THE OFFICIAL SITE COPYRIGHT (c) RESHMA VALLIAPPAN. 2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DMAE.
I was going to kill myself today. Of the many reasons I have in life to commit suicide – your system is the only one that has made me arrive at this conscious decision after many years.
I have schizophrenia. In your words ‘dementia praecox’. In your prognosis ‘hopeless damaged case’. In your treatment ‘medicines for life followed by relapses, hospitalization, ECT, counselling’. In your legal document ‘unsound mind’. In your explanation to the world ‘incapable of making decisions’. In your justification of torture ‘violent to self or others’. All of this created by psychiatry – a large base of individuals who voted on certain things they would agree upon because the rest of medical science agreed you were a hat trick.
What makes me different than most ‘schizophrenics’ is that I don’t take my pills (7 years and counting) and have found a way to live with what I have AND obviously you can’t stand my guts. Let’s establish this truth because the world does not comprise of fools. It does comprise of greedy people and that’s how you operate; by filling everyone’s pocket and making them happy by justifying your psychoanalysis of me. Let’s also be clear about my stand. I don’t prescribe anti-psychiatry nor is it in my advocacy to disqualify practitioners – because I believe there is a person behind every label. Be it a psychiatrist or his patient.
The tone of this note would make me sound anti-psychiatry. Then again who’s fault is it? You know ‘schizophrenics’ didn’t just come up with the word ‘anti-psychiatry’. If you know any better much of what we make up are metaphorical in meaning and epistemological in nature of language and reality. But I clearly am undermining your intelligence – because if you had any in the first place you would have picked a different business. Then again – intelligence and humanity can only walk together as Einstein did. In your case, perhaps you could use a little bit of the dopamine that you claim we have that are imbalanced. Let’s face the other truth – the fact that this very hypothesis has no proof.
I am not here to kill myself. I have more hope in myself because I have accepted my human suffering as not that of being schizophrenic in nature but that of something in the creative realms. In fact, when I did survive a suicide attempt, my psychiatrist wanted to understand. In my case, it is established that I wouldn’t kill myself because I want to die. It is likely I might die when I jump off a building with a belief of being a vampire who’ll fly. Do you understand the difference?
Like all other human beings, I too have rough days and recently some very rough ones. So often I want to pick up the phone and call my psychiatrist but I don’t. I have carried this fear with me from the time I stopped seeing him. There is nothing wrong with him or previous counsellors. We have fought and argued and they’ve given the space for that. The trouble is when senior psychiatrist ask me ‘How is your psychiatrist allowing you to walk around without medications?’ I knew that more than me – I had to play it safe if I were ever to see him cause he gets pulled between me (his patient) or you (the system and friend). So I choose to not see him.
The reason why this particular psychiatrist or person is someone I adore is because my family adores him too. And we don’t call him by label but by name. My relationship with psychiatry started at the age of 15. In 15 minutes one of the top senior psychiatrist diagnosed me as being a transvestite and my entire world collapsed because people see you as Gods. The finality in what you said destroyed me. After that were a range of camps where counsellors would boast about their psychology degrees in return to humiliate teenagers like me and strip the core of our inner selves because they knew it all. They could create the perfect child for parents with troubled kids like me and turn around and say ‘It was what the parents wanted’. They could mock my body and manners and diagnose me in front of others because they were paid for it. This is why I hate you.
That 15 year old who finally wrote in a book is part of my own story – with no idea where to go now and whom to trust. My sexuality is still often in question in spite of how much more I am today. All because YOU had one say and the world will believe you for it. If you were to say I am dangerous and violent the world will believe you for it. And I live this stigma everyday even without having a single record of violent or dangerous behaviour towards others outside of my family. Of course you will say I should not generalise all psychiatrist – but how many of you ARE actually humane in approach? Maybe you should not have generalised about madness in the first place.
