Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brattleboro The Hive Creative Maladjustment Day (Mad Pride) Workshop

Hello! Thank you so much for having attended my workshop “Fight Like Hell and Live: Strategies for Surviving Suicidality and Supporting Friends in Crisis”

Please do be in touch:
Email me to continue our conversation, Ask for resources, or just connect! I love to hear from folks!!
Dreamsandzines@gmail.com

I would love to bring this workshop to another place near you, and am hoping to finish the lecture being a zine or small book in the next few months
——
Local Resources I mentioned include:
Downpour: A Radical Mutual Support/Activist Community in Northampton MA

Every other week support meetings, workshops and activist planning coming soon- please like the Facebook page and let friends know to help get it running!

http://www.facebook.com/DownpourMutualSupport

The Hive in Brattleboro VT (our hosts!)
http://www.hivemutualsupport.net

Peer Respites:
Vermont- Alyssum:
http://www.alyssum.org

Massachusetts: Afiya
http://www.westernmassrlc.org/afiya

New Hampshire: Stepping Stone
http://www.steppingstonenextstep.org

——–
Some other resources on suicide you should check out:
My post below this one speaks to suicide of abuse victims

Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens Freaks and Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein (book)

Madness and Oppression Mad Map Guide by the Icarus Project
http://www.theicarusproject.net/article/updated-publication-ordering-and-downloads

Mapping Out Madness Zine for planning for difficult times:
http://freakoutcrazy.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/mappingmadness.pdf
——
A few poems that speak to suicide:

Suicide Mary McDonahugh

Ariel by Sierra Demulder

The Nutritionist by Andrea Gibson

ADVICE FROM DIONYSUS
Shinji Moon

“Borderline Personality Disorder” and the Epidemic of Suicides of Rape and Abuse Victims: A Eulogy, a Manifesto, a Rant, and a Prayer

We do not kill rape and abuse victims in this culture, but we know how to respond with such psychological abuse, coercion, victim blaming, and failure to protect the victim from further harm we can make them kill themselves.

Right now, I am enraged at every person who abused and failed in the responses to 5 particular women whose suicides were directly linked to the abuse and violence they faced and the utter failure with which institutions, families, schools, communities, law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, and our society responded.

Multiple of the women I am referencing were at some point labeled as having borderline personality disorder. Perhaps the most stigmatized diagnosis there is, where studies have found patients are treated with much more cruelty violence and hostility from mental health providers who tend to use adjectives like “manipulative” “angry” and “difficult” to describe the mostly women who are given this diagnosis. Almost all people given this diagnosis have abuse histories, and in fact the exact same criteria that are used to diagnose borderline personality disorder were reconceptualized decades ago as a different diagnosis, complex post traumatic stress disorder, an expected reaction to in particular long term, repeated, chronic, or captivity based abuse. Or alternatively as developmental trauma disorder. Borderline personality disorder is tied as the highest suicide rate of any DSM diagnosis. Between one in eight and one in ten people with the diagnosis end their own life, while one study average number of suicide attempts for people with this diagnosis is three. For perspective, that means that the suffering that can arise out of this type of trauma can make you at least almost 800 times more likely to kill yourself than the average American, where the suicide rate for 2012 was 1 in 7,936.

A few years ago major news outlets were starting to report on the crisis of military sexual assault, and many articles interviewed women who after reporting rape by their “comrades” were dishonorably discharged from the military, losing all benefits and told they would have to pay for their basic training because they were suddenly diagnosed with with borderline personality disorder and told their “pre existing condition” disqualified them.

I am an abuse survivor.
The first time I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder was in an adolescent inpatient unit at age 15 by a psychiatrist who sexually harassed me, and made his diagnosis after sexually assaulting an intern in front of me. Because I was speaking to my experiences of abuse, and resisted his sexual harassment, I was informed, by someone simultaneously sexually assaulting someone in front of me, that my personality, who I am as a human being, is a pervasive disease.

