Tuesday, August 10, 2010


It is something that I do: seek justice.

We are all rooks-people diagnosed with SZ and other mental illnesses are treated like rooks. I cannot bring myself to describe what a rook is except to say it's a person who is less than zero-less than even a piece of____.

How can we hope to recover if our therapists and psychiatrists treat us like babies or worse-like rooks. You can read the poetry book by Gil Fagiani titled Rooks about his time at a military college where the freshmen were treated like ____.

This poet has out now a book El Blanquito in the Barrio loosely translated as a white person in Harlem about his experiences in the 1970s. I recommend you buy both books.

So I feel we have to fight back. The song "We're not gonna take it" comes to my mind now.

It was interesting that because of my earliest experiences in the mental health community-first at a day program and also at a residence in a housing project-I got out and stayed out. I kissed that life good riddance.

The idea that someone with a dx can only be a peer advocate rubs me the wrong way too. I believe we can all be mental health activists on our own terms not on the limits imposed on us by society.

This ties into my Left of the Dial philosophy: be who you are the one and only you.

I'm going to keep this blog entry short because I'm going to write another one when I'm done here. Today's feature will not be a silent movie.

There's this stereotype that if you have schizophrenia and you're not babbling or living on the margins that you were misdiagnosed and don't have a mental illness: that's how low some professionals think of us.

So how does a person fight back? First: you develop backbone. How do you do that? You take risks and do things that give you the confidence to take more risks. You start with one challenge and work on it and next you work on something else.

All the while: you do not give in to the people who say it can't be done or that your role in life is to be a mental patient warming a chair at a clinic or Clubhouse.

Expect success. Do the thing you think you cannot do: to quote Eleanor Roosevelt. Expect respect. Settle for nothing less.

Have a good day.


No comments: