For a long time people with mental health disorders were called lazy, weak-minded, feeble, crazy, retard, immoral, bad, 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 medical centered 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 an 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. The staff smoke with the consumers too. Most consumers only see their med prescriber once every 3 months and their therapist one 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 image the public sees in their 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 civil 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”, I have mental health issues or I have a lot of mental pain and I get treatment for it or I have neurological problems or issues or you can say I am sick and my doctor is working me over and if someone says what’s that exactly, you can say 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 med 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 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 an self identifier. To take civil rights action not for the sake of funding but to preserve the right to be held accountable.