In the past few years there has been a surge of rapes at schools and on campuses that are video taped on smart phones. An unbelievable further violation, you would think these cases could not be more clear. There is literally video evidence. In one of the deaths I am enraged about, it was suggested repeatedly the victim was lying about or wrongly remembering the rape because while intoxicated and in the dark she believed only one person raped her. In fact a video clearly displayed multiple people raped her. Because her memory deviated from the video tape it was repeatedly suggested she was making it up. By some magic leaps of logic, because the video tape was actually more violent than her memory, then it no longer can possibly Be true. She killed herself while in a residential program under the care of a psychiatrist who is considered an international expert on borderline personality disorder in  adolescents, a man who repeatedly failed to report child abuse of his underage clients whose parents were paying him hundreds of thousands of dollars. I can only imagine what victim blaming and dismissal of her assaults she may have faced from him as so many other clients faced. Her school utterly failed her. At the time of her death, she was 20 years old.

I demand a world in which rape does not happen. I demand a world in which when violence does happen, even in supposedly progressive countries on feminist issues, it is not a potential death sentence for a victim who is the one put on trial, picked apart, interrogated, dismissed, invalidated, gaslighted, Pathologized, silenced, ignored, and threatened. Paychiatry is not the answer for healing from violence. People who are labeled with psychiatric disorders are legally deprived of countless human rights, and are abused and tortured, as defined by the United Nations, legally justified as “in the best interest” of the suffering individual. Let me tell you, abuse, and human rights deprivation in hospitals is not the cure for suffering after experiencing abuse and violence.

Of any type of common trauma, rape is the type of trauma most likely to lead to PTSD . Not everyone who experiences trauma develops PTSD. And research has identified key factors that can protect someone from developing flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, etc. those protective factors include the victim not feeling they are to blame, the victim having a strong support network, the victim not being blamed or dismissed after the trauma among other factors. Failures of support network to respond appropriately and adequately not only greatly increases the likelihood a survivor will develop post traumatic stress, but can actually be the cause of its own separate full fledged PTSD- with flashbacks, night mares, hypervigilence of its own.

Borderline personality disorder is a way to tell victims, the problem is not the abuse, the problem is you as a human being are a sickness. Many experts of the disorder instead of being honest about the fact that childhood abuse is a common risk factor use the phrase that the child was raised in an “invalidating environment”, an environment “mismatched to the child’s temperament”.  Abuse is matched to no ones temperament.  To suggest in coded language a child affected by abuse is overly needy is another form of victim blaming. The diagnosis should No longer be used.

To be clear, By saying borderline personality disorder should no longer be used am not suggesting that no people have the experiences or suffering that are called the “symptoms” of it. I am suggesting we stop pathologizing these understandable responses to trauma as a way to silence victims and ensure they are further mistreated and disbelieved, sentencing them to further trauma, including certainly more hostility in the mental health system, shoving them further towards death. It is reasonable to be traumatized by trauma. Just like it is reasonable to mourn for more than two weeks after the death of someone close to you, and the idea that is a brain disease or mental illness is fucking absurd.

The answers of first steps to decrease the suicide rate of rape victims is shockingly simple.

