[Hpn] Myths: re: people who are labeled with mental illness ...

Morgan W. Brown norsehorse@hotmail.com
Sun, 21 Sep 2003 22:38:45 -0400


Below is the text of a revised version of an original commentary piece of 
mine authored earlier in the year. It is also available online at the 
Freedom in Mental Health Blog via the following Perma-link:

Myths:
http://mindfreedom-fast.blogspot.com/2003_09_21_mindfreedom-fast_archive.html#106419040885525377

[Note: If the above Web address breaks in transmission, simply use the 
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My apologies to those who may have already received a prior version of the 
below commentary months earlier.

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

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-------Forwarded FYI-------

Sunday, September 21, 2003


Myths


by Morgan W. Brown

Among the many negative (as if there are any that are positive) stereotypes 
that are probably as deeply cynical as they are rooted, as well as doing 
some of the most prolonged damage, concerning people who are labeled with 
mental illness or whom either believe they have or are perceived to have 
emotional or psychiatric disabilities (or any other perceived or actual 
group or class of people for that matter), are those portraying them as 
generally lacking an articulate voice of their own.

Broad and sweeping generalizations as these provide convenient 
rationalizations and excuses as why to not then expect or allow people who 
are labeled with mental illness, emotional or psychiatric disabilities to 
speak intelligently and powerfully on their own behalf.

The resulting mindset dictates that people who are so labeled most certainly 
are not able to advocate and take the lead either on their own or on their 
peers behalf. In fact it is frightening how many people there are whom too 
often and so easily believe this about themselves as well.

When people labeled with mental illness, emotional or psychiatric 
disabilities speak up for themselves or for their peers and what they need, 
they can find themselves being quickly slapped down or simply blown off in 
various ways time and time again.

Sometimes when someone does speak out, they can find themselves being 
treated, regarded and portrayed as either the one and only, the hero or, the 
overcomer type(s): as if what they are doing is not the norm and therefore 
unique or, is an amazing, heroic, accomplishment "for someone who has severe 
mental illness" or, as if they are someone to be pitied, patted on the head 
and, at best, maybe given a star to wear on their forehead for accomplishing 
(or even attempting) something either more or better than was ever expected.

If the person persists in speaking up however, they are often ignored, 
belittled, punished, scorned, told they are being inappropriate or said to 
be outspoken.

This in a nation prizing self-determination. Ironically, it seems that when 
either an individual or a group of people become or just want to remain 
self-determining, they are somehow expected to do it completely on their 
own, even against the most impossible of odds (e.g., in isolation).

Though not intended as such, if the tone or manner of the above comes across 
as being offensive, etc.: imagine how it comes across to people labeled with 
mental illness, emotional or psychiatric disabilities when they are treated 
like this, or even worse, in one form or another on an ongoing basis by 
countless people, as well as a society, which would never stand for being 
treated in these ways themselves.

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Note: The above commentary tailored to concern mental health matters as well 
as about people labeled with mental illness is a revised version of an 
original commentary piece I authored earlier this year specifically 
concerning homelessness and people living homeless, [...].

-------End of forward-------

Morgan <norsehorse@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
Norsehorse's Home Turf: http://nht.blogspot.com

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