Turning an FB post into a blog post as I’m trying out a new therapist after a couple years having been burned by mainstream therapy in ableist ways & seeking more of an “activism as therapy” approach.
Second appt w new therapist went ok. I’m hopeful. She did suggest looking into a community mental health collective which I hated once she shared info. Tho I give her points for picking up on I might hate it but I still wish I hadn’t seen their website.
Here’s the thing. Progressive mental health orgs being completely against “Western” psych practices, especially extreme social model & denying any biological factor in mental illness is untenable & harmful IMO. This one had a page on how to come off psych meds safely but nothing about how they can also be life saving. I’ve had extremely bad reactions to many psych meds due to my particular problems with drug metabolism etc & I’m at the point my psychiatrist is not comfortable trying anything else. But I still always encourage ppl to consider them because they can literally be life saving for many ppl.
But more than that, the focus on “ancestral” healing practices needs to be interrogated. I’m not familiar with what these are for indigenous folks in the “Americas” & they may very well be really great. But I think we have to take a step back on taking that idea & blanket applying it to everywhere in the world. Because it erases the fact that nonWestern cultures can also have their own histories of violence towards mentally ill folks regardless of colonial influences. This is an ongoing problem where I grew up re exorcisms & other harmful practices around mental illness esp for women & also denial of more effective hospital based treatments for other types of illnesses in favour of traditional herbal medicine & in many cases predatory “faith healing” practices, again often for women. This shit gets South Asian women killed daily. Just because Western psychiatry/psychology is oppressive doesn’t automatically make everyone else not sanist. I’ve also written before about how American Muslim mental health professionals are promoting this garbage too by linking mental illness to influence from Satan [Religious OCD and Me].
Also the neat division of healing practices into Western & other IMO erases the history of Muslim civilizations & contribution to medical science including pioneering experimental methods & generating medical knowledge that was later taken up by European medical establishments. The scientific method is also my ancestral knowledge & I find it’s usually cast as a European thing & therefore inherently oppressive in a medical setting especially psych. [Incidentally Muslim medical establishments back in the 800s also set up some of the earliest psych wards / invented the entire concept of a medical ward]. White ppl don’t own the scientific method. To be sure, there are a bazillion critiques to be made of how it is applied & the unethical & frankly violent & torturous practices justified in Western medicine as being “evidence based”. But the solution isn’t to throw biological knowledge out the window. Psychiatry/psychology need major reform & IMO bridging the artificial divide from neurology is part of what needs to happen.
I’m not even gonna get into the misrepresentation of epigenetics by this org where everything is trauma causing epigenetic changes & even if that’s accurate [its not] zero evidence presented of how those can be fixed with the practices they focus on.
Didn’t mean to write a whole essay. I just feel very erased in progressive mental health spaces sometimes as a Muslim scientist from a part of the world where women are routinely denied safe, effective medical care because of adjacent beliefs weaponized in service of misogyny. [& yes we’ve lost extended family members to this kind of issue]