1. Stop raping and abusing people.
2. realize the failures and further violence and deprivation of human rights, respect, and dignity perpetrated by and in
The systems that supposedly exist to help victims: including law enforcement, school administrations, child protective services, and psychiatry. Do not demand victims utilize these systems. reform and hold the systems and individuals accountable. Take reports of abuse and violence perpetrated by employees of these systems extraordinarily seriously.
3. Stand by victims. 100%, always. Stop communicating with their perpetrator, even if that person is your family member, your co worker, a fellow activist, your friend. Believe victims. Empower victims. Always respect and follow their wishes. Respect their confidentiality. Learn how to respond appropriately to disclosures of violence. Learn how to verbally offer empathy. Do Not ask for details, but offer space for the victim to discuss them. Respect their boundaries, their physical space, their needs. Offer emotional and practical support in the aftermath. realize that it is common for recovery to not be quick. Do not minimize the violence, tell the victims they are over reacting , or to hurry up and heal. Do not demand the victim call themselves a survivor. Recognize that suffering in the aftermath of such an atrocious act is a completely expected response.
4. Create alternatives to psychiatry that are non violent, non coercive, non oppressive, mutual, voluntary, free, accessible. Build peer respites. Create healing homes. Start support groups. Do not believe the lies that violence in the psychiatric industrial complex is the answer for being traumatized by violence, especially when the victim already has a history of trauma or mistreatment from mental health treatment or health care, in institutions, or with authorities.
5. Support the efforts of the psychiatric survivor movement. Informed consent about medications. Abolish coerced and forced treatment. Support holistic and peer based alternatives. Stop pathologizing human experience with oppressive diagnostic categories.

Jennifer L Reimer
30599_107899655919820_1901671_n
Jennifer has published one of the most important theses on this topic I have ever seen, titled “Borderline Personality Disorder and the Control of the Subversive Woman”. She died in April 2014.  She was chronically ill, an abuse survivor, and struggling with anorexia, though the exact cause of death was not shared publicly or immediately clear. Her work is the most important radical mental health literature I have ever seen.

Her work can be viewed at:
http://www.practiceofmadness.com/2010/02/borderline-personality-disorder-and-the-control-of-subversive-women/

And her memory being preserved at:
https://www.facebook.com/reimerproject

Thank you Jennifer, for your work. May you rest in peace.

______
Karen Korn

10593148_331344510360793_916996720235606217_n
Karen, a survivor of abuse, and a psychiatric survivor ended her life in November 2014. She was 45 years old. She was a cinematographer who worked on films as well known as Into the Wild and Their Eyes Were Watching God.  She participated in my first Zine, “depictions of self identified madness”. She was an incredible woman who just this past summer was raising funds to try to open a peer respite center that was trauma sensitive in the northwestern US. She is remembered in radical mental health communities for the incredible kindness she was always passing on to other people even despite the violence and cruelty with which the world constantly dealt her. Karen, I miss you dearly. I am so sorry for the ways the world hurt and failed you. May you rest in peace.

Her IMBD Profile: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0466374/
______
Sara Penrod

1187147_10102148002462915_896473622_n
Sara, a survivor of abuse who was chronically ill, ended her life in December 2014. She was 28 years old. She was a political organizer remembered by those who knew her as someone who was incredibly intelligent, articulate, and passionate about the causes she cared about.

Her Blog: https://anotherhopeentirely.wordpress.com

Thank you Sara, for your work. I am so sorry for the ways the world hurt and failed you. May you rest in peace.
___

My heart is so heavy tonight. I am enraged, disgusted, and so deeply mourning.  I will continue saying your names over and over, in the park, on the bus,  in snow, under stars, fighting to make this a better world than the one you left behind.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Boston Anarchist Bookfair

Thank you for those of you who attended my workshop at the Boston Anarchist Bookfair!  If you click the “Follow” button at the bottom right of the page you can put in your email address to stay up to date with this blog (which posts rarely). A full zine on the topic of surviving suicidality will be published in the next few months!

If you are interested in being connected to any of the local resources below and need more information- please email me at dreamsandzines@gmail.com

Local Resources of Interest:

RADICAL MENTAL HEALTH

*****Radical Mental Health Support
radicalmentalhealthboston@googlegroups.com

*****Trauma Survivor Support Group
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/traumasurvivormutualaidboston

****Boston Psych Treatment Review: Just getting started: Leave a comment reviewing treatment anonymously….
https://bostonpsychtreatmentreview.wordpress.com

