I am 100% able to work. This is seen as I don’t need help and that is wrong!
This was a good assessment. While I was really nervous about seeing a psychiatrist I realized last week that Planned Parenthood wouldn’t hire someone who did not meet their mandate of providing anti oppressive services. so this helped me calm down.
Dr. B asked the same old assessment questions: appetite, sleeping, family, work, school, past health issues, what I have tried to do for mental health etc.
I explained to Dr. B that my anger was my big issue. During my rages is when my world falls apart. I am “normal” when I’m not in a rage, I’m who I want to be but during a rage is when I am self destructive.
By the end of the session he said that he doesn’t like to use labels! A psychiatrist that doesn’t like to use labels! I’m in heaven! Dr. B explained that for the sake of common language and following his training my paper work will have the diagnosis of….
Are you ready for this????
I’m really excited about this!!!!!
Traits! I love traits! Dr. B said that he thinks any depressive or mood disorder I may have had is gone (it was amazing to hear him say that even though I knew it was gone) but that I do not fit the full borderline personality disorder so the DSM IV-TR includes borderline traits.
What exactly does it mean to have borderline traits? This means that I have some characteristics of borderline personality disorder but do not meet the criteria for the full disorder. I feel this suits me more than the full disorder I was given a few years back. I also feel like this is another step towards having no label at all! Not that I should need a psychiatrist’s approval but being in this system it is nice.
Dr. B acknowledged that I have come very far in my mental health and it was encouraging to hear that from a professional. He suggested a drug that I have agreed to try but I wont write about that until I start taking it which will be a few weeks from now. Dr. B emphasized that I need to continue with the behaviour management which seems to be working very well for me. He mentioned that any medication I take should not take the place of the counselling I’m doing and that if the medication doesn’t work then it doesn’t work. I really liked that he didn’t make it sound like the medication was the number 1 thing I should be doing. Dr. B is good.
I’m still processing all this information and I have a lot to think about in regards to medication.
The Huffington Post posted an article on Canada’s mental health strategy. The federal Health Minister, Leona Aglukkaq (who is also aboriginal), said, “The first step is to get past the stigma and get people talking about mental health to determine better what kinds of services we can provide.” She believes that stigma needs to be tackled first and then services can come.
If no one is talking then how can the government and/or organizations know what needs to be changed, added or created to improve mental health services?
More money also does not mean better care (learned that in Overtreated by Shannon Brownlee). For the most part I think the province needs to use the money it is given towards improving mental healthcare and make it more of a priority. Instead of investing the money in crappy services, start supporting organizations that provide better service!
I’ve been bothered by the fact that we’ve been fed that the way to end stigma is by having services but if people are too ashamed to seek those services then they don’t matter.
I also feel that it doesn’t actually tackle mental health stigma because the services are almost saying “you tackle stigma by making these people as normal as possible.” Which is the right answer.
Access to quality service is apart of the puzzle but we need to start looking at mental health from a holistic perspective.
From my experience, mental health services were only beneficial for as long as I was in the building. As soon as I left the office I was back in the world that couldn’t understand me and worse, didn’t want to understand me. Society needs to get better with me.
What good are these services if I don’t have the support of family, friends, co workers, employers and peers? I can bust my ass off but if others can’t see past this ONE part of me then I will only go so far. That sucks.
We can make the change.
Surprisingly, perhaps, more than a few people are cheerfully claiming that label at Ryerson University this weekend. Also on hand are the “mad-identified,” “the mad-positive” and various “psychiatric survivors” from around the world.
To be frank, the uninitiated might reasonably fear they wouldn’t be able to tell the players at the school’s international conference on Mad Studies without a program cribbed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The Ryerson conference is certainly different. It might even be the first of its kind. What Kathryn Church hopes is that it’s also a watershed moment in her professional journey of a quarter-century — or perhaps the entire complex history of the turbulent, often troubled mind of mankind.
Church is director of Ryerson’s School of Disability Studies, established in 1999. Two of its most popular courses are Mad People’s History and the History of Madness — courses taken by students from across Ryerson faculties, by students of engineering, theatre, nursing, by students with and without a history of mental illness.
The curriculum was pioneered by Geoffrey Reaume, who was diagnosed at 14 with paranoid schizophrenia, twice admitted to psychiatric facilities, who dropped out of high school in Grade 9 and for a time worked in a sheltered workshop.
Prof. Reaume has since earned a PhD (his doctoral thesis a history of asylum life from the point of view of patients at 999 Queen St. W.), designed the Ryerson course and now teaches at York University. This weekend, he got married in his hometown of Windsor.
Since 2004, Ryerson’s “Mad” courses have been taught by former Toronto city councillor and New Democrat MPP David Reville, who coined the delightful term “high-knowledge crazies” to describe those who are picking up academic credentials to go with their diagnostic label, adding formal knowledge to their first-hand understanding about how life with mental illness feels, looks, sounds and smells.
