Monday, 2 April 2012

On being mad


I'm mad. It's a fact. A lunatic; a headcase. Insane.

I can own all those terms perfectly comfortably; they form part of my identity. They are part of who I am I am, and on the whole I like being who I am.

But I very much reject the term 'mentally ill'. I'm not ill. I'm well. I'm just a little mad.

I think the analogy between madness and illness is a false one. The claim that it is is, it seems to me, part of a hegemonic claim by the medical profession firstly to expertise and secondly to control. The solution is a medical solution, a solution applicable to illness: drugs. And more drugs to control the side-effects of those first drugs. And so on. I'm not saying those drugs don't have effects: they do. I'm not saying they can't help in the short term: they can. But they aren't the solution: in the long term they rob you of control, and that makes matters worse. They're the wrong solution. They come from the wrong model. You don't catch madness; it isn't infectious.
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