong path to understand those *human* struggles by lumping them all into *medicalized* groupings that are largely artificial.

    Sure, *sometimes* people will speak to benefits… Helped them better connect with others with similar struggles and hear what’s worked for them, etc. But the benefits are far outweighed by the negative impacts, many of which I’ve already mentioned.

    We’d be far better off seeing struggle as struggle, and then being able to pick and choose from the array of supports that people have used to make their way through such struggles… Lumping the struggle into a man made category that does not objectively exist, narrows our view and our options and does harm to many of us.

    -Sera

  • I do not ‘have’ a ‘personality disorder’. I have a diagnosis that was the subjective opinion of other human beings, based on the subjective process of man made creation of that diagnosis for which there is no test and cannot be a test because it is literally only a way of trying to boil down what is going on with someone.

    And, if that way of boiling down an explanation didn’t lead to poor assumptions about what to ‘do’ with them, and/or lead to discrimination against them in all matters of life (including child rearing, employment, housing and basic freedom), that wouldn’t be the end of the world. But that’s not how it works.

  • I was diagnosed with a ‘Personality Disorder’ at one point in my life. What it did most effectively was give those who hurt and traumatized me a pass, because the diagnosis suggested it was a ‘mental illness’. The best thing I did to ‘cure’ my ‘mental illness’ was get *away* from the system and all the ‘help’ they were trying to provide me. Whether or not the various things I was doing then or since then had any relation to any sort of diagnosis is completely subjective opinion. But, somehow, I’ve managed to be a successful mother and leader of a fairly complex organization.

    Your ‘perspective’ is *exactly* the sort of thing that leads people to lose their kids because of a psychiatric diagnosis, or not be hired into complex and stressful jobs… Your ‘perspective’ would serve to ruin my life, and it has ruined the lives of many others.

    Look at what someone is doing, not some subjective, man made diagnosis.

  • Yes, it sure is discrimination… It is making assumptions and limitings someone potential based strictly on some sort of label… and, in this instance, it’s a label that has no objective proof as to its existence. What about having been diagnosed makes someone unqualified to act as president? Having been formally diagnosed does not necessarily make someone unreliable or dangerous, nor does NOT qualifying for a diagnosis render someone reliable or ‘safe’. Additionally, having a diagnosis and doing something strange or dangerous doesn’t necessarily mean that one did the later *because* of the former.

    The primary benefit you are offering to diagnosing this man is based on playing on the country’s fears and prejudice about ‘mental illness’ itself to your own advantage. I get that, but it is harmful to do so, because it feeds into erroneous and damaging beliefs that already act as the basis for this system of oppression where psychiatric diagnosis is concerned.

    This is not ‘political correctness’. That’s just an insulting way to shut down the conversation. This is people’s lives. We don’t need diagnosis to see that what he is doing is wrong and dangerous.

    -Sera