Tuesday, 8 April 2014

revealing yourself

I wanted to say a few words about the difficulty in Scotland's mental health world of being the person that you are and revealing this to others.  For me it's easier to be myself and to be congruent.  Especially if it's about human rights abuse in psychiatric settings.  I can do no other than speak out about it.  Especially if it's about me and mine.

I've noticed at mental health meetings and events that people with lived experience are in the habit of playing a part, and noticed this recently at the #seeme14 event in Dunblane.  Where on one occasion it was like a scene out of a Shakespeare play with a king and queen in residence.  Acting out royally.  I made a sharp exit so as not to spoil their performance.  I'd seen it many times before.

The reasons for people hiding their true selves I think will be many.  Firstly, and I suspect mainly, for protection.  So that others won't attack them for expressing their opinions which may be unpopular or too honest.  (how can you be too honest? I don't know as I prefer honesty)

So when I came into the mental health world in 2008, to be "meaningfully involved", I came in without a mask and not playing a part, just being myself.  Before too long people wanted me to hide my true self, conform, play a part, just like them.  They said I was "scary".  As a community worker of nearly 30yrs, in many settings, I'd not heard that said to my face before.  It was puzzling.

I'm non-conformist, it's why I survived psychiatry, made a complete recovery, and there's no way I was going back into the box, no matter how much they tried to make me fit in.  So I got excluded, pushed out.  Still I wouldn't conform.  Why should I?  That wouldn't be me. 

If you're in the habit of playing a part and hiding stuff then it's likely to be very difficult to start revealing yourself to all and sundry.  Easier to be the real you with a chosen few confidantes and wear the mask in public.  However I'm one of those folk who can't resist looking behind it or even yanking it off.  To get to the real person underneath.

It's the child in me that enjoys the game and the adult in me that appreciates a whodunnit, a mystery to be solved.  What's going on, why did they do that, who is the real person behind the mask?  Or as my 5yr old granddaughter puts it, who are the goodies and the baddies?


Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds


Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a pink one and a green one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

Words and Music by: Malvina Reynolds



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