MENTAL HEALTH PORN: [I’M NOT DISORDERED]

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REMOVING THE HIERARCHY OF SANITY

You’re Insane! You’re DIS-ordered! You’re deranged! You’re not right! Well actually, I’m not wrong, and there may be something that is out of order, but I bet you it’s not solely my head.

There are a lot of strong labels we can put on those who are struggling with a conflict of thoughts. Even when these thoughts cause physical effects and make us ill. But branding someone as Insane or dis-ordered can be a pretty damming way of doing things.

Now there is the question of where do we draw the line? Well perhaps we don’t need to draw one and instead we should stop putting a hierarchy on sanity.

To put such labels on people instantly assumes that there is something WRONG with them and that they need treating, or worse, that they are a lost cause, they are terminally insane, doomed to a life of institutions, drugs and confused misery. When in reality, perhaps these people are just frustrated or traumatised.

I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar DISORDER aged 16. I was also diagnosed with a developmental DISORDER called Aspergers Syndrome, and for a long time I believed I was Insane. This is possibly because I have been told I was insane for many years. The doctors told me I wasn’t in the right mind to make decisions for myself, the teachers told me that I was too much for people to cope with and my sister called me a freak from a very young age. Medical professionals prescribed me 13 different kinds of medication over 6 years including: Fluoxetine, Quetiapine, Lorazepam, Zopiclone, Lithium and Semi Sodium-Valproate; after having experienced periods of feeling lethargic, sick, high, numb and suicidal I have come full circle and I reckon that the pills aren’t for me.
I have been without medication for a year and a half now and even though I have still experienced illness relating to my moods, I have learnt a lot about them too and the various things which I can do to alleviate some of the symptoms.

Furthermore, I have observed society, read about the history of civilisation and researched various perspectives on mental health and evolutionary behaviours. This has and continues to take me on a journey regarding my personal views on Mental Health and how it can be perceived. Currently, I am of the understanding that I am in fact NOT insane. My order is fine thank you and there is nothing WRONG about me.

There were plenty of reasons for me to believe that there was something wrong with me, that I was insane and disordered, it makes sense that a young, gay, queer thinking, creative, intelligent, inquisitive and driven individual would struggle to order themselves in a society that does not really cater for any of these things. At least not in this combination. It’s no surprise that I believed I was wrong and weird and disgusting when I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused daily for many years by students, teachers and other adults around me for my differences. And that our current society is built for heteronormative, conservative, consumerist people in which the upper classes thrive with secretive knowledge and protected finances, the middle is relatively unchanging and obeys the authorities and the poor generally stay poor and are often frustrated and downtrodden.

We are encouraged to limit our thinking into small single minded boundaries which leave us blinkered to the effects we are having on the wider picture of humanity. Powerful religious and media organisations spread sensationalised vague truths in the form of radicalised stories and news which push political agendas and create fear of difference in large portions of the authority entrusting nation. When so many things are telling you that you are wrong, it should not shock you that you may start to believe them. Especially when an official system supported by the tax-payers of the state legally brands you as a NUTTER.

I am far from alone in these circumstances. There is a large portion of humanity who feel they are insane when perhaps they are just feeling confused, frustrated, lost and left out.

What is really insane is the way we are treating each other and the constant refusal to step back, take some time and truly acknowledge how our actions are effecting others. It is easier to ignore our emotions, drink, and “Work hard” for a government or a corporation we don’t really believe in. This way we are justified in our selfish actions and led to believe that we are doing well. We are ordered and we are well as long as we conform. The issue comes, however, when even the “normal” people get mentally ill. There is something not right going on when we can’t ignore our emotions anymore, even through the thick smog of substance abuse, children and paperwork.

This furthers my belief that I am not insane. My order is fine and the “wrongness” is coming from somewhere else or completely invented. I am just frustrated at my inability to instantly change the world to fit me and my “weird” friends a bit better. Perhaps it is not us but the current state of society that is a bit odd.

By branding one person as insane and another as sane instantly produces difference between individuals. We forget to consider the subject and circumstances of the Insane. We may ask them questions, however, in my experience these have been pretty useless, script read, leading questions which don’t get a proper hearing. It has also been the case that after asking said questions I have then been told that I’m not in the right mind to be making decisions and rendering my thoughts or opinions invalid through my INSANITY?! People branded as Insane are still valid people, their thoughts and opinions still matter and placing a hierarchy on these people is counter productive to working towards helping them find some solutions or strategies to dealing with their troubles. Furthermore, perhaps if we listened to those we brand as insane we would find ways to alter society so it’s a more comfortable place to live for a wider demographic of people.

Often the diagnostic criteria are based on our inability to function in todays societal norms, perhaps the norms are flawed?

Now of course there are some individuals who are particularly ill, needing 24hr love and care and some who benefit from medications and I am not entirely waging a war against chemical solutions. I do however, believe that there are far too many people currently being diagnosed with disorders and being prescribed harmful medications who perhaps just need to be heard and we as a society can make fairly manageable changes to our systems and institutions such as active listening, mutual respect and a removal of hierarchy. Perhaps starting more social discussion groups in which we are able to be vulnerable with our thoughts and emotions in a judgement free environment could open our minds to the thoughts and feelings of other and allow us to stop judging ourselves and others on our differences.

So next time you see someone who you think is crazy. Maybe instead of branding them insane you can hear them out and learn something new.

Written by Ted Rogers “Artpornblog”
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