Monday, May 28, 2007

Dumbfounded

So the rumours I've heard are true. There really is a Creation Museum. I just can't believe it, although a poll at ctv.ca shows that 45% of the voters think visiting would be a good educational experience, although I kind of hope they mean educational in a 'what the hell are these people thinking' kind of way. But I fear that is not the case.

This whole project just astoundss me, but there's one detail that really pisses me off. In the "Plan Your Visit" section at the bottom it says this: Strollers and wheelchairs are available on a limited, first-come, first-serve basis. A minimal fee is required. Charging a fee for wheelchairs! Ableist fuckers.

And I used to think Catholics were the crazy ones, but at least they believe in the Big Bang.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Friday, May 25, 2007

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why Joss Whedon is my master

(Because I'm a geek, but I'm not buying the t-shirt)

Joss Whedon weighs in on the stoning of Dua Khalil and more
I could start a rant about the level to which we have become desensitized to violence, about the evils of the voyeuristic digital world in which everything is shown and everything is game, but honestly, it’s been said. And I certainly have no jingoistic cultural agenda. I like to think that in America this would be considered unbearably appalling, that Kitty Genovese is still remembered, that we are more evolved. But coincidentally, right before I stumbled on this vid I watched the trailer for “Captivity”.

A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by “The Killing Fields” Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is “I’m sorry”.

...

How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence -- is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Strong Female Characters too much for TV

The lovely Veronica Mars has been cancelled.

It's a cliche at this point that females are bombarded with unhealthy messages in pop culture, but it's true nonetheless. I'm honestly surprised women can stand to watch network TV. It's filled with idealized virgins and scheming whores, every one supermodel scrawny. More recently, with the attempt to present "real" women, we've gotten the likes of Grey's Anatomy, filled with insecure, indecisive, twitterpated drama queens. I can't count the number of times a female character has been introduced on a TV show as spunky and independent (see: Izzie) only to descend within an episode or two into hysterics over some guy -- of course an emotionally unavailable guy who fears commitment, cause that's what men are like, right? (Actually, if I were surrounded by TV Women I'd be scared of commitment too ...)

....

In this milieu, Veronica Mars was a revelation: she radiated easy confidence. She was interested in but not obsessed with the opposite sex, vulnerable but not dependent, and above all, genuinely smart and funny. She was her own person; she had her own thing going. She spent her time outwitting men, not weeping over them. Hell, she even had a healthy relationship with her father!


Veronica was supremely smart, and because of this her relationships suffered. She wasn't willing to sacrafice herself in order to make her relationships work. She was indeed a teenage role model who allowed girls to have someone to look up to that wasn't neurotic and guy-obsessed. Look at all the women on TV now. They're never portrayed as anything but broken, and they make me want to rip my hair out over the idea that they all need some sort of relationship to be fulfilled. Nowhere else do we see someone as strong as Veronica. It truly makes me sad, but buys into my idea that all shows with strong female characters are too much for TV. Not only that, but her friends included a female hacker/computer wiz named Mac. Where else do we see women in this role? Tech stuff is usually the domain of men. (And don't "but CSI" me. It's a show that routinely shows sexually/sexualized brutalized women. That more then makes up for the whole women working with tech stuff.)

A show that did get picked up for fall: "The Pussycat Dolls Present." "Nough said.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

This is exactly my response about porn

That's censorship!

No, censorship would be if the critic was heading a government body and inspecting each title before it came out, with the ability to prevent the publication of anything that violated the guidelines of that body.

Unless that is what the critic is doing, or proposing others do, what they are engaging in is critique, not censorship.

Personally, I’m not interested in censoring things. I want people to stop depicting women so poorly in comic books, but I want them to stop because they realise it’s fucking dumb, not because there’s someone with a rubber stamp hovering suspiciously above each page. If criticism contributes to people realising that depicting women so poorly is fucking dumb – and I have an inbox says they have – then that is awesome.


From Girls read comics (and they're pissed)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Food Stamp increase?

If you've been reading this blog for awhile you will remember me begging for donations to help pay for food for myself and my cats. (Thank you again all who donated. I got cheap veggies from the farmer's market and was so happy about having veggies instead of pancakes and malt-o-meal which was all I was eating at the time.)

