Posts tagged anxiety
idk, i think there’s also something really disingenuous about how people use mental illnesses (and all disabilities) interchangably on tumblr.
like, one of the arguments a few months ago was that the terms homo/trans/xenophobia reinforced the “violent psycho” mentally ill stereotype… only… that stereotype isn’t directed at specific & social phobias, it’s mainly directed at people on the affective and psychotic spectra.
so yeah i don’t think it should include everyone who experiences ableism. i experience a lot of ableism but i can’t speak with any authority on, never mind get all SJW righteous about what’s harmful to people with blindness or cerebral palsy.
the last time this debate was getting hashed out back in june or july or whatever, cutting down to only people who acknowledged having phobias or phobia history made it really apparent just what a small, toxic group manufactured this issue, and that a bunch of people who haven’t been affected by phobias ran with it to be good SJWs.
There was a post on a social anxiety tumblr which basically went, ‘When I go to a nail salon and the person who’s doing my nails turns to a co-worker and start talking away and I start getting scared because I can’t understand what they’re saying.”
I am tempted to say that it’s not social anxiety but racism.
I think it’s very probably both. I see a lot of people trying to avoid interrogating their shitty behaviour because it’s interconnected with their mental illness and I’m super sick of it. If you’re scared of people not speaking English, or speaking with an accent, or whatever, you can be both a) actually frightened and b) frightened because of your racism. mental illnesses aren’t just some creature from the planet Zorg that take over your brain and fill it with weird shit, they work with the fears and ideas and preconceptions that are there. and (because I just know someone is gonna go there): yes, I’ve lived with severe anxiety and panic attacks.
side note: this is one reason why I think the debate over whether terms like “homophobia” or “xenophobia” are appropriative/slanderous of medical phobias is misguided. people can and do have oppressive phobias.
someone who feels really stressed and takes a break from their day to have a cigarette is doing more or less the same thing as someone who cuts to deal with their anxiety, but with more risk to their health under almost all circumstances, and (except in very specific and limited settings) less social stigma.
addendum: health-wise, you probably have more to fear from industrial capitalism than from the person smoking a few metres away from you.
now let’s have no more nonsense.
so, here is part of what I think about “radical mental health”. (brief discussion of mental illness, suicide, self-harm, disordered eating, psychosis follows, take care, etc.) (this is actually following on from a conversation I had with caitlinate, uh, over a year ago that recurred to me today.)
my housemate is a psychologist — a student psychologist, to be precise, but she’s seeing clients already. I constantly see her working really fucking hard. every week, she does hours of research in her own time to understand people’s different issues. because she doesn’t think she’s magically qualified to understand them. she doesn’t think compassion and time is enough. she knows she has people’s lives in her hands and she takes that responsibility really fucking seriously.
I don’t think commitment automatically comes with professional qualifications, of course. my experiences with the mental health system have been pretty awful. You do not have to tell me about its flaws.
but I have never seen a serious appreciation of the responsibility of being someone’s mental health support anywhere in the so-called “radical community”. I think people are being really fucking cavalier about this.
like, if your friend had a cold, or thrush, maybe you would help them take care of it themselves. but if they had a broken arm, or pneumonia, or an ectopic pregnancy, or a lump in their breast, you would probably tell them to go to the doctor, right? you would recognise that we didn’t live in a post-revolutionary utopia where medical knowledge was democratised, or whatever. you would have some fucking humility about the level of your skills.
well, a lot of mental illnesses are a fuckload more dangerous than a broken arm. your friend could die. if someone is suicidal, or fainting from starvation, or giving themselves nerve damage from self-injury, or believes they can fly — like, do people not actually take mental illness as seriously as they say they do? that’s the only conclusion I can draw.
your personal experience of mental illness does not necessarily make you qualified to help someone else through theirs. it gives you the authority to speak about your experiences. it might, maybe, give you a bit of empathy and insight. that’s all.
I’m not saying I want people to call the cops on their crazy friends. I’m not even saying I believe there are some things that should be left to professionals. I am saying that our rhetoric is way, way ahead of our infrastructure when it comes to mental health. I hear a lot of talk about community alternatives to the mental health system. I see very little awareness of what it would actually take to keep us all safe.
“friends don’t make the best medicine”, crabigail adams
this post will probably be controversial but I generally agree with it depending on how unsympathetic I am feeling on any given day. I am pretty crazy at times and my policy with regards to myself is that I can be as crazy as I want, as wilfully self-sabotaging as I want, and it’s none of your fucking business — until it actually affects you, in which case it is your business. that’s my threshold. I don’t like counselling, at all, but I go into it when I can see my crazy is sucking energy out of people around me, which is about once a year or so.
I am really not into this trend of “it’s so totally ableist to call mentally ill people selfish”. uh, mentally ill people can be incredibly selfish and emotionally manipulative. the fact that they’re possibly suffering doesn’t negate this. indulging mental-illness-enhanced selfishness is not only harmful to yourself, it’s enabling, and ultimately is not gonna help the person who’s struggling cope. it’s gonna ensure that they burn through friends and are left with nobody.
I’m not saying “LET THEM DROWN”. but in my experience, you can tell if people are at least making an effort to be self-sufficient and get on top of their shit, and that goes a long way with me.