As a young man, Reville spent time in the 1960s in three “madhouses,” knew the stigma, became familiar upon discharge with society’s margins. Yet, he found a way to make a living as a plumbing contractor, got politically active, was elected to two terms on city council, then to two at Queen’s Park.
During that time, Kathryn Church recalls, Reville was probably the only “out” former mental patient in Canada.
The slow change in attitudes and practices — in society and academia — “started with people like David who began to speak publicly about their history, challenging the way people would conventionally talk about it, insist on being included in decision-making forums.”
Church dispatched him to a conference in England in 1988 to deliver a paper they’d written “and, in a sense, this event here started there.”
“There was a kind of bubbling up in Canada and elsewhere of people who had the label and were beginning to really push back, challenge the way that psychiatry was shaping their lives, challenge the discrimination that went with being considered mentally ill.”
When he began teaching at Ryerson, Reville hadn’t set foot in a university — other than for the odd guest lecture — in 30 years. He had no credentials. This did not prove an insurmountable barrier.
“Because mad people’s history is happening all the time,” he once explained, his habit was merely “to incorporate breaking news into my lectures.”
Church says that “what we’re trying to do is offer a counterpoint to the history of psychiatry, which is sort of a professional and a disciplinary history, with the lived experience of madness.”
At Ryerson, that experience increasingly shows up in the curriculum. It shows up in how students bound for work in the mental-health sector are trained. Perhaps most important, it shows up in the appearance of more and more faculty members with first-hand experience.
As Geoffrey Reaume explains, is no small thing.
“Throughout mad people’s history, the academic elite have literally organized against mad people through a multitude of oppressive practices and ideas,” he says.
Through their medical faculties, universities conferred “power and legitimacy to enforce imposed practices ranging from lobotomy, ECT insulin-coma shock, excessive drug treatments, discriminatory labels.
“Now that some of us are in these elite positions within academia, it is essential to ensure we use this power and privilege to organize, to promote, research, write and engage the public about a topic that has too often in our history been interpreted through the views of medical-model academics.”
Reaume says there have always “been mad people within the academy.” But they hid their histories for fear of losing jobs and credibility.
“The fact that a course like this is available at all, and a conference like (Ryerson’s) is taking place, is one indication about how much has changed since the early 1990s.”
Ryerson has invited scholars from the universities of Edinburgh, Columbia, Central Lancashire, as well as community-based advocates — people who “work at the intersection of mental health, formal education and social movements.”
There’s little ethereal idealism about it. One of the sessions addresses how universities and the mental-health sector cope with tough economies.
“These are austere times,” Church says. “That’s the challenging sort of global context that we have.”
Neither is there any naivete about the entrenched nature of problems and challenges.
“We’re concerned about the ongoing problems of employment, housing, discrimination, human rights violations, institutionalization,” Church says.
“The same litany of problems that has not changed since I entered this field in the mid-’80s.”
“We’ve really just begun to see this coalescing (of both academic knowledge and lived experience, of expertise from different parts of the world) in the last few years,” she says.
That is why this “mad-positive” professor with “mad-identified” colleagues and friends is so thrilled to welcome the assembly of “high-knowledge crazies.”
“It’s time that people who are being trained to work in the mental-health sector aren’t just steeped in formal knowledge, but in knowledge of the personal narratives of people who’ve been through the system.”
It’s also time, she says, that higher education is made more accommodating to those who have the lived experience of mental illness and its shaming labels.
And, as the ever-mischievous David Reville decided, it’s time the mad got to invent a few labels of their own.
I was supposed to attend this taping (plus to others) on Sunday but due to the emotional garbage I was feeling I stayed at home and watched the live stream/chat of the tapings.
What I find totally amusing is that one of my comments from the live chat was put on the screen! So, even though I did not attend I still had my say for the whole of Canada to see! I rule!
It is almost an hour long but it is very good!
Video Description: The upcoming 5th edition of the DSM is causing major debate in the psychiatric community. The Agenda examines how changes to the psychiatric “Bible” will create opportunities to diagnose people with mental disorders. Part of tvo’s Mental Health Matters series.
I am experiencing something very strange. I have gotten myself so worked up that I feel detached from my body. My chest hurts, I’m so fuzzy and this is just horrible! I’m going to attempt to distract myself!
In Canada it is Mental Health Week! There has been some discussion already on what to call people who have a mental illness. Some prefer to be called mentally ill and other’s want absolutely no associations with medical definitions!
I think it’s great that we have so many words that we can use to describe ourselves! How we label ourselves in regards to mental health is just as personal as the language we use to describe other parts of our self!
