Monday, January 10, 2011

readin & fightin: Just so y'all are aware:


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via on 1/10/11

readin & fightin: Just so y'all are aware::


I'm reblogging this because I want to think about so-treu's commentary. I'm not sure how I feel about it. It makes me uneasy, but then again, so do most things these days.

I think as always I want to see this be complicated. I don't want to say that people's mental health always makes them violent, I don't want to say that people's mental health never makes them violent. Dealing with mental health issues in a violent world, and in a world that wants you to fail, is hard to say the least. And like I touched on answering this question earlier tonight, I want to leave space for people to have very different feelings toward their mental health.

My mental "illness" (I said earlier I don't like that word, at least for myself or to assume to use on others, but if other people want to use that for themselves I will absolutely respect that) feels like a draining struggle, one that I am hoping to get over someday but also that feels like it is going to suck me under. Even still, I try to see ways it might affect me positively. But then I've known other people with other mental "illnesses" who feel much more positively about them, and who have harnessed their brain functioning for creative output or a different insight, or whatever, or who see it as a hurdle but something they can live with.

Also, with regard to the study, I don't really find it surprising that white people don't see people of color as fully human or deserving of empathy. I think that's pretty predictable. I guess what I'm saying is, I get that maybe the aim is to pathologize white supremacy, to say white supremacy is a mental illness, or something that gets in the way of decent functioning. I don't really know if that's a necessary step, and I don't know if that approach would be helpful. It might just be alienating. But I'll be thinking about it.

So as with everything…. I think it's complicated. And I want that to be okay. And I will be thinking about what so-treu wrote below, and how that might help complicate this.

Also here is a link to the study referenced.




I'm mentally ill.

The most violent thing I've ever done is fight with my sister, fights where she was almost always the aggressor.

Mental illness and violence are two very different things that have very little to do with one another.

And if you think that shooting someone is axiomatically proof that the shooter is "deranged" or "unstable" or "psycho" oranything along those lines, unfollow me right fucking now, because when you say that? You are hurting all people with mental illness, including me.

Well, not all of them. I'm mentally ill (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and I have very violent tendencies as a result. Other people on here can vouch for this. I do agree that not all mental illness causes violence or violent tendencies, but some of it does. I was not like this before I developed PTSD, and now I am. That says something, I think. Blanket statements like the above can lead to untruths — while I am sure that very, VERY many mentally ill people are not violent, it's important to acknowledge that some of us are.

augh i don't even know what i'm trying to say here. I just feel like… it's not going to help anything or anyone if we pretend that mental illness NEVER CAUSES VIOLENCE EVER. Because it does, sometimes.

oh god i'm just going to shut up and never speak again

you know what though? ^this. and im sure i'm gonna get shit for it, but i really can't get down with the whole "crazy is a slur and shouldn't be used ever" position. because as several people have pointed out, incuding dinokitten here, "crazy" and violence are not always mutually exclusive. ilykadamen says it amazingly so i'm just gonna copy and paste:

You can be crazy "with depression" or "with alcoholism" or "with an eating disorder" (I can claim at least 1-1/2 of the three; two, if I weren't in denial) and you can also be crazy with "No, but for real:  Why shouldn't I torture, rape, and kill people?—No, I mean, give me a logical reason."  Have you ever had that argument with somebody?  Yeah, well, I HAVE.  Turns out the definition of "logic" for such people is "suggest to me even one scenario in which this might negatively affect me—so I can refute the likelihood of it ever coming to pass."  May you never, ever, EVER meet up with that brand of crazy.  I mean it.  Even if I hate you, I mean it.

It's too broad a word, crazy.  This term fucking sucks, okay!  It means too many things!  It's unsuitable to claim as an identity until we clear some shit up!  Which fucking kind of crazy do you mean?  Because yeah actually, there is a kind of crazy you can have that is going to make me go, "Okay, fine, but YOU HAVE TO STAY OVER THERE, away from me.  Love you, but get the fuck out."

and i keep returning to radicallyhottoff's point that it's about compassion and multiplicity of the definition of crazy . and how in communities of color, for example, you'll hear things like "white people done lost they minds." especially these days. and it doesn't sit well with me, the idea of going up to a person who has been historically marginalized in ways not only relating to color class gender but also of mental health (for ex the idea of black women being pathologically, irrationally angry) and being like YOU SHOULDN'T USE THAT WORD. because one, that's missing the point, and their positionality, but also because it that moment it seems obvious that they're not referring to people with bipolar disorder, or depression, etc. they're referring to whiteness and the sick way that it has ordered the world so that it is constantly at the center of it. there was a study that was released within the past year about how when white people look at a white person doing something, then look at a poc doing the same thing, their brains don't recognize them as human. certain signals that were sent to the brain with white folks were absent when they looked at colored folks. (and im mangling the results of this study horribly, but i can't find the actual study right now but if anyone knows what im talking about i'd appreciate a link) and you can't tell me that's not a form of mental illness, i'm sorry. to look at a human being and NOT be able to recognize them as human? how is that NOT crazy?

i'm not saying that crazy isn't ableist, or that it can't be used as a slur. it can and it does. but i think that there's more than one definition, and that there's a danger of taking away a potential tool of critique for whole communities if we don't recognize that. and im thinking of my folks specifically, and how we can call george bush and the tea party crazy, but if someone dares refer to that one family member with mental illness as crazy that somebody is getting snatched up with a quickness.


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