It’s A Mad Mad World

Intolerance must have its say. Here’s an article from South Africa, Mental illness does not discriminate, that doesn’t have the best take on different human beings. I find myself amused reading it, and I like to be amused.

The latest little monster poking its head at me is the Mad Pride campaign. Started in Britain, the movement is spreading across the globe and aims to de-stigmatise mental illness, celebrate the blessings of “madness” and push for the banishment of “enforced” drugging.

Hi there. Good to make your acquaintance…I think.

Then he goes on to say of the Mad Pride movement, after claiming it “misplaced, indulgent, and exclusive”:

It’s like a country club for the depressed and the manic; a luxury for those who can afford it.

Gee. I never knew I was doing so well. Is it safe to return to the bank?

There’s no Cancer Pride. No Diabetes Pride, HIV Pride, Epilepsy Pride. Like all of these diseases, mental illness kills. In South Africa, 22 people commit suicide every day.

My brother was one of them.

Suicide and ‘sickness’ will never be synonymous. He’s making quite a leap to go from these physical ailments to a suicide equals illness equation. Frankly, if mental illness were physical illness, on top of calling it something besides mental illness, we’d have samples of it on microscope slides.

Let me point out, too, that had his brother shown a little more Mad Pride rather than over much Mad shame, perhaps he‘d still be around to this day.

Problem number two: surely those who flail in the ditches of depression don’t sit around pondering what costume to wear to the next Mad Pride march? Surely those tossed from mania’s mountain don’t feel inclined to celebrate their anguish? Surely most mentally ill people would rather they were well?

Mad Pride is not about wallowing in self-pity. Many in the Mad Pride Movement consider themselves psychiatric survivors, or people who have survived human rights violations at the hands of the mental health system. Victims, like his brother, are those who didn’t survive. If he was in treatment, maybe his treatment had something to do with his decision to end it all.

The author goes on while claiming that mental illness is indiscriminate knocking the poor, the unfortunate, the homeless, the unhappy and the unruly.

It’s also that woman who shuffles in Main Road wearing garbage bags for clothes and a head of hair so matted it looks like a clutch of dead crows. It’s that man who wanders past our house each morning, boxing with the clouds.

It’s the man I saw being laughed at in the street as he pulled at the purple horns he was wearing and made mooing noises at a post box. It’s the woman at work who cries herself to sleep each night.

And, yeah, he could probably find it in the mirror if he looked deeply enough.

I really have not found in the Mad Pride movement any lack of compassionate understanding nor have I found in it any indignity. (And how would pride be undignified?) It is my opinion that the author needs to meet some of the people behind this movement before he jumps to a lot of unfounded and spurious conclusions.

As for “rationale and sense” versus “bongo drummers and bearded beat poets.” Pulleeze! I don’t think tyranny is the way to go where matters of personal taste are concerned.