You’re going to help me, bitch!
I’ve been trying to commit this year’s 4th Anniversary of the Psych Ward to personal reflection and growth and I’ve noticed that some major issues have been presenting themselves which I was totally not expecting. One thing I wanted to really work on is the repeated rape attempts I endured in the hospital, but in a larger scope I am recognizing that it wasn’t this one element which negatively impacted me for so long. It was the whole concept of the hospital itself and of contemporary psychiatric treatment. Of COURSE I wouldn’t be protected from a rapist in the hospital, for one thing I was “crazy” so nothing I said mattered, even when I went to the nurses station for medical attention because of 1st degree burns. Of COURSE these things would happen because being raped would not be worse than being allowed to be “crazy” and unmedicated. Of COURSE I wouldn’t have input into my own treatment, because I am “crazy” and therefore intellectually diminished.
It’s not just about how I could have been raped (for the second time), or that I’ve been on brain damaging drugs, or that people still watch horror movies with crazy antagonists, or that whenever my mother talks about someone she doesn’t like she says they’re bipolar. It all really comes down to this essential idea of human rights. And not just human rights, but the fact that even among human rights activists there is still this idea of forming a hierarchy of whose human rights are worth MORE than other’s human rights. I had a huge blow out fight with my mom earlier today about Dr. Dickwad and having my right to proper health care violated. She was trying to assert that racism was a more damaging form of discrimination than crazyphobia. I blew up. KA-BOOM!! There is no human rights violation that is more or less important than another. Sexism does not outweigh transphobia. Racism does not outweigh crazyphobia. Homophobia is not more important than racism. They are all equally important. Anytime someone’s human rights are infringed there is a problem, and everyone’s liberation is tied in with that. The concept of a human rights hierarchy is just a fall back to the original hierarchy which created all the hateful isms in the first place. We can’t say “Okay, let’s deal with this one thing and then after we win equality on that basis we’ll deal with your little oppression over here.”
As someone with multiple identities which are oppressed, I don’t value or fight for one more than the others. However, I currently am very invested in disability rights because legally I am on shaky ground in terms of rights. While I am included in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I can still be subjected to CTO’s, and I still could have been sent to the ward yesterday because a doctor seeing me for five minutes assumed I was actively batty. Legally, I don’t have a lot of protection. Even emancipating myself from the psychiatric industry is going to be a long hard struggle and I could always be thrown back in the bin if my mom thinks I’m too emotional or back talking. Legally I am a 28 year old adult woman. But in Dr. Dickwad’s eyes I am a “young girl.”
Psychiatric labels aren’t only used for people with genuine neurological problems. They are also used to crush dissent. Step out of line, be defiant, demand equality, stray from a medical definition of normalcy, be poor, and you too could be in the ward. If you get angry about your treatment, it’s because you’re crazy. If you cry because you’re being abused, you’re crazy. If you demand to see a lawyer, you’re crazy. If you try to keep from showing emotions, you have “flat affect” and you’re crazy. If you ask for a second opinion or alternative treatments or try to be a pro-active health consumer, you’re crazy. There is no way out of the ward except to acquiese to doctor’s orders and judgements, to be docile and compliant and take the meds and agree that you have a serious illness which now puts you in a second class citizenship. If my mom was irritated with me, she could easily call the cops and have them haul me to the bin at any given moment. I know this.
So, I am tired of being at the mercy of the medical establishment. I am tired of the ball and chain medical file which follows me around. I want out, for good. I don’t want to see one more psychiatrist. I don’t want to try one more new miracle wonderkind drug. I don’t want some creepy chemicals with no long term studies mucking around with my brain. How many psych industry inmates commit suicide just to get AWAY from it? I’m tempted to myself.
Although to be honest I would probably run away and change my identity before I did that.
The thing is, I have a brain that works really well. I don’t talk in front of people super well, but I am a pretty good thinker and I have that kind of burning passion that’s useful in creating change. I can’t snuff it because I know I can be awfully useful.
So, this is the year where I am going to apply for every single thing I possibly can. Already the Canadian Film Centre has my application for the FFP. Outfest has a deadline coming up. Canada Council and Sask Arts Grant deadlines are coming up in a couple of months. And the beginning of March is the deadline for the Critical Disability Studies MA at York. There’s a program in New Zealand for a month long writer’s retreat. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. But I think if I just keep going, keep applying, keep making films, something will come out of it. My ideal life would be to write critical theory, be active in the Psychiatric Survivors Movement, and make short and feature films. That’s all I really want. I don’t even care about the girlfriend thing or having a family or being fabulously rich or winning a major award. I just want to have a home, food, clothing, my support animals, undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees, and the resources to live full time doing the above three things. And by the time I die, hopefully at a very old age, I just want the world to be better because I was here.
Next week I am seeing a psychic and hopefully she can give me some advice or guidance on where I’ve been and where I’m going. I really don’t know if I’ll stay in Saskatoon now. Toronto has a horrid psych industry, but it’s also the epicentre of the Mad Movement in Canada, and it has a really diverse population otherwise, along with a film and video community. Sure, maybe the apocalypse will happen and I’ll be stuck in T.O. and the CN tower will fall, but maybe that’s just where I’m supposed to be. Who knows? Maybe I won’t end up in Toronto. Maybe I’ll go for the MA program and then move back here. I really don’t know.
Really, I just want to have the freedom to be ornery, happy, sad, super in love, crabby, angry, and all those other emotions which people outside of the psych industry take for granted. I have a right to have emotions.