Thursday, February 17, 2011

From the heart.

Salutations, New Mad Nation.

First, apologies again for my tardiness. Better than last week, still not up to snuff. Hopefully I'll get there by next week.

This week the rant will be less of a rant and more of something simple. I want to make it understood that I am not a mania-charged ideologue incapable of basic conversation and honesty. Also, I am a bit too exhausted from my current situation to be too full of bravado tonight.

Instead, I'd like to simply relate a few thoughts to you.

When I was 14 I was diagnosed with "bipolar." This is largely because of journal writings I had made while on a trip to Spain with my Spanish class, writings which had scared my mother who read my journal without my permission. She took that violation upon herself because she saw my journal open on a desk while in my room and was worried by what she saw, and so read the rest. The writings were full of frightening things, to be sure, and so she sent me off to a psychiatrist, who shortly pronounced "bipolar." My brother had recently been diagnosed as well and because of the "strong genetic component" associated with the "disorder," it seemed a likely situation to them.

Meds made me feel a bit better. I think. Or did they just block out the unpleasant thoughts without actually allowing me to process or deal with them? The latter seems more likely to me now. Especially because problems still bubbled up, and with more ferocity than previously. The response to this problem? A new medicine, to be taken "as needed." This medicine was even more of a steamroller than the previous, managing to effectively tranquilize me during the violent periods without actually dealing with the issues at hand.

Where, during any of this, was the inquiry into what was causing these violent emotions, these feelings of despair and rage? It was largely buried under the assumption that it must be chemical. Eventually we began exploring therapy options but they never seemed to get at anything really important. I believe this is because my feelings were considered "inappropriate" by default, since they were distressing me. Even most therapists would rather view their patients as people who are reacting incorrectly to the world around them, rather than people being troubled by an incorrect world. Naturally, I didn't improve much in this scenario.

If this has ever happened to you...I am sorry for your suffering. If you have ever been seen by a psychiatrist or therapist, I encourage you to consider the possibility that this has been happening to you.

Medicine (psychiatry, therapy, etc.) is almost universally trying to "fix" us, not help us. They view our feelings as a problem, something to be changed, rather than the situation itself. I suppose social workers may be an exception to this on occasion...but there must be a limit on what one can do in a situation like that. I mean, come on...how can a paid professional be expected to improve society itself for the sake of their "patients?" They can't, really. But they could at least be expected to recognize the situation for what it is, and offer advice and counsel for how we can change the realities in which we are stuck, without suggesting we feel differently about things that are legitimately Maddening (enraging, horrifying, despairing...whathave you).

My therapy situation is better, but still not even nearly enough, I think - for reasons I can guess at, my therapist remains eloquently detached from all subjects requiring a personal stance on her part. I suppose that's better than shooting me down directly.

My psychiatrist, on the other hand, asks and judges me about the content of my social life. "Things okay? You're getting out and seeing friends?"

Honestly, Doc? No. I'm not. Because I don't really have that many friends, and I'm busy dealing with shit that most people aren't prepared to comprehend, much less deal with as friends. But occasionally I do seek support from the few people I call my friends through the channels that are available - mostly the internet. And it's enough. Would you accept that? I don't know and I'm not really willing to take the chance. I've had docs before that wouldn't. Why should I trust you?

Maybe I'm being paranoid but something about the guy just irks the hell out of me. Maybe it's the fact that when I called bullshit on the notion that you should have to report a sexual assault at work, he started trying to lecture me to the opposite effect. (If you think that people should be expected to report, please see my earlier rant about victim blaming in the justice system). So yeah....not going to happen.

Their systematic attempts at integration by undoing what is different and challenging is terrifying to me. It makes me feel like a hated outsider who must be converted or purged. It's a freaking crusade against unhappiness and rebellious thought. I hate it. I'm so unbelievably glad that I have managed to gather an ally or two who understand where I'm coming from...without them...I don't think I could wage this fight.

And make no mistake, New Mad Nation. We are waging a fight. I have said before that I would never force my ideas of Madness on anyone - I stand by that. If you do not think you are Mad, then you are not Mad. But if you are Mad, as I have described it and you believe, then the systems in place are basically out to undermine the fabric of your existence, and we must unite as a community and stand against that onslaught of medical discourse and invalidation. Whatever uses those systems may have - and as I have explored previously, they are not entirely without use - they must recognize their place, as service to those in distress, not as a service to those in power in order to contain those in distress. We must resist the tendency of mankind to categorize into what already exists, and embrace the new, the challenging, the rebellious and radical. That is the nature of evolution and it is only in this way that we will ever reach a society that is truly caring and understanding of its constituents.

The line between "madness" and "genius" is success...once our movement becomes successful, if we keep hold of the title Madness, then the two will become one in the same...a silly dream of symbols perhaps, but nonetheless a dream.

To the New Mad Nation, I bid my fondest salutations.

Sincerely,
R

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