This morning I woke up to several posts about World Mental Health Day. One post suggested that everyone check their own mental health and see if all is well. Others in a similar vein call for expanded mental health services.
Can we have a shout-out about the dark side of mental health awareness and mental health services?
For my whole life, as a girl and woman I have experienced being told to check myself that something might be wrong with me. "Do you want to see a therapist?" My mother could not imagine satisfying my childhood needs for comfort and guidance herself, and I could not imagine going to a stranger for love premised on the idea that something was wrong with me. Later, friends that felt uncomfortable to hear me talking about pain and suffering outside their experience, particularly psychiatric abuse, also felt they had nothing else to offer but the advice to find a good therapist.
I have found something beyond solace and comfort, in struggling with my life as the Biblical Jacob struggles with the angel. In surrendering to my higher self like Odin hanging from the tree and opening his eyes to the Runes. In understanding now, that I have to begin turning the wheel, putting my shoulder to a heavy stone wheel along with others, to set in motion what I have begun.
Psychiatric abuse was hell for me, and I only experienced it for six weeks. I was never tied to a bed, stripped naked or locked in a small room with no toilet, as so many of my comrades have been. I was "only" made to take a drug that terrified me, disarranged my senses and disturbed my consciousness to the point of wriggling out of my own skin. I was "only" asked to put on a hospital gown rather than my own clothing, and taken behind a locked door. I "only" asked them after some time to increase the drug dosage hoping it would sedate me beyond any feeling, to get rid of what the drug itself was doing to me - and then I got my wish when I passed out unconscious from the overdose and they then took me off the drug because my parents didn't want them to kill me, only fix me.
So on this mental health day, let's take a moment or two of silence for those who were killed by psychiatry, like my friend Ellen Glick Haley who died from complications of an operation made necessary by a drug she was forced to take in outpatient commitment. Louise Wahl who died from kidney failure, refusing dialysis, from damage to kidneys caused by lithium.
Let's take a moment of respect for all of us who continue to brave the fear, hatred and bigotry by standing up as Mad and Proud, survivors of psychiatric abuse, users of services, knowing that people read "crazy person, watch out." For all of us who advocate for each other and ourselves, who create new ways of doing relationships that work through the conflict without labeling anyone. For all of us who rebel as individuals, escape the locked wards, who dream and practice human rights advocacy.
Let's quietly remember, that people are still dying from psychiatry, that people can still be locked up and have their minds and bodies violated in psychiatry (involuntary admission, commitment, "lack capacity" to make decision so "No" doesn't mean "No" etc.), and that the state fully condones this torture and ill-treatment through its laws.
For people who are seriously concerned about cultivating a life of spiritual, physical, mental and emotional harmony and contentment, how about joining with CHRUSP, with WNUSP www.wnusp.net, with the United Nations and working for abolition of mental health laws that allow these degrading, violent and traumatizing practices?