Coming off meds group
http://www.meetup.com/Coming-off-psych-drugs-mutual-support-group/

western mass RLCs
http://www.westernmassrlc.org

Afiya – Western MA crisis respite
http://www.westernmassrlc.org/afiya

hearing voices Cambridge
http://www.hearingvoicesusa.org/hvn-usa-groups-list/details/1/44-hearing-voices-cambridge?format=html
________
GENERAL MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT:
Alcoholics Anonymous Boston
http://www.aaboston.org

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance
http://www.dbsalliance.org/site/PageServer?pagename=peer_support_group_locator

OCD Support Group at McLean
http://iocdf.org/supportgroups/

Boston Area Eating Disorder Information
Multiservice Eating Disorder Association
http://medainc.org/get-help/medas-groups-page/

Trauma Informed Expressive Arts Therapy in Watertown: Art Relief
http://www.artrelief.info

Advocates Inc
http://www.advocatesinc.org
______
LEGAL RIGHTS AS A PSYCHIATRIC PATIENT IN MA
http://www.mhlac.org/Library.htm

OTHER SUPPORT AND RESOURCES
boston pain illness disability support
https://www.facebook.com/BostonPainIllnessDisabilityActivismSupport

Boston Area Trans* Support
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/boston-area-trans-support/info

chronic pain support
http://arlingtonacpa.org

GLBT domestic violence project
http://www.glbtqdvp.org
800-832-1901
24 hour hotline

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
http://www.barcc.org
24 hour hotline

800.841.8371

Occupational therapy for Autism Spectrum, Sensory Processing Disorder, and Speech Disorders: The Koomar Center/OTA Watertown
http://www.otawatertown.com

advocates inc
http://www.advocatesinc.org

meet up.com
passageway domestic violence program at bringham and women
MACI chemical sensitivity
boston center for independent living
youth on fire (homeless young adults)
Cambridge womens center (strongly catered to cisgender women only)
impact boston self defense
slam poetry
time trade circle
acupuncture together community acupuncture
the marino center
tong ren classes
arlington reiki associates
cambridge insight meditation center

Presentation on surviving suicidality in Boston

If you know anyone in the New England area who might be interested in attending a free hour long radical mental health presentation about surviving one’s own suicidality and supporting friends in crisis without the use of hospitals please spread the word! Next weekend, Sunday, November 22nd at 2:15 pm at boston university as part of the boston anarchist book fair.
Come meet me and say hello!
More info here:
http://www.bostonanarchistbookfair.org/schedule

3/31 IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS

3/31 IMMEDIATE ACTION NEEDED TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS

This bill is being voted on TODAY (3/31) in senate and we need everyone to spend about 2 minutes to call  their senators in dc NOW

http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/03/shame-nation/

“…. The legislation will expand the use of court-ordered [psychiatric] treatment. The public is led to believe that the expansion of such mandated treatment is a progressive measure. The mandated treatment brings helpful medical care, e.g. antipsychotic medication, to people who are too sick to realize they need it. But, in fact, people objecting to taking an antipsychotic may have a good reason for doing so, and our societal delusion on this issue obscures the fact that court-ordered “outpatient treatment” represents a fundamental assault on individual liberty.

For the public to embrace this legislation, it needs to believe that antipsychotic medication is a necessary and essential treatment for the “seriously mentally ill.” Support for the law would evaporate if the public knew that antipsychotics have been shown to shrink the brain, and that studies have found that long-term use of these drugs may impair recovery. That is knowledge that comes from research by Nancy Andreasen, the former editor of the American Journal of Psychiatry, and from numerous others, including the NIMH-funded study by Martin Harrow. But American psychiatry and the NIMH have never publicized those findings to the American public, and the result is that we, as a society, are deluded about the merits of antipsychotics. It is that delusion that makes passage of the Murphy Bill possible.

