If you read nothing else I write. Read. This.
Fighting Stigma is noble and necessary but it is not the Real issue
It is AN issue
But not THE issue
Stigma is in the minds of people
Stigma is not an action
And we need action
Even “ending” Stigma doesn’t really help us out if it isn’t accompanied by action
Our battle cry should not just be Stigma
It should be
We need to start demanding Equality
Most specifically Equality in Healthcare but also in the workplace and in the Law
Because we are not treated Equally when it comes to Healthcare
We are not
In fact we are SEPARATED into a whole other category
Our illnesses not fit to be included in the Normal Healthcare System
Our serious chronic illnesses are relegated to the “Behavioral Health” sections
And anyone who has spent two minutes on the phone with an Insurance Company can see that there is a blaring difference.
A blaring inequality
But we are a captive population REQUIRED to use these services
They have us
We can’t get away
And so there is no real motivation on the part of these companies and doctors
To provide more than what is minimally essential
And the “better” doctors who know they are providing something more…. can then feel justisfied in not participating with Insurance Companies and in charging exorbitant fees.
Fees which prohibit most people from using their services
Only a small percentage of the people in this country have hundred of dollars lying in their pockets….
Psychiatrists in my area who do not accept insurance charge 235 dollars for 30 mins. (and insurance companies have thousands of dollars worth of deductables..and then will pay MAYbe 60%.)
But it seems that these docs are ok with it because they think they are worth it…
And they are ok with it because if you can’t afford it you can just go find yourself a doc that takes your insurance
Which often means cold calling names on a list that provides no other information….usually when in crisis as that is when we seek the help
It basically ALWAYS means very long wait times for a first appointment…even in emergency situations…
And what do they tell you when they are booked solid and can’t see you for months and you say….
“But I don’t know that I can make it that long”
they say that pat answer
the words so routine to them
that party line
the line that absolves them from the Hippocratic oath because they know there is a bottom rung that catches people…..
“If this is an emergency go to the ER”
and that is it
That is what we get
Sometimes it truly feels like there is no Hippocratic Oath in Psychiatry
Let’s not forget that there is a huge population of people without access to any services
and all of this leads to
Families torn apart
Because of the lack of access to care…quality care
way too many of us ARE receiving care….
and STILL don’t have access to Quality care
Psychiatry needs to STEP UP
And insurance companies need to STOP playing God with people’s lives….deciding who gets to live and who gets to die…who gets help…and who gets to suffer…
And you know what…because of the immense imbedded conscious and unconscious stigma and discrimination towards the Mentally Ill….
We are always going to be on the die and suffer end of that stick
But we shouldn’t have to Fight Stigma in order to get better treatment…
In order to be included in the REAL medical establishment
We should be fighting for EQUALITY
This IS NOT about Stigma
This is CIVIL RIGHTS
And it is not acceptable to have a system that is
SEPARATE AND NOT EQUAL
Did women end Stigma before demanding equality…?
Did the Gays end Stigma before demanding equality…?
Did People of Color have a Fight Stigma campaign before demanding Equality?
At least not in the way we do…
STIGMA MEANS NOTHING TO INSURANCE COMPANIES
What IS THE POINT of people thinking we are not shameful awful people…
If we still have no rights ?
If we still aren’t protected by healthcare and by the law….
STIGMA IS A RED HERRING
I am not saying we shouldn’t “fight” it
I am not saying it wouldn’t help everything if we could end it…lessen it
I am not saying that work is pointless
It is SO necessary
Let’s keep fighting it with everything we have
But let’s not let it distract us from the TRUE fight….from what we TRULY need to be doing
Because seriously…let’s face it…
We are not going to “end” stigma…
Not in our life time
This is such a deeply imbedded complex issue
And these isms are NOT eradicated…that just isn’t the way it works
Racism and homophobia and misogyny and every other ism are RAMPANT
And these are battles that have been fought for decades and decades and decades
I am afraid to alienate everyone with this
I am afraid because so many people in this community have put a lot of themselves into fighting Stigma…
Just take a turn around Bipolar Twitter world or Bipolar Blog world for a moment and you will see everyone saying they are fighting Stigma…committed to ending stigma….
They have put themselves and their work into books, articles, organizations, blogs…
I am sick and tired of the mistreatment of and the discrimination towards the people I call my community
And I keep listening to the Stigma battle cry and watching everyone charge towards it while the real enemy continues to attack and attack……
So on my little blog
With my little voice
I want to urge every single one of you who are out there dedicating so much of yourself to Fighting Stigma
to turn and face the real enemy…
Separate and UNequal
That is what we are
This is a CIVIL RIGHTS movement