For readers of this blog, I’d like to share a link to a book I’ve written that takes abolition of forced psychiatry as a starting point and reimagines crisis support within a social model, outside of mental health jargon that has taken away our power to define ourselves.
(Having written that last, I’m reminded of my thoughts on identities – what I mean here, is not that our self-definition should have power to dominate others, but that we evolve our own lives from our own center of consciousness and conscience.)
If you have been a victim of the mental health system yourself, if you have gone mad, if you struggle with isolation in lesbian/feminist community not just about madness but about the deep trauma of forced psychiatry; if you want to think about how we connect in lesbian community and repair the harms among us rather than using psychiatry against women who are struggling – read the book, and let me know what you think.
The book was, among other things, a way to concretize some of the intersectional work I’ve been doing on this blog, moving it into human rights theory and practice. I could not talk about crisis support without bringing in my life experience of community and healing and self-healing, or my views related to wider themes beyond the strict outlines of human rights norms that impact the creation of community and our capability to move with each other in difficult times. If the society around us is structurally violent – economically, sexually, environmentally, bureaucratically – if it is organized to be violent against us, we can’t ignore that context and appeal to the same violent institutions to implement crisis support.
Ultimately, this refers not only to the mental health system as a social institution but also to problematizing the state, capitalist economy, male domination and colonialism as considerations in looking at the kind of communities we want to build and strengthen. So, where do we personally and collectively choose to build and strengthen community?
I’ve been on a journey (am still winding my way towards home) visiting some lesbian lands and exploring my personal ‘inner pilgrimage’ along with this outer one – following a trip with the Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete this past October. A goddess consciousness – an awareness experientially of this female source of life, return and connection and renewal, with and among other women and in my relationship with the sun, sea, sky, earth, rivers, mountains, moon and stars – feels like the grounding point and center for me to be able to give out and share what I know and believe. It doesn’t mean you, readers, or any of my colleagues in the human rights world, have to agree with me – but it is my own source and has to be acknowledged in my life and given space.
That might not be news to you readers…. I suppose what I’m saying now is that I’m affirming this consciousness in the world directly and not pushing it to the margins.