I'm rather new, but I feel there's a disturbing anti-psychiatric trend to Metafilter
It really got me out of my seat on Tony Scott's obituary
, when somehow the concept of the stigma was completely reversed (almost like saying swedish girls raped Julian Assange) to claim that considering the notion that Scott might not have made an optimal decision to jump to his death contributes to "the stigma about suicide"
. I understand that suicide may be rational sometimes -- I always go back to Deleuze, the philosopher of jouissance, who, after he couldn't speak or write and barely move, pushed his wheelchair over the window. But can one even wonder out loud?
People lose their lives unnecessarily to suicide. Terry Pratchett may be doing the rational thing preparing for his Alzheimer's with Dignitas in Switzerland, but not all suicide is a practical end-of-life decision, and while a philosophical argument may be made that one should have the right to end one's life at any point, most failed suicide attempts regret it. I don't think I've ever come across someone who tried it three days in a row.
The problem here is the stigma about mental illness
. It's such a taboo to take crazy pills that people never even seek help. Mental illness is just like kidney disease, for all the epistemological stuff you may want to raise. You wouldn't encourage someone with treatable renal illness to sit it out. Can I say Scott was ill? No, but I can say many people in his specific demographic (Hollywood, male, post-middle life) have come out as mentally ill. The stigma is in shutting down the discussion.
But this isn't all. There's the whole shitstorm at the suggestion that pictures of happy trans folk
may not be the whole picture and post-op "global outcomes", to use the jargon, should be assessed systematically -- i.e. ask many people whether they're better off or not. There's people trying to find some identiy politics in the transable
-- voluntary amputees.
Why do I sound like the conservative nut here?
Because somehow the baseline "stigma" to be fought is the idea that these people might not have reached a rational conclusion. Is there a huge population of cultural studies PhDs trying to find a theme for their dissertation? Are people really aware that we, the crazy, do exist, and resent the notion that suggesting mental illness is an insult?
This is the actual stigma
. Mental illness is complex. Sometimes apparently self-destructive choices are rational, like leaving a job. Sometimes you're just manic out your skull and leaving your job because you will start a new business selling cloudbusters. Sometimes you're Gilles Deleuze, have had a goal for your life since young and have reached the brim of your cup, and are incapacitated beyond repair, and you kill yourself. Sometimes, well, the bear kills you.
We can't actually know
. Actually, we can't actually know anything about a sane's person motivation either, but certain behaviors, like self-mutilation and suicide are more often than not Vincent van Gogh.
I have one grievance and one worry. The grievance is that claims of mental illness are always taken as just about as likely as a faked death in Scott's case. This is extremely insulting, dehumanizing even. The crazy aren't people, Scott was a person, therefore he couldn't have been crazy. We're a disturbing bunch because you can't do identity politics or write about "crazy theory", there's no equivalent of the "patriarchy". There is the uppercase Stigma, but that mefiites will trumpet it loudly just to acknowledge whatever novelty cause comes along, ach. I felt like a jew in Stormfront.org in the Scott thread.
The worry is that this mentality sinks further and further into people who need help. This may seem sanctimonious, but I know crazy inside my own skull, I've known outpatient manic-depressives and schizophrenics for years -- and you always want to validate whatever you're trying to do, you know? I'm not saying the world should be filtered to the crazy, but "this is crazy, I know crazy" should be a valid response to "look at these brave rational people stepping into new grounds of identity politics".
Anyway, rant off.