The Purity Myth by Jessica Valenti is another book I read awhile ago, said I would use the discussion questions when I had writer’s block and then never did.
Here is the first question I answered from the book: The Purity Myth Question 1
Onto the next question…if I can even remember what she’s referring too….
How do you think the ethics of passivity affected your life, or how do you see it play out around you?
The “ethics of passivity” have to do with girls and women being passive because that is how they are supposed to be. How has this played out in my life? I did have serious depression so that increased my passivity but I guess currently the ethics of passivity are playing out in my life harshly because I am not following them. I am a very outspoken, angry and fairly confident young woman. This can put people off, men and women, because I’m not behaving like that stereotype that, if we’re serious, very few women are actually living up too. Still, the fact that I will sometimes keep myself in check because I do not want to disturb the peace when some men wouldn’t care if a reminder that some passivity is still in me. I am conscious of this though so I can do something about it.
A recent comment in one of the discussion forums in my AIDS course has me fuming! Here is the thread.
Lee: I am a very paranoid person when it comes to STD’s and am always very careful and use prevention. I have to say though that at times you just want to live in the moment and not worry about reaching for the condom box and. I think that what Dr Curran said was very true. I think that a lot of the times women are sort of pressured to not use a condom cause ‘it kills the moment’ or ‘the love’
Kristen (Me): It’s very unfortunate that men and women feel that condoms wreck sex. They are what keeps sex safe and too me, nothing says “I care about you” more then being safe!
I have heard many women (and sometimes from my own experience) tell me that men have said “I don’t have sex with a woman who is not on birth control.” This clearly places all the pressure on women to be in charge on contraception. Some women, such as myself, cannot be on hormonal contraceptives because of horrible side effects so condoms are all we have.
This is a great example of where sexual education, female empowerment and the breaking down of patriarchal beliefs and systems can greatly improve everyone’s physical and mental health!
Hui: Well, condoms do wreck sex. It’s a too obvious fact of life.
The question is whether it’s worth enduring a wrecked sex life and for how long. I personally don’t.
Kristen (Me): I personally feel it is that thought that Lee and Dr. Curran were talking about as being why many individuals end up contracting HIV/AIDS because of the negative beliefs (and even experiences) that people have about condoms and pleasure.
What, to me, is a fact, scientifically proven over and over is the effectiveness of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS and other STI’s. I feel that is the obvious fact of life.
What I actually wanted to say:
What the fuck is wrong with you?!?!?! You need to change your fucking attitude and get your generalizations under control! HOW DARE YOU PARTICIPATE IN CREATING NEGATIVE INFORMATION THAT, AS WE’RE LEARNING, CAN KILL PEOPLE!!!!!!! You just have a shitty attitude about sex overall if some penis balloon wrecks your sex life! You shouldn’t even be here in this course!!!!
…….I am no longer a part of this discussion due to my rage about it.
I’m on a section in Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining your Love Life that is talking about chivalry and how it should be dead. Chivalry is the nice expectation that men should do things for women (ie: pay for a meal, hold open a door etc). There is of course nothing wrong with men paying for a meal or holding open doors but it’s the expectation that is damaging to both men and women because it is rooted in sexism.
The author, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, is saying that romance is alive and well in the queer community (which does not surprised me) but that the gender expectations are not there. When a person in the LGBT community acts out a normally gendered stereotype, such as various acts of chivalry, they can do so with a freedom that straight couples do not get too.
I’m very curious. My LGBT followers and readers, are there no gender expectations in your relationships or how does this all play out?
I know in my relationship (straight) we’ll both old open doors for each other, both will pay for meals or pay for our own but I do know that there are times when he takes pride in being able to provide for me and where I enjoy it. This of course isn’t bad but rooted in gender stereotypes of men being the provider and women sitting there looking pretty.
Every so often when I call home to talk with my parents I think about how lucky I am to get along so well with my family.
When people find out I have BPD in some capacity they are usually surprised to hear that my relationship with my family is great. A functional family relationship is not usually a characteristic of a person experiencing BPD. I was the stereotypical teenager that didn’t want anything to do with their family. My home was where I ate and slept. My own inner turmoil caused me to have a difficult relationship with my family but they always did their best with me.
