Omo. How white your shirts can be. Purity, the Christian myth, repackaged for mass consumption. So, when a black Jewish woman emphasises the Black Slave Holocaust, we have a convenient fix for that sort of nonsense. Out, damned spot, Party scrubbed clean with an application of blame culture.
Once we knew everyone’s business. Now we play Wolf in the dark, our cluelessness intermittently assuaged by electric light. This is how the hegemony is preserved. It’s not conscious. We go for the “trouble maker”. There’s no room for nuance, dog must eat dog. White dog comes out top dog.
The tragedy is, you play the game but you don’t even know you’re playing.
The sociality of Homo Sapiens Sapiens can provoke a tension between the desires of the individual and the cohesion of the community. This is resolved by the love of the individual for others, a compassionate steering away from the normalising hisses of conformity, towards friends who allow the individual to express that “I”, those who love the individual for their humanity.
The individual expresses themselves artistically, through language, physically, as an integrated being who IS us, who then IS art, the bond between me and you, in nurturing social environments, amongst those who embrace diversity, understand the mind forged manacles, are brave enough to face the reality of an overarching social system which has relegated the individual to a consumer and product. Which is to say, radical Socialists are my friends.
Compassion for others in the context of late Capitalism is not stillness or meek acceptance of the normalising instinct. If my anger offends you, may it rouse you from slumber. If my fury intimidates you, understand my frustration at those who would exhort me to wear The Emperor’s New Chains.
Where I encroach on your physical space, please do not hesitate to rebuke me. Where I have abused your physical autonomy, call me to account. Never ever tell me: GET BACK IN YOUR BOX. Never force anyone into a box or advocate such tyranny. We have the technology and numbers to steer the aggressive away from violent encroachment. Exclusion must be a last resort and we must provide inclusive, nurturing, recovery-optimised spaces for those who have been most poisoned by a system which crushes diversity and repackages individuals as easily labelled commercial units. Few are unresponsive to love.
Fear of real history – the cohesive, evidence based stories that inform our destiny – is a weakness that must be challenged, and we must tear down the sickly conformity of nostalgia, a group delusion, wherever we encounter it. It would be inexcusable cruelty to let humans suck on the thin gruel of Soma where we live in such a villainous authoritarian state.
Change will come. As will I. With love and a little patience, I will cause you no harm. I come for you because you are the reality of my history and I come with love, a terrible love, that will turn us 180 degrees, where with bravery we face a giant. We cannot allow him to set the rules.
The Everyday Stigma Project exists to catalogue instances of mental health stigma experienced on a day to day basis.
By sharing your story you are showing the world that mental health stigma does exist and it is a valid problem to discuss.
From careless and unhelpful calls to “snap out of it” or “cheer up” to amateur attempts to silence you with patronising comments about your mental health, stereotypes about violence, or any inappropriate use of “crazy”, “insane”, “nuts” etc directed at an individual, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and, provided it meets the criteria, I will upload your story.
If you are a supporter who can host this site on its own domain, an email would also be very much appreciated.
Mental Health is inextricable from politics, as the recent United Nations report on the impact of UK Government austerity measures demonstrated. Political perspectives on empowerment are revealed by the language used. In a policy contribution to the Labour Commission on Mental Health many months ago, I briefly raised a point about a specific phrase used in negotiating treatment for mental health problems.
There is no denying that successive UK governments for some years have failed to deliver holistic policies for ensuring the good health of the people. We find ourselves in something of a mental health crisis. It is morally unacceptable, and unhelpful, for a state which has reneged on its duties to its citizens to attempt to impose a one sided deal.
“Compliance” is a particularly paternalistic phrase used regarding treatment that inhibits cooperation between providers and suffering individuals. “Compliance” is a symptom of unhealthy power dynamics.
Progressives especially have no business trying to get others to “comply”. To DEMAND deference and bourgeois decorum belongs to a bygone age. Fortunately, new brooms are sweeping clean. The revolution, as always, is in the head, for those with compassionate circuitry.
Having made the point about this odd phrase, I must say that the psychologists of Camden & Islington Mental Health team have been great. Waiting times are an issue but that isn’t their fault. Jeremy Corbyn has raised the problem of waiting times for mental health consultations several times during the Labour Leadership campaign.
Corbyn and some others within the Labour Party who have the PRIVILEGE that enables them to set an ever compassionate example are leaders to cherish. There is a genuine conversation to be had about creating a society of greater mutual respect. For sure, you don’t create respect by mass exclusion. Tribal “us and them” politics is dead for the left. Or the left will wither, with horrific consequences.
Note that Labour rules covering social media reference “foul and abusive language.” Clichés often enable lazy thinking. Britain swears. There is practically no word that cannot be pronounced after nine o clock on national television. Our MPs often swear. Our SPADS swear. A lot.
Abuse, especially online abuse, is a complex and sensitive issue. “Foul” language? Get thee to a monastery.
Hypocrisy, invasiveness, and thoughtless squeamishness has no role to play in the solutions to the UK’s problems. It is a part of them. We must set our house in order. Labour is already at a remove from the country. Those who won’t play fair will find themselves even further removed soon enough.