Or is it a spot for the comments of the authoritarian personalities that fear and hate vulnerablity who come by here and get all worked up over humanism and the trauma model of mental illness, all enraged over the “lack” of confidence in the medical model, because denying the psychological aftermath of an abusive childhood, makes it easier to avoid dealing with their own trauma issues, allowing them to maintain their entitlement to mistreat others, because according to the biological model mistreating others has no significant consequences? You know, the ones who label any approach outside of the dominant paradigm as antipsychiatry or Scientology. Is this a thread for their comments?
Nope, because I have been hitting that hard for a long time you know, that the medical model makes child abuse possible, and I don’t know if others see that as I do. And there are other, concrete reasons the medical model gets in the way of recovery so I am ready to start articulating them more. Seasons change, time to move on and explore less theoretical and more pragmatic subjects, which made me think it’s time to tackle reification, which I’m sure I don’t take seriously enough. Perhaps it all depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.
I’m thinking again, about my own use of the language especially psychosis and psychopathology. I thought I came to terms with this, until that assclown walked away from my beautiful post last week with the impression that I was “in episode.” So, I never think of people as symptomatic, but do use the words psychosis and psychopathology in the rare times I see/experience that, and it was a moral decision for me to decide that I would use these terms. Because what is is. And it make no sense to me to kill these words in an effort to “humanize” psychic phenomena, because what is, is and if we’re going to erase psychosis, we might very well erase and “humanism” and “community” and the nice words. But having been reduced and described as symptomatic on the troll’s blog, makes me wonder if I want to keep using this language. Which brings up the whole po-mo ball of confusion around reification, and the social construction of reality, language doesn’t describe reality, language creates reality. You know what I mean? I’m stuck.
Words, like the chisel of the carver, can create what never existed before rather than simply describe what already exists. As a man speaks, not only is the thing which he is declaring coming into existence, but also the man himself. Martin Heidegger
Thinking about mental fragility, and hearing those words about someone who already has issues with instability, being defined as “in episode”, or “psychotic”, how does saying those words create that experience in the person? Ok, so there’s a word for that too, “introjection”, and if you want to help someone who is unstable, I think that’s the first thing you’d work on, not passively introjecting, but instead actively assimilating what is said about you, and spitting back what insults your soul. But how can you do that if you’re also willing to use pathologizing language? But is the language the problem, or the hateful associations that most people have with words like “psychosis”?
If we’re talking about practicalities, one suggestion is not to use those words when you are angry at the person you are using them about. Not that I am great at that myself, but if we use them when we are angry they do become insults rather than descriptions. I use the word psychotic and psychosis and I don’t know a better word to describe that real occurence but I *try*, often fail, to use other words when I am angry, even if the person I am angry at is psychotic.
Right, for sure never in anger, but I’m also thinking of the terms used to dismiss, reduce and objectify. I have to make it clear that I don’t mean it that way, and there is no sin in any of it. But my mind just tilted into this whole idea of what really exists anyway, and how much of what we think of as real we create, which means we can create other things instead, if we are clever about it.
Just googled “mental illness and reification” and it led to 160,000 hits. Others have trod this path, so I have some catching up to do.
I just woke up, so keep that in mind, but toss this shit out. Get under the dirt. Like Bob Dylan. He ain’t rarified, he’s dirtified. Got it? I’ll be back, I’ll bring my map – you’ll see.
Use the beauty of analogy, metaphor, two by four. You get into two by four land, you got sumthin’. People will know & care then.
In other wurds, your approach is wrong, somewhat. Kinda.
By the way, you mentioned meaning of the word is is. You know, that was a very exact thing Clinton said, he said past or present; simple and as exact as that.
Exactness is important.
When it is mocked or becomes a punch line, that is propaganda. The method of propaganda is to distort of course, and one way to do that is to leave out information – a different technique than twisting the information. And cataloguing this sort of thing is exactness. So, what is needed is exactness of course, and cataloguing is the only, I repeat, the only way for that.
That should be spoken of and revered, and a way to achieve reverence is though anology and metaphor.
