Who’s More Damned?
I came across a quote today in a book I’m reading (The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks) and it got me thinking.
“Who was more
tragic or who was more damned-the man who knew it or the man who did not?”
On Monday I attended Ryerson University’s first ever critical mental health course for undergraduate social work students. It is taught by one of The Madvocates, Prof. Jennifer Poole and she has essentially brought our research to life in this course! It is amazing! Anyways, at the end of the class (which was on sanism) Jen asked if anyone had anything thoughts or comments about what they had learned today. For many of these students this is the first time they are learning about sanism and beginning to see how it is in our daily lives so they are processing a lot. One student through out the idea of how people feel relieved when they are diagnosed with a mental illness and that at times being undiagnosed can cause a lot of confusion and pain.
This is when the above quote comes in. When it comes to mental health not knowing and knowing can be bad and good.
Not knowing can be bad because you are unable to access resources that could help you. Not knowing can be good because you are not bound by a diagnosis.
Knowing can be good and bad for the exact same reasons as above but reversed. Good= access to treatment, and bad=bound by a diagnosis.
But why does it need a name? Depression, schizophrenia, DID? Why can’t we just accept it as an experience? It is simply because that is not how dominant society wants it to be so we because so happy when we can label our experience in the social appropriate way. But, as many of us know, with this label comes discrimination and stigma. So which is better? That is really up to you.
Posted on January 23, 2013, in Madness, Mental Health, Stigma/Discrimination and tagged diagnosis, discrimination, Jennifer Poole, knowing, label, mental health, mental illness, oliver sacks, stigma, unknown. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.