Posted in full at: http://ift.tt/1sFAuxj
at May 13, 2014 at 08:38AM
Mental health and activism: answers to a survey
1) Do you believe there is prejudice amongst activists/anarchists toward mental illness, in what ways do you see it? using crazy as a negative adjective? Health concern trolling? disregarding of personal experience/ trauma related stuff?
I think that many activists’ prejudice consists in seeing mental health issues as either personal weakness/moral failure/not being tough enough to be a real activist; or, alternatively, a belief that anything that’s wrong with you can be cured by being “involved in the struggle alongside the working class”, because “real workers” don’t have time to be crazy what with all that struggling.
2) Has this prejudice made difficult for you to reach out when in need? has it made it difficult to challenge certain behaviour/attitudes. Do you sometimes wonder if people “gaslight” you?
Basically these ideas have - in the past - led me to be simply marginalised and ignored by the organisation, because if you’re not In The Struggle your opinions are more or less irrelevant. I was seen as a passenger, something not useful. Once a comrade screamed at me for “playing the victim”.
3) If you do not have lived experience what are/have your ideas of mental illness been? what have your experiences been in terms of support? N/A
4) Have you ever tried to access mental health addiction services? how easy/hard was it. What barriers did you face?
My experiences of mental health services have been positive, although: a) it did take me a while to get through to them; b) I’ve never tried to access a crisis team because I’ve heard that it’s pot luck whether you get a competent person or a bozo.
5) How does you mental health intersect with other forms of oppression/privilege you face?
Certainly mental health issues intersect with gender/sexuality issues. It’s no coincidence that the leaders of these hyper-activist organisations where “throwing yourself into the struggle” is the sole test of your personal worth and right to be listened to are cis het white males (with a couple of CHW females for balance).
6) what would an accessible and supportive movement look like to you?
A supportive movement would be ones where comrades’ emotions and personal issues aren’t seen as unnecessary, crippling distractions from The Struggle; one which doesn’t replicate capitalism’s control mechanisms, bullying and alienation on the inside; one which values the ability to empathise and express emotion as well as being able to write a cogent article, sell a newspaper or start a fight with a cop on a picket line.