Sunday, February 24, 2008

Dear Rob H. from the USA : Part 3

By Patricia Lefave, Labelled, D.D. (P)

I agree too that analyses of abuse of power tend to be favoured by those of us not IN power. I see that as a good thing though, not a ‘symptom.’ It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out why either. What I propose though is that you get the focus off of the powerless and their perceptions and reactions, and ONTO those who love power for power’s sake. You could start with yourself Rob. Why do you think YOU need to correct my perception of my own reality FOR me? What ‘practicalities and human limitations’ are you talking about? Your own? Do you think you like to look at the surface of things and perhaps even fear to look beneath? Do you think you like to justify the idea of power and control over ‘inferiors’? If so, why? Tell me why based on an analysis of YOU; not based on your analysis of ME and those ‘others’ you think are like me, and who you clearly have no problem ‘blaming.’ Do you also often instruct people like me not to ‘blame others’? Does it ever strike you as at all absurd when you hear yourself saying that?
The history lesson you are offering me in your letter is very nice, but to me, it seems more like an attempt to distract me from real issues, or perhaps to justify society by showing me that “all of this goes back a long way, so we shouldn’t try to change anything.” Is ‘any view held by most people’ always the ‘correct’ one? Do you think people tend to follow whatever the consensus opinion of the day might be? Do you think that presumably ‘sane’ people get entrenched ideas? Look at history for answers to that too.
Even though you believe that ‘rebellion’ or dissidence’ is only about ‘money and more free time’ and ‘not alternate or better realities’, I’m afraid I can’t agree.
Everything isn’t about money, which you would know if you had shared the psychiatrized experience. I am sorry to have to tell you this Rob but I get a real sense of smugness from you and your certainty that you understand this better than those of us who have lived it. It is an uncomfortable feeling I have had often with ‘others.’ No doubt you will assume this ‘discomfort’ originates within me and that is also something we are all aware of. It is like you put up a wall of separation from us so you can hide your participation in this from yourself. Most of us ‘nuts’ feel that intensely from most of you self defined ‘sane’ ones. It is in fact, one of the ‘ideas’ I am ‘rebelling’ against and intend to keep doing so too. It is such ideas that create these power struggles; ideas and beliefs Rob, not money and leisure time.
You think there is only one reality? Do you think you define that? Do you think you are keeping YOUR ‘fantasies and subjective tastes’ out of your analysis? You believe you are an ‘objective observer’ do you? I am surrounded by ‘objective observers.’
Let me give you a concrete example of ‘alternate reality’ how it works and how it becomes a part of concrete reality by bringing it into our institutions and ‘correcting’ those who ‘rebel’ against it.
A child claims he is being sexually abused by his uncle. His uncle says it is all nonsense and that his nephew is ‘ill’ for saying that. The psychiatrist who gets called in decides he believes the uncle, who seems like a real nice guy to him. The uncle seems sincere and also has a good career.
When the child hears this and he cries, “No! no!’ and the psychiatrist then ‘interprets’ the meaning of this for the uncle. The child, who is now defined as ‘mentally ill’ for claiming abuse is his problem, is now thought to be having a ‘temper tantrum’ because he cannot ‘manipulate anyone with his lies.’ He cries, “No! No!’ explains the psychiatrist, because he has been found out and his lies do not work.
The truth is the child was sexually abused and now he is trapped with his abusive uncle who has already told him that if he ever told anyone else, his uncle would kill him. So now, instead of getting help, the child is getting ‘help.’ (labelled and invalidated)
The child’s distress is real, it’s not a chemistry problem and ‘No! No!’ means “No, don’t believe my uncle. He said he would kill me if I ever told! means “No! Don’t say I’m crazy…don’t do this to me…help me, help me, I am trapped. ”
You see Rob THAT is how ‘an alternate reality’ gets created. Though it may not seem like much to you, and though you may not understand it either, it is a horror to that little boy.
You are right, we all need freedom from undue stress and not only can it cause neurosis (an old fashioned term these days) it can also trigger psychosis and hearing voices too if intense enough. That may in fact turn out to be just the fate of the little psychiatrized boy in the story above. What kind of stress do you suppose a boy like the one mentioned above is under? If he makes it to fifteen in one piece, physically, will he get labelled ‘schizophrenic’ instead?
I predict Rob that philosophy and science and a lot of other angles on life, will all one day be seen as merely different perspectives on the same ultimate truth. The parallel of metaphysics to physics will become clear too. Everything isn’t concrete and everything isn’t about money. I suggest you look more closely at science and at Quantum mechanics to see it. I would also like to suggest you spend some time in looking at ‘Systems Theory’ so the idea of a ‘system’ as a problem won’t seem so ‘crazy’ to you.
As one of the ‘mentally ill’ you speak of, I can only wait for you (and those like you) have me, a presumed ‘problem for others’ dealt with ‘as a troublemaker.’ Loved you ‘very nice’ comment regarding what ‘we (us nuts) all talk about.’ Despite the absence of emotion in the written word, your writing is skilled enough to almost allow me to hear the patronizing little tone in your ‘corrections.’
And Rob? Life is actually much more than food, clothing, shelter and housing, although those are certainly necessities of well being too. You would find that out I think if you were placed in a position to have your thoughts and feelings controlled by others.
Actually, they can call me ‘blind’ and no one cares but if I call them ‘blind’ than I get ‘corrected’ like a naughty child. It’s the difference in power that matters Rob, not the ‘name calling.’ It is interesting to me that you believe those who support the status quo would be ‘well educated and sane.’ Also that you seem to think ‘complacency’ is a good character trait.
