This is Blog #30 - the final piece in our 30-day series on the Declaration of Principles adopted by the 10th Annual Conference on Human Rights and Psychiatric Oppression held in Toronto, May 14-18, 1982. (More info here.) Today we are talking about Principle 30.
Principle 30 reads in full as follows:
We intend to make these words real and will not rest until we do.
Basic RationaleOur final blog in the series is from Pamela VL Paseka. Pam was an officer within law enforcement before head injuries led to involvement with psychiatry that completely destroyed her career and any credibility within that realm. A living example of Principle 30, Pam continues to struggle forward, while being plagued on a daily basis by debilitating, withdrawal-resistant, medication-induced 24-7 challenges to functioning. The following is part interview, part original art, part journal excerpts contributed by Pam.
The moment we choose to love we begin to move against domination, against oppression~The moment we choose to love we begin to move towards freedom, to act in ways that liberate ourselves and others~That action is the testimony of love as the practice of freedom. -- Bell Hooks ♥
Telephone interviews – excerpts 7/25/2016, 8/30/2016 and 8/31/2016
No matter how bad or entrenched all this gets, I'm never quitting.
But what do you do when you run out of the money, the resources, the friendships, the rest of it? You die. People are dying every day from getting off of this stuff.
I lost everything. I got injured on duty and the mental health system didn't even take into account my head injury. I probably spent $100,000 within the system trying to figure out what was really going on.
The more I tried to find out about myself, the more labels I got. We're trying to find out what the answer is so we're going to go back over and over and over again....
Those labels don't mean jack. I've read the book cover to cover - all of the DSM-V - and dissected it. There's no scientific test that proves any of these diagnoses are true. They're just voted on - and it's not even a fair vote. So what else is going to end up in that book?
I got injured on duty. The damage that was done to my body was just by doing my job right. Any time I went against the grain for ethical purposes & it didn't meet their standards even though they were doing things that were unethical, then I got more dumped on me... There's a thing called code of silence, where you don't talk about it. Things get washed over.
But we're going to question things - go by some kind of inner guideline. That's part of our human nature. Our innate nature. When something doesn't feel right we're going to go back and question it.
And a lot of that is how we got stuck in the label. If you question anything, if you question out of the norm enough.
I got injured on duty and have a medical disability, but I still make too much money to get the care that I need now to even help me. Even both my doctor and my psychiatrist have noted that. They're all saying she needs this help. Just the basics that I deserve. It's from the original injuries, not even the psych-related ones from the medications. But I make too much money to get that. And we also have people who don't make enough.
The costs of living where I am are tremendous. There’s other options I’d like to try out of state, but I can't move out of state because I lose my health plan if do that.
Any time I try to say anything it gets used as ... we're constantly having to look at even judging our own judgment. How do we put together a healthy community? There's a government that's a hierarchy. We're going where there's no middle ground at all. We don't believe in healing - we believe in oppression....
How many times do our souls have to be broken apart to be put back together again?
How can you make good decisions where you're on all this crap - and then getting off of this stuff with the emotional ranges that you go through...? Going through detox, you don't know if the bungee cord is going to catch you...
I want some things back. I used to be able to write. There’s something disjointed with the past med change where I'm not able to write. They don’t even know what they're doing to our systems...
All of this has been incredibly hard on my family. Each time I have a medication change I have to learn stuff all over again. That's put a huge strain on my relationships with my kids and grand kids. It's not fair to them. I can feel them pulling back - and I respect their reasons. But sometimes I can’t even figure out what I did or why. How am I going ever to be able to repair relationships with my kids…? I even find myself rejecting myself through this whole process.
I'm trying to rewrite my story. I want to come out of this a better stronger person. I don't want this to be a noose around their neck where it's their thing to carry. It's not theirs, they didn't ask for this.
Unless I get healthy, unless I find support systems, unless I find the center core of Pam, I can't break the cycles. I can't make things better for anybody else if I can't make them work for me.
We're losing this love stuff. I don't want to die sitting over here. I don't know how to pick myself up.
I get so tired. Everybody knows I'm going through detox, but still that doesn’t seem to help… Sometimes I feel like I'm on an automatic record of repeat, when nobody can really understand it. How many times do I have to keep explaining that detoxing is not easy. It's not comprehendable to most people unless you've been through it.
We have no timetable on detoxing. I'm way over my limit here. Everyone else who cares about me is too. I can't do it on the resources I have available, and I'm so tired of asking... I hear from people you should just hang in there. & I'm like, ‘Hang in there? I'm just barely hanging in there…’
Whether anything ever works out, our voices need to be heard. All of ours. I can’t die and you can’t die. And with that whole combination of all of our voices, there's truth in there - to each one of us.
There is something I want to say about those that we've lost too. We have lost people and we do lose people daily that we love. And their voices that came before us matter. Their history, their past - whatever led them to this place - matters.
That’s why it is so painful in our own community when we detach from each other... We love deeply in this movement...
There has to be a way that we can get out of this shame-blame mode. Where whatever happened to us is held with dignity and it's real.
I'm not going to die with these secrets inside of me anymore.
Journal Notes, August 5, 2014, documentation of my detox & recovery w humility:
[My belief is that we can unify, address issues and concerns. I’ve seen it happen. I even did that once before with a psychiatrist, using Positive Profound Communication Tools involving both the receiver, the deliverer, the observer, the self. They don't get it fully. How can they? They've never gone through it. It's also all they've been taught - they don't learn anything, really about our experiences in school. I think it's important, a small miracle sometimes they even try …]
Journal Notes 29th July 2015:
Facebook Post, August 2, 2015:
Journal Notes [soul heart journal thoughts n artistry]- September 18. 2015
-- if I stay comatose feeling in between two lives touching both yet there a song yet to sing somewhere I need to find the key's unlocking the padlocked cells within all around scenery part is familiar yet unknown --
* * * * * * * *
Some last thoughts 9/1/2016
This is how I see myself - I seriously unlock myself from the padlocked cells. All of what I have been through gets used for something good. My gosh, me transformed! I'm able to help and be an advocate for good. Filled with preserving self, so I don't destroy anything else.
It's healing yourself, not that I'm perfect. But I know there's still something left in me to give back to community and society. Where there's still possibility - endless possibility. There has to be - otherwise why are we fighting this battle?
Do you see what I'm saying...?
I can't give up. I can't.
Questions for Reflection
1. How are you living this principle even now, even if you have lost much or lost everything...?
2. How does your life experience bear witness to the need for this principle...?
3. How would you like others of conscience to carry on in your stead if you are unable to continue the journey under your own power or with your own voice...?
4. How would you like your spirit to carry this message to future generations when your body no longer walks this earth..?
5. What is your hope or prayer that future generations will not have to go through because you were here, lived it, and learned...?
6. How are you writing this message on your heart and in your mind, even when - due to the damage of personal and collective oppression - the longed for words, actions, strength or energy may not be to live them are not forthcoming on a given day...?
For those wishing to continue the discussion, please join us for the Declaring Our Destiny Call-In:
Thursday, September 8. 2016
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