A few words on mental health and the dystopia we’re not in:
I’ve been struggling lately. A huge weight of depression in a kind I thought long gone landed on me a few weeks ago. There was a huge difference from the old bad times, though: now I have tools that I know work to help against this. But for the last few weeks, I have also felt like I shouldn’t use them, like I didn’t deserve to feel better. Didn’t deserve help.
Anyone reading this who doesn’t outright hate me will immediately recognize that as also symptomatic. (Anyone reading this who does… what are you doing here? Get a hobby. Take up the oboe or something, sheesh.) Thing is, that doesn’t matter. It’s as real as anything going on inside anyone’s giant grey walnut can be. If you’ve been through this – in which case, hang in there, I’m sorry you are hurting – you know it can’t be argued away, not directly. Someone says you deserve to feel better, you reply ‘No I don’t and here’s why…’ and it gets more entrenched.
But what if it’s not about you at all? What if it is a matter of justice?
There is no jurisdiction with any kind of a conscience that would sentence someone to chronic pain – mental or physical. It is in fact one of the reasons why every international organization and treaty about justice and war condemns torture. Inflicting pain on anyone is not tolerated as a punishment and doubly so as ‘enhanced interrogation’ (Hey Ellen, remember where THAT phrase came from? kiss kiss.) Those jurisdictions that do these things are deemed to be violating civil rights. Those that regularly employ solitary confinement are as well, on the basis of solitary is psychological torture.
In short, torture – mental or physical – is cruel and intolerable punishment even for serial killers and war criminals, and I feel pretty safe assuming nobody reading this is anywhere near that level of evil. I’m certainly not.
But consider how that applies to mental health. Could I, could anyone, ‘not deserve help’? Not deserve to feel better?
Impossible. That is subjecting a person to psychological torture, and according to the UN, Amnesty International, and even the Geneva Convention, nobody deserves that. Nobody. Not even the murderers of millions. Even if you believe you are the worst human being on the planet (and either you’re not or else hi, Mr. President) you deserve to feel better.
Maybe you have done bad things. Still deserve help: you must be functional in order to make restitution. Justice demands you feel better. Maybe you believe the only thing you can do for the world is leave it. Capital punishment is also condemned as cruel and inhumane: you cannot deserve death. Justice demands you feel better.
It isn’t about you or your history. You cannot argue against this without arguing that sure, sometimes it’s A-OK to torture someone. What’s a few dozen nipple-volts between friends, right?
No. So today, I am out of the pit. I am doing the things that work. If you need to do such things, you should too. Yes, should. Amnesty International says so. The UN says so.
You deserve to feel better. It is a MORAL IMPERATIVE that you feel better.
Justice demands it.
[This is a slightly updated version of an article originally posted to Facebook on Oct 13, 2019]
An interesting post, and one I broadly agree with, but perhaps the most interesting part is that this:
is coming from the same person that said this:
I was wondering when the most intense transphobe not outright banned from this whole network would show up to shit something disingenuous on my blog.
Torture is not the same thing as a summary punishment for deliberate bad behavior. Which is pretty damn obvious, and at this stage either you are truly deeply brain damaged more than I ever thought, or else – more likely – are delibrately being disingenuous in the hallucination that ONCE AGAIN picking a fight with a blog owner will somehow score you points. I am leaving your comment unedited, which I do not have to do, so it can stand as a monument to your tactical foolishness and belligerence.
And I have to say… I knew you were an awful person, but until now I did not know you were arguing on the side of the actual fascists. Which you are, because that is who you chose to defend here.
Don’t come back.
Andreas Avester says
Wow, they sure appeared quickly in your blog.
I’m also currently wondering about the same question. I’m semi expecting the resident transphobic commenters to show up on my blog. So far there’s none, even though I have already written about trans rights.
Anyway, good luck with your blog, and I hope that a few nasty people aren’t making you feel bad. Remember that you have lots of support here.
Like Holms I agree with your point. I suffer from chronic pain and I wouldn’t wish a moment of that pain on anyone else, let alone the lifetime without hope for appeal that I face.
Holms’ point seemed valid to me, though, and I don’t think you addressed it. I don’t think the distinction between choosing to inflict pain on someone because of their awful beliefs is very different from supporting it when sanctioned by the state. Or to put it another way, I’m struggling to see why you see the distinction as so self-evident that you feel justified in diagnosing traumatic brain injury in anyone who questions it.