My father reminds me that for every one lunatic psychiatrist who traumatised an entire family there will be one like I had (at age 22). It is true and it is very comforting for us to know that but it has not eased my pain. It has not changed how broken I keep feeling when I come across one of your species who thinks they can say and do whatever they wish because of the bloody system that gives you the right to do so. You can’t possibly imagine how much more healing the 15 year old in me needs for that 15 minutes you created. You can’t possibly understand the contradictory emotions, thoughts, acceptance, and choices that keep replaying in my head till date and there is nothing I can do about it. You will never cure the distance I have to have in relationships and surrender to my imaginary.
The real problem is not me. It is not people like me who need help. We do know a part of us is amiss. We don’t call it crazy but we know it. It is you who needs help because you don’t know that you are bloody crazy to be fixing and boxing people up into several different categories called mental disorders. You are so crazy that you even want to treat a mind and think of linking it to a brain – something even neurosurgeons are still trying to understand. In fact – I am not the lunatic. You are. You are the lunatic who lives in the asylum due to failures in your own life. Out of desperation and loneliness you decided to pick up a couple of different dreamers and satisfy your fantasy world where you are accepted as God. Using a Top-Down patriarchal approach your easiest targets were young women. Here’s the other truth – you were the first authority rapists using sex for curative purposes. This is WHO YOU ARE. These are the foundations you are built upon.
People in the world outside of psychiatry have asked ‘Why do mentally ill not come out and talk about their stories? Why do they not stand for their own cause? Why do they not come out of the closet?’ In over 20 years of my experience with the system and self-advocacy since 2004 – today I realised that it has got nothing to do so much with the discrimination and stigma in the real world. It has got to do with what you have been trying to sell them. I have not felt so oppressed as a person compared to the many other health issues and labels I have struggled with.
I remember attending my first international conference on schizophrenia in 2007. I was invited because you had to show the world that you had a schizophrenic around but I was treated like a pariah. I was looked at so demeaningly by all the sophisticated psychiatrist there – that I had already gauged what was coming. Funny how you claim to tell the world that you are ‘saving’ me. You are not doing me a favour – I am.
I’ve had a documentary made on my recovery. Do you know that most of your species didn’t want it to be screened in many places. What are you afraid of? Please don’t tell me that my story could influence a bunch of others like me. There already was a John Nash and many others. And the fact that you even think that other schizophrenics would be influenced by my choice clearly states the very obvious – that you don’t know what schizophrenia is even in how we are influenced by choices.
After that – I wrote my book and an open letter to a celebrity. That was the highlight when you showed your true colours – something other people will not see because they don’t experience what I do. Many who support and encourage me were furious about comments over my hair colour or words used on me like ‘psycho’. I walked over such comments coming from lay people who judge me. You know why? Because the educated mental health professionals, practitioners and caregivers were only busy about their stand on the word ‘schizophrenic’, my diagnosis, and my apparent lack of knowledge of the laws. That was all you saw of the letter. A shallow perspective of yourself being reflected.
I experience my own pain but I also experience the oppression and discrimination of psychiatry. Unlike other human conditions, illness or disability – one would expect that psychiatrist or professionals within this field would applaud, encourage or support someone like me – knowing really well how difficult it is for us. I didn’t expect it because I know how you only want the thunder for yourself. How disgusting of you to trod your stand on laws and my abilities yet not stand up for me against diagnosis and discouraging comments from your own kind? And you fool the rest of the world by telling them that you care for us? That you seek the best treatment for us?
What is even more disgusting about you is how you ride on me indirectly. 2015 is the year of Mental Health and because of this every single buffoon on earth wants to cash in – start their own ngo and apparently do something for mental health. Please stop using us for your charity. Stop selling to the world that you are doing us good because you are not. You never have. Not one single story of hope and recovery has come of your system without a fight as mine and others I know of.
Therefore I am going to take away what really matters to you. Me. Without me – you have no cause. Without me – no one will listen to you because you’re not the schizophrenic. That’s right. I am. I sound revengeful but maybe you should really have a taste of your own creation like Viktor Frankenstein did. You will never walk the shoes of that 15 year old. If you think early intervention and treating kids at an early age is an answer – I am going to prove you wrong all the way because I am already reliving every one of those interventions you came up with.
Stop advocating for me and through me. Because the real question is: Who is going to heal me from you?