For a long time people with mental health disorders were called lazy, weak-minded, feeble, crazy, retard, immoral, evil, etc. Then came along the late 20th century and those words above became diminished, and a new word replaced them; mental illness. So ever since the end of the last century, people have been referring to disorders of the human brain as mental illness.
The late 20th century also brought something else too. Victimization. Those with mental disorders were taught beginning at the end of the 20th century to be victims. Previously it had been a centered medical approach to treating mental disorders. Then in the 70’s and 80’s this way of treatment begin to be replaced by a let’s get them back in their communities approach. It was all about them, the consumer they called them. They were supposed to get help to find jobs, housing, and appropriate medical care.
Instead, all the consumers found was inadequate funding and a strong mentality among those treatment providers to make do with the system instead of engaging the system with civil action aka civil rights. What the treatment providers did was to systematically begin to treat mental illness as a hopeless condition that required a maintenance regimen instead of a proactive approach that by default assumed that people could be helped and that much was demanded and expected from the consumer.
I see so many people in the local center for mental health that sit around and smoke all day and do nothing all day and take no action to better their lives. What I do see is staff doing absolutely nothing. Most consumers only see their med prescriber once every 3 months and their therapist once a month. Hence the maintenance regimen. Part of the problem lies with funding. But we can get better with or without funding. Consumers who sit around and smoke all day doing nothing have only themselves to blame as I. Treatment providers have only themselves to blame for the way they victimize the consumers.
This is the image presented to the public. The picture the audience sees in the public mind is a person who does drugs and drinks and is either violent or is apathetic and lazy. Most people with mental disorders do not fit these stereotypes. But this is how they are pigeonholed. The word mental illness has become associated with these unkind stereotypes. What can we do about it? First, ensure adequate funding by replacing the maintenance model with the proactive civil rights activism model. Too much mental health activism is along the lines of money and not fundamental human rights. It’s not about funding really. It’s about the right to have other people have high standards for you and expect hard work from you, that’s the kind of public mental health rights we need and funding should be set up to achieve that civil rights model.
The second thing we can do is stop using the words mental illness and instead use these words like, “I have a mental disorder or disorders.” Or, I have mental health issues, or I have a lot of psychological pain, and I get treatment for it, or I have neurological problems or concerns, or you can say I am sick and my doctor is working me over and if someone says what’s that exactly, you can let know it’s a private issue.
For myself I am tired of being a victim. I did it to myself with help from many people along the way who were my co-conspirators. I am a person who has brain disorders and I am also an alcoholic who also easily gets addicted to everything. I must take charge of my life and associate with like-minded people. For the most part that is what I have been trying to achieve for the last 3 and a half years in a 12 step program and through a, “your not a victim so quit your crying” medical provider and therapist.
The 12 step program teaches me that many of my troubles come from me and that I am the cause of my non-organic problems, this is actually true for most people on the planet. Not saying 100% of all our troubles is our fault just most of them. My tough as nails med provider and therapist don’t see me as a victim and demand highly of me.
I would highly encourage you all to ditch mental illness as a self-identifier. To take civil rights action, not for the sake of funding but to preserve the right to be held accountable.