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What is "Madness?"

Toasted Crumpet

Toasted Crumpet

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Imo people say you are mad when they want to dismiss anything you think, feel experience etc it is easier for them to just dismiss you as mad then they don't have to try and understand what you are going through, why you feel the way you do or what you have experienced to get to this point. You are just mad and can be ignored or patronised or shouted at etc - it won't affect you anyway as you are just mad right?

People where I used to live were good at this, but psychiatrists are especially good at it, imo.
 
|||ME|||

|||ME|||

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... "Hi, my name is rasselas.redux. I am mad. And by defining myself as mad, I freely participate in my own debasement, disempowerment, and self-diminishment."

I'd rather

"Hi, my name is rasselas.redux. We are all mad. And by admitting to ourselves as mad, we freely participate in our emancipation, empowerment, and collective humanity."...
I agree with what your saying throughout that post, and agree it's not simple ... hard not to draw parallels with some discussions around race, and different parallels with parts of movements around sexual orientation. Interesting to compare and contrast this aspect of different struggles. I feel a little less torn than you around it's virtues with madness at the moment, but positions on concepts like this can vary in a mans life, and I can understand people who'd disagree:

for the quoted part ... a difference and distance has been outwardly imposed, and from that the lack of power of the individuals within that group has been exacerbated. It's a cycle that feeds into and perpetuates itself. Much as you say.

I feel that after that happens a disadvantaged group can say they're the same as everyone else all they like, while marginalised they in some way though are not, and remain distinct by virtue of that marginalisation. Finding some unifying identity seems an important way to create enough activism to achieve something to me. Or sets of unifying identities which push in similar enough directions often enough to move something. No movement is ever clean, precise and fraction-less. Maybe both approaches are needed alongside each other ... one way to challenge the danger to self and others rhetoric is to try to take ownership of it and make make it mean something else often enough to make a difference. Not that that's easy, but I really like that some groups of people have and do attempt to do that. It's not always what happens but what spins off from it that's important too.

To me "madness", in terms of identity, even ultra informally, has a protective bolstering quality ... a bit like making a joke about your height or weight before anyone else does ... it grabs it's own bollocks and screams "and wat" imo ... which sort of proves your point ... but I feel an affinity towards it. That may say more about me than its political utility though ... I miss the bravado of my youth, there's an avoidance of the feeling of powerlessness that comes with it. Not that I think I've particularly embraced mad identity in my life, I just think it's an important and inspiring contribution to things that some groups have ... and while it can be looked at as perpetuating in some ways, 'tis very helpful in others, and I think the existence of these things has had, and will continue to have, a positive contribution overall.

Seems intuitively a positive thing that marginalised people would create their own spaces for themselves too.
 
BlueBerry

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Funny enough, my flatmates where recently having a laugh at each other's funny little quirks and they proudly declared that they were all mad.

"Except you" they said to me.
"You seem to be the only normal sane one here!"
"Uh-huh." I said.
 
M

Mastiff mom

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I don't know, Blueberry. Being mad has a certain wild romanticism about it. I kinda like it.
 
BlueBerry

BlueBerry

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Yeah I quite like the term. It kind of takes the serious depressing edge off a bit. Feels a bit rebellious too.

Like "Yeah fuck it, I'm mad. I'm madder than a bowl of insanity and sprinkled with crazy."
 
rasselas.redux

rasselas.redux

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I agree with what your saying throughout that post, and agree it's not simple ... hard not to draw parallels with some discussions around race, and different parallels with parts of movements around sexual orientation. Interesting to compare and contrast this aspect of different struggles. I feel a little less torn than you around it's virtues with madness at the moment, but positions on concepts like this can vary in a mans life, and I can understand people who'd disagree:
You're right to hint at something very personal going on with me. Not wishing to overegg, but this year has been quite fraught from a labeling and pathologisation perspective. I've gone through bipolar, mootings of fugues and dissociation and DID, and then finally a slam dunk into schizoaffective. That's in and out of the orthodox system, pathologies raining down on me in every direction.

It's all left me feeling a bit battered and bruised...

This is a good video summing up the myriadal ways in which language is working for and against people:


I agree with the overall thrust of what you're saying. From my personal perspective I feel that yet again -- yet again -- pathology and my status as a mad person has been used against me as a blunt tool to undermine my experience of oppressive power-games. But that's all by the by. Life is full of unexpected rude awakenings. I thought I'd had my fair share already...

Ultimately making spaces for marginalised people to empower themselves and take control of their collective narrative is very important, I agree.

I'm going to give this more thought but like I say you're right, something personal is going on with me, and that currently I'd reject the hand of a messiah, I'm feeling so maligned... :)
 
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