Wednesday, 5 September 2012

standing up for your rights and facing the friendly fire

Being in the psychiatric system meant it was very difficult for me to have my rights heard or for me to stand up for them.  Looking at the personal bill of rights I can see very few that I had the power to articulate.  When locked in and forcibly drugged.  At risk of injury and abuse. [this is when the safeguards in the mental health act should come into play]

Therefore being out of the psychiatric system and in the free world it is important for me, and others, to be able to stand up for our rights.  At the top of the list is "I have the right to ask for what I want".  Of course I know that in life you can't always get what you want.  But I have the right to ask for it.  Especially from people who are public servants and accountable.  From people who govern organisations that I have membership of.  People like me who should know what it's like to be in the psychiatric system.

And I expect to get an answer to my questions, from people in power who are accountable.  Otherwise it is not a democracy (where all eligible citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives) but an oligarchy (where power effectively rests with a small number of people) and even totalitarianism (where the state recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible).  [From Tokenism To Totalitarianism – On Being A Psychiatric Survivor Activist]  

I don't expect the totalitarianism of the psychiatric system to start creeping in to the mental health user led organisations.  This is a cause for concern.  When fellow survivors in positions of power think that they have the right to tell me what to do, to give me a telling off and then to accuse me of bullying.  It's ironic and very annoying.  I didn't get out of the psychiatric system, completely recover from mental ill health and traumatic treatment, just to be straitjacketed by people who should be standing with me in the fight for human rights in mental health.

The powers that be won't have to bother with keeping us survivor activists in line.  They can just leave it to our fellow experts by experience who are doing the job for them.  It's time to wake up and smell the coffee.  To wisen up and see what's going on in the mental health world.  And stop the friendly fire.  It's very irritating having to keep pulling the knives out of my back.





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