*I’m cutting off the beginning that doesn’t directly relate to the current conversation because this is getting loooooooong. Scroll down to find the beginning if you like.*
Point taken, and I apologise - though for the record, I did make it very clear that I have abbreviated your post (I hardly ever reblog longer pieces if I only want to comment on parts of it - I stick to the pertinent parts), and the links were of course presented. So if I were out to make you ‘look like an ass’, I’d probably have done a better job.
“If I were out to make you ‘look like an ass,’ I’d probably have done a better job.” Hah! Good to know. I did actually like that line a lot. Thank you for the apology, I do appreciate it. I am possibly (or probably) being overly sensitive on having my words edited into bites because of some stupid discussions that have happened recently, and it is just so easy to take things out of context without doing some deeper digging. So thank you again, and my apologies if I did come across as an ass.
Not sure I agree with you about the semantics of ‘crazy’. Webster says;
cra·zy adj \ˈkrā-zē\
Definition of CRAZY
1a : full of cracks or flaws : unsound <they were very crazy, wretched cabins — Charles Dickens>b : crooked, askew
2a : mad, insane <yelling like a crazy man>b (1) : impractical <a crazy plan> (2) : erratic <crazy drivers>c : being out of the ordinary : unusual <a taste for crazy hats>
3a : distracted with desire or excitement <a thrill-crazy mob>b : absurdly fond : infatuated <he’s crazy about the girl>c : passionately preoccupied : obsessed <crazy about boats>
You may disagree, but I think it’s pretty important to distinguish amoral, bad, reprehensible conduct from the usual labels used for mental incapacity. Yes, the word ‘crazy’ is still associated with mental disorder and insanity, far more so than with moral incapacity. Not to join the credentials game that you started: I’ve worked in the for psy field for the past two years, a year of it full-time and since then as a part-time consultant. Being ‘crazy’, i.e. mentally disordered, relieves people of responsibility. It’s a valid criminal defence. Being evil isn’t. So I’m at pains to keep these two apart. I’m sorry if that sounds more anal than you’d have it, but I think that’s a crucial differentiation.
Very true, and I did actually google the definition at a few different online dictionaries before posting the original letter to see if I was using the appropriate word. But for the life of me I cannot think of anything better to use: madness, lunacy, deviance … they’re all tied back to mental illness (as you know). I think that, in a way, this is a madness because these people are acting in ways that they can’t be legally persecuted for and they know it. Sort of like trying to claim criminal insanity? I’m not expressing myself well right now and I know it, but what else do we call it when those who pull the strings act in such malicious ways knowing full well that they will never seriously pay for their crimes? I shied away from using the word “deviant” exactly because it is tied so closely with psychology now and anyone not considered middle class Anglo-Saxon is still pretty deviant here, and I really really hate that.
Wow. I apologise. I mean, it was a typo, but I’m sorry if this somehow offended you. I’m entirely aware that you’re a woman. Also, of the two of us, I’m not sure who has engaged more in self-glorification. It sure as heck ain’t my comment that’s teeming with references to your experience and knowledge with regard to mental illness.
1. Thank you for the apology over the mix-up. My irritation was tied over truly believing that you hadn’t really read what I had written, but since that has been sorted out I’ll drop it all and say sorry that I seemed extraordinarily put out by it.
2. I referenced my schooling and personal experiences because I quickly learned that when debating with people online they are mighty quick to try and shut someone down with a “you’re not one, what do you know?” quip. Maybe it’s an American thing, but I did feel the need to state that I’m learning about this particular field and that I also know it from the patient’s side because I don’t really share that publicly and I didn’t want to be blown off as someone who just reads stuff online and fancies themselves an expert.
I think we pretty much have the same motives here. I, too, was speaking as someone with quite a bit of personal and professional experience of mental illness, both in himself and in others. You think that of all the priorities of mental health equality, a protest that implies that the Tea Party movement is somehow ‘insane’ will try to restore ‘sanity’ (small note: the Latin stem of ‘sane’ means ‘healthy’, it is very clearly a pathologising term to call someone ‘insane’ - meaning, essentially, ‘ill’) is not a dreadfully big thing. I disagree. Neither of us has a monopoly on the truth, so I see no reason why disagreement automatically has to be so uncivil. I personally think it would make the mental health equality concept highly problematic if we started to, as you said, ‘pick our battles’. Pathologising opinions we disagree with is either always ok or never ok. I admit, I’m a bit of an idealist here, and I do see the pragmatic sense in your opinion. I disagree, though. As said, a personal view.
Well I think that’s the root of the matter here: I didn’t take it as the rally calling the Tea Party, its leaders or members crazy to begin with. Of course, I didn’t found the rally and I haven’t talked to anyone who is organizing it, but like I said in the original letter, it felt more like a “let’s restore our own sanity” sort of thing. The only person that directly said that the behaviour associated with the Tea Party was crazy was me - as far as I know. My memory is pretty friggin’ bad, so apologies if I’m wrong. But if that really is the case, that they did mean just restoring our own sanity, then it would be a good thing because it would be restoring our health.