You sound to me like the typical ‘don’t look’ type; don’t see anything wrong in human relations, swallow a pill and make the bad uneasy feelings about it go away but don't look for the cause or try to change anything. You scare me Rob. Not because you are so different, exceptional or evil but rather because you are so ordinary; so ‘normal.’
Frankly Rob I think it is good to have a standard to which others may have to ‘measure up.’ You stated that if I ‘imagine’ a world where things are better and where someone may actually care for someone labelled (like me) that is a fantasy I am having. Really. I am pretty much the reject am I? (In your ‘normal’ opinion) Then, you equate me with a slave? You know what Rob? I can see the parallel myself there and I hope all of my readers here can too.
As to who is actually ‘the weak’ and who is ‘the strong,’ that too is not necessarily apparent. Some of the smartest, strongest people I know have been totally invalidated as human beings by the process of labelling them. It is also true that some of the most vicious and abusive addicts and criminals have been excused by basically the same process. That is one of the problems in ‘the system’ also Rob. There is no differentiation between victim and aggressors so the effect is one of excusing the aggressors and blaming the victims and indeed, there is a point where no one could tell the difference anyway, since anyone under enough pressure can suddenly switch from being the victim, to acting out as the aggressor. As Bill Cosby put it on Oprah recently: “Hurt people, hurt people.”
Please be sure to notice how the same words can define a situation in opposite ways. That ambiguous meaning is a constant when you are a labelled person and usually no one around you is interested in clarifying anything as they all keep their cards (so to speak) very close to the chest. (There are no actual ‘cards’ in that Rob; metaphorical ‘cards;’ not literal ‘cards.’) What IS that need to label so neatly and quickly Rob? Is that strength or weakness? Is it really the weakness of the labelled ones or of those who attempt to reduce human beings to the level of ‘disease processes’?
I assume you consider yourself to be among the ‘strong’ right? Do you think that just might be a perception/reaction problem you have? Maybe what is motivating you is the ‘them and us’ mentality which helps you to make sense of a world that is often run on senselessness. I understand that human need Rob. We all try to make sense of our lives. ALL of us.
Your own choice of language is quite revealing to me. You state…” the schizophrenics here will not hold a job.”
I had a job and I was ‘holding it’ just fine, for years in fact, until someone who was sure he was my ‘superior’ decided to have him a little “fun’ by harassing me ON the job. I made the mistake of assuming he was relating as equals, so I presumed the ‘fun’ included me, but it didn’t. Then, I got voted by group consensus to be ‘crazy’ so no one else would have to be.
Aside from my own details though, what do you think happens in the workforce to people who are labelled ‘insane’ and ‘dangerous’ for having ‘thoughts’ someone else does not understand or does not approve of? Do you think they are the 'hire' of choice for most employers? Do you think they get discriminated against? Do you think if they do get hired, or are still working at the former jobs, that they get treated differently after that? Do you think they get harassed on the job then too, as they are now identified as ‘inferiors’ for those who believe they can use them to act out on since the ‘inferiors’ won’t be believed anyway?
The system (yes the ‘system’ Rob) TELLS our employers that we are too ‘crazy’ to hold a job. That is why disability pensions exist you know? It is not because we define ourselves that way; although later it often becomes a self fulfilling prophecy too. It is because we are defined that way BY others. Most of us are ‘claiming’ we are not ‘sick’ in a physical way and that we don’t want or need to be drugged. THINK about that. This isn’t some scam we have planned (nefariously) to keep from having jobs (with some exceptions, more often addicts and criminals) but is sure is interesting that society wants to see it that way isn’t it? Employment forms sometimes ask, “Have you ever been diagnosed with a serious mental illness? “Despite these societal truths, you are still almost exclusively focused on blaming the identified patients for all their own troubles, in very much the the same way the world claimed not so long ago (and often still does) that black people are all inherently lazy. That is what the term ‘mentalism’ has been coined to describe.
After being forced out of my own job Rob, I had people on the mean streets of my city spewing their similar opinions at me such as, “She’s not even looking for a new job because THAT would be too much like work!” I was considered to be an excellent employee until I got targeted for labelling and then this all changed. Suddenly I was the lazy, stupid employee who was called incompetent by the same people who had started the attack in the first place and all the people THEY felt free to involve. (For my own good of course) You know why they do that? It is because they are justifying themselves as a group. If I didn’t ‘deseve’ this outcome, they might have to think they were guilty of something and they sure don’t want to do that. That is also why they make up some ‘stories’ about my work which ‘coincidentally’ tend to prove their OWN point of view, making their behaviour appear to be somewhat justifed. Of course, this is all done ‘in secret’ so that it can’t be challenged at all.
So why don’t you try rethinking this just a little bit from the point of view of the labelled. Of course, to do that, you are going to have to stop thinking you already understand it better, and learn how to listen to those who have actually BEEN there personally. That I know Rob is rarely done. After all, as psychiatrists tell others, “You can’t talk to a disease.” As I once wrote for Dan Fisher, M.D. of NEC in the US, in a list of suggestions for recovery, “I am not a disease so you CAN talk to me.”
Believe me we DO know what we experience every day Rob. We just get TOLD by the ‘strong’ that we don’t know, and that we need to ‘comply’ with THEIR understanding of our reality for our own good. They are wrong and they need to know that we do not want to be controlled by others deciding for us who we are, what we know, and how we feel about it all, anymore than THEY would, if the situation were turned around one hundred and eighty degrees. We are not ‘different’ from you. We ARE you, from a different point of view.

End of part 3
Part 4 Follows

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