Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The picket line

Schizophrenia should take a leaf from the Gay Pride movement. I have written several posts on the double standard that psychiatry exercises when it comes to a schizophrenia diagnosis. Scratch beneath the surface of most psychiatrists and you find the medical school training hardwired into their DNA. Medical school tells them that schizophrenia is a brain disorder, that it is most likely genetic, and that the "disease" is chronic. In other words, there is something really wrong with you by nature.

If you want help in overcoming a diagnosis of schizophrenia, it would be useful to interview your psychiatrist to ferret out the true feelings about your "illness" before you invest a lot of time and money thinking that this person is going to help you. Of course, in the end, nobody can help you but you, but some people can "encourage you" to be you, damn what others may say.

Psychiatry also believed that homosexuality was a mental illness, just like schizophrenia, just like depression, just like all the other labels that exist today that are still on the books in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Maybe homosexuality is a mental illness, just like schizophrenia, but who cares as long people who have "it" are otherwise happy and fulfilled?

The Gay Pride movement serves as a useful roadmap for what could happen to schizophrenia. In 1973 homosexuality was dropped from the DSM simply because homosexuals didn't consider themselves mentally ill and objected to the stigma, and they began "outing" the psychiatric profession on their entrenched attitudes. To most psychiatrists, if someone with a diagnosis of schizophrenia actually "recovers", then it is obvious to these thinkers that the diagnosis was wrong. Other mental disorders don't suffer the same stigma, hence the double standard.

My suggestion is when psychiatrist shopping, to ask your shrink point blank where he or she stands on schizophrenia. Is he or she "schizo" positive? Chances are you will hear all the right words at first, enough to make you invest a bit of time and energy. Soon enough it should become apparent where the doctor's convictions really lie.

Take a leaf from Gay Pride. Are you really "mentally ill" just because the DSM says so? Suffering the stigma of the medical profession and society in general does nothing to further you as a human being. Start picketing doctors who are not SZ positive. Man the barricades. You can change much about the way you are treated simply by being dropped from the DSM.

1 comment:

  1. "hardwired into their DNA", "schizo positive" - Hahaha! You made my day!

    I agree wholeheartedly about Gay Pride. I don't know if you've heard of it, but the survivor movement actually has Mad Pride. The problem is that I suppose you'd hardly ever meet a gay person who is reluctant to identify with Gay Pride, while labelled people are divided into two camps: consumers, who certainly aren't proud of being "mentally ill", and don't think there's any reason to be, perceiving Mad Pride almost as a provocation, and, yeah well, survivors, who, most of them, happily identify as "creatively maladjusted" and mad. And you know how the saying goes: divide and rule. In other words, we (I'm "mad proud" myself, yes) haven't only society and its institutions against us, but even "our own people", so to speak. Which renders the Mad Pride movement a little less strong than Gay Pride, or Black Pride for that sake.

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