I need to get my bacon and banana now.
reification – The collective projection onto an object of a level of reality it does not actually possess, yet the people themselves are not aware that it is their own collective cognitve process accomplishing this. The object invariably appears in cognition as a completely separate entity with its own qualities independent of the cognizers, even though the cognizers have been active participants in the construction of the experience, shaping the form, content, and meaning of the object.
There’s no denying this happens. Read furious seasons today? Abilify, being aggressively targeted to women? An anti-psychotic! Why target women, if not for the gullibility factor, the shaping of her by the cognizers?
Yeah, I see about the Abilify. It’s obviously to play into the hands of making men feel like they take charge, and that they know what to do; they know the true “you.” So, take this, my dear, you’ll be compliant then.
I took a quick look at that link too – looks fascinating. I’ll look into it.
I have to take care of many practical things today, I’m becoming able to tackle them. I used to be able to handle so many things within a framework of my own design, because mine was devised from an outcast post. Trying to get back to it.
So, today, much to do. I’ll try to add as much as I can later.
Good for you dear, strike when you can. It’s cold and rainy and gothy here, and I love theory and have time for noodling so will be at this all day. I just found a wonderful scold at the Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation who just might tie some things together with a paper called The Social Construction of Mental Illness
and its Implications for the Recovery Model. I’ll let you know if it’s anything.
This thread has me thinking about labeling theory, and symbolic interactionism, which is a sociological constructionist theory of deviance.
“Several issues represent the hallmark of the labeling theory’s central concerns: audiences, labeling and stigma, reflexivity (this means looking at ourselves, in part, through the eyes of others), the inner world of deviance, and the stickiness of labels and self-fulfilling prophecy.”
The labeling and stigmatization process entails:
“An audience that labels an activity, belief or condition as deviant, and second, it labels a specific individual as deviant.”
“If no audience labels something or someone as deviant, no deviance exists.” (pp 88-90 Deviant Behavior, Erich Goode)
I think this is, in large part, about social construction. How these issues are viewed across societies and through time, tends to change as well. Over time, mental illness was seen as caused by possession, sin, masturbation, etc. It was at one point viewed as a result of neglect and/or abuse, but that was not well-suited to the audience- too much accountability for general tastes. The audience is so important in this process. So, now we have the oh-so-appealing “chemical imbalance” and “brain illness” construct, and here we are attempting to reconstruct that to fit with our own understanding. In the meantime, we may also end up using our own language to construct reality for others.
I’m also thinking of the ways in which labeling someone/something as deviant/outside/wrong/unacceptable/crazy helps the ones doing the labeling feel more the opposite–the way in which the labelers consolidate their own identity or rightness by excluding or condemning their others (the poststructuralist thing). We can’t quite have “sanity” or “wellness” or whatever unless we identify their counterpoints.
hadn’t read this thread, yet found myself writing about something similar (though in a very different mode) in my latest post. meanings get created by communities. if i decide that mental illness means pain but no one agrees with me, mental illness does not mean pain. it is the strength of the community that makes meanings stick.
i understand your desire to retain words like psychosis. it is similar, maybe, to my desire to retain mental illness, not put it in quotation marks. the risk is a) the erasure of people’s experience (those who define themselves as mentally ill) and b) the erasure of history (the history of the construct “mental illness”). but communities can tweak meanings, if they stick together and become powerful. power is not the result of number. it is the result of incisiveness. if you are right, if what you say make sense, you will prevail.
i remember my second therapist, he didn’t like the word depression. he wanted me to use pain instead. i didn’t like pain. pain was too vague. i was feeling depressed, i.e. down, oppressed, unable to move, smothered by a powerful yet invisible, clammy hand. i needed the word depression. he was a great guy. i still think of him with admiration. but, at that time, i needed the word, the description, its baggage. words do not need to be discarded. it is enough to redefine the baggage they carry, their connotative value, the resonances they evoke. we can do that with theory, or we can do it with poetry. either way is fine, though i, myself, like poetry better.
Yes, communities can tweak meanings if they are powerful but I disagree about power prevailing because it is right. Societies on this earth have to balance between control (power) and acceptance. When you say that what makes sense prevails, the issue is what makes sense to those in power prevails.
