take your meds

FYI, telling a person who you know has a mental disability to ‘take your meds’ when you disagree with her or him, is bigotry. It’s also a cheap and lazy way to make your point in a conversation. It’s the same as calling them a psycho, a mental case, a retard or any other prejudicial term.

I was made acutely aware of how common this use of language is once more today, when a person in my neighbourhood, who knows I live with a mental disability, disagreed with me on the topic of personal boundaries.

“Oh, take your meds,” he said, like that cemented his side of the conversation.

“What a bigoted thing to say,” I said. “Do you know how hateful and stigmatising a term that is?”

Apparently not. He looked shocked for a moment, then incredulous. Then he told me to fuck off, and walked away.

This is a person who would never use the N word, or any other horrible slur against a racial minority, and rightly so. But he felt within his rights to slap me with this stigmatising term. Perhaps he didn’t expect a person with bipolar disorder, who endures episodic bouts of psychosis, to logically assert himself in a conversation.

But I wonder, how many times do I have to be certified under the Mental Health Act, and held against my will, without being charged with or convicted of any crime? How many times do I have to attempt suicide because the voices and my inner narrative say it’s the only way? How many times do I have to be beaten and restrained by the police for eccentric, but harmless behaviours? How long do I have to subsist living in legislated poverty? And, how many times do I have to encounter mocking and infantilizing dismissal, whenever I raise these questions?

Finally, how long do I have to survive in spite of these things, and more, and mostly prosper, before I gain the right to respect?


10 thoughts on “take your meds

  1. Thank you for giving me a dose of mess… That nice shot of “Thank God someone else knows the torture I’m living”. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy with none of those nasty side effects those prescribed meds always come with.

  2. I don’t share your difficulties, but I share your anger. How can it be, when so many terms are proscribed, when so many groups demand to be understood, that mental illness is still seen as amusing? You can still call people ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ with impunity. It’s disgusting.

  3. Good for you! Glad he was shocked that you stood up to him! He could only resort to vulgarity. Pity for him. I was told that once, by an x-partner, I returned it, w/go drink your liquor. I did not stoop, to tell her, all about herself. It would have been ugly, all for naught.

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