Without a medical rationale, the moral context for court-ordered treatment is this: The state is asserting a right to alter people for its own benefit. The desires of the state trump the person’s individual rights. Indeed, mandated treatment ultimately says to a person: you do not have the right to remain in our society as you are, and even though you may not have committed a crime, society has the legal right to change who you are. Antipsychotics, of course, are designed to alter how a person thinks and experiences the world, and thus court-ordered treatment is asserting state authority over an individual’s mind and body.

We wish that all members of Congress would re-read the opening lines to the Declaration of Independence before voting on the Murphy bill. They would be reminded of how our Founding Fathers declared that all men are endowed by their creator with certain “unalienable Rights,” which include “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness,” and thus understand that any law that ordered a person, against his or her will, to take an antipsychotic was profoundly un-American.

The other purported rationale for court-ordered treatment, beyond that of providing a person with helpful medical treatment, is that it will reduce the risk that a “mentally ill” person will commit an act of violence. Assisted outpatient treatment will keep society safe. Now let us put aside the question of whether outpatient commitment laws can be expected to actually achieve that end. The more pertinent point is this: Our Constitution doesn’t allow for locking people up based on the thought that they may be likely to commit a crime in the future. Yet, ordering a person to take an antipsychotic, which is in fact expected to act as a restraint on behavior, is akin to doing just that.

The great sin in American history, of course, is that our society for so long denied the liberty and basic rights of black Americans. First slavery, and then nearly a century of Jim Crow laws. It took the United States nearly two hundred years to enact a law that was designed to protect the civil rights of all Americans. Congress should think of that history as it ponders Murphy’s bill.”

Call Senators and tell them to oppose Section 224 of HR4302:

http://www.democratichub.com/senate-list.aspx?o=pv&t=ds&gclid=CMHRkYXDtr0CFUpnOgodPE8Agg

More background: http://www.madinamerica.com/2014/03/mental-health-advocates-protest-spurious-forced-treatment-addition-medicare-bill/

“You’re Only As Sick As Your Secrets”

A line I was fed over and over at a residential program that specializes in addiction and eating disorders. YET if I was honest about my chronic suicidality- the reason I was there- even though I had absolutely no plan or intention of hurting myself and just wanted to process it I was punished by having “privileges” like being able to listen to music or go to art groups taken away.

Pro tip: punishing someone who is depressed for being depressed by taking away things they enjoy doesn’t make the depression disappear

After so many years of severe abuse in the mental health system I learned to lie for my own safety. 
If I was honest about being suicidal it meant I was liable to being deprived to basic medical care and people remembering to feed me, it meant being sexually harassed by a man who determined if I would be discharged from a hospital or locked up for years, it meant being physically assaulted by staff members at random, it meant being verbally abused, it meant that I would be treated in ways that the United Nations considers torture. 

If multiple studies have now found that the more money, laws, and policies that are put into mental health care in a country the higher the suicide rate is- SOMETHING IS REALLY WRONG WITH PSYCHIATRY.

If torture by mental health professionals in the best psychiatric hospital in the US, decently rated hospitals in suburbs, horrendous inner city psych hospitals and everything in betwen can leave me with years of such horrendous trauma that I almost killed myself because of it SOMETHING’S BROKEN HERE.

If more and more information keeps being brought to the light of day about the catastophic harm done by psychiatric medication, for example that long term antipsychotic medication use makes people “sicker” and have more psychosis throughout their lives then if they were never on the medication, if we know that most of the group of white men who get to decide what a mental illness is get paid huge money by the drug companies who make billions and billions of dollars on these psych medications which we know have skewed data on the effectiveness of these medications and illegally advertised them as treatments for people who are specifically not supposed to take them (such as marketing antipsychotics as a treatment for elders with dementia even though there is a big warning in the prescribing info that an elder with dimentia is at an increased risk of death), if we know about the abuse that’s going on behind hospital doors, and that individuals diagnosed with “schiophrenia” have a better prognois if they live in Zanzibar than the United States, if we keep being told a person in a white coat who has known us for 3 minutes knows us and our problems better than we do, if we keep being told any questioning of psychiatry is part of our illness but have no right to be offended when a mental health professional decides we must be lying about our own feelings or our own lives when we aren’t, if psychiatry keeps claiming to be making break throughs and yet more than a quarter of americans are diagnosable as mentally ill in any given year MAYBE IT’S TIME PSYCHIATRY STARTS BEING HONEST.