Well, I may not have to do that again (*crosses fingers*) Well US Congresspeople are trying to live on the paltry $1 a meal that most Americans on food stamps have to live on:

Their spell on "the Food Stamp Challenge" will end on Monday, just before the House Agriculture Committee is expected to begin overhauling U.S. farm law. Food stamps and other public nutrition programs account for two-thirds of the spending governed by the "farm bills" written every few years.

Food stamp benefits are roughly $1 a meal or $3 a day. With that budget, the U.S. representatives said, they found starchy foods are attractively priced and little chance for variety. "I kept taking things out of my (shopping) cart," said Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat.

"It's amazing how hard it is to buy fruits and vegetables," said Tim Ryan, an Ohio Democrat, who also enrolled in the challenge. With two loaves of bread, Ryan planned to "allocate" 12 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches among his meals.

...

Ellen Vollenger of the anti-hunger group Food Research and Action Center said the Food Stamp Challenge "is a reality check." Various public officials including state governors and city mayors have used it to get a first-hand taste of food stamp budgeting
Story here.

This is the only way people will actually get enough money to buy food for an entire month. As it stands now, I am not the only one who runs out of food that recieves food stamps. Those of us who have the audacity to buy something other then starch products, dried beans, and rice often run out approximately 2 weeks after recieving the months money. Unfortunately I am more interested in eating healthily then I am about making my food stamps last a month. And I shop at discount groceries and liquidators, and the farmer's market where I find the cheapest veggies (not to mention freshest).

The fact that some legislators are taking the food stamp challenge makes me very happy, because it's the only way that they'll change anything. It's depressing how little they give us each month. For me, my disability pay went up by $10 and my food stamps went down by $25. I have approximately $118 to spend on food each month, and unfortunately the only time the stupid food bank is open I'm in class. You'd think they'd have it open at least one evening during the week, not that they have much for someone who is a vegetarian like me. (Though if I weren't a vegetarian you couldn't pay me to eat the 'chicken in a can.') Lucky for me I have a friend who works at the co-op who gets food from the free box for me.

But all this is still not enough. It's not enough for a lot of people. I would wager that most of the 26 million on food stamps can't make it last an entire month either.

Hat tip Grrrl Scientist

Thursday, May 17, 2007

They just won't accept it

This weekend I went home to see my brother graduate this past weekend. I forgot my medication and decided to tell my parents that it was my mood stabiliser. They, of course, asked why I was on a mood stabiliser. I told them I was bipolar, because I knew that they could accept this, because they won't admit that I have PTSD partially from the physical and emotional abuse my mother inflicted on me as a child, and heaven forbid I tell them about my Borderline Personality Disorder. The conversation went as follows:

Me: "I'm bipolar"
My mom: "What? Why are you bipolar?"
I start to explain
My dad: "It's a chemical imbalance."

That stopped the conversation dead, because it being something I can't control, wheras I can apparently pull myself out of my PTSD-induced depression, which I have told them that that is the reason I miss classes, failed a class, and dropped out of school winter quarter, and why I can't leave my house for days at a time. This they repress because it doesn't fit into their ideal of having 'the perfect family.' I know this, but I wish that they would accept the fact the I HAVE A DISABILITY and it's not all about the bipolar. Heaven forbid I try and bring it up and be honest and open about it. They just gloss over it, and five seconds later it's as if it never happened. I was surprised that they accepted it when I told them I was on Medicaid. I thought that would invite many more questions, but it didn't.

I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't tell them that I'm on SSI-Disability. Because I don't think I could take the look that they would give me, and the things they would say. Because I know they'd think that I was leeching off the state. (My parents are very big right-wing Republican Catholics who judge people on welfare, etc.) Because in their eyes, everything but the bipolar is all in my head, and I can snap out of it at any time. They won't talk about it, won't hear about my side of the story, won't even admit that I have PTSD. Last time I told them, before my mom shoved it out of her conciousness she asked me why I had it. Having brought up the abuse before and her responding with "But I never hit you" and I pointed out a few examples she just said "Oh, yeah" and promptly forgot about it. There was no bringing up that topic again. She wouldn't hear it; she wouldn't let me bring it up again. She shut me down everytime I tried to bring it up again, just as she shut me down whenever I tried to bring up the PTSD. I didn't feel like telling her about the abusive relationships, the sexual assaults, the scarring from all the abuses I have lived and continue to live through because of living in a society that views me as less then human.

