Cutting off Your Nose Despite You Face (A Lesson for Mental Health Activists)

Looking at the meaning of this expression has been interesting. It all sounds very familiar. People who have “dangerous mental health problems” being drugged into a more dangerous state. Society as a whole then has to pick up the problem of more expensive care costs, legal costs. Increased crime in society. People being more scared to speak out about emotional problems which in itself causes even more messes to clean up for society. I could go on with the list. It’s a classic example of how far this has all gone. Well over the red line to such an extent that the original problem is almost forgotten. The moves made to fix the problem do indeed seem to “cut off our nose despite our face”.

I think for anyone working in this field it’s important to remember how fundamental common sense principles are. I see some activists in this field exhibiting pre-juvenile behaviour of bad anger management, as well as simple psychological and sociological behaviour that blocks real change and could really be easily cleared up by the exhibitor. I can see this and I say this because I exhibit some of this behaviour myself !

An examination of the word “Freedom” might be in order. That means Freedom for everybody, good and bad. That word so often ends up meaning “Freedom for us people”. Where’s the “Free” in that ? Freedom is a difficult concept to grasp. It means allowing your enemies to do things “that they should not be allowed to do” and watching your friend for behaviour “that they would never do” because you are so sure they understand that little word “Freedom”.

Maybe some Taoistic or other principles of Mysticism would be in order here. There is no duality only a harmonious dance of opposites. We see the world of appearances as “opposites”. Hot and cold, good and bad, yet the truth is more profound, more mystical. Taoism presents the Ying/ Yang symbol in order to “explain” this mystery but goes on to state that there is no word to express the “Tao” which remains ultimately mysterious and impenetrable.

In my journey as an activist I have found the relationship between “good” Psychiatric Survivors and “bad” Mental Health system employees to be a lot like this Taoistic relationship. It’s not easy. Preconceptions have to be changed. Painfully wring assumptions have to be thrown out. But that is good. It means that the basis for real change is being setup and the fear of that actually happening is being revealed. Sometimes it seems to me that Psychiatric Survivors and Mental Health “abusers” are caught in a sort of cosy relationship. Many have found their comfortable niches with rich food supplies – activist and MH employee alike. To talk of really kicking in change seems to upset even some of those who claim to want it.

Could this be because they have stopped at a place of duality and are not really looking into the unknowable mystery of all this ?

Keep your nose on.

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