Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Comments by Melodee

Showing 18 of 18 comments.

  • Right. There’s a middle ground between “it must have been his ‘mental illness'” and “it must have been his psychiatric medication.” And beyond the “middle ground,” there are so many other common factors (yes, why not focus on the male factor? It is the most common factor, is it not?). It’s irresponsible to promote any singular causality reason for murder-suicides (or just plan murder, or just plan suicide). Furthermore, anyone using any international tragedy to promote their own particular theory of “why things like this happen” really ought to have a quiet moment or two of introspection before they continue. Or if that doesn’t work, find a way to dialogue across perspectives and get out of whatever particular echo chamber they’re residing in. Thanks for continuing to speak across silos.

  • I would even go so far as to argue that perhaps for some people in this movement, the reason they’re not able to join in, align with, or even care much about other social movements dedicated to dismantling oppression is that the only true oppression some people have faced has been at the hands of psychiatry. And if that is the case, then that says a lot concerning one’s social position, and relative ignorance of others.

  • How is this article even remotely “reformist”? The lack of focus on the fact that this movement is overwhelmingly dominated by people with considerable privilege (often by virtue of race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, educational access, etc.) is hugely problematic. It should be brought up more, and it should not be derailed. For a supposedly radical movement, the fact that even mild criticisms of this sort can bring about such strong negative reactions (and willful dismissal of the main points of the article) is a pretty strong indicator of how deep this problem goes.

  • I’m very much in agreement with this comment, Matthew. I would especially like to see more articles here attempt to grapple with the questions you raise here: “Why is it, after all, that certain groups of people I run into seem to do better on certain amounts of psychiatric drugs than others? Why are some groups so hungry for them, while others so wary? Why is the representation of the anti-psychiatry movement disproportionately white compared to society at large, and even compared to other movements struggling against institutional violence, such as those vying to end mass incarceration?”

  • Even the comments here seem more interested in stirring up which has, for me, become a tired debate about language — peer movement, consumer movement, ex-patient movement, human rights movement — fine. Talk about that.

    But don’t ignore the larger issues of intersectionality that Sera brings up here. Time and time again I see privilege ignored on this site — race privilege, class privilege, heterosexual privilege, gender privilege — and it irks. It is too easy to identify yourself constantly as the marginalized while conveniently forgetting to situate yourself, say, as a white, cisgender, lower middle class, US citizen, job-holding, bisexual woman partnered with a man (as I am).

    Let’s not forget how we wield power and yammer on endlessly about the evils of psychiatry and more radical ways we can call “the movement.” Let’s reflect a bit more about our duties to promote civil rights for all humans.

  • Speaking, again, as someone who has been given this label, among other labels, it pains me to see this disorder painted as some kind of “interpersonal” deficiency, as a label given to people who lie, manipulate, deceive. It is the black hole of psychiatric diagnoses. If you’re a woman, and you’re in the system long enough, this label will be applied to you (or at least, its “traits”). It is often about punishment. I have seen people vilify those with this label who would never do the same for someone labeled with depression, or schizophrenia, or PTSD. And considering up to 40% of people in-patient right now have this label, then we are vilifying those who are most in need of a psychiatric survivor intervention.

    Thank you for embedding this label into the trauma-informed narrative. Even “borderlines,” are people first, last, and in the middle. And they are usually people who have suffered from great trauma.

    And yes, I work in mental health and have worked with people with this label. My compassion still does not waver. If yours does, get out of mental health care.

  • Working within the system to create change can still be done and is, in my opinion, extremely challenging and courageous. We must never forget who we are, and what we have survived. We must not reenact this trauma on others. Yet we must also forge ahead into a system that is starting to learn about us, and teach them, and change their perspectives. That’s why Whitaker gives talks with psychiatrists in the room. That’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. talked to whites as well as blacks. We can’t all be on the sidelines, protesting outside of the APA convention. Some of us must enter the APA convention, and give presentations on who we are, as a community, a cause, and a civil rights movement.

  • Suicide prevention does not have to mean locking people up, forcing people on drugs, labeling people with diagnoses. It can mean lending a listening ear, a caring voice, a companion for a person in crisis. People can and do get out of crisis states, even suicidal crises. More money for suicide prevention would also mean more money for those of us working on alternatives to the current traumatic way in which many are treated once they admit to having suicidal thoughts, or make a suicide attempt.

  • Yes! Thank you for this. I have found that even in the “peer” movement or “recovery” movement or however else we’ve decided to describe those of us that are empathetic to the pain of psychiatric labeling, that we too are discriminatory towards those of us who have been given the label “borderline.” Due to my many trips to and journeys within the mental health system, one of my psychiatric labels is “borderline personality disorder,” with my chief “symptom” being “chronic suicidality.”

    But why am I “chronically” suicidal? What trauma, what pain might cause such a “symptom”? Perhaps because I am so raw and attuned with the suffering of the world, that I play it back within myself tenfold. But supposedly, my kind lacks empathy. Perhaps the only empathy I lack is with those who would be so callous as to laugh at my suffering, and refuse to lend their own empathetic ear and help.

    But that help, I can do without. So perhaps we are all better off, us borderlines, avoiding the mental health system altogether. Perhaps even us more than others.

  • Thank you, Chaya, for your honesty, openness, and vulnerability. As a person who has both survived my own suicide attempts as well as the loss of others in my life to suicide, I relate to this very much. I think there is something worth noticing in the interplay of grief, loss, separation, and our own thwarted communication — specifically, how all that can emphasize our suicidal thoughts and feelings. For me, when I have those thoughts or feelings, it’s often a sign that something isn’t getting communicated, or that something in my life needs attending to in a serious way. Then my task is to figure out what that is, and how to attend to it — often not an easy thing. This is why it’s so important to let trusted others know about your suicidal thoughts (as you do, and have done!) so as to enlist support in helping you to sort through all those conflicting feelings, and to help you care for yourself in the ways that best support your healing.

    Ultimately, like you, I would say that one of the big reasons that I’m not planning on dying anytime soon is because I also feel connected to a higher purpose, a call to service that I can’t (and won’t) ignore. This keeps me motivated, even during darker moments. It gives me hope. And hope, I find, is crucial to my wellness. So I’m hopeful for you, Chaya, and thank you again for writing your truth to all of us reading here.