It hurts. I'm sure anyone who has a mental health disability has gotten the denial or the outright refusal to believe that it's something that's not all in your head (har har har) from friends or family. Because they can't listen to us, can't hear that maybe something could be wrong with us that wasn't 'easily shaken off given enough will power.' They can't see it as something that is an actual disease like lupus or diabetes. No matter how much we speak out about this, people refuse to listen.

I personally know that my parents would shame me for being on disability, for mooching off the taxpayers for something that is not really a problem. As if I don't have enough internalised stigma to deal with on my own. Is it too much to ask that my parents support me? If anybody should, it would be them, right?

WHY WON'T THEY ACCEPT THIS?

I thought if anybody would, it would be my dad. He saw, what I told him was, a PTSD related breakdown a few years ago when my mom tried to take us out for a 'nice family dinner' and I had not healed enough for it. She got verbally abusive because I ruined her perfect evening. Just remembering that night makes me cry. My dad and I talked about it for hours, as he was trying to calm me down, and make sure she and I kept away from each other. I explained to him how I had PTSD and how her behaviour towards me as a child reminded me of her behaviour that night, and how I just couldn't pretend to be this perfect family when I was still so hurt inside. I mean forfuckssake we talked for HOURS. But if I even hint at bringing it up, the topic gets changed. (A few months later when I said I couldn't come home because of what happened last time he asked me "Why? I thought you had a good time last time you were here.")

I fucking hate this, and pissed off as hell that they can't, nay, won't accept that I could have a mental health issue that is real, and not something I'm pretending to have or a crutch that I'm leaning on to pull a paltry amount of money (that doesn't cover my bills) from the state each month. I'm so aggravated.

HELP!

Tommorrow there is an actuary coming to speak at the same time as my linear algebra class. This sucks because I don't want to miss class, but this is a field I am interested in knowing more about, if not get into. ARGH!

What should I do?

What I'm reading

Uppity Women and Sexual Harrassment in the Physical Sciences
Catherine Price of Salon.com writes about the recently-published research of Jennifer Berdahl on sexual harassment in the workplace. Going against the common wisdom, Berdahl concludes that it's not the most stereotypically feminine women who are most likely to be harassed.

She asserts that actually the opposite is true -- women who act like men are the ones who get the most harassment. She thinks that this is because most sexual harassment has little to do with sexual desire; instead, it's used to keep women in their place.

The idea that sexual harassment is about control and power is not that surprising. What's interesting about Berdahl's hypothesis is that it means that the women who act the most like men -- which Berdahl defines as showing stereotypical characteristics like assertiveness, independence and dominance -- are the most likely to be harassed. She calls this phenomenon "gender harassment" and defines it as "a form of hostile environmental harassment that appears to be motivated by hostility toward individuals who violate gender ideals rather than by desire for those who meet them."


The (new) page of consent
Noticing that the American justice system seems to regard women as existing in a perpetual state of compliance, I posed a little thought experiment on the subject of rape. What I said was this: consider if lack of consent were the default position. Imagine if all women were considered a priori by the courts to have said “no.” In fact, “consent” would not apply to women at all; we would exist as inviolable entities, human beings with full personal sovereignty, the way men do now. We could have as much heterosex as we want, but the instant we don’t want, the dude becomes, in the eyes of the law, a rapist. This shifts to onus onto the dude not to be a barbarian. He can avoid jail by not having sex at all, and significantly reduce his risk of jail by ceasing to rape, prod, cajole, shame, or nag

An Autopsy of Sexual Harrassment or its all in the details
After I had finished fuming and imaging revenge scenarios (okay, I haven’t actually finished doing either of those things yet), I started to pull apart the details of this little encounter. What made me think was a comment from my partner. When I described the first part of the conversation (coffee query), he asked if Student 1 had stood up to ask if I would partake of caffeinated beverages with him. Confused at my partner’s question, I said no. Student 1 had stayed where he was, on the grass, surrounded by his mates. Then the significance of such a small detail began to dawn on me. If a Person A wanted to ask Person B for a coffee, A could at least get off his backside to speak to B, and better still ask B away from all A’s mates, making the situation more comfortable, and refusal easier. My immediate reaction to Student 1’s question was one of anxiety, as I was afraid of being overly rude, and hurting his feelings in public. It didn’t occur to me that a) the public setting made it more difficult for me because of politeness, and b) that when a stranger asks you for a coffee you don’t owe it to him to spare his pride. So his feelings were at that point more important to me than my integrity in refusing; I could not just say ‘no’, and leave it at that. I did not consider that I didn’t need an excuse to say ‘no’.

