In general, I don’t have anything against the term Mental Health. In practice, in real life, in therapy, in the doctors office I see things differently. No one wants to go to the doctor and be told that they are sick and certainly not with something that will hang on every day for all of your days. When you look at the science of Mental Health, psychology, psychiatry and research you don’t find much that supports current thinking on mental health, disorders or illnesses. In fact, current research has been able to find distinct differences in brains that are non-typical or neuro-divergent versus those that are considered typical or neurotypical. First, please note the terminology being used here “typical”, not normal, ordinary or even majority, just typical. What they have discovered is that it is not that we are sick, disordered or broken. Our brains simply work different than what is considered typical (for now).
So, maybe I’m not sick? I don’t feel sick. Right now I feel better than I have in years both physically and mentally. I acknowledge that both of those things can change at any moment. But it feels…right? Better? I’m not sure on those but it fits with what I have been feeling since my very first memories. I. AM. DIFFERENT. I don’t have to apologize for that because it isn’t wrong or right, bad or good, it is me. I like the idea that I am not damaged or broken and that the way I see and experience the world does not warrant anything more than acceptance. Think about the gravity of that on the community of people that have different brains. We are ok, we can live our lives on our own terms in our own way. I don’t have to get better, I don’t have to make excuses and I can move forward with the knowledge, the tools, the acceptance of who I am and that I am different. I don’t feel bad, I feel like someone finally recognized what I have been trying to say my entire life. I am valid, my voice matters, I matter, I am legitimate, I can be strong, powerful, healthy, successful.
You see, this issue, the road blocks or obstacles are not because of who I am. They are because the world was created for different brains, neuro-typical brains. So, I don’t have to pretend to like going to grocery store where the lights are blindingly bright, it is too loud, it smells odd, there are too many choices and there are people in every direction I look. My brain feels completely overwhelmed, I am terrified because now I feel like I might be trapped or I cannot control the anger, the fear, the agitation that comes with all of this. So I only go every other week. I try to go during hours it will not be crowded and I usually wear my headphones with the noise cancelling on. You might see me dance or hear me sing along as I am blissfully unaware of you and even better, I am not worried in the least how you feel about my singing, dancing or the brand of milk I prefer.
Ive learned that I need to be in charge of my care, my therapy and my providers need to be aware that I am very well read, I am a research junkie and if you can’t show me with facts and research that your plan is better, you probably should not bring it up. I don’t believe that a doctorate makes you the authority of anyone or anything. I will treat you with the same care and respect that you treat me with. I will remind you that I pay the insurance premiums, the high deductibles and the coinsurance and that, makes me a customer not just a patient. I am a grown woman and no longer to I have to do what I am told because you said so. The providers that I respect the most are the ones that are not afraid to say I don’t know, or ask for alternatives, those that are willing to take a look at what I found, why I think it might help and be brave enough to say yes or no, because x, y, z.
A very, very special thank you to a thoughtful blogger that has been listening and responding for a very, very long time. Thank you, I cannot tell you what it means to me to be heard and acknowledged. I also would like to add that your view on all of this is just as valid as mine, as long as your are not my therapist 🙂
Take care bloggers, be good, be kind, make waves and make change.