Friday, January 09, 2009

Answer to a Person of My Acquaintance

Labelled ‘Autistic’ , Who Can Relate to My Experiences
By Patricia Lefave, ex mental patient

Segment 1

The following is out of a response to someone who has contacted me in order to share some experiences of being psychiatrized. We believe together that if it can help one person, it may help others so I am posting it here just in case it might. All specific identifiers have been removed in order to respect the boundaries of the one sharing.

As with all of my posts, please find what is useful to you and ignore what is not. On this site, I say what I believe may be helpful, so in keeping with the idea of functioning boundaries, I have the right to speak of my experience and you have the right to listen to it or else to ignore it. What I don’t have the right to do is to FORCE you to listen and what YOU don’t have the right to do is to FORCE me into silence. If we both understand that we can get along much better. It creates tolerance.

The response to an ongoing conversation:
I also believe the domination types see feeling as a primitive relic and not as part of a total awareness and consciousness. You may like to read a book by Antonio Damasio M.D. who agrees with this as well, titled Descartes Error.

The abusers also have the same feelings but they pretend, especially to themselves, that they don’t, and that the only reason they are reacting negatively is because the one who is ‘making them’ feel that way by not accepting their pronouncements of ‘reality’ as they define it for others.

For you so intensely into feeling, it is like opposite poles colliding. You were probably forced into this position in the first place by something or someone which you may never really know if it was too young when it happened. At the preverbal stage all anyone HAS is emotions to use for self expression. We all grow past that provided we are in the kind of situation that ‘allows’ that to occur as part of normal development. For those who aren’t, it may limit the form of communication further along in life in a very profound way, especially if everyone around them assumes the limits are internal in origin. I don’t think we should be making all these assumptions about people without any concrete evidence.
Many of us who get psychiatrized for various reasons are judged and assessed from a nice safe distance away by those who do so because of THEIR need to define us in the way that supports and enables their own dysfunction which they usually deny exists. They are heavily focused on our ‘inappropriate affects’ (aka: feelings) as defined by them in relation to their own beliefs. It is a very defensive posturing most of the time but is not recognized BY them as defensive. “Defensive’ after all is considered by them to BE an ‘inappropriate affect’ so they cannot allow themselves to know that is their own problem. It has to be projected by them in order to preserve the dysfunctional status quo which is what they really want and what this is really all about despite the various disguises.

Psychosis triggered by whatever cause, is very intense in the area of feeling and symbolic meaning and tends to be very sharp in relation colour, sound and light. Since it occurs with eyes open and an awareness of every day reality at the same time as that of an internal/external symbolic reality, the quality of it is most surreal. I would bet you have a similar experience of that.

I also agree with many people labeled autistic that thinking in pictures and feelings is not something exclusive to autistics but something that others tend to deny, and then to use, as the means of creating greater ‘difference.’ This perceived fundamental ‘difference’ then justifies the ‘them and us’ routine once again. This ‘boxing people into’ categories is done by those who like to box others in for their own convenience in promoting reductionistic thinking while making sure they have a broader view of themselves of course. They need to define those they psychiatrize so that those doing the defining will feel better about how they treat those being so defined.

When feeling is considered to be a ‘weakness’ it opens up the path to abuse of the ‘weak’ for those who want to believe they are all intellect and therefore ‘superior.’ (No wonder so many compare this to Star Trek with Mr. Spock representing ‘intellect’ with suppressed emotions as being desirable and the sign of completion of personal growth)
My own belief is that when either feeling or intellect dominates any mind, it is going to cause problems for that person and any others to whom that person must relate. We all need BOTH intellect and feelings to be working together in order to pay attention to what I believe is the basic cause of all problems; that of boundary violation.
Feelings signal us that something is wrong in that area and we need to pay attention to that in order to solve it. If we don’t, we are treating our own neurological system like it’s junk and assuming that if a warning bell is going off and flashing red at us, it must be that something is wrong with the bell and the electrical system that is ‘’falsely’ triggering the warning. That is one hell of an assumption to be making when the bell is letting us know that we are on fire and need to save ourselves before it is too late.