Democracy is Hell
Iraq today is even worse for women: more repressive, more violent, more lawless. As if car bombs and suicide bombers weren't horrific enough, criminal gangs, religious militias and death squads kidnap, rape and kill with impunity, with special attention to women professionals, students and rights activists. According to the United Nations' most recent quarterly report on human rights in Iraq, domestic violence and "honor" killings are on the rise.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Sitemeter fun time!

I miss sitemeter blogging, and since I have nothing to do right now (well, homework, but I'm procrastinating) I thought I'd revive this (sometimes) fun past time. (But really it was to answer this first one)

wolverines being endangered and it is not humans fault
No, it is humans fault as we keep encroaching upon their territory. They need large tracts of land to roam around and we keep building crap in their habitat.

the reason of patriarchy
Hmmm. This one has many theories, mine being that it's like bullies on the playground...people want to put other people down in order to make themselves feel better about themselves and to overlook their insecurities. Why it's still around? Because men don't want to give up their privilege. And a large number of them hate us. I point to the video farther down the page and a lot of the things on this blog and the ones on my sidebar as proof.

are strip clubs wrong
Yes.

it [sic] all her fault
Well if you're googling this to feel better about yourself, it probably isn't all her fault.

girls in white panties
drink draino, asshole.

NEW ONE
Do all men go to strip clubs?
NO! The good ones don't, anyway.

Bits and pieces

-My mood stabiliser is working! I love you Lamictal! (I think it may have added a few more spoons to my day.
-I will be helping to rewrite the Physics 101 labs and the calculus based physics labs this summer.
-Gilmore Girls ended last night. I'm so sad, but I loved that they ended with Rori and Lorelai talking in Luke's Diner-it was perfect. (And I'm also happy that Lorelai and Luke are back together....it was inevitable)
-Finished my Summary and Evaluation for my senior seminar and gave it to my advisor. No more writing!
-Got That 70's Show Season 3 from Netflix today. I love it except how it normalises porn usage.
-Got a B on my last Linear Algebra test
-Went grocery shopping yesterday, one of the stores offered buy one get one free on dried food for everyone using food stamps. Now I won't have to get so completely wiped out from shopping for awhile. (I had no more spoons left after shopping)
-Need to get my computer fixed. It won't give me my DVD back.
-Have downloaded all but the Christmas special of the new Doctor Who
-Teaching lab in an hour
-Happy about getting published in the Scientiae carnival.
-Finally got my financial aid (with 3 weeks left and one week of finals, grrrr)
-Miss Chicago terribly. Got to go back to see my little brother graduate from Northern Illinois with a Mechanical Engineering degree. I didn't want to leave. I miss my city.
-Heroes finale on Monday. Sooooooooo excited.
-Woke up covered in cats this morning. Yay!
-R2D2, Death Star, and Yoda Pez dispensers
-SUN!
-Lost weight since I've been taken of Risperdal. My summer pants fit again, thank god.
-Half way through putting together my hour long presentation on women in mathematics and the mathematics of nature.
-Counting down the days until summer (even though I have summer school and am teaching a lab)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Women and science and posts, oh my!

This is definitely a must read for any patriarchy blamers out there.
The IEEE Spectrum writes about how female and male scientists have been judged differently when posing semi-nude. As an example they take a look at the "Girls of Engineering 2007" calendar. It all started when mechanical engineer Jennifer Wood and an anonymous male friend decided to create a calendar that would show that attractive women can be intelligent. While Wood and new partner Syed Karim claim that the purpose was to "challenge stereotypes" by showing that smart women are sexy too. It doesn't seem that they've achieved that goal.

*Important* The new Scientiae carnival is up at On Being a Scientist and a Woman. Check it out. This edition has a theme of "mothers and others, those who influenced us along the way".

Women talking about Science and women who've influnced them. Can it get any better?

(Oh and my post From Feminist Theory to Mathematics made it into the carnival! Yippeee!)

Also the Disability Carnival is up. Go read!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Kind of sexist? KIND OF??!!!

