In turning emotional pain into a “symptom” of “mental illness”, we lose the ability to grow, to transform, and to see ourselves as part of a larger human context rife with trauma and oppression, whether it be racism, sexism, homophobia, poverty, malnutrition, social and cultural pressure, competition, violence, isolation, marginalization, and the ever-increasing loss of community. A psychiatric label is inherently dehumanizing because it claims— with absolutely no valid biological evidence— that the so-called “problem” lies in an individual’s brain as a “life-long psychiatric condition” requiring “life-long treatment”. What a presumptuous and unfounded proclamation! To tell a person they are “disordered” for life, when in fact, it is in society that our true disorder lies, is one of our gravest, most perpetrated acts of existential violence. I am grateful that I can see my emotional pain today as an important, meaningful human experience that will never again be reduced to psychiatric pathology. Indeed, I believe that it is important for us to feel our emotional pain, and to see it as a gift to learn from, both individually and collectively, for it is our healthiest response to this crazy world, and it is telling us something important. — Laura Delano, first on Facebook
I share the understanding Laura shares above and have often considered the statement, “You can’t heal what you don’t feel” one of my guiding mantras. Hence it has been a long time practice now to embrace what is that I might heal myself and in so doing, the world around me.
I think too Krishnamurti’s brilliant quote is called for here too:
It is no measure of health to be well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
Bio: Laura Delano was first labeled “mentally ill” at the age of fourteen, when she was told she had “Bipolar disorder” and was subsequently put on Depakote and Prozac. After fighting back in high school, she eventually surrendered to the diagnosis as a freshman in college, when she embraced her psychiatric label and the belief that she needed “meds”. Laura spent the next ten years on nineteen psychiatric drugs, in and out of locked wards, outpatient programs, and intensive psychotherapy, and believed she had a life-long biochemical “disease” requiring life-long “treatment”— a belief that led her to hopelessness, isolation, and suicide. Since September 2010, she has been free from psychiatric labels and psychotropic drugs, and she firmly believes that the human experience should never be pathologized. She lives in Boston, Massachusetts, is a blogger, editor, and consultant at Mad in America, where she has been writing about her thirteen-year journey into and out of the mental health system, and coaches people who are coming off of psychotropic drugs and reclaiming their identity from psychiatry.
See Laura at Occupy the APA