Friday, 4 April 2014

on being silenced by the head of Scotland at #seeme14

[an excerpt from a storify I'm collating, of my tweets from yesterday and today's @seemescotland "re-founding" event, during the talk by Prof Alan Miller, Scottish Human Rights Commission, and questions following where I spoke out]

At this point I also was compelled to speak out on the mic about human rights abuse in psychiatric settings, telling a personal story about my son, painful to recount, which was eventually silenced.  A few folk in the afternoon mentioned to me about the silencing.  This spurred me on at the end of the day to approach the high heid yin (head of Scotland) who had ended my talk.  A woman.  (If no-one had said anything I would have let it go)

She said that others in the room had to be protected and did I have permission to speak out about my son.  This woman knows my story, or should do.  Like me she's a mother of sons.  I was both insulted and annoyed.

I said to her that I would be blogging about this, the unfairness of it.  She said that she was fine about that (gave me permission).  Huh.  (I'm being ironic, sarcastic)  I said that her present role wasn't to do with psychiatric nursing.  Trying a little patronising myself.  It made me feel better.  I admit it.  You might describe it as getting your own back.

On arriving home in Fife at 9.30pm I told my son about this.  He laughed and asked if I wanted him to write a letter giving permission for me to speak out.  (he was joking, it was good to see him react like this)  Laughing in the face of patriarchy and infantilisation.  Psychiatric system thinking.  Keeping quiet about trauma and abuse in case we scare the neighbours.  Huh.

To further dissipate my annoyance I had a moan about it this morning at the event, to one or two folk, then put it to the back of my mind until later when I would be writing about it and reflecting upon it.  I always think it's better out than in and helps keep me in a positive frame of mind even when people behave negatively towards me.  I try not to bear grudges because it takes up energy that is better used elsewhere in fighting injustice and inequalities. 

[I attended this 2 day event voluntarily as an unpaid carer on £61/week, picking up the pieces after traumatic, dehumanising psychiatric treatment.  Both days I set off from my home in NE Fife at 7am for the drive to Dunblane.  I made the effort to be involved and have a voice, to join with others.]

And finally a Facebook comment this evening from an American woman and ally who like me is a psychiatric survivor activist and campaigner: 

"People always react badly when they hear an uncomfortable truth and they tend to attack the bearer of the news instead of the truth of the message, which is why its so hard to bear witness."

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