freakoutcrazy

Blog des AK Psychiatriekritik der NFJ Berlin

Kategorie: Sera Davidow

Crisis is (un)Learning

The mission statement for the Western Mass Recovery Learning Community’s (RLC) peer respite (Afiya) is:

“To provide a safe space in which each person can find the balance and support needed to turn what is so often referred to as ‘crisis’ into a learning and growth opportunity.”

Although I sometimes question our choice to use the word ‘safe’ (given how impossible an absolute version of ‘safe’ is to achieve and how saddled with distasteful meaning such a term can be within the mental health system), I’m not sure that statement could otherwise be any more straight forward and meaningful. Yet, so often, It’s unclear what meaning people are truly making of it.

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Dear Man: Sexism, Misogyny, & Our ‘Movement’

Thousands push the limits (their own and the system’s) on a daily basis to fight the oppression of individuals labeled with psychiatric diagnoses, and to change the way the world understands various kinds of distress. Some of us call the body of people engaged in this work a ‘movement’. I am one such person who is often referring to a ‘civil rights’ or ‘human rights’ movement within this context, although I recognize the problems with referencing a singular ‘movement’, as well.

But, if we are to accept this body as a movement, we must also be willing to take a real look at its flaws, downfalls, shortcomings and anything else that may run counter to our expressed goals.

One of the ways that this movement falls short is related to its treatment of women and the recognition that sexism is a very real and present issue herein.

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Peer Supports Under Siege: A Call for Help and Solidarity (And how this affects you, too)

One of the great challenges of working as a legislator is finding time… time to get to know what things look like from the inside… time to get to know what’s really helping people verses what just sounds good… time to recognize that what sounds good has often been made glossy and shiny more by money and marketing and less by substance and what’s real.   Time can be a curse when you’re always running short of it.  It can be hard to place blame or point fingers given the heavy demands on the average politician, yet the consequences of that lack of time have the potential to be fairly dire.

Not surprisingly, the Massachusetts Mental Health System is currently experiencing a budget crisis.  Why?  I’m not entirely clear, but it has something to do with “Chapter 257.”  What the heck is Chapter 257?  I’m still trying to figure that out, too, but here’s a one-sentence explanation offered by the ‘Campaign to Strengthen Human Services.’

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Michael Brown and the ‘Peer’ Movement

If we do not see what happens to some of us in the psychiatric system as connected to what happens to others because they are black or because they are transgender or because they love someone else of the same expressed gender (or because they live in poverty, etc. etc.), then I’m not sure any of us really, fully understands what it is we are trying to accomplish at all. If race only feels like a relevant issue to us when it is boiled down to simple recognition that people of color tend to be more frequently subjected to outpatient forced commitment laws or more commonly diagnosed as ‘schizophrenic,’ we are missing several hundred pieces of a very large puzzle.

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Trailer for „The Virtues of Non-Compliance“

The current-day mental health system has been shaped around the idea that people who have been given psychiatric labels suffer in a way over which they have no control and that often results in an inability to care for one’’s self. It is an approach that encourages the idea that professionals need to step in to be the experts and determine someone’’s human potential. These beliefs have also influenced other aspects of our culture to the point where news, movies, friends and family tend to perpetuate the message that we are chronically sick and need to re-adjust our hopes and dreams.

In some instances, people have been told they won’’t be able to handle living on their own, going to school, working, getting married or having children. Many have been told they need to take medications, even if they leave them numb, and participate in programs that treat them as if they are children.

‘The Virtues of Non-Compliance’ talks back to all those ideas in the voice of people who have ‘been there,’ who have been told they can’’t, and who have gone on to live their lives on their own terms