Sanity/insanity is really impossible to divorce from the concept of mental pathologies. Not just via the origin of the word, but also because of the legally established meaning of insanity as an overwhelming dysfunction of the mind that obviates moral judgment.
I’m sorry for your struggles with depression and autophobia. As said, I sure don’t mean to imply that I know anything about what you’ve been through - these are individual and solitary struggles -, but I do know what depression and mental illness feels like. I did not doubt your fitness to have a well-founded opinion on the matter. I doubted, and continue to doubt, the correctness of that opinion. I think I can do that without being automatically regarded as someone who does not appreciate your experiences. I didn’t say you didn’t know what you were talking about, I said I thought you were wrong. Different things.
That’s cool. I can get behind that. But again, I felt like I had to give my credentials up front (so to speak) just to be allowed to speak out on it, and I was called out for doing so. I have to say that I did peruse some of your own blog and read quite a few of your entries, and I do understand you better than when I first read your reply (I read just a couple, then wrote the reply, then read more and edited, then posted and read more) and I do appreciate your honesty over your own works and struggles. For the most part I don’t have it in me to be that open, especially about the dark days when they come, so I do admire you greatly for that. I just didn’t think it was right to put in the first reply, like I was just doing it to kiss your arse in the middle of a conversation. (I was also afraid it would sound too much like I was going to take up stalking you, but really, I just wanted to know where you were coming from.) But I think that we’ve clarified things a lot and my slightly paranoid self sees that you aren’t just out to make me look like an ass, so I feel more comfortable telling you this now.
Guess what, so is a state healthcare system that doesn’t work. I’m happy to rant on about the spate of fuckups I’ve seen in the NHS mental health care system, both as a patient and during my work for a police service in assisting mentally ill people in police custody. It is costing people their lives, too. I’ve been on the phone once for over four hours, ringing up person after person, trying to finally ensure that a severely depressed client with a fucking stack of socio-economic problems exacerbating her condition and an extremely overt wish to kill herself (you know, the sort of people who really don’t care about anything in the future ‘because the moment I get home, I’m going to kill myself anyway’) gets hospital treatment ASAP rather than a referral to a community MH team that would have seen her in weeks, maybe a month. By which time she’d have been dead. I know that I had to go private and outside the NHS to see a psychiatrist urgently when my PTSD became unbearable. Psychiatrists are in such high demand and so expensive to the NHS and such a low priority that most of the job is shafted over to community mental health nurses, who are sometimes very competent and other times utterly and entirely useless. I’m not trying to make a healthcare reform point here - just that what you need is a good, working system, and a state healthcare system does not automatically equal that. If you think that a state healthcare system will be like the best mental health care money can currently buy, except for free and for everyone, you are ignoring very fundamental economic realities.
That is truly heinous, and I have no illusions that state run healthcare, if it ever does come to pass here, will be a walk in the park. I think the common problem here isn’t just the overall state of health care, but how psychology is treated (or mistreated) in the world still and how mental illnesses aren’t respected or taken seriously. I totally agree with your comment below about people believing that if you just keep on keepin’ on, you’ll get over that little depression and everything will be fine. Because that’s not how it always works, or even how it usually works, and with some basic schooling on how and why things go wrong, that attitude would change. It just kills me that psychology is still considered a pseudo-science here, and that people scoff and say, “Right, maybe in another 100 years you guys will get it right.” Like medicine is so different? We’re still experimenting there, and yet it’s a well-respected science simply because it’s easier to physically see the results of experiments. I feel like I’m rambling now - I really need a nap - but I hope that you get my point. That besides having crummy overall healthcare, that established and continued ignorance over the importance of psychology and mental health is the biggest detractor here.
It’s patronising, and it’s part of a social attitude of consistently misunderstanding mental illness. In turn, this attitude will manifest itself in electoral priorities. Which, in turn, will inform the allocation of scarce resources within a state healthcare system. In the UK, the utterly medieval attitude some people have towards mental illness (‘depression isn’t real, you just need to buck up and get on yer bike’) is directly responsible for shitty mental health care funding, utterly fucked up ideas (the best is the monster called the ‘exercise referral scheme’ - I kid you not, there are health authorities who suggest to people with pretty bad mental health problems to go get some more exercise. These are often people who are in deep, deep depression, sometimes suicidal, not the ‘blues’ that’s sometimes eased by proper exercise.)
As said, I respect your position and where you’re coming from, I just disagree. I really mean no insult or enmity. I hope that you can do so, too, in a civil manner.
Thank you again, and my apologies for coming across as a testy arse in the beginning. I do really appreciate talking psych with other people and I do like a lively debate that goes constructive places, and I’m always ready to have my mind changed for the better. Thanks so much for clarifying your original points and going into much more depth, it’s given me a much better picture of where you were originally coming from.