Thanks for coming by while I’ve been AWOL. Will be posting regularly again in a couple weeks, but I am reading your blogs people, and nodding my head.
Folks are reporting the aftermath of the VT massacre and the unvarnished defamation, stereotyping, calls for coercion, surveillance, mass screenings, treatment “advocacy” and national registries to single out those of us who have psychiatric histories. I’m seeing fear, heartache, anger and outrage and nodding along, here come some links:
Furious Seasons has compiled essential reading on Fuller Torrey’s Treatment Advocacy Center, TAC gets whacked.
From Hymes, who blogs from Virginia, these are short, sharp and to the point:
That’s how blogging looks these days, and more power to us, but because I caint be satisfied I admit to longing for narratives too. I want to read how people who are stigmatized come to grips with it, and speak of stigma as an experience that colors and intrudes on every aspect of life, and their strategy for dealing with it.
This is an opportunity for consciousness-raising, if stigma is harmful we need to say how, and make people understand what it’s like to deal with institutionalized oppression from without and within. Yes, it lives within, come on now, most people dealing with psych issues deal with self-hate issues, not many will talk about it online. Burrow has, if you know of others, feel free to link me in the comments.
I find dealing with stigma an ongoing big long heavy tearful valuable learning recovery process that keeps me honest, more positive, more connected and less alienated. I look in vain for a body of research that supports my journey, maybe we just need to tell more stories:
The traditional literature on stigma focuses on identifying factors contributing to the harmful impact of stigmas on the lives of stigmatized individuals. This focus, however, cannot explain the many cases of individuals possessing a stigmatized identity flourishing in our society. This article investigates the processes that successful stigmatized individuals use to overcome the harmful consequences of stigmatization. Specifically, this article reviews three processes:
(2) strategic interpretations of the social environment; and
(3) focusing on multiple identities that have been identified in the literature to help stigmatized individuals handle prejudice and discrimination. Moreover, successful individuals adopt an “empowerment” model as opposed to a “coping” model when dealing with stigma. In other words, successful individuals view overcoming the adversities associated with stigma as an empowering process, as opposed to a depleting process.
That’s it, the only paper I’ve ever seen on making stigma work for you, you’d think there’d be a huge body of scholarship on this man, it comes under the rubric of turning lemons into lemonade, and that’s what social researchers write about. I think it’s up to people who know what it’s about to tell our stories and I wonder why we aint, it’s such a big part of life, stigma, or so we say. The word gets thrown around, then falls flat on the table, inert.
a word or phrase, often sounding authoritative or technical, that is a vogue term in a particular profession, field of study, popular culture, etc.
stock phrases that have become nonsense through endless repetition
I’m trying to figure out what it takes to effectively confront social stigma. I think you have to prepare for it. I think the preparation involves confronting something even harder at first, the more painful self-stigma, and putting that in its place.
We don’t talk much about self-stigma, which suggests something afoot in that elephant in the room sort of way.
We may withhold self-loathing and shame from public consumption for the sake of a greater good, because we’re fighting for our civil rights, we need to be emphatic, seize the discourse and stay on message — how dare you force me when I’ve done no harm, put me down, act upon, dehumanize and treat me like garbage?
It’s in the genes, sorry how it sucks to be you.
It’s not the sin of it that bothers me. Discrimination, bigotry, coercion, sure, that’s all wrong, but it’s not a bad moral stance that brings me to my knees. It’s knowing what they think, and they trot out the experts and it’s hard to disagree with their estimation of people like me. Advertising works on the same principle. I have to talk back to the TV screen to keep self-loathing at bay, but I know age-defying moisturizers are a sexist scam, when I hear about the evils of mental illness it’s not that easy.
I internalize it, and won’t pretend otherwise. Because there’s no hiding it, if you feel like shit the world sees that and wonders why you don’t smell your own schema.
How can a person be mad in America and not live with shame? Look at Mad Pride, it’s embarrassing, the compensation in it. The mad pride movement was a quick fix for feeling rotten about yourself without having to confront your sense of inferiority, on the contrary, mad pride makes one elite and superior, yes, like magic, big surprise they dropped the ball.
If I’m going to resist self-loathing I need space for feeling worthless, inhuman and defective in comparison to the under-diagnosed. I can’t both resist what I’m also denying.
To deny self-loathing makes for hollow activism because of the fraudulence, because what is disowned is projected into the environment and appears irrational, and unjustifiably defensive, and people sense it’s more about feeding the vulnerability mindset than it is about social justice, which is something I learned the hard way.
It is hard. We have to dig deep in courage and valor, and discover with Robert Frost —
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found it was ourselves.
Passed my bedtime, so will leave it there, and come back later with something sensible, if it means turning my hard-drive upside down to find, there has to be at least one self-stigma social research paper in there somewhere, I could not make this stuff up if I tried.