From the Chicago Tribune:
Store manager Allison Worrell and I agree that it's kind of sexist to call the packet of female overnight necessities the "Shame on You Kit" ($28) while the guy's version of similar items is labeled "Clean Getaway Kit" ($30). Each contains undies, condoms, toothbrush and such and -- this is a nice touch -- a little blank "leave behind note" to fill in with some sweet nothings.

A "Shame on you" kit? Obviously any woman who needs one of these is having a dirty, dirty affair, but the guy who needs one of these is obviously a stud who's having a fun weekend fling.

Of course this is playing into the whole idea that women who want sex are dirty sluts. I don't know any woman who doesn't have hang ups from the bullshit virgin/whore dichotomy. As women we're supposed to be ashamed of having a sex drive, but one has to wonder just who all these 'studly' men are supposed to be having sex with. (Oh, right, I forgot: whores and sluts, not nice women who only begrudgingly give in to the animal urges of the men they are in relationships with.)

Lesson from teh patriarchy today: women should be ashamed of sex where men should celebrate it, but I think we all all ready knew that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

This describes my life so well

From Hoyden About Town

I first learned about spoon theory when I was poking around reading up about lupus. Christine Miserandino, a person with lupus, was trying to answer a question by her friend. The friend had asked her what it was like being sick - not about her symptoms, but about what it was like being her. Stuck for a metaphor, Christine grabbed all the spoons off the table, and explained that every day, she had a very limited number of spoons, unlike a healthy person who has a near-unlimited spoon supply. Each spoon stood for one chunk of activity. The friend started out with 12 spoons, and had to run through a day, giving up one spoon for every thing she did: including getting up, dressing, showering, and so on. The friend was down to half her spoons before she’d got to work in the morning - and the light dawned. It dawned for me, too.

Every day, every moment, is a tradeoff. Every piece of activity has to be a conscious choice. Normals never have to choose between cooking and cleaning up, between showering and playing with their kid. Never have to think ahead to the weekend, and say “I’m having lunch with a friend on Saturday, so I have to keep Sunday completely free to recover.” Spoons are always my first thought when planning out my life.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Well if you can't run away...

...you can electrically shock them!





She wanted to be empowered without losing her femininity, to have the freedom to be sexy without fear. The shoes certainly achieve that, offering 100,000 volts of high fashion stun gun power which can be activated by a control on the matching necklace. The weapon is hidden and when the wearer taps on the matching necklace an electric spark is displayed in the transparent tip, warning the would-be assailant to back off. The weapon is designed for a one time use, in case of emergency, by breaking the tip of the shoe. Link here.

Again, misuse of the word empowered, but hey, who knows what the hell it means these days.

From Feminist theory to mathematics

I need to preface this with stating that I have been to a plethora of colleges, the majority of which were art and design schools with one liberal arts school before I came to my current university. I was admitted to the hippie college because I wanted to create a concentration in Media, Women's, and Labour studies, which was my life for the years that passed between colleges. I had no idea I would throw off my intended concentration for mathematics, but one person made me dream of a future filled with equations.

When I took the Science of Sound with Nancy Swanson, I was reintroduced to a favourite high school subject of mine. Not only did I need the science credit, but I love physics. I ended up tutoring a couple of students with their homework, and Nancy started pulling me aside and asking why I was taking the other classes if I didn't enjoy them (at the time I was also enrolled in We're Not For Sale: Asian Women in America and frustrated with the lack of dialogue in the class.) She kept telling me that I was a scientist. In the evaluation at the end of the course, (I go to a college that does written evaluations instead of grades for their courses. Obviously now that I'm on main campus I get grades) Nancy wrote:

“It was great to have you in this class. It is a pleasure to teach someone who really
wants to understand the derivation of the equations. Unfortunately, you are in the minority.
As you found, you learn more by trying to teach others than you do by working on
your own. You REALLY have to understand a concept in order to explain it in English to someone else. Bravo!

You turned in all of the homework (one assignment late) and you had the correct answers for most of the
problems. You obviously understand the material and the mathematics. You actively participated in class
and asked questions. You were obviously interested and engaged.”


We had many discussions about me going into a scientific field; I was still concerned about leaving a possible career in women's studies for one in science, she told me about how I could work for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and work to enact policies that ensure that girls and women were getting the same access to mathematics and science that boys and men have, and ones that could encourage girls to go into the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). She talked to me about ways in which I could incorporate my work in feminism with science. I found a group Association of Women in Science and talked to many women who were in physics related fields. The idea of mentoring college women and high school girls was also appealing to me.

