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Make news, not silence

There is something blatantly and unabashedly exhibitionistic about all success. If you don’t make the news, you make the silence. This is all the more true given the equation “mental illness” = dysfunction = failure = wrongness = obscurity. If you let them, they will bury you under a load of rubbish and lies. I do not buy the myth that “adult ‘children” should be seen and not heard’ any more than I buy the myth that infant ‘children should be seen and not heard’. Success is often a matter of digging your way out of the trash and falsehoods. The fashion of the runway isn’t the only fashion in the world when you can make the fashion yourself.

I recently participated in 2 demonstrations connected with the psychOUT 2011 conference in New York City. The first was an anniversary demonstration and vigil at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn over the death of Mrs. Esmin Green, and the second was an impromptu march on the New York Office of Mental Health against forced mental health treatment. Psychiatric survivor activist Lauren Tenney, an organizer of psychOUT 2011, did get a moment of glory on local television in the first action. The second came and went with hardly a murmur of mention. There was a reason for this silence. The first psychOUT conference in Toronto last year was covered atrociously by the press. The press couldn’t cover the event without trying to drown it out. The views of people opposing the conference were seen, by the local press, as more important than the conference itself. You get what I’m saying, don’t you? We don’t have a receptive or a friendly ear in the mainstream press as a rule.

This is one of the reasons why I want to bring Mad Pride to Florida. Mad Pride was just celebrated successfully in Toronto Canada. Mad Pride has been celebrated in Toronto since about 1993 when Mad Pride celebrations were first launched. Toronto devotes a whole week to celebrating Mad Pride. Now Mad Pride is celebrated in places as diverse as Ireland, Great Britain, South America, Africa, and Australia. There are annual Mad Pride celebrations in many locations throughout the USA as well. Mad Pride is one way of telling the world we may be crazy, but we are not wrong, we are not bad, and we are not “mentally ill”. We are, in fact, alright. Mad Pride is a way of celebrating difference. It may be easy to lock up one different person alone, but just try locking up 10, 20, or 1,000 different people who have banded together to help one another. That’s not such an easy prospect, is it? Not so long as there are laws to protect people. It’s easy to forget 1 person alone is a human being; it’s not so easy to forget that a thousand people standing together are human beings.

The world has been slow to learn about Mad Pride, but the more we get the word out there, the more the world will know of us. This is why we must become the producers of our own media. This is why we have to tell the world that we exist. We must explain that there are bigger causes for celebration than Charlie Sheen, Paris Hilton, or even Glenn West, and that we are one of those bigger causes. There is numero uno when numero uno is numero infinitismal to the world at large. This is the same world that is quick to recognize that madness in the street, it is slow to recognize in the mirror. If we are vocal and flamboyant enough about the matter, perhaps that realization might begin to dawn upon this world after all. If we do nothing, we will be devoured by obscurity and silence, and we will leave that task to another people at another time. I say it is better to take up the banner that belongs to us, and to make Mad Pride a cause for our era, than it is to leave this task to some future generation. I hope that future generation feels the same way I do.

8 Responses

  1. The Government should want the mentally ill to be healthy and recover as they are footing much of the bills. If we are recovered we are no longer dependent on Gov. money for treatment or for “medication”. The successful mentally ill should reach out to our respective governments to aid our cause. Employment and empowerment.
    But you know big pharma makes billions a years selling their legal solution to the endless problem of mental illness.
    And people need the idea of ” mental illness ” to explain the choice to do evil. Evil actions such as Jared Lee Loughners or Norwegian gunman Anders Behring Breiviks.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Mark, in the main. You’ve got people calling Social Security Disability benefits a disincentive to working. Duh. We’ve got a broken system that blames the people stuck in that system for its broken state. How about getting people out of that system (i.e. recovered)? People need to look at creating and providing jobs beyond the worst sort of work available, or a job working in the mental health system itself (i.e. turncoat). Adult baby sitters of adult babies have become a big part of the problem. Baby sitting, after all, is not shrinking the mh system. Maybe, if given half a chance, some of these adult babies could grow into adult adults. Should such happen, they’re off disability rolls, and the state of the nation improves as a result.

