I have been torn over this for a while. Much as I love MIA, I feel that we survivors need our own site. This would be written and managed by survivors but with content that a variety of readers, including nonsurvivors, might find interesting.
My reasoning is as follows: Perhaps you have heard the term, “Nothing about us without us.” This makes sense to me. I look at all the books written “about” people who are diagnosed, but how many of these are written by a person who has been through it?
The D$M is a compilation of arbitrary insurance classifications written by people who have no clue what it feels like to be psych diagnosed. This expensive and weighty book is full of insulting nonsense that doesn’t shed light on our experience, but ensures our lives become more uninformed and darker. I don’t see any credibility to references to this book that assume it is at all factual.
When you read a book by a survivor, you understand the human state as changeable and in constant flux. You understand that this is true for all humans, not just “mentally ill” humans. To change means to grow. A psych diagnosis stops all growth. Ditching the diagnosis altogether allows for growth to resume. Any human can get caught in this bind.
Psych is different from other branches of medicine. Psych is based on coercion and force. Did a podiatrist force you to wear a certain type of shoe, and then, threaten police action if you disobeyed? Did the dentist send the cops to your home if you missed an appointment? No. You will get charged maybe, but you won’t hear that stretcher rolling in your direction. Psychs regularly call the cops on their patients or threaten to do so, based on rather arbitrary and unsound reasoning.
Survivors know the fear resulting from repeated threats. Many of us have endured days, weeks, years of scare tactics. We really do know what it’s like. We have been there. Doctors, except those who have been labeled themselves, don’t have a clue.
I’ve been told that survivors aren’t submitting very much to MIA, and that this is the reason for our lack of visibility. However, I feel it’s high time that these antipsychiatry doctors, some of whom charge insane fees, get off their high horses, step aside, and allow those who have been silenced in. I am wondering when this is going to happen. These doctors aren’t in need of more of a voice, more respect and recognition. We, on the other hand, certainly are.
When I was a young college student at Bennington, we were often debating the split between the Black Music Division and the Music Division. It made sense, but it didn’t. The Black Music Division was formed by the late Bill Dixon. His argument was in part to elevate the status of music by black people, since in traditional schools, this music was ignored. I can vouch for that since the music department at UMass/Amherst treated jazz students like outcasts. Jazz was considered “not serious.”
Do you see an analogy here? Formation of the Black Music Division helped give jazz a legitimacy in the eyes of the community. In other college communities I never saw that. I believe after a while, the Division was dissolved, but I am not sure.
The voices of ex-patients are also considered “not serious,” that is, “not legitimate.” We are lowered in status due to society’s glorification of science. Science earns money, poetry doesn’t. Most of us were deprived of an education by the System, as well as a career and what many consider a normal life. However, our art and works stand, and will stand, if we continue to speak out and express ourselves. We need a venue for this that will place highest value in the voices of survivors.
I, for one, am rather fed up with working my butt off only to find out my efforts are ignored and cast aside. I am tired of fighting to gain the voice I rightfully should have had in the first place. I am grateful to those of you who are reading this right now, simply because it means I am not speaking to empty space.
For those of you who are reading this, what do you think?