As a psychotherapist who works with other Mad individuals in an L.A. county facility, it seems to me that the wider Mad community is not always aware of the diversity that exists within. While I am grateful for every person who has survived in spite of the limits of therapeutic environments available to many, rich and poor; survivors seem to promote what has worked for them without consideration for what other Mad individuals are dealing with. Many of us who have survived may fail to see the privileges that we have that have enabled ourselves not to get sucked into the institutions. We may think our way of making it is the only way. We may take for granted what we have used to survive. And we may not always learn the diversity lessons that we need in order to be there for our brethren.
Historically we are divided by DSM labels and social inequality and we may easily reinforce those divisions without knowing it. Some of us may consider ourselves members of a spiritual emergence narrative rather than a schizophrenic episode; many even argue that these are separate conditions requiring very different treatment. Others in recovery profess safety in a functioning bipolar community rather than among individuals who are genetically impaired with schizophrenia eugenics. Some want to divide up into individuals who hear voices verses those who are just delusional. And then there are the individuals who evade intrusion by coding up their words. And of course differences in heritage, class, gender and relation to historical trauma are likewise things that many survivors may not completely acknowledge. And still further, those who are wrapped up in the current debate in the Mad community over the use of medication run the risk of dividing us further without acknowledging the diversity of peoples experience and trauma.
The claim that I really object to is: this works for me, therefore it must be what everyone else needs.
Demands for Inclusion in the Movement: Continue reading “Issues that Divide the Mad Community”