If you think about it, this poor boundaries thing is present in all difficulty from problems with families, to school groups, to workplaces, to neighbours and all the way to world wars. In Christianity there is the “Lord’s Prayer and one of the lines in it is “Forgive us our trespasses.” Many Christians interpret that word as meaning ‘sin’ which also means ‘error.’ Maybe if we heard it better we would pay more attention to the meaning.
Dictionary definition of “to trespass”: “to encroach on somebody; to intrude on somebody’s privacy or time, to break a social law, to go into somebody’s land or somebody else’s property without permission; to cause injury to the personal property or rights of another.”
I think I might include another definition: “to be a bloody busybody always pushing and shoving one’s way into other people’s business or into places where one is not wanted, just as if you had the right to do so, and to be so puffed up with yourself that you think you have all the time in the world to do that, since you have already completed the job of resolving the meaning of your own life!
I also think the labelling is very arbitrary and most often has more to do with the whims or beliefs of the labeller than it does with the reality of the labelled.
What you told me of our own labelling has been heard by me over and over again as well as personally experienced by me in many of the same ways. The patronizing little tone seems to be ever present with many mental illness professionals and is part of the ‘them and us’ division as well. So is the focus on the ‘identified’ patient as being inherently ‘defective’ as opposed to reacting to any ‘real’ external reality, trauma or relationships. “Cause and effect’ seem to be switched very frequently. Of course almost all of us with the exception of the well trained to be submissive get labelled ‘non complaint’ or ‘resistant’ which if you think about it can just be a statement of fact and is not necessarily a ‘symptom’ of ours but often a symptom of the need of the other to impose a definition on us and to get quite put out about it if we do not co-operate with his/her desired imposition.
You told me that no one around you seems interested in evidence. I believe you as no one wanted mine either. I too have found it hard to believe that the people who judge us in this extraordinary and ‘cost effective’ way (fast with little information and little, or sometimes NO input, directly from us) could possibly be serious and believe it possible to make such judgments based on abstract notions applied n a one-size-fits-all kind of way. I know more of us would tell them about it if we were treated like equal human beings and ‘allowed’ to speak. The denial of those in the system who are always talking about ‘denial’ in the patients, certainly becomes absurd, to say the least. Most of them TRULY believe that they are right and that reality is the one they are promoting as ‘disease process.’

I believe this is truly not known or understood by the MAJORITY of them but is rather the result of the indoctrination of the psychiatrists into this belief system while training to ‘help.’ Everything that happens in reality has been switched around in their training and taught to them by defining reality as ‘symptoms’ of disease process. Since they too are being trained by ‘experts,’ much as we in dysfunctional families are trained by the ‘authority’ figures in the generation before us, they accept it without question. I am convinced that this acceptance of authoritarian pronouncements is one of the biggest problems humanity really has. We all need to learn to question this. Right now we are taught that to question ‘authority’ is to ‘have problems with authority’ which is now more and more becoming yet another disease, especially when it is children who resist. They are no being labelled with that new ‘disease’ Oppositional Defiance Disorder.
You told me that while it was originally traumatic, as it was for me also, you now find yourself laughing at it. I did too. I remember how after the shock wore off, I could barely stop laughing as it was so ridiculous to me. Of course we must also be aware that when we get to that point we will be diagnosed some more for ‘laughing for no reason.’ This is of course, ‘no reason’ that the psychiatrists can see which means, as far as their arrogant selves are concerned, there can be no reason. I found that pretty funny too for I was indeed laughing at the lack of reason in all of this…I was laughing about ‘no reason.’ I usually don’t have to ‘explain’ this to the psychiatrized but have found conversely that attempting to explain it to the psychiatrists just does not work. They fail to get the ‘joke.’

End of part 1

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