Got ‘Mad Pride‘?
A movement called ‘Mad Pride’ is sweeping the world. Several news outlets, such as ABC News, have been covering this incredible phenomenon of a world wide advocacy movement, involving grassroots organizations that openly support mental health awareness. According to a report from ABC News, this movement is over 8,000 members strong.
ABC News and the blogosphere in general, you can make that 8,000 and one. I, Lulu Stark, author of Sunny with a Chance of Armageddon and co-creator of A Canvas of the Minds fully support this movement. This is exactly the type of movement that those of us cloaked in anonymity in the blogosphere have been attempting to develop over a period of years. This is what A Canvas of the Minds was created for, to give a voice to the mental health community. Now, it finally has a banner that we can become a worldwide collective under!
This is our time!
So what is ‘Mad Pride’?
Mad Pride is a terminology that celebrates a community of those labeled with mental health disorders. It’s akin to Black Pride or Gay Pride in the sense that we are affirming our identities as people with mental health disorders. We are asserting our rights under the law and advocating for awareness and acceptance, by standing up to discrimination and bullying. It’s about challenging stereotypes and clarifying misconceptions in society about mental health.
A History of Cruelty and Injustice
Throughout history, society has stigmatized mental health disorders in a variety of ways. Prior to the development of psychology, those with mental health disorders were often mocked, shamed, beaten, locked up, and / or executed. Some were even accused to being witches, and were burned at the stake for crimes they did not commit.
Later in history, the affected were locked in attics or basements. Sometimes, they were committed to insane asylums for their entire lives. In those places, they were subjected to cruel, inhumane treatment. They were strapped to beds, electrocuted, and lobotomized.
It has only been in recent years that those inhumane treatments were outlawed, and majority of the institutions were shut down. However, there was no placement for the lifelong residents. Most were cast out into the streets. And with such a terrible stigma attached to them, they were unable to secure jobs and build new lives for themselves. They were met with a cruel fate, because no one gave them a chance.
Popularized media has only added to the stigma. Movies such as Psycho, Momento, The Silence of the Lambs, Single White Female, Fight Club, The Number 23, Fatal Attraction, Taxi Driver, and a variety of others depict people who experience mental health problems as violent criminals. News media outlets were eager to report stories about violence and murder, perpetrated by “crazy people”, “psychos”, and “lunatics”. And worse, public opinion pieces, such as the one written by Daniel Greenfield, entitled “America Doesn’t Need Gun Control, It Needs Lunatic Control”, imply that 50% of those suffering with “mental illness” are murderers and advocate that all the “lunatics” be imprisoned in institutions.
My message to you, Daniel Greenfield: Institutions are unlawful imprisonment of innocent people who just happen to struggle with a disorder.
It has been through these media outlets that new kinds of discrimination and injustices were born. Even after psychology and psychiatry were recognized as legitimate medical practices, it has remained something that is rejected by those outside of the mental health community.
We are survivors.
Some of us are trauma survivors. Some of us are substance abuse survivors. But there is one thing we all have in common. We are all survivors of the external and internal events that we have experienced.
We have endured ridicule. We have been denied jobs. We have been rejected by our peers and even our own families. Many of us are oppressed by the isolation that hiding in the shadows creates. We are met with opposition at every turn about the legitimacy of our mental health disorders and the symptoms we endure. We continue on while constantly being disrespected and dismissed.
We are all survivors of our broken health system. Many of us have suffered the awful consequences of misdiagnosis. And some of us spent an overabundance of time needlessly suffering because we were too scared to be labeled with a disorder. We have all played the game of medication roulette, and spent years being guinea pigs for new medications. And worse, we all dealt with the physical, mental, and emotional consequences of inevitable side effects. Some have been unfortunate victims of overmedicating by doctors that felt it necessary to “restrain” a person’s symptoms.
We have more than earned the right to be proud of who we are and all that we have gone through!
Mad Pride is about asserting our rights to be made uniquely by our illness. It’s about the social freedom to express ourselves in our own way, on our own terms. Fitting society’s mould to escape persecution is exhausting and damaging. I encourage all of us to break out, and claim our God given freedom!
I have the right to be me!
I am not my disorder, but it is a part of me. I am moody. I am temperamental and sometimes inpatient. I am sensitive, and get my feelings hurt easily. I feel very deeply. I’m creative. I think outside the box. Sometimes, I’m hyperactive. And sometimes, I’m gloomy. I am the life of the party, but also the wet blanket. I’m impulsive and adventurous. But, I’m cautious and reserved.
I am a lot of things. But I am me.
We are the order of disorder. Get on board!