Living My Life Without ‘Mental Illness’

von freakoutcrazy

by Lunatic Fringe

I don’t have a “mental illness”. I don’t have multiple “mental illnesses”. I don’t see a doctor who says I have any “mental illness”. If I did see such a doctor, it would still be my big secret. I think there are some things you should never discuss with a member of the psychiatric profession, and that is just one of those things. If I felt I had a “mental illness”, or if I wanted a “mental illness”, as some people seem to do, the situation would be different. Psychiatrists dispense “mental illness” labels, and the pills used to treat such labels, as if they were candy. Doing so, I would imagine, fits the psychiatrist job description as it is defined today pretty much to a tee.

The literature these days seems to suggest that there is a “stigma” against seeking treatment for a “mental” condition. What this literature seldom goes into is that much of the treatment going on today, as it was yesterday, is unsought and unwanted. It is coercive treatment given by way of court order to a person who somebody found annoying, and who doesn’t want that mental health treatment imposed on him or her. Unfortunately there aren’t so many people saying that we should end forced treatment so that the only people in treatment are those who want to have such treatment. This leaves the person who disagrees with forced treatment with a limited number of choices. Released from confinement he or she can either join the chorus of people crying for more and more treatment reputedly to end “stigma”, he or she can vanish into a quiet but unmolested and ignoble obscurity, or he or she can speak out on behalf of all those who are treated against their will and wishes.

The first path was always out of the question for me on account of the fact that I could never be so dishonest. I know there is much incentive, after forced and life disrupting psychiatric interventions, for choosing the second path, but I have chosen the third, and I would imagine more arduous path. Why? I think the value of one brave soul surpasses that of a thousand cowardly souls when it comes right down to it. A number of us feel that that violence that the state uses on people deemed to be of unsound mind is quite literally torture. This torture amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in a circumstance where no crime has been committed. Persuading the victim of this torture that torture is treatment, and that treatment is a necessary “good”, gives the torturer quite an edge over his detractors I would say. It cannot, for instance, as in this case, be said that oppression takes place without the acquiescence of the oppressed. I, for my part, aim to acquiesce as little as possible.

When I was first introduced to psychiatric treatment I was wary of psychiatric drugs not because they were dangerous but because they made me feel miserable. Learning, as I have learned, that these drugs do damage to people, and that the misery I felt was indicative of their destructive nature, I have not become any less wary of their usage. I have in fact become an advocate for non-compliance to treatment plans because of the damage wreaked by these drugs. This is only the beginning though when it comes to my complaints about conventional psychiatry. Some of us, and I include myself in that category, have better things to do with our lives than waste our days in mental health limbo. Some of us had rather be leading a purposeful existence. When it comes to this purposeful existence, we don’t need a psychiatrist telling us just what that purpose should be. We can figure these things out for ourselves.

Imagine a psychiatric label. Imagine a pair of scissors. With a couple of snips from the scissors imagine the psychiatric label divorced from the human whose neck it hung around. Imagine this psychiatric label lying by its lonesome. Imagine freedom. I don’t have to imagine that freedom any more because that freedom is mine. The label had no magic hold over me, and it wasn’t attached by super(crazy)glue. It was only a matter of words in a text on some mental health professional’s bookshelf. I have my own words. I can put the dictionary to work for my own ends, too. I don’t need to be debilitated by language. I don’t need to be removed from any meaningful dialogue and social context. I don’t need to be exiled from the community at large. I am not logically challenged, nor am I communication dysfunctional. I don’t have a “major” or a “minor mental illness”. I don’t know about you, but me, hey, I’m Okay.

 

I don’t have a “mental illness”. I don’t have multiple “mental illnesses”. I don’t see a doctor who says I have any “mental illness”. If I did see such a doctor, it would still be my big secret. I think there are some things you should never discuss with a member of the psychiatric profession, and that is just one of those things. If I felt I had a “mental illness”, or if I wanted a “mental illness”, as some people seem to do, the situation would be different. Psychiatrists dispense “mental illness” labels, and the pills used to treat such labels, as if they were candy. Doing so, I would imagine, fits the psychiatrist job description as it is defined today pretty much to a tee.

The literature these days seems to suggest that there is a “stigma” against seeking treatment for a “mental” condition. What this literature seldom goes into is that much of the treatment going on today, as it was yesterday, is unsought and unwanted. It is coercive treatment given by way of court order to a person who somebody found annoying, and who doesn’t want that mental health treatment imposed on him or her. Unfortunately there aren’t so many people saying that we should end forced treatment so that the only people in treatment are those who want to have such treatment. This leaves the person who disagrees with forced treatment with a limited number of choices. Released from confinement he or she can either join the chorus of people crying for more and more treatment reputedly to end “stigma”, he or she can vanish into a quiet but unmolested and ignoble obscurity, or he or she can speak out on behalf of all those who are treated against their will and wishes.

The first path was always out of the question for me on account of the fact that I could never be so dishonest. I know there is much incentive, after forced and life disrupting psychiatric interventions, for choosing the second path, but I have chosen the third, and I would imagine more arduous path. Why? I think the value of one brave soul surpasses that of a thousand cowardly souls when it comes right down to it. A number of us feel that that violence that the state uses on people deemed to be of unsound mind is quite literally torture. This torture amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in a circumstance where no crime has been committed. Persuading the victim of this torture that torture is treatment, and that treatment is a necessary “good”, gives the torturer quite an edge over his detractors I would say. It cannot, for instance, as in this case, be said that oppression takes place without the acquiescence of the oppressed. I, for my part, aim to acquiesce as little as possible.

When I was first introduced to psychiatric treatment I was wary of psychiatric drugs not because they were dangerous but because they made me feel miserable. Learning, as I have learned, that these drugs do damage to people, and that the misery I felt was indicative of their destructive nature, I have not become any less wary of their usage. I have in fact become an advocate for non-compliance to treatment plans because of the damage wreaked by these drugs. This is only the beginning though when it comes to my complaints about conventional psychiatry. Some of us, and I include myself in that category, have better things to do with our lives than waste our days in mental health limbo. Some of us had rather be leading a purposeful existence. When it comes to this purposeful existence, we don’t need a psychiatrist telling us just what that purpose should be. We can figure these things out for ourselves.

Imagine a psychiatric label. Imagine a pair of scissors. With a couple of snips from the scissors imagine the psychiatric label divorced from the human whose neck it hung around. Imagine this psychiatric label lying by its lonesome. Imagine freedom. I don’t have to imagine that freedom any more because that freedom is mine. The label had no magic hold over me, and it wasn’t attached by super(crazy)glue. It was only a matter of words in a text on some mental health professional’s bookshelf. I have my own words. I can put the dictionary to work for my own ends, too. I don’t need to be debilitated by language. I don’t need to be removed from any meaningful dialogue and social context. I don’t need to be exiled from the community at large. I am not logically challenged, nor am I communication dysfunctional. I don’t have a “major” or a “minor mental illness”. I don’t know about you, but me, hey, I’m Okay.

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