Great communities accept dissent and misunderstanding, not as a thought disorder, not as a mistaken belief, but as a different perspective. Good people understand that it is possible to agree to disagree, that each human has a right to a different opinion.
When the left starts believing that it’s opinions are the only ones that are correct and defining people who disagree as mentally ill and really believing that they have found the absolute truth and all dissent is mental illness, you have a very powerful and very wrong, evil community which is why a lot of the resistance to the mental health industry started on the right. Phyllis Schafely against Teen Screen and such. Sure Schafely and co on some level may just want to prevent the government from finding out many of it’s members use archaic forms of punishment on their children that I would agree with the left are wrong, still her group has made great strides in preventing Teen Screen which I think is wonderful.
“When you say that what makes sense prevails, the issue is what makes sense to those in power prevails.”
…which is probably why ama said:
“communities can tweak meanings, if they stick together and become powerful. power is not the result of number. it is the result of incisiveness”
“Great communities accept dissent and misunderstanding, not as a thought disorder, not as a mistaken belief, but as a different perspective.”
Do they really Sally? If such communities exist, I don’t know where they are. Social norms and the punishment of their violation serve the function of creating cohesiveness (among other things) in a society for the majority of its members, particularly when we are talking about ideas.
The social construction of mental illness goes way beyond defining those with different opinions as mentally ill. That’s simplistic and rather absurd. Mental illness and its social construction existed long before there was a “right” or a “left”.
But somehow, I doubt this will matter to you. Thanks for the lecture. And I think it’s cute that you come to my blog and read all my new entries and then come on over here and talk about TeenScreen. Funny and obvious.
OK, I don’t know whatall’s going on between you two, but I’m in favor of the hashing it out. The are no “new” perspectives here, and therefore no need for lecturing, Sally brings views that have been articulated to the point of cliche for some of us, yes.
As for myself, I spent the last 2 days reading all kinds of social theory and constructivist critique, and you know where I ended up? Buber. Yes, Thee Buber I am always jawing about around here, the “I and thou” philosopher/theologian/educator/saint.
I have to do job stuff the next couple of days, but will come back to all this in a blog post once all is absorbed.
Sally, it occurs to me you have resentments toward us about the asperger’s and thought disorder ripostes tossed at you in previous discussions, is that right? My advice is to do like Whitman and “dismiss whatever insults your soul.”
My husband, Moike, has a good definition for reification: It is the confusion of the subject and the object with each other. For instance, if you think that having a fancy car makes you sexy, you are alienating your own fantasies or actualities of sex appeal unto the car.
Which doesn’t quite solve the problem of whether language creates you or not.
I have therefore, another theory that those who have been lucky enough to have had the freedom to run around and explore their environments as children are less the victims of a linguistic construction of reality than those who have been brought up behind society’s iron bars of prohibitions and permissions all their lives. I don’t think that I should need to tell anyone here that what we experience as children is significant and that it can make or break us — or in this case, turn us into people for whom language itself is a system of reification or otherwise.
Well FP, I don’t know if I’m any more capable of hashing this out than I am of acting like Walt Whitman. My views may be cliche to you but they are my views and I think I should be allowed to express them. I don’t get what I’m doing that pisses TMA off so bad and with family members hell bent on having me institutionalized I’m afraid it might really be some cognitive error that can get me locked up – professional victim – that’s what someone on here called me – I’m sure there’s a dsm number for that. This blog is fascinating and helpful to me and yet when I post, in spite of the fact that I mostly agree with what is said here and learn a lot, I generate fervent hostility like TMA’s last reply. Don’t think I miss that point.
You are being allowed to express your views Sally. No one has to agree on anything. So if you truly believe that “Good people understand that it is possible to agree to disagree, that each human has a right to a different opinion”, then nothing I say detracts anything in regards to what you express, does it?
