by Patricia Lefave, Monophrenic
One of my readers was telling me that he had been contacted by a professional to participate in a conference about the 'stigma' of mental illness. My reader then discovered that the professional was not really interested in hearing what was being said, just as inside the bio psychiatric system he had not seen any interest in his point of view after the first few minutes when a diagnosis was reached. In part, my answer to his experience included this and I thought I would post it here as I have heard it so frequently.
What 'stigma' means to 'them' and what it means to us is not the same thing. "They" want to get rid of the ''stigma" of 'mental illness' by training the public to become even MORE deaf to what we 'claim' happened to us involving other people, by strenuously promoting the idea that our CLAIMS are just a manifestation of a bio chemical illness 'just like diabetes.'
See the difference? We on BOTH sides of the meaning admit to the ongoing existence of a 'stigma,' but the understanding of the actual cause of that is completely different. So, while we are using the same WORD, we do not mean the same thing, and 'OUR' side of our own experience is not invited to 'debate' it with the 'experts.' This extreme imbalance (ironically) of POWER and control is what is keeping this going.
It creates a tautological argument that has already been 'won' by the 'experts' BEFORE our experience of it has even begun. It is also doing a damned fine job of enabling and supporting abusers who want to believe THEY represent all this is 'normal' in the world and they are therefore 'justified' in their abuse of others since we 'others' are 'abnormal.' This is especially true if the abuse is psycho-spiritual/verbal in nature as we can’t parade our 'bruises' or 'injury' in a concrete way.
It is all about the psycho-politics.