Where I put all my efforts was in my friendships. My friends, who ever they were at the time, were my family. That is where all the emotional trauma originated.
My friends were everything to me. I had a few core group of people depending on the year and we would spending large amounts of time together. I would have done anything for my friends. At one point I saw my guy friends as the brothers I never had. They stuck up for me but had no idea how they contributed to my depression and self hate. Same goes for my girls. I still deal with the effects and I think this is partially where my dissociation comes from. I ignored a lot of what happened.
Trauma can come from anywhere and I hope that this can show that we can share a similar diagnosis but still lead very different lives.
Yes, I am one of those awesome ladies! The other is my great friend Lillian!
This is a blog posting from the youth mental health organization we are both a part of, Young Ones, about how we came to speak with CAMH about their Defeat Denial Campaign. Blog post is also by another amazing young woman, J.
Please also check out Young Ones!
“I don’t want society to continue to receive the wrong message or one message about mental health,” Bellows said. “I was worried that if I was reading these ads in a negative way then others would as well, and the outcome could be further stereotyping.” -Kristen
“It felt really great to see such a big organization make a large scale change with advice from the [mental health] community,” Birchall said. “[CAMH] stepped up to take feedback from people who were affected by this campaign, and then delivered on their word.” -Lillian
On of my campers is on psychiatric medication, an anti-depressant and anti-psychotic. One of my co-counsellors immediately became nervous about what this child would be like. I pushed aside my anger at the assumption this camper would be different to the extent nervousness was warranted and reassured her that I had been on this medication/similar medication and that things would be fine.
The first day of camp this particular camper was not at camp and another co-counsellor expressed nervous about what the camper would be like. Again I said not to worry.
My co-counsellors’ response was typical of those who do not have any information on psychiatric medication aside from what is in the media (which we all know is bullshit).
When I first heard of the nervousness in some of my co-counsellors all I could think about was how I’m concerned about what the medication is doing to her than what she would do (if anything, which she hasn’t because she’s fine)!
There was a fear of what a child, who needed medication, could be like. It reminded me of what I heard about me and what I thought of myself when I first began medication, “I must be so crazy that I need medication!”
Still on the same topic of medication, I was having a conversation with one of the concerned counsellors during our lunch break a few days ago. She shared with me a story of someone she knew whose young children were murdered by their Mother who was experiencing depression (most likely postpartum). I expressed how horrible that was and that I couldn’t imagine the pain the Father was going through. She response was, again stereotypical, that she must have gone off her medication and killed her children. I suppressed my desire to go into a rage and instead told her about how I had been on psychiatric medication and that sometimes it’s the medication that can cause violence.
It seems to me that the mental health profession has placed great emphasis on medication as being the ultimate treatment but has not effectively educated ANYONE on what psychiatric medication is really all about! This is of course because the drug companies do not want anyone to know that, for example, homicidal thoughts and actions are a potential side effect of some of their products (I experienced this myself). So we have a whole society believing in medication but knowing nothing about it.
Not everyone who goes on medication is going to commit a horrible act hence the reason the medication. Not everyone who decides to discontinue medication will commit a horrible act. Not everyone who chooses not to take medication is going to commit a horrible act. Those are the facts!
Medication is also not the end all of problems! As all of us know we still need to work on our issues. The medication is supposed to help make solving our issues easier but it doesn’t erase them!
These medication stereotypes have got to go!
I want to go over my position.
In light of certain crappy events I’ve realized that I may have screwed myself over.
I have been finding my position on mental health has led some to believe that I’m 100% against diagnosis and treatment which is leading my struggles to be minimized and people being very confused.
So for the record:
I believe people experience at times severe emotional and psychological issues. I really don’t like thinking about it as an illness because I don’t want to be sick but I understand the term and what it does for people, what it has done for me.
I know that I have experienced emotions that were almost the death of me and there is something wrong with that. I don’t want to be feeling things to the extreme that I don’t care about my life anymore because I’m in that much pain.