That quarter brought my hippie college writing portfolio review and transition conference. I had submitted the piece that had gotten published in off our backs for my portfolio and received the highest marks on it. At my transition conference my advisor, who had read the paper, and Nancy were there. We discussed my future as a women studies professor, and also my future, should I choose to accept it, in physics. We discussed how theory and physics were just two different languages, and that having learned one and learning the other was just expanding the way that I could see and interact with the world. Both my advisor and Nancy strongly pushed me towards physics, with my advisor pointing out that I had all ready been published, something that they look for in women's studies departments, and the hard part of becoming a theorist. I knew how to get published, which was half the battle. I had done the hard part of feminist theory, and I should study something that I had a natural capability in. I struggled with the idea of studying physics, a field that is dominated by men (with a big old boys club to go with it). I thought that maybe I could do it.

While I am still taking physics classes I fell in love with my mathematics classes. I still dream of doing mathematics in conjunction with physics. Whatever I end up doing, I am only doing because Nancy made me confident that I could pursue a science career over all my thoughts about being horrible at mathematics and better suited to study within the Liberal and Fine Arts. (I am however finishing my BFA in printmaking to go along with my BS in mathematics.)

I am forever grateful to Nancy for pushing me into a field that I completely adore, and that I am faring pretty well in.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Circus tonight

I have no words for this

"A 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion." Article here.

Warning: Could be triggering


Note the group of guys standing around cheering these people on as they stoned to death the 17 year old girl for being a teenager and falling in love with someone. Anyone who says misogyny is alive and kicking is a dumbass.

Sign the petition: International Campaign against killings and stoning of women in Kurdistan

I dreamt of Cob the other night

*Sigh* One day I'll get to sculpt my dream house. In my dream the other night I was mixing cob and building a structure. Here are some photos of why cob is so cool:




Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dirty feet and dancing

I got to make cob yesterday. It looked something like this:


I used to love adobe best, but now I love cob the best.

To see what the whole process is check out the full cartoon here.

Cob is so cool. You can sculpt, and I really mean sculpt a house out of it. Check out this cob house:


It's so fun to make, although it is pretty labour intensive. I dream of making my own lovely cob house with built in benches like the above picture. Nice and round and beautiful. With a thatched roof. One day. *sigh* I plan on having an old timey or bluegrass band playing while everyone dances on the cob mixing it together. It'll be a hoot.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Me, Bipolar?

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2007

Well I am. But it took a long time to get here. I was so scared to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. PTSD, fine. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), fine. But bipolar? Not fine. Even after the government put me on disability I still fought my therapist against the diagnosis.

Why exactly? Well I'm not sure since BPD is more stigmatized then Bipolar is, I mean there are not many therapists who refuse to treat someone for being bipolar like they do for BPD. I know many people with bipolar disorder and never thought anything bad about it, or so I thought. But when I was first told that I was bipolar I wasn't aware of ableism in the way I am now. At that time I knew I had PTSD, but that was something I could get over given time. It was something that I acquired because things had been done to me, admitting that I was bipolar meant admitting that I had something that I was born with, that I would have for the rest of my life. It scared me. It made me think I was broken.

But I progressed. I applied for disability and got it. I started taking meds for the first time ever. I admitted that maybe, just maybe I *did* have a disability and I needed help. After all this I still fought tooth and nail against being labelled bipolar. As an anti-ableism activist I shouldn't fall prey to thinking of one diagnosis as evil and the enemy, right? Apparently not. How is it that I could accept some diagnoses and not the other? I admitted I had a disability, why couldn't I admit that I was bipolar?

It was the stigma attached to it. The thought that this was not something done to me. (I believe that BPD is a severe form of PTSD and I believe it, at least in my case.) The thought that this will never go away, that I would be labelled this the rest of my life. There was no getting over bipolar disorder.

While I was fighting the stigma against mental illness I was letting the stigma against bipolar disorder hold me back from being treated. I'm finally doing better, in no small part due to my mood stabiliser. It's a godsend. Since I have stopped fighting and accepted that yes I am bipolar I have been able to see how I let society's views of mental illness affect how I was allowing myself to be treated.

The stigma infiltrates all of our thoughts, even those of us who are fighting against it.

Here's more info on stigma.
My post on BPD is here

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