I too would like to better understand your reasoning and I hope you could spell it out
I’m really late to comment on this post, but I think that it makes a very good point. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety rather than depression, but I agree that when I’m at my worst I would consider it cruel and unjust punishment for even the worst criminals. Why, then, do I think that it’s entirely appropriate for me? One reason is that I simply have a strong, irrational, self-hating component to my personality. Another reason is that I tend to doubt own reasoning all the time, so I will end up thinking “maybe other people do deserve to suffer as much as you” or “maybe you really are uniquely bad” – any thought that will make me feel worse. My doubts are more often in the direction of making me feel worse than feeling better. In any case, you are quite right that rationally there is no reason to hate myself as much as I sometimes do, or even much at all. As I’m sure you and others who have experienced psychological difficulties know, however, rationality can get drowned out by irrational thoughts and feelings.
The point is not valid, and I am well familiar with Holms’s history of bad faith and gotcha-ing and trying to make people’s lives miserable. I will not tolerate that sort of thing. Are you not? There is context to his shittiness that you are either unfamiliar with or deliberately eliding.
strikes me as itself disingenuous. Since you showed up here in support of known bad behavior from a known transphobic troll, I’m going to need some more reason to believe you are currently engaging in good faith before I’m inclined to be dragged into trying to explain away a troll’s deliberate misinterpretation of my words. You and he are both deliberately conflating an inescapable lifetime torment with a short sharp reminder that promoting genocide is bad. This is not okay. Stop doing that.
Yeah. It can. As I alluded to at the beginning of this article, I wrote it at the end of a period of very much ‘brain go bad’ darkness, which is to say nothing actually bad was happening to me and there was no reasonable external stressor to explain it.
It was a revelation and a point I felt worth sharing because if you believe what I wrote here, and I do, it means “you deserve to hurt” is now off the table, for reasons that are not actually about you; it is an argument that no matter who you are or what you have done or what the demons are lying about, you can’t possibly deserve to suffer this torment and it must by definition be not only okay but necessary to get help and get better. It’s not so much about rationality, as it is an end run around the “you deserve it” flavor of irrationality, which plagues me and many others.
I’ve been informed by Giliell that you have a history of joining in with Holms’s bad behavior. Consider yourself on probation here. Do not give me any more reason to think you are trolling.
@ 4 latsot
Hey, mate, while we’re asking people to spell out their reasoning:
I’m curious how it doesn’t bother you at all that you’re buddies with someone who just made a dedicated post disparaging this blogger, mocking her appearance, calling her a “dude”, calling her a “misogynist” (on the basis of nothing whatsoever), accusing her of transitioning because the wants to be oppressed (on the basis of nothing whatsoever), generally indulging in the most unfounded transphobic bullshit I’ve ever seen in my life – and yet none of that ruffles your feathers – what bothers you it that some people think it’s okay for actual nazis to get punched.
How is it that this blogger, who has done nothing whatsoever to deserve hateful vitriol from your mate, is of no concern to you, and needs no defending, but hypothetical nazis need defending? Once you’ve explained that, could you explain how you manage to look at yourself in the mirror without disgust. Thanks in advance.
(Edited to remove the link to Ophelia’s obsessive post. Apologies to Silentbob but I don’t want to drive her any more traffic. — Abbey)
For me it’s more like judging the very same thing very differently depending on who does it. I have all the understanding and sympathy for everyone else, but not for me.
As an example, for years I would see kids being picked up by their grandparents and think nothing of it, or even positively as in “how good that the family is supporting each other”.
When it came to me having to ask for help I would almost die from shame because how could I be such a failure and a burden?
I called it my “monkey brain”, which is unfair to monkeys but they don’t read much anyway.
Don’t be silly, ab. My point isn’t made more or less valid by my association with other people, despite your insistence that it does. That’s an ad-hom, isn’t it, and not a valid agument, right?
Your point was trolling bullshit to begin with. And you just responded to me telling you not to give me any more reason to consider you a troll with condescension. ‘Ab’ indeed. Your ‘association’ is examples of bad behavior. So was this.
Looks like she’s out of joint that I mentioned her. Seriously that post, which I would not have noticed had you not brought it to my attention, says far more about her than it ever could about me. What a bitter old terror.
If you want answers from Latsot for those questions, it will have to be elsewhere. He’s gone here.
Man, she did a whole post hallucinating about me! I only mentioned her flounce – and oh yes, it was VERY much a flounce – as one of the things I’ve been around for here. I reckon Benson’s just lost the plot at this point, and… why waste any more time talking about her?
Aaaaand, I fucked up the blockquote…
But why did I go looking at that post? Why? I mean, I’m really glad that latsot is so completely unbothered by my person that he* needs to keep quoting my comments and talk about me. Wouldn’t want to upset the poor guy.
*Yes, yes he went for The Joke. No, you can no longer distinguish them from folks like Gervais. Maybe when conservatives finally discover a second joke they’ll be willing to share?
I’ll stop now. I do have too much of a life for that