Please check out my zine Depictions of Self Identified Madness: A Visonary Alternative to the DSM

my main Tumblr Dreams and Zines.tumblr.com ask questions, get resources, contribute your own depiction of self identified madness,

and my tumblr ShitPsychiatrySays.tumblr.com to see more of my work and parts of my story and submit shit that has been said to you.

New Tumblr: Shit Psychiatry Says!

Was just inspired to create a new tumblr dedicated to the horrible shit psychiatrists and psychiatry tell us, our friends, and our world after reading a blog post by psychiatric survivor and activist Laura Delano where she reflected on being told by a psychiatrist “So, Laura, you went to Harvard? I bet you thought you were going to do something with your life.”

Please submit shit that has been said to you or loved ones or in general in speeches or writing by mental health professionals/psychiatry over at shitpsychiatrysays.tumblr.com

Happy New Year!

Thoughts on Veteran’s Day

Regardless of what you think of any war, I hope you can share my horror at the fact that veterans account for 20% of our nations completed suicides. It is shameful that despite the fact that our military members volunteer for the job, risk everything- their life, their limbs, their mental health, being present during big events in their families lives, etc. they then can come home and end up jobless, houseless, and profoundly suffering due to trauma without being able to access the support they need both from mental health professionals and from the average citizen of our country (many of whom would rather not know about the horrors they experienced). Having experienced severe trauma myself after which I experienced such a severe lack of support it could be considered neglect, each and every time I see veterans sleeping on the street, exasperated at the pharmacy because they have to choose between paying their prescription co-pays and eating that week, or being treated with disrespect when they are having a hard time it disturbs me for days. 1 in 3 women in the miltary are raped while serving and according to the NY Times- 92% of the women who report being raped are in one way or another pushed out of the military. An organization called Give an Hour asks for therapists to volunteer an hour a week of their time to provide free counseling for veterans for a year, but you don’t need to be a licensed therapist to be able to make some difference. Whenever I see a military personnel in uniform I make it a point to attempt to shake their hand and thank them for serving. Educate yourself about the effects of PTSD on many military members, stay aware of issues like the ones mentioned in this post, create space for veterans you know or meet to be able to share their experiences. Thank you to our veterans, and may your struggles not go unnoticed and unheard.

Tagged , ,

Suicide is an Act of Bodily Autonomy- Not Beauty. Response to “Suicide is Not Beautiful”

This post is a direct response to the post “Suicide is Not Beautiful” published by Carrie Anderson http://nursingclio.org/2013/07/25/suicide-is-not-beautiful/

I am a radical mental health activist and zinester, a feminist, a trauma survivor, someone who has lost a friend to suicide, and someone who has survived my own suicide attempts. While I think you are making some interesting points, I find the way you framed this article to be hugely offensive. To me it feels like you are perpetuating the horrendous stereotype of suicidal people being selfish attention seekers. Have you considered that those poets did not kill themselves to make a pretty show for the world but because they were deeply suffering and seeking to end their own suffering? In my experience, beauty has absolutely nothing to do with the vast majority of suicide attempts- it’s not about making art- it’s about making the horrendously painful nightmare life can become stop. Do I agree that people who encourage suicide are ugly? Yes. Do I agree the abusers and oppressors who drive so many to suicide are ugly? Yes. Do I agree the lack of resources needed for healing for many people with mental health issues is ugly? Yes. But are people who choose to end their own lives ugly, stupid, or bad? No.