It was me who called you a professional victim. I had asked if you had aspergers because you put me in a really bad spot there and never saw it or copped to it. That’s why I asked do you have aspergers, out of frustration and honest curiosity, why you making me confess my manic behavior? Re-read the thread. I alluded to demonstrable psychosis in a (ahem, cough cough) person directing traffic and I put in parenthesis (don’t ask), which is universal code for MIND YOUR MANNERS, SENSITIVE PERSONAL REVELATION, and you did “ask” by denying that such a thing could possibly happen, and if it did, that farking nutbar who is out there directing traffic is a clear and present danger who should be locked up. Thanks! At the end of that day I went by choice to my neuropsychiatrist and not only did he not lock me up, he comforted me, told me I was sane, reduced my dosage. Moral of the story: Don’t quit your day job.
FP, I didn’t mean to imply in my last comment that you don’t think I should be allowed to express my cliche views. I appreciate this forum. Again, whatever it is I’m doing that is pissing you guys off must be related to what I did to make my family have me committed before because now, like then, I was paying my bills, interacting with friends, working full time.
Being right is a great thing but I’d rather be outside of a mental institution so if some once could explain to me what I’m wrong about, what I do that makes TMA so mad, then I might have a chance to change outside of a psychiatric hospital. It’s not your role here but I have had one cyber stalker post the last exchange I had here, the asbergers/committment thread to a literary discussion group mailing list as proof that I’m mentally unstable.
I’m sorry that happened. But considering the source, me, so what? We’re having a tiff and I call you nuts and one of your enemies posts that as proof that you are? People dig up/invent “dirt” on others in the blogosphere all the time, no matter how rational you are, and the only way you can keep that from happening is to refrain from posting anywhere, which is what your enemies want you to do. It’s all intimidation and getting kicks seeing you twist in the wind. Everyone knows your past has a hold on you, I don’t know if getting closure is an option for your own peace of mind, but until you do I think you’re telling people precisely how they can hurt you.
The weird thing is I don’t know exactly why TMA is pissed off. I wonder if she thinks I’m someone else or, since I don’t know her name, if she’s someone I know in another context that I’ve inadvertantly pissed off.
Offline, I have friends and relationships and don’t generally piss people off more than normal. Online, people, like the person who posted my comments to another list can really find me infuriating. But I don’t want to get bogged down in last wordism here.
but thanks anyway, well not for calling me Passive Agreesive. I just went and checked. I didn’t post to TMA’s teen sreen piece on her blog though I do agree with it. I didn’t find out about Teen Screen through that piece.
sally, as for the comment you made in response to my comment (seems light years ago), i said nothing about power prevailing because it’s right. i said nothing about power prevailing, period. i was talking about meanings prevailing, i.e. sticking, through persuasion and belief, and i was claiming the communities make this happen. not through power. through iteration and conviction. community is, in my vocab, the very antithesis of power the way you seem to refer to it. no one dictates anything to anyone else. there’s no pyramid and there’s no structure. there are people talking. i don’t advocate for any power whatsoever to define the reality of another.
all meanings are created by linguistic communities. all communities have a large linguistic component. which meanings stick and which don’t stick is a question of truth as much as social dynamics. in the case of mental illness, i advocate for a social dynamic in which the mentally ill define their own meanings and not the doctors, the scientists, the pharmaceutical companies, those who think of themselves as the mentally ill’s minders, or associations that benevolently advocate for the mentally ill without being made up of mentally ill people themselves.
What’s incredibly frustrating AMA is that every time we define ourselves some group steals our definition and warps it out of all relationship to its original meaning. Happened to nothing about us without us, recovery, peer, consumer directed, oh so many of our self-definitions.
I think we need a secret society with a secret handshake sometimes, I really do.
did y’all hear that segment on npr’s morning edition two days ago about many states’ banning smoking in psych hospitals? it was pretty intense. everyone and her brother interviewed except patients. everyone talking for the patients in much the same way as if they were little kids or pets. i wanna write about it, but maybe will never get around to, so i’ll give you the link, in case someone wants to pick it up.
I blogged about it happening in Virginia a while ago, went into effect this month. Patients are very unhappy with it. In Connecticut, a few patients got a lawyer to represent them and got a stay of the ban on smoking for now. We don’t have anyone who will take it on in Virginia. I think we should ask Phillip Morris……