Overall I guess you could say that I believe in the severity but I’m very skeptical and critical of the frequency and types of “illnesses”.
So how did all of this screw me over? Because when I need help I don’t always get it. My views have downplayed my horrible moments which as of late are getting more frequent and more severe. I am doing my best to continue using the skills I have picked up over the years but I guess I’m just going into a phase where things might be a bit harder.
All I keep hearing though is, “don’t worry it will leave.” Thanks, I know but if I’m in a moment of desperation I can’t think about how it will go away like I could do right now. When I reach for help during these moments by being very upfront, in an attempt to explain that this is a serious issue, I am accused of manipulation (a disgusting stereotype).
I have something to say about this whole manipulation idea, aside from fuck you. If you think I’m telling you I want to cut, or I do cut, feel like dying, want to die, want to go to the hospital etc because I want your attention, THAT IS STILL A PROBLEM!!! If I feel I need to create extreme situations then I’m clearly feeling something that needs to be addressed. Causing the actual damage isn’t the only sign of a problem!
I have better things to do than manipulate people. Trying to keep myself alive and functioning during a rough patch is higher on my list. I need help sometimes too and I need good people around me to help with that.
Regardless of whether I want to say I have an illness I will say that I experience extreme emotions that can be very harmful and destructive. I can’t escape this fact. This shouldn’t mean that I have an illness but it definitively SHOULD NEVER MEAN THAT I DO NOT GET SUPPORT!
I stumbled across this post on my Twitter feed (@TheMadvocates) and was curious!
It got me thinking a few things about my experience with psych meds and about psych meds in general.
I agree with this article when it says that those who have never experienced a psychiatric condition will never understand those who have. This has been proven to me time and time again. It’s not a bad thing to not understand in the sense of never having lived it. I will never understand what it is like to be LGBT because that is not my experience but I can be aware of the issues, be empathetic, not contribute to homophobia, spread awareness and support to the community and my friends who are LGBT.
Face it! We can’t know about everything even though we want to. There are some things we just can’t understand.
I have blogged about my shit-tastic experience with psych meds (http://prideinmadness.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/antidepressant-suicide-ironic/) but this does not mean that my battle is over. Psych meds still affect my life even though I don’t take a pill or multiple pills a day anymore. I still face a stigma. I am the Unmedicated Mad!!! BOO!!!!!!! Did I scare you?
I feel there is an “understanding” so to speak of the people who take psych meds by those who do not. Because mental illness is considered an illness it does not surprise anyone to hear that someone is on an antidepressant, anti-psychotic or anti-anxiety medication. It is expected to be the first course of action. We understand in general the idea that if you are sick you take medication. That’s not hard to understand. It is almost that medication that confirms to the world that you are sick.
So what about the people who chose not to be on medication? There is a stigma that I have felt has brought me more of a laugh than a cry. As I said before I am the unmedicated mad. This scares people. There is a horrible belief that people with mental health issues will go off their meds and become COMPLETELY CRAZY!!!!! (this stereotype is especially used to describe those with bipolar)
“You’re sick?! Why would you go off your medication? A diabetic wouldn’t stop taking their insulin!?!?”
Why would I go off? Because I want to! I have the right as a human being to decide what I want and do not want to put into my body.
The other issue I’ve come up against is the idea that since I am not on medication that there is nothing wrong with me. I ascribe to this belief myself but others then believe that this discredits many of my opinions and thoughts on issues about mental health which it in no way does.
I feel like I have been pushed to the fringes because I have decided to not take psych meds. This does not mean that I’m better or worse than those who take medication. It means that I made a decision that I felt would work for me. Everyone else can decide for themselves.
Overall we should not discriminate against those who are and are not on medication. We have the right to decide what course of action we would like to take for our recovery and we need the support or our community to help do that.
Psych meds are a double-edged sword. You take it you’re fucked and if you don’t you’re fucked. But we can’t be judging within our own community. Those with mental health issues need to be supporting one another. Just because I chose no medication and you chose medication doesn’t mean that we won’t both have our bad days and need each other. We will. And as we’ve already talked about those who have lived it get it best and that is where the best support will come from.