Although I know many feminists will hotly protest this, I have to say; I feel very strongly that demonizing self-harm is a very anti-feminist stance to take. What is so much of the feminist movement about? The right to autonomy. The right to decide how to live our lives: to pursue careers of our choice, to own property, to choose whom we marry. And the right to be the sole person who makes choices about our bodies: to choose who we are having sex with and have the right to refuse sex to anyone, to choose to have a baby, take birth control, or terminate a pregnancy, the right to not be groped on a bus or beat by a partner, the right to not be devalued based on our physical attributes, and (more controversially) the right to use their own bodies to produce porn, to practice sex work. I am a big fan of the comic series A Softer World by E Horne and J Comeau. Comic #940 reads “Our bodies are ours to break, ours to throw into rivers, ours to light on fire, ours to launch into the depths of space.” http://asofterworld.com/index.php?id=940 In our society only certain types of self-endangerment or self harm or bodily altercation is acceptable. Extreme sports, and smoking cigarettes- both of which have the potential to cause death- are seen as acceptable, but suicide is not. Extensive body piercings and tattoos  (which can cause physical pain to get) are acceptable- but cutting and burning is not. Political prisoners engaging in hunger strikes are not shamed, articles like this never talk about and shame the religious purposes “self harm” have served at various points (including fasting, and Buddhist monks self immolating)- but when a when a depressed woman kills herself it is unacceptable and she is crazy.

Many have criticized western feminism of not being inclusive. Our movement can only gain strength by acknowledging that if we want certain types of bodily autonomy, we should align ourselves with all other movements which fight to demand bodily autonomy of their oppressed members- including the disability movement and the radical mental health/psychiatric survivor movement. If women should be able to make the choice about their body to not always having sex with her partner, a physically disabled person should be able to make the choice to not be sterilized, institutionalized, or forced to receive medical treatment without informed consent. If a woman should be able to choose to have the bodily autonomy of having an abortion, then a person with mental health issues should be able to choose to not have to ingest psychiatric medications, receive electro convulsive therapy, or be hospitalized against their will. And all people should be able to be able to make informed choices about their own body- including societally unacceptable self injury and even ending their own lives. Do I encourage suicide? No. Non-coercive and non-abusive mental health care should be offered to all who wish to receive it. But how does the united states deal with suicidal people? Hospitalize them, restrain or seclude them, or medicate them against their will. All of these things have been considered torture by the United Nations (see page 15 under number 3) “Forced interventions, often wrongfully justified by theories of incapacity and therapeutic necessity inconsistent with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are legitimized under national laws, and may enjoy wide public support as being in the alleged “best interest” of the person concerned. Nevertheless, to the extent that they inflict severe pain and suffering, they violate the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment “ http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session22/A.HRC.22.53_English.pd
Especially considering the wide spread torture of people with mental health issues in our country, it is not surprising suicide rates are so high. Do I desperately wish that people who are suffering after oppression and abuse were able to use their sorrow and trauma to motivate organizing activist movement to overthrow the patriarchy, racism, the abusive practices of western mental health? I wish for nothing more in the world. But trauma survivors and suffering people do the absolute best they can with their pain. And since all those huge oppressive forces don’t seem to be going away in the immediate future yet a trauma survivor or person facing oppression’s crushing depression, debilitating panic attacks and nightmares, unbearable flashbacks, and other experiences may persist- it is extremely unfair to blame survivors of violence for not being able to stop all of our cultures oppression and to have to tolerate continuing to be abused or oppressed, living with the aftermath of being abused or oppressed, or living with extreme pain and suffering for any other reason.

On a final note, saying there should be no more suicidal poets is saying there should be more suicides. Why do you think so many great artists have also happened to have mental health issues? Because creating art, music, writing, etc. is healing and is a way many suffering people are able to stay alive. So when you see a person writing about their suicidal thoughts realize- writing those words is keeping them alive that much longer- and daring to stay alive despite the unbearable violence and oppression women and people with mental health issues in particular face in this world, is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.

Tagged , , , , , , ,