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Standing again, at the axis of madness

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

There’s something odd that happens whenever I say to others that I’m a mental health patient or that I have been diagnosed as clinical depressive. While I’m quite comfortable with mental illness/madness, I understand the discomfort such a concept causes others especially because we’ve grown so accustomed to the discriminatory and derogatory use of the term. My abnormal mental situation does not scare me nor does it instil unnecessary dread as it does in others who may be so afflicted or who may just be ignorant of the attending issues. Instead, I embrace the condition and continue to work to help others find a way with/through it.

In the book, Exploring Madness, the authors say this: “Psychological disorders are usually considered as illness; yet they are also perceived as somewhat shameful—evidence of sin, punishable defects, a lack of moral fibre.” This labyrinth of ideas about what madness or mental illness is or isn’t makes for much confusion in the way we treat with people on a spectrum ranging from short-term depression to insanity. It creates for a “complex mixture of compassion, hostility and concern.”


In fact, I’m aware that in order to diminish our own anxieties, it’s easier to label others and then apply some humour. We seem to think that all elements of mental illness are tantamount to madness, which is presented as violent or bizarre behaviour of some crazed individual who flies into senseless rage, which precedes demented torrents.
If you’ve followed my writing, you’d know that I always come back to this point—the axis of madness, I call it, where it’s imperative to talk openly about mental health disorders and the attending negative perceptions.

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