Power, politics and mental illness | Victoria Smith | Critics Magazine

Power, politics and mental illness |  Victoria Smith |  Critics Magazine

A the diagnosis of mental illness is always political. By this, I don’t mean to suggest that all distress is the same, or that delusions are just an alternative way of perceiving reality.

Everyone’s version of the truth is slightly different, but not all accounts are worthy of validation. Some people don’t actually see the world as it really is, in a way that can be detrimental to themselves and others. However, not all delusions are seen as signs of mental illness, and not everyone labeled “mentally ill” believes things that are not true. This is where politics comes into play.

To be officially diagnosed as a person who has lost control of reality is debilitating. To be seen as crazy means to be discredited, no matter how much those around you call for an end to the “mental health stigma”. Most people understand this, even if they pretend not to. “Insanity” is not an insult when applied to others, but when applied to us without our consent.

People like my brother are ruining mental illness marketing campaigns

It’s been three decades since my brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Since then I have always been aware of the hypocrisy that characterizes the “acceptance” of the mentally ill in modern times. There is support from those in high positions, those who are talented and artistic, versus the real shame of those who lack social and cultural capital. People like my brother undermine mental illness marketing campaigns by imitating the stereotypes stigmatizers seek to destroy. To regard people with severe mental illness like him as prejudiced; therefore people like him should be ignored.

People who may have been labeled as mentally ill, but are no longer sick, may pay less attention to those who are still languishing in the “crazy” box. We know that, historically, one of the functions of the label “insanity” was to stigmatize, alienate and demonize. Behaviors that once met mental illness standards included being gay, wanting to leave your husband, or wanting to run away from your slave master. We see that labeling mental illness can be an abuse of power. What is less commonly known is that this can still happen even if a person is really sick.

This abuse of power continues into the “anti-stigma” era. Earlier this year, it was revealed that a female member of the armed forces who had complained of rape had been diagnosed with a personality disorder. Family courts used the diagnosis of “parental alienation syndrome” to argue that mothers had handed over their children to men accused of abuse. You might think that anyone who has narrowly escaped this kind of treatment would be keenly aware of how tightly coupled your validation or perception is to your social status. However, for many people, this seems to trigger a greater desire to distance themselves from “true” crazy people.

The idea that being trans is a mental illness, according to the Trans Hub group, arises “out of a long history of misunderstanding and miscategorization”:

Society has long believed that different people can get sick or sick, and the modern human rights movement has struggled to correct these myths, such as in 1973, when homosexuality was expunged as an illness from the DSM.

You have to admire the half-truths of this (along with the unavoidable support for the gay rights movement). Yes, society has long believed that different people can be mentally ill. The conclusion from this is not that you, personally, must not be delusional, whereas many other people – people like my brother – are definitely delusional. The label mental illness can be as much about shame and exclusion as it is about caring. The stigma faced by people with schizophrenia and other disorders is compounded by the notion that the only problem with using the label mental illness politically is that it is being applied to the wrong people. If someone like Peter Tatchell really thought being branded mentally ill was the same as “evil demonization”, why does he think that even really sick people deserve it?

No one is suggesting that the solution is for the world to go with it

I’m not saying that there isn’t such thing as psychosis or paranoia. Yet, if we were to acknowledge the connection between psychiatric labeling and society’s treatment of the marginalized, I would say this: my brother’s paranoia, while severe, never reached the dizzying heights of trusting women on Mumsnet’s feminist forums. wants him dead and anyone who doesn’t reflect his own perception denies his right to exist. She never stated that humans could change sex, or that JK Rowling was secretly plotting her death. His delusions are less extreme. What’s more, those who cared for him never suggested that the solution was for the whole world to come with him.

It’s not because my brother is sick more or less than others who believe in crazy things. It was because he was completely marginalized. People who have the power to impose their fantasies on others are not marginalized. They are not like my brothers, not because they are more sane, but because the world just follows their delusion instead of labeling them and then stopping caring.

The struggle to rid the stigma of a mental illness diagnosis from the few does not help those who are powerless, either because they have delusions that are socially unacceptable, or because they are not socially acceptable in a way that makes them unacceptable. labeled delusional. I want to see a middle ground where we understand that everyone has their own truth, but some truths are more “out there” (and less true) than others. Psychological distress can be related to trauma or abuse, not just an inability to properly understand the world. I didn’t think, “Oh, my brother gave me deep insight into the nature of existence.” But I believe that people’s fears and paranoia tend to have some basis in fact.

If being labeled as mentally ill has anything to do with power, so is not being labeled at all. That’s the imbalance we need to address. Until then, some “crazy” people remain isolated, while others force their madness on the rest of us.

#Power #politics #mental #illness #Victoria #Smith #Critics #Magazine

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