Dear People Who Need to Know,
My bias: I am female. I am old enough to have enjoyed the heydays of Nirvana, but too young to grasp the reverence for classic rock. I look white, but I have a visible minority heritage that isn't obvious by my appearance. I grew up knowing too well what a fridge looks like when it's empty. I have the benefits of a university education, and hold dual degrees, one relating to the realm of medicine, the other relating to the realm of metaphysics.
I have been diagnosed with what the medical profession likes to call a SMI (severe mental illness). I have lived intimately with the effects of my diagnosis for 10 years or so. My condition has affected me in profound ways in a psychological sense, in an economic sense, and in an interpersonal sense.
Pardon me if my experience ever clouds my judgment or colours my words, and I will do the same for you.
So, given my experience, I'm going to lay out *my* opinions on psychiatry, and hope that my words are not too often abused or distorted from their original context.
In a general sense, since my experiences with psychiatry have been positive, and I see a movement in psychiatry towards accountability and collaboration, I regard psychiatry as a potential benefit for those who are affected negatively by their mental health.
I know that many people have suffered abuses (in the form of stigmatization, discrimination, sub-standard levels of care, enforcement of unwanted treatments, literal abuse, etc.) at the hands of the mental healthcare community. I respect your experiences, you own those experiences.
But those experiences are not mine. And although this blog will express a significant amount of frustration with current standards in health care, I am not fundamentally anti-psychiatry.
In the same way that abortion is a contentious, weighty, (and I believe, personal) issue; mental health is an issue that carries with it a burdensome load that is equally personal, weighty, and contentious.
So, in short, if a person confided in me that they were negatively affected by their mental health, I would suggest to them that they may benefit from seeking help from the medical community. That being said, I would be very careful about the places I would direct them to, since (those who have received mental health treatment are well aware that) not all doctors are created equal. Some doctors are simply better; being more approachable, more informed, and more invested than others.
Your 'Only Human' and Fundamentally Biased Blogger Who Genuinely Respects Her Treatment Team,