thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)

Things I don't like about Popular- the fact that there's one, central person of colour in the main (young) cast. Indeed, the diversity among the adult cast is better, all round. The cheap ableism, and other stereotypes peddled, in a show that makes quite an effort to have convincing characters with disabilities, and which was the only teen show I saw with long term illness presented, especially mental illness.

But I really needed the rest tonight )

Music:: Melissa Etheridge-
thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)

I have depression.


I know that’s unclear. I know I can state in various ways to make you think that perhaps it is more than just getting upset, or giving up on things. I have a depressive disorder. I’ve been hospitalised with depression three times. I take anti depressants, and anti psychotics. Excusing myself from certain things because I have issues. I have attempted suicide more than once..


I can tell you, or if you know me you might see, how it affects my life. If you are unlucky enough to be close to me during a bad period, you will see me be both debilitated and frightened and in some ways frightening, and unable to cope with the world. In other environments you will see me cry over things that are completely unimportant, or get irrationally upset, or excuse myself and go quiet. You might hear me talk about self harm, or anxiety attacks, or suicidal thoughts. I’ll probably tone it down, or talk about other things, or even mention it in a conversational manner, because I do want to do other things, and think about other things, and in the hope if I mention it.


So you’ve gathered now that I have issues?


If I make every effort to talk about my issues, my disability, openly and sensibly, is it my problem that you don’t understand it, or that it’s frightening to watch, or just confuses you? Yes and no. It will almost certainly effect me adversely, that you don’t understand, but it is a problem I have, not a problem with me. The problem is you not understanding, or not even trying to understand. I accept that you don’t get it. That’s fine. But get that you don’t get it, and that that is a problem with you.


I would also make it quite clear that I have spent a fair bit of time thinking about my disability and my problems, and how to fix them, and what fixing them means. I also know what they are, what a warning sign is, and what I feel like when depressed. Every way I can feel when depressed. And they are not the ways you feel. They are not the ways you feel whether you are someone who has stubbed their toe at the end of a bad day, someone who’s about to start a course of a talking therapy for anxiety issues or moderate depression, or someone who’s been on exactly the same meds as me for the same amount of time. Our thoughts and feelings are unique, the distorted things that can happen to them are also unique. So I won’t tell you I know what you feel, and what you should do.


But I have issues and I tell you about them or their visible. That does not make it okay to use them against me. There are ways, if I am being upset or irrational, of calming me down or giving me space. And half the time I know it’s irrational, anyway, and I don’t want to be feeling or thinking it. Being told I’m weak, or odd, or making things difficult for you, making things about the issues which are nothing to do with you on to get attention, or because I haven’t worked on them, or if I worked a bit harder I would be fine, does not help. Furthermore using the fact that I have issues to win an argument, or get out of a conversation, or dismiss me, when done in an obvious and confrontational way, and done assuming that I haven’t thought about it- it makes you a bigot and a coward. And you do assume I haven’t thought about it. I am willing to think about it more, but I would also like you to think about your issues, your presumptions and not just assume I’m irrational, or able to be dismissed. You can dismiss me, and my actions and reactions and feelings, but that doesn’t mean you should. And it doesn’t mean that it’s okay for other people to excuse behaviour or actions, because my problems are scary, or difficult to watch or understand, when I’m trying my best not to do that myself and I am the person who is going through them
thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)
I have recently started occasionally watching television news. This generally gives me a sense that I need to disinfect myself and turn the television off as soon as possible, as well as filling me with a great deal of righteous anger.

There was a story, one of the perennial stories, about someone being stabbed by a mentally ill man who'd recently been released from hospital. The story repeatedly used "mentally ill" as shorthand for dangerous, the only context they gave for the attack was that he had an history of "paranoid schizophrenia" and the gist was that's it's too easy for mentally ill people to be released from hospital.

There are a few issues there. There is the use of "schizophrenia" and especially of "paranoid schizophrenia" as automatically being a danger to others  or the general public (how many times do there need be awareness campaigns about the fact that mental illness is far more likely to be a danger to the person suffering from it, or that they are far more likely to be in danger generally). The fact that schizophrenia is an outdated term which covers far too many conditions and symptoms to be an effective term. The general assumption that mental illness is dangerous to the general public, and that any form of psychotic disorder is especially.

I was already thinking about this before I saw this particular story. I have to get sick notes this week, and I've been advised not to put my full diagnosis on them, because of the fact that they're going to my employer and university. My full diagnosis has changed somewhat over the years, is only not schizophrenia because of the aforementioned outdated term thing. Currently it is psychotic depression. The depression largely characterised the last episode, but the obsessive and shattering nature of it was quite close to my experience of psychosis, as was the irrational nature. Also, mentioning the fact that the previous two episodes had involved psychosis is possibly a convenient, although equally bad, way of conveying the seriousness of this. I'm probably going to agree, and let the notes be written just about depression, although that presents its own pitfalls and misconceptions. But by doing that I am buying into the fact that psychotic illnesses are not something we talk about, are not something that normal, employable people can have.

Make no mistake, I think this was a tragedy. But it was a tragedy that was either just a tragedy, unavoidable, or a tragedy in the same way that people killing themselves after contact with mental health services. Mental health services do need improving. But the main improvement they need is better care and attention towards patients. And can we please stop this bloody tiering of mental illness into, effectively, people who are a bit low and people who are dangerous, and the stupid stigma around both.

That was less eloquent than it should have been. But I am very angry. Expect more on this.


15 16