      I do however take exception to your comments about Jared Loughner and Anders Breivik. The “mental illness” excuse is not a good excuse for engaging in criminal violence. These guys give people who have been through the mental health wringer a bad name. They should pay for their violent acts in the criminal justice system and not in the mental health system. Troubles don’t excuse violence. We have to stop pathologizing criminal behavior just the same as we have to stop criminalizing distress. There’s a big difference between petty and stupid crimes and multiple murder or serial killing. Just think, with behavioral addictions inching their way into the DSM, serial killing could find itself characterized as a behavioral addiction at some point in the future.

      • RE”The “mental illness” excuse is not a good excuse for engaging in criminal violence.” I agree with you. I was just telling what the popular media says about those criminals. Barry Wilson on CTV news calls Anders Behring Breiviks “deranged”. Deranged is some kind of mental illness.

  2. I wondered what the hell had happened to you. I thought maybe the nice men with butterfly nets had come to take you away.

    Apropos your post:

    This is why we must become the producers of our own media.

    Uh, maybe you all should have gotten on the twitter machine and twatted away. We have this wonderful platform called the internet with a huge amount of tools to get our word out.

    From what I have seen from crawling the tubes, there is a very large group of people displeased by their treatment at their hands of psychiatry. There seems to be also a large group of parents who are also displeased.

    People should realize that there is no stigma in dissenting with the self-appointed experts, the shrinks.

    There is, however, a problem with the signal-to-noise ratio, as you point out (I think):

    There is numero uno when numero uno is numero infinitismal to the world at large.

    The rank and file of the general population want to fall in line with whatever they’re told. It’s the easy way out, to do what you’re told. They don’t want to be called crazy by the gatekeepers of sanity. It’s up to us, the survivors, to run interference with the conventionally received wisdom.

    • Nope, those “nice” men in the white coats missed me again. I was actually traveling in Ireland and the United Kingdom for awhile. It was fun while it lasted. Believe you me I dug the coolness. Whew! It’s hot down here in Florida.

      The internet allows anyone and everyone to become their own media. I suggest that everybody who is able to exploit this new medium, do so to the best of their ability. Thanks, Marl, for bringing that understated fact up.

      Where you mention “signal-to-noise ratio”, I’m seeing a large power disparity. We don’t really need to elect or hire people to live for us when we can do that kind of thing ourselves. Such is the kind of enlightenment that there needs to be more of these days. There is just this little matter of those strings pulled by the highest bidder…When we stop gambling, the grunting hogs can go rot.

      Stupidity has long been the norm in this world of ours. Remember the flat earthers, for instance. Note the pie in the sky feeders. As you suggest, it’s up to those who have gained from experience to make up the difference. Those who don’t gain from experience tend to die younger than the rest of them. I don’t think you can stress that point often enough. Non-surviving strategies contrast starkly with surviving ones.

  3. Marlboro worries when he doesn’t hear from someone for a while. But then so do I.

    That would be you on the right wearing the pale brown cargoes and brown shoes. And good for you getting over to Ireland. There are probably some sensible people over there. People who can enjoy themselves without suffering self loathing. I think there might be a few real people left in Greece as well.

    “… bury you under a load of rubbish and lies.”

    Yep. That’s what they do. And if you are anything but a good little mental patient they will make that load of rubbish 16 tonnes of bullshit and spread it far and wide. If you have any dealings with state funded health services, dentistry, housing, welfare or the pigs the bullshit will be there ahead of you. And it will be secret. They will sit there looking at you like you are a piece of shit and they will not tell you what they think you know. They have been forewarned that you are are a psychopath and that it is futile to argue with disease.

    • Correction: … what they think they know.

      • That would be me toward the left side of the crowd, but the right side of the page, yes.

        In Ireland I met with some like minded people, and we shared our sympathies, and expressed our solidarity with those in the struggle. I’m talking about Mary and Jim Maddock and other members of MindFreedom Ireland. The rest of the trip was, with some family research thrown in, mostly playing the tourist.

        I know the challenges we face, Rod, and sometimes those challenges can be intimidating. I have my own technique for managing. I think the poet Arthur Rimbaud put it best in his theory of the voyant when he said.

        I is other.

        Now nobody has to identify with themselves anymore. In a way, I’m happy to see the butterfly detach itself from the rock. Hey, that’s me! That, too, and again, it isn’t. “I” am certainly neither the person pictured above, nor the image tossed back at me from a mirror.

        Sorry about the hiatus. I wasn’t completely without computer access while in Europe, but posting anything substantial would have proven difficult.

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