13 responses to “Where About Us But Without Us Leads”

  1. The Untoward Lady

    Doesn’t the term “mental hygiene” just send shivers down your spine? Because if you aren’t quite the way you’re “supposed to be” you’re “unclean.”

  2. amandaw

    And yet, when a “sane” person does something violent and deadly, the violence is not attributed directly to their sanity. That’s just an individual person doing something individually bad.

    But people with psychiatric diagnoses, their actions must be resulting from that diagnosis — despite their rate of crime being on par with the general average, making this assumption patently ridiculous once it is actually examined.

    But no one wants to examine it.

  3. codeman38

    Just a cognitive processing suggestion– it’d probably be best to have the acronym “AOT” next to the text “assisted outpatient treatment”, or vice versa. Maybe it’s just my reading patterns, but it took me far too long to correlate the phrase in the middle of the first paragraph with the unexpanded acronym in the 3rd paragraph.

  4. Vic

    I’m studying clinical psychology and this is ridiculous. Very few people with schizophrenia end up hurting others. And the only way to determine risk (risk, not certainty) is to individually evaluate people. And that risk changes based on the moment and individual. And most people with schizophrenia know they are experiencing something troubling. It’s downright disgusting that even people who want treatment are unable to get it and then laws like this restrict the rights of an entire clinical population for no good reason.

  5. codeman38

    @k0: Much better, thanks! And understood about accidentally editing it out; I was wondering if that might’ve been what happened, in fact.

  6. Ouyang Dan

    if we don’t keep clean (or at least quarantined) we contaminate others

    I have felt like this my whole life any time I have ever talked about anything relating to my mental health with any of my friends who don’t have to deal with it daily.

    Thank you for writing this, K0. Smashing.

  7. lauredhel

    The meaning shift on “hygiene” is an interesting one, and relatively new. Etymologically and in the really quite recent past, “hygiene” just meant “healthful art” (“way of living that promotes health”), or “branch of science to do with preventive health” – concepts that are problematic in their own way in conception and execution, but not ones that are exclusive to ideas and practices of washing and cleanliness. Hygeia was the goddess of health and daughter of Asklepios in Greek mythology. She is sometimes seen as the personification and embrace of a holistic approach to health and well-being, and identified with the divine feminine, rather than the narrower crisis/remedy “masculine” approach in Asklepian medicine.

    That meaning lives on in terms like “sleep hygiene” and “occupational hygiene”, which are not about cleanliness; but with the meaning contraction for “hygiene” that has occurred in general English discourse, the resonances with cleanliness and sanitation are disturbing.

    …I’ll shut up now.

  8. Amanda

    Torrey has never failed to make my blood boil.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..I have become a cyborg!! =-.

  9. Cat

    I’ve always held a boiling hatred for New York State medical law—I go to college there, and it’s responsible for my being hospitalized against my will when my OCD-related violent obsessive thoughts were mistaken for real threatening behavior (the most traumatic experience of my life) and later, making me jump through all sorts of ridiculous medical/legal hoops just to get my meds; at times they’ve seemed so distant about it all that I’ve been reduced to tears. So honestly, this doesn’t surprise me at all. The fact that our medical system is so balkanized from state to state—allowing the officials to write whatever bigoted laws and rules they want—is exactly why we need a true national health care service.

  10. Jemima Aslana

    Well, not only must any bad deed done by someone with mental health difficulties be labeled as an effect of those, but very often bad deeds committed by perfectly neurotypical people are also attributed to a diagnosis. Such as “temporarily insane” or whatever the legal phrase is.

    Mere days ago, one of the news papers here in DK, wrote that Israel’s behaviour towards the global community and the flotilla attack was a sign of their increasing autism.

    In comments on their website it became a debate about which psychiatric diagnosis was the most accurate descriptor (schizophrenia, autism, sociopathy, etc), not about whether it was at all okay to use diagnoses as descriptors of neurotypical people doing bad things.

    I tried to turn that flow, but no such luck. I wrote the paper criticising their choice of words, but they defended themselves, saying that autistic is the most accurate descriptor of what Israel is doing.

    Thus, since diagnoses of all kinds are becoming a more and more accepted form of analogy and descriptor of bad deeds and the causes thereof, it is really no surprise that any bad deed by someone who does happen to have a diagnosis is attributed to that.

    It is a terrible development we’re seeing, and I don’t have a single clue what to do about it. Even writing the people at the news paper only resulted in me being told that they felt completely at ease judging that their misuse of a word is not misuse at all and is not at all damaging. In fact, it would severely limit the language, it would actually harm the language if we limited the use of certain words.

    In other words: language and privileged folks’ use of it is prioritized higher than the people affected by that use. Surprise, surprise.

    Those incidents reflect different levels of villification of diagnoses. Schizophrenia has been feared for quite some time due to bad reputation, created by completely haphazard use of the word. Autism has not yet reached that level, but some people are working very hard to get it there, it seems.

    And I have no idea how we can possibly turn that development around,

    And just for the record: I am autistic. And I have been fighting for over a year to receive qualified help and treatment. I have not yet succeeded. And I supposedly live in the country with one of THE best socialised health care systems in the world. Oh yeah, and I haven’t killed anyone – but damn, sometimes I want to.

    I blogged about the Israel = autistic thing on my blog, if you care to read more.

  11. Vic

    Jemima, that’s absolutely ridiculous that that paper labeled Israel as autistic. Not only that but it doesn’t many any sense at all! Good on you for writing to them despite their indifference and lousy defense.

  12. NLP

    Nice article. Well worth checking out the writings of Thomas Szasz and R.D Laing on the subject of mental illness and becoming a “non-person.”

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