More psych talk, and thoughts on The Trial

I got to talk to my best friend and ex girlfriend Margaret last night, whose number I lost until I did a reverse address look up. I love Margaret, she’s so swell. She’s working in an alternative totally voluntary mental health crisis centre. She was the number one support person for my suicidal nights. I don’t know how she was so amazing, she just was. Maybe because she didn’t make me talk about it unless I wanted to. Maybe because she would just hold me all night so I could sleep. Maybe just because she’s awesome and made sure I knew someone cared about me while at the same time not being freaked out by me being full of the snuff its. I had two other awesome support people in my life, but Margaret is still the best. I’m glad she’s doing that work, she’d be awesome at it.

I told her about deciding to go off meds. She’s supportive of it, which is nice. And then I talked about girly things along the lines of “OMG! She’s SO cute!”, which was fun. I’m still nervous about talking to my doctor about going off meds. I think I’m ready though. Someone told me I might get a bit worse while doing this long extended change over, so hopefully people won’t panic and throw me into the abusive hands of psychiatry again.

I was reading that nearly 50% of people with mental health issues recover completely, but it doesn’t make it into psychiatric knowledge of outcomes because most of those people have to go AWOL from psychiatry to get better. I would believe that. I guess I’m just nervous because I don’t know how to divorce myself from psychiatry yet. I’m lucky in that I don’t have a psychiatrist, just a G.P., which is a start. I think G.P.’s are a bit more open to things than pdocs, at least the ones I’ve had have been. And they’re more aware of other conditions, whereas psychiatrists seem to only know their goddamn DSM. Tons of medical conditions can look like mental illnesses. Still, G.P.’s are just as faliable, especially if they’ve read my file which describes some definitely bizarre behaviour. Never mind that I only did that stuff for two weeks out of my nearly twenty-nine years on this earth. It’s like looking at my meth use when I was nineteen and telling me I’m still a meth addict even though I haven’t touched it or thought about it for nearly a decade. And I’m still surprised that no doctor ever picked up on the fact that my one and only manic episode was triggered by antidepressants. One would consider it to be a side effect of my medication, in fact it is in the side effect profile, but that one side effect got me a diagnosis that will follow me the rest of my life.

Ugh. So TIRED! The psych industry is just a tired sad little tyrant, the schoolyard bully of all the medical disciplines.

In other thoughts, the Pickton trial is starting and I’m dreading following it on the news. Anyone who lived in BC during those years knows some of the stuff they aren’t saying, and maybe won’t say. I heard that he was sending body parts to the rendering plant which supplies fat for use in cosmetics around the world. I also heard he was selling his “pork” to restaurants in the downtown eastside, I don’t know much about it but I know they did have to issue a tainted meat warning that freaked a lot of people out, including me when I realized I ate pork in the downtown eastside. Just fucked up. Not only that but women had been going to the cops about Piggy Palace for years and would get threatened and turned away. Those cops SO knew what was going on, they so did. It pisses me off when I read or hear their description of their investigation, like they were actually doing any work. I seem to remember for the longest time they only had one or two people working that case, even though so many women were disappearing and so many people were getting upset, they were even denying a serial killer was at work. And now they’re saying he killed 49 women. So what happened to the other sixty or so women who are missing? Is there someone else out there? And do we know if women have stopped going missing?

Not only that, but I’m tired of those womens lives being summed up with the words “drug-addicted prostitute.” It’s such a value judgement. They did have drug problems, they were in the sex trade, but that doesn’t mean that’s all they were. What freaks me out about that use of language is that it frames them for the public in the same way that the killers framed them (and I truly believe there was more than one person involved). I noticed they don’t really mention that most of those women were Aboriginal, which I think was a major reason for them being singled out as victims. I think the questions we as a society have to ask is why was this allowed to happen for two decades with the police knowing that women working the streets had taken issue with the New West pig farm. Why were these women in particular allowed to be hunted for so long with such minimal protection or attention. And furthermore, how is this trial coverage going to perpetuate societal feelings about Aboriginals, about sex trade workers, about drug addicts, about women. We have 300 international media folks accredited to cover the trial, where was the international media when these women were going missing?

One one hand it’s easy for us to point to Robert Pickton and say he did all of this, but there were so many issues inherent in Canadian society that enabled this to happen. For one thing, the fact that Aboriginal women are the highest risk group for homicide in Canada. Justice is generally not served in the case of murdered Indians, which makes us a prime target for whoever wants to get away with murder. And then we have to look at how anti-prostitution laws have endangered womens lives unneccessarily. In Canada prostitution is technically legal, BUT communicating for the purposes of prostitution ISN’T. That means no street walking, no newspaper ads, no escort listings in the phone book. You’ll note that all of these things still exist, but they’re illegal. Either way, Vancouver’s needed a safe way for women to engage in prostitution, something like Amsterdam’s red light district which has been talked about over and over. It’s not ALWAYS going to be safe, but at least some risks could be lowered. And then we also just have to look at why certain demographics in our culture end up having drug problems. It’s not the drugs that are the problem, the drugs are a symptom of a problem, a much larger problem. Say someone got sexually abused by a second generation residential school survivor who became a perpetrator, or by a white foster father, that could kick off a long standing drug habit to try and cope with that kind of trauma. I will make the grand sweeping statement that a lot of these women ended up in dire poverty as a result of colonialism.

So, it will be interesting to see how the coverage of this trial works, but I know it will be missing out on most of the dialogue that was going on in Vancouver about the missing women. I also feel bad for the people who will be going to the trial who know the victims. That is going to be so traumatizing. I wonder if the truth of what happened will ever get out, or if we’ll all be called conspiracy theorists.

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