An excerpt from LinkedIn. Ebony is a mental health student/worker in Australia; Anne B is a person diagnosed with bipolar disorder in the United Kingdom; Anne W is me, an angry ex-psychiatric patient in New York.
Ebony • Reading your comment Anne W I can’t work out why you should reply in anger.
Don’t take it so personally, this discussion is about mentally ill people who may need to be detained because they either have threatened to harm another person – or they have stated they are going to harm themselves.
Seriously – would you pefer people who pose a threat to a community, not be detained? It is not about “locking people up”.
Surely keeping people safe from harm until a crisis has passed should be considered as a favourable option – as a temporary solution?
Like I said earlier – mental illness is not a crime – and my reply is not levelled at you personally, so please don’t misinterpret any hidden message you might read into my comment.
Anne W • Dear Ebony, we were created with the capacity to feel anger when we are in danger. Anger gives us the energy to quickly make changes to protect our own health and safety. You are a danger to me. You are one of the self-righteous people who think that I should be “detained” if YOU decide I am a danger to myself or the community. You–all by your little lonesome–are going to call the cops, identify yourself as a mental “health” professional, and get me locked up. I won’t get my day in court; I won’t have my civil rights protected. I will get locked up under mental health law, which provides no protection for my rights.
You are NOT doing it for the good of me or the community. You are doing it because you are afraid that your tidy, in-control, little world will get messed up. And what happens to those people whom you so kindly get picked up? They get transported in handcuffs, striped down, locked up and drugged [in CPEP]. Would you like that to happen to you? You’re doing it to others.
The most dangerous person in the world to me is the self-righteous woman who says she’s doing it for my own good. On the support line I worked on, we stood with our callers and helped them work through their upsetting feelings. We didn’t call the cops. We took the risk that maybe we’d get it wrong, but you know what? We never did. We never once called the cops and we never once had a caller kill him/herself or anyone else.
Anne B • Anne W,
I think anger is a very basic emotion, and can be controlled and also uncontrolled. There is a fun book called the dance of anger, has anyone read it.
And, in relation to anger giving us energy Anne W, you are right, it can give us tremendous energy which can be a good thing, if it is controlled.
Anger also needs to be directed appropriately Anne – to the people you want to have your day in court with, so good luck with that.
As regards professionals, they can only operate within the law Anne, and volunteers, or lay people have the advantage over professionals in that regard, don’t they Anne, but again, the advantage has to be used carefully.
Nobody would like to be locked up as you describe Anne, it is horrific to see, when it does happen.
Othertimes, I have seen many people who actually want and need to get into the care system and can’t. So, it can work both ways.
Sometimes, some kinds of mental health difficulties don’t seem to be treated effectively, except in a care system setting. And often people demand that kind of care, and have to fight for it too.
With all best wishes.
Ebony • Dear Anne W,
I am sorry you have taken this issue at such a personal level.
Any response from me will be taken out of context – this is not about you.
Take care and best wishes.
Anne W• Anne B, anger literally gives us more physical energy. It causes the release of hormones, gets more insulin into the system to carry more glucose to the muscles thereby enabling a person to run faster, and so on. Also, it gives us more emotional energy to deal with problems.
As regards “professionals,” they choose to operate with the law–but what laws? There’s the problem. Society has decided that crazy people need to be locked up and drugged. I for sure disagree with that, which puts me in substantial disagreement with those who choose to work in the system.
Regarding “people who actually want and need to get into the care system”–yes, many of us want and need care–but is it the “care” the system provides? Lockups, drugs, stigma, disrespect–that is not what we want, but it is what the system provides.
Imagine a caring system, Anne. Imagine a farm out in the country with no locks and no drugs–no imbalance of power between the care-givers and the care-recipients. Imagine a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, gardening, music, art, and lots of talk therapy. That’s what we need; that’s what we want. That’s not what we get, and that’s why I’m angry.
Anne W • Ebony, you have said, “Don’t take it so personally, this discussion is about mentally ill people . . .” Just exactly who the hell do you think “mentally ill” people are? THEY ARE ME! I speak for the class of “mentally ill” people. Who do you speak for? You list yourself as a student but have also identified as a worker in the system. In other words, you belong to the class of “mental health professionals.”
And, Ebony, I do not talk about people as groups or classes. I talk about them as individuals. I am 64 years old, have spent half a century dealing with depression, and I have an IQ of 140. What have you got?
What do you know? What teachers have you chosen to learn from? I am your teacher, Ebony. I am the smart, experienced person who has been through the system. You want to talk about “those” people–the mentally ill. You don’t want to acknowledge that mental illness can fall on any person at any time–including you. You want to set us aside, separate us, and then talk about us as a group, not as individuals.
And I have confronted you. I have gotten in your face and said that what you are doing, you are doing to me–and you, personally, are responsible. Are you going to step up and deal with that, or are you going to run? I am the face of mental illness. Look me in the eye and talk to me honestly–if you can.
You live on the other side of the planet. I cannot physically or professionally hurt you; you are safe. But what I can do–what I am doing–is saying that you are learning from the wrong teachers, and they are teaching you the wrong things. I am a person. So are you. Are you willing to stay in this discussion?
Because what I am doing is the most dangerous thing a person can do: I am attacking your ideas about the validity of who you are and what you do. Will you learn? Or will you hide in the safety of a corrupt system?