You’re guilty. Here’s your sentence.

We the American people find you to be guilty of the charge of mental illness. 

Reading of The Counts.

Laziness.  You have been found to be unproductive with your time and not pulling your own weight when you are depressed, anxious, etc.

Not trying hard enough.  You have been found to be unable to overcome depression, suicidal feelings, anxiety, etc. by the use of your own will power.

Sensitivity.  You have been found to be feeling more than is appropriate in given situations and for longer periods of time than is prescribed.

Complaining.  You have mentioned your pain on more than one occasion.

Irresponsibility.  You have been unable to meet all of your responsibilities for child care, church meetings, soccer games, meetings with friends and family, hosting holidays.

Attempted assault and murder.  As you have tried to kill or assault yourself, a human being, you are deemed violent and not acceptable to society for periods of time.

Social eccentricities.  You are not always able to hold up your end of a conversation.  Sometimes you cry at inappropriate times, making us uncomfortable.  Sometimes you spend money inappropriately or are promiscuous.

Do you have anything to say in your own defense? 

Yes, I am guilty of this and much more.  I cannot say anything in my own defense. 

shock therapyYou are hereby sentenced to life. You will always be held up to the standards of the community, given no help or accommodation to meet that standard, and found to be wanting.  These standards include degree of productivity, social behavior, and criminal behavior.  You will always be given the promise of the release of stigma if you only meet community standards.  You will be medicated and electroshocked when necessary to make you more socially acceptable.

I feel so guilty.  I have tried for so long to be productive and socially acceptable.  I have been medicated, electroshocked and incarcerated for my sins.  I agree that society’s standards are right and that I should try to live up to them.  When I am able to accomplish one (productivity), other problems become worse (attempted murder, assault or social eccentricities).  I welcome your criticisms, judgements and suggestions so that I can improve. 

NO

I am NOT guilty any more.  I refuse to live in constant recrimination. I am done apologizing for not succeeding in a system that is rigged against me.  Hegemony is a fancy term for your own cooperation with a system that makes you suffer.  I have been part of the system that defeated me.  I am no longer complicit in my own suffering.

I no longer accept your societal standards of what makes a valuable member.

I will cry without apology and take medication to feel better – not to be more socially acceptable.

I will question doctors and demand to be seen as a whole person, and not just a set of symptoms.

I will ask for help when I need it without shame or failure, the same way as sufferers from other illnesses do.

I will work under circumstances that do not demean me.

I will be loved for my eccentricities, not despite them.

The signs on my body of assault and attempted murder show my remarkable endurance of pain.  I am, in reality, part of a secret society with painful initiation rites to prove membership.  Where is your proof that you have survived something horrific?

To the other secret society members:  The battle for equality and acceptance does not begin with fighting stigma.  It begins inside us.  Rebel.

www.paisleytoes.com

 

 

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