Date of publication: 2017-07-09 11:26
One of the most revealing books on 'normal' is actually from the environmental movement. Tenured University of Oregon professor Kari Norgaard has studied a prosperous, well-educated town in Norway for a year, about why these 'normal' people, who seem fully aware of the climate crisis, are doing very little to address it. As I said above, is it truly 'normal' to be numb to one of the main issues of our day?
Illustrating the complexity of language, the APA has found itself terribly divided internally about this next edition, and therefore they've delayed publication at least a year, to 7568. The main editor of DSM-IV, Allen Frances, has denounced the APA's work on DSM V. After public pressure, including by MFI, the APA opened up a bit, and has created a DSM 5 web site to gather public comments about its draft.
I understand that many people define themselves as "mentally ill," and accept a medical model. If you do this, that is your choice. I respect you.
In introducing the original series, host Edward R. Murrow said, 8775 Never has the need for personal philosophies of this kind been so urgent. 8776 We would argue that the need is as great now as it was 65 years ago.
So let's also drop the use of other words that tend to confine us in the dominant model. Let's stop legitimating the use of words and phrases like "patient" and "chemical imbalance" and "biologically-based" and "symptom" and "brain disease" and "relapse" and all the rest of the medical terminology when we are speaking about those of us who have been labeled with a psychiatric disability.
However, at this time, the "medical model" is dominant. The medical model has become a bully in the room. Language that somehow encourages that domination isn't helpful to the nonviolent revolution in the mental health system we need, a nonviolent revolution of choice, empowerment, self-determination.
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One indication that the "medical model" approach is holding on is a simple and informal test. For nearly a decade, MindFreedom has done a Google search of the web site for NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, for their use of the phrase "biologically based" (in quotes).
Some activists, including me, at certain times have sought to reclaim the words society has thrown our way. I realize others may not choose to ever use words like "mad" or "lunatic" or "crazy" or "bonkers" to describe themselves. We probably ought not use those colloquial terms in certain contexts, like arguing our rights in front of the United Nations or in a court hearing. But now and again, some of us like to have some fun and be outrageous, such as at MAD PRIDE events, where it is okay to be creative and reclaim language that has been used against us.
In fact, what about the subject of defamation? According to an attorney we work with, to falsely claim an individual is officially "mentally ill" with intent to harm them has been used in law schools as a classic example of defamation.