This does lead to confusion because I may be okay with calling myself one thing and you may hate it! How do we solve that? By asking! What do you like to be called? That’s the language you should use and it will change depending on who you talk too.
I have my own preferred terms/labels that I will use to talk about myself.
- Mental Health Issue
- Emotionally different
It doesn’t bother me to identify as the actual disorder in the sense of I should not deny an aspect of myself. I call myself a singer because I sing. So I should be free to call myself borderline if that is what I am.
Also how you use these terms/labels makes a huge difference. I prefer to use “with” or “experiencing”.
- “I have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.”
- “I am experiencing a mental health issue.”
I am a huge fan of reclaiming language which is why I don’t even mind describing myself as “crazy”, “freak” or “fucked up”. Embracing these terms is a slippery slope since they can easy be used against you.
I try to remember that words only have power over as for as long as we let them. Call me a “chair” enough and I may begin to think “chair” is a degrading word. Directly identifying with the illness we’re usually told is dangerous but I feel what makes it so dangerous is everyone hating that you’ve been diagnosed with it. Identify as “crazy” is bad because we’re told that being “crazy” is undesirable.
It’s stigma’s fault, not mine. I will always be who I want to be regardless of what everyone else thinks. It’s easier that way. It may be painful but I can’t continue to try to be what others want me to be but that is way more painful. It just doesn’t work that way.
“I understand that many people define themselves as “mentally ill,” and accept a medical model. If you do this, that is your choice. However, at this time, the “medical model” is dominant. The medical model has become a a bully in the room. Language that somehow encourages that domination isn’t helpful to the nonviolent revolution in the mental health system we need, a nonviolent revolution of choice, empowerment, self-determination.
What about the many other people who define their problems from a social, psychological, spiritual or other point of view? And what about those who don’t see their differences as problems, just as differences, or even as qualities?”
- David Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International
There are some awesome events coming up in Toronto this May (aside from my birthday!). If you live in Toronto/GTA or can get here you should come!
Sunday May 6 2012
TVO and CAMH present Mental Health Matters at Great Hall of Hart House, University of Toronto
- kicking of Mental Health Matters Week with 3 segments on The Agenda
- First, Big Ideas Lecture – Diagnostic Inflation: Does Everyone Have a Mental Disorder? (I have RSVP’ed for this one)
- Second, The Agenda with Steve Paikin – Are there more mental illnesses today or more labels? (Full)
- Third, The Agenda with Steve Paikin – Speaking of the Mentally Ill (I have RSVP’ed for this one)
Saturday May 12, 2012
STOP THE ‘CRAZY’
- In support of Toronto’s upcoming Mental Health Awarness Week, Arrabon House is hosting their first annual “Stop The Crazy” movement/fundraiser.
- The Movement: To create a human chain for people of all walks of life to stand together with arms linked and lined up along Queen street in white t-shirts stating who they are i.e mother, father, sister, mental health professionals, persons experiencing mental health. The white t-shirts are a symbol of our solidarity, as we will also have tape over our mouths stating what type of mental health affects our lives. We will be representing just how many people are affected by mental health, and how everyone suffers in silence. We will then take the tape off to raise awareness that it is “crazy” not to talk about it.
- I am attending and have made sure that this is a safe space because going out and standing on the street with your diagnosis written on you is a BIG FUCKING DEAL!
Thursday May 24, 2012
MY 23rd BIRTHDAY!!!!!!
Friday May 25, 2012
SlutWalk Toronto 2012
- Meeting at 5pm at Nathan Phillips Square.
- The rally will start walking at 5:30 sharp up University Ave. to Queen’s Park.
- Speakers will be at Queen’s Park between 6:30 and 7pm, finishing up before 8 p.m.
- I am of course going with my hot date Lillian with our awesome t-shirt and signs!!!!
So that’s whats in store for May! SO EXCITING!!!!
ALL ARE FREE!!!!!
We all know someone who has done something that we cannot fathom. They have done something that makes no sense to us. They have done something that has hurt someone, hurt the community, hurt society. They have done something that makes us believe something truly must be wrong with them.
They have murdered, assaulted, stalked, abused, raped, terrorized and many other things that make us horrified that such humans can exist.
We call them crazy, psycho, freak, insane, nuts, fucked up, monster, messed up and so on.
I have been called these names and more yet I have never done any of the things we usually associate “craziness” with. I have never murdered, I have never abused, I have never intentionally caused anyone pain!
All I had to do to earn these labels was be diagnosed with a mental illness.
I woke up “crazy”.
I went to school a “psycho”.
I hung out with friends as a “freak”.
I watched a movie with my family as “insane”.
I cried as “nuts”.
I laughed as “fucked up”.
I coped as a “monster”.
I tried to live as “messed up”.
That’s not fair!