So say you were the victim of mental health stigma, discrimination, or medical or psychiatric abuse, whatever you want to call it.
So now what? Everyone around you tells you the following: “The doc/hospital/therapist was right. You were sick and that person was justified doing what he/she did.”
Of course, most well-meaning, caring people will tell you this. It’s NORMAL for them to do that cuz no one wants to be accusatory or point a finger. That’s uncomfortable, right?
So, for instance, I was told by a very well-meaning, caring friend that the therapist who made a pass at me last spring, called me Honey from the start, and invited me out on a weekend-long date was a good therapist and right in doing what he did. Okay, I’m used to this sort of thing, this “justifying abuse” thing. People don’t mean harm by saying stuff like that. They want you to stop being pissed off, right? They think they are being helpful by justifying the abuse and smoothing it over.
The man who raped me was nice to me too. He had his good qualities. Of course he did or I never would have gone over there for coffee that night.
I didn’t talk about the rape afterward except to the rape counselor. No way did she once say the man who raped me was “justified” in what he did, or that I should forgive, or turn the other cheek. She encouraged me to never speak to him again and take steps to change my life so that I would never have to run into him, ever again.
Yes, you can compare. Abuse is abuse. They say if a child is verbally abused, or physically abused, no way should we justify it and tell that child, “You deserved to be bullied,” or, “You asked for it.” We hope we don’t tell a child that it was their own fault that they were bullied over their weight, do we? If a kid gets his lunch stolen, do we tell that kid he was delusional and maybe exaggerating, and maybe it’s cuz his grades need improving and the other kids were teaching him a lesson? If a kid from another country gets beat up, do we tell him it’s his own fault because he speaks another language at home?
But no, mental patients are told regularly that abuse by “treatment” is just fine. We are told we were sick and deserved to be locked up, battered, shoved aside, ignored, yelled at, deprived of basic needs, wrongly accused, threatened repeatedly, and repeatedly the victims of force and further bullying. Many are physically or sexually abused. Verbal abuse is a given. Disrespect is a given. Everyone has to fight to get quality care and you are lucky to get it at all. Our privacy is stripped from us and this, too, gets justified. We were sick and that makes it okay. Why? The abuser didn’t want a lawsuit in case of some accident. The abuse is justified because it’s okay and legal for the abuser to cover his ass.
I say no more. We patients have asses too. We need them covered, not stripped bare and lashed.
So if you have been abused and you tried to report the abuse and got NO RESPONSE from the human rights people…what next?
Don’t give up! I know what it’s like. A lot of people around you telling you you are lying, making it all up, exaggerating, telling you it couldn’t have happened, or telling you to “forgive,” or telling you you are now even sicker and need more pills. No, you’re just pissed off and scared, not sick, and I don’t think any of this should happen to a person. The social rejection that follows abuse sucks. I don’t care for the religious zealots telling me to pray for the abusers, either. I won’t do it and yes, I have in the past. It never helped, and I was always sorry I said, “I forgive.” I was sorry I let it go and didn’t follow through.
I think if I’d followed through and DONE SOMETHING about bad quality health care, about uncaring or abusive therapists and staff, I would have gotten better lots faster than I did. Decades sooner, in fact. Isn’t that amazing, the thought of it, that TAKING ACTION really helps? It does!
If no one is listening right now, if you feel hopeless right now, get on social media. Give that a try. If one venue isn’t working (like if you get slammed down and told how sick you are) try another.
Yesterday was my birthday and honestly, I had 90% of my birthday on social media. I went for a run and went out with Puzzle and cuddled with her. I did a lot of writing as usual. Oh, I bought some books for myself too.
I had a great birthday and I mustered up some support on social media, too. Wow, that felt so good. Honestly, I can’t get anyone around here to go out with me for coffee, but I bet many of my Facebook friends would go out for coffee with me if they lived nearby. That feels wicked decent, about as decent as it gets.
Don’t stop trying. Don’t give up. Please, our voices WILL be heard.