Monday, August 3, 2020

Comments by bowen

Showing 4 of 4 comments.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. Our society has so much difficulty facing its victims. It seems like so much of the psychiatric industrial complex is about blaming victims and hiding them away (and monetizing our suffering of course) rather than dealing with problems openly and honestly so that victims can heal.

    Nothing you wrote sounds “crazy,” and I think it’s great how you’ve gained insight into your psychosis, insanity, or however you choose to call it. Were you ever actually a danger to yourself before you were hospitalized?

    Everybody experiences the world differently, and I think when people impose a single worldview on others and force people to conform is when suffering occurs. I think about how just now, people are waking up to the realities of systemic discrimination and violence that black people have experienced in America for too long. For decades, they were silenced, gaslighted, and not believed until the advent of camera phones forced the rest of America to reckon with the truth of their experiences. Feeling listened to and validated is so important to healing.

    I am glad you’ve found peace and acceptance in life without medication.

  • If we go by the standard that punching upwards is always okay, then I think the “Harvard guy” reference is fine. These criticisms of Sera come across as tone policing and bullying, and I’m guessing that the people who have a problem with saying “Harvard guy” are the same people who don’t like being called out as “those white men”. It’s that mentality of the oppressor playing the victim. Anyway, I think Sera’s reply to the original concern was genuine and sensitive, which is more than I can say about the piling on I’m seeing in some of the comments.

  • That makes sense that being infantilized and perceived as threatening can be two sides of the same coin, and both cause a lot of harm. I apologize for the way I wrote that. And your point that “being coddled with drugs and being put in handcuffs” are not so different things, is powerful and true. Elijah McClain was both literally restrained and injected with ketamine. There is so much to process and I’m learning, and listening. Thanks again for your deeply insightful writing.

  • Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking essay. So true about a lost sense of connection and purpose being important to understanding mental illness and its treatment.

    As someone living with mental illness, identity is something I’ve also been thinking about a lot the past few years. I used to identify as someone with mental illness, because 1) it helped me, as someone with severe social anxiety, to gain insight into my condition, to find self-acceptance and learn to respect my boundaries and needs; and 2) I thought that identifying as mentally ill would be a powerful declaration of that self-acceptance and almost strategic even in the sense of taking ownership of my diagnosis and allowing me to identify with similar others and thus better advocate for ourselves, much in the way that LGBTQ people and people on the autism spectrum have taken ownership of their identities and used that political power to fight stigma.

    In the past two years, however, I’ve come to realize that a diagnosis of mental illness is dis-empowering for much of the reasons you write about. It’s a label that is imposed upon us and is incredibly reductive. The label is fraught with so much stigma, and there is so much willful misunderstanding and negativity surrounding mental illness that even NAMI recommends that people should not consider it an identity. I’ve suffered tangible consequences of this stigma, having been harassed by police on multiple occasions. The recent murder of Elijah McClain for being black, introverted, and different really underscores the terror that neurodivergent people and persons of color living with mental illness often endure.

    It’s very interesting how you observed that there are certain people with mental illness who seem to trade in diagnoses like trophies. I’ve been hospitalized as well and can confirm that I’ve seen this phenomenon, but not much outside the hospital system. I wonder if compliance and race are key factors here. It makes sense, since being infantilized is the opposite of being treated as threatening by society. Must we be compliant with an incredibly abusive system in order to be accepted by society?

    Over the years I’ve found self-acceptance with my chronic depression and anxiety, and recognize that living in a society that causes people to suffer is an indication that the system needs to be fixed, not that there is something inherently wrong with me. It shouldn’t be surprising that people want to escape the systems that are abusing them, and when we can’t, we become broken. My problem with psychiatry today (and maybe the way it has always been) is that it is a very authoritarian system that tries to tell us that there’s something wrong with us, not with the society that abuses us.