Being Angry Is Not The Same As Being “Mentally Ill”

A woman in China decided to beat her boss with a mop after he continued to send her harassing text messages. The boss was fired, which is weird because that almost never happens, certainly not in America or Canada, and the woman was not because she had “an unidentified mental illness” according to the NY Times.

Women who fight back against their abusers are not insane, they are not crazy or psychotic, they are angry and pissed off, and do you know why? Because the patriarchy has been in charge so long that even the Goddesses of the universe have decided that it’s time for women to fight back.

We have for centuries, taken to the shadows, hiding our feelings, our bodies, and our minds, from the world as to protect ourselves and frankly we learned that living in the shadows doesn’t work, so we started fighting back and saying no.

And then they started saying that we are crazy, because telling the world that women who express their big emotions are crazy, instead of taking accountability for the fact that your behavior as a man, is the reason that we have big emotions to begin with.

Some of y’all need to be taken by the hand by your mommy and spanked until you regain some sense. I don’t care how old you are, none of you men are too big to be spanked by your mother, or thrown off a cliff, whatever will get the message across faster.

Too many times when women say “this happened to me,” men specifically, are quick to turn around and blame the victim, instead of helping the victim stand up to their abusers. It happened to me. When I told a doctor what happened to me, and explained why I was having panic attacks after acknowledging the levels of abuse I’d experienced, I was called and diagnosed as “psychotic,” because that was just easier than admitting that what happened to me was real.

I have come to the conclusion that too many doctors don’t know what the hell they are doing. I am of the belief that too many doctors are too quick to prescribe medications to stop you from having emotions, instead of actively choosing to deal with the emotions that come with being abused and traumatized by that abuse.

So what do we do about it, because it’s not enough to just talk about it, we have to take an active part in doing something about it, so that our daughters never have to face being called crazy. Being diagnosed as “crazy” or “psychotic” for acknowledging that something terrible was done “to” us, rather then us having made a choice to go through that terrible thing.

No one grows up thinking “yeah I think I want to be a rape victim.” I remember being a child and saying to my step-father’s father that I wanted to be raped, I didn’t know what the word meant, he laughed and said “no honey you don’t that’s a terrible thing,” I had no idea it was a terrible thing, and for years I spent my time thinking that I’d deserved what happened to me, because I had once said that I’d wanted it, not knowing what it meant.

My ex-boyfriend explained away my bruises to my friends by telling anyone who would listen that I liked “rough sex,” he was lying, I don’t actually, and I never really have, but I participated in rough sexual encounters because I thought that’s what men wanted, and I was willing to do whatever the men in my life wanted, because it was just easier than trying to fight back or say no. That doesn’t make me crazy, it makes me a survivor.

IT IS NEVER YOUR FAULT WHEN YOU ARE ABUSED THAT’S THE RULE. THE FAULT LIES WITH THE ABUSER AND NO ONE ELSE.

I’ve spent a lot of this year and last year thinking about my rapists, the ones who gang raped me four or five years ago, and it occurred to me that I’ve spent a lot of this time feeling sorry for them. Largely because they were victims when the abuse started. We were together, in a unique position, having all started out as victims, but the difference between myself and them, is that I did not grow up to become a rapist.

They did.

Whatever their reasons might be, they grew up to be the men who raped me again, almost identically as they did when we were children, and some of them actively seemed to enjoy raping and humiliating me. I no longer feel sorry for them. Because they made a choice.

When I think back to the days of hanging out with the men who would and eventually did become rapists and raped me, I keep harping back to this one person. His name was Paulie, and he was a bouncer at the club where we used to hang out. In many ways he showed me how women are supposed to be treated. He didn’t rape me, belittle me, or make me feel small. He didn’t try to touch me, and actively avoided hugging me in an effort to make sure that I never felt uncomfortable around him. He was always respectful.

My rapists were very rarely respectful. They found ways to humiliate me in public before and after the rape took place, and through it all I did my best to keep my cool, but I admit that that last night, and in the weeks after, I lost pieces of my mind.

The anger, the resentment, bitterness, and the emotions were far too big for me to handle, especially after I had been arrested, but instead of choosing to understand that I had been through a lot, my BC Doctor told me that I was psychotic, because he had no frame of reference to help him deal with someone like me, who had been through the kind of abuse that I had been through.

The other day I was talking to a psychologist to see if she’d be a good fit for me, and about half an hour into explaining what I’d been through, she realized, and I knew she had realized, that she wasn’t a good fit for me. She knew she couldn’t handle the kind of abuse that I had experienced, and frankly I don’t think there is anyone in this entire province that has experience with the kind of victim that I am.

So the go to is “you’re psychotic,” instead of “I don’t have enough experience to help you,” and that’s terribly dangerous. If I was a less strong person, if I was someone who didn’t understand my own strength, I might have committed suicide, or actively gone out to hurt my abusers, in order to deal with my pain.

Only because I am as mentally strong as I am, have I chosen to focus on my own needs, instead of my desire for revenge. Too many people are driven insane by the abuse that they experienced, largely because they can’t find the kind of help they need to deal with their complex emotions.

When people who go to school for years to learn to help people like us, tell us that we’re crazy, it’s hard not to believe that diagnosis, because they have a piece of paper that tells the world that they know more than us.

But hear me out for a moment…what if they don’t?

When you’ve been looking for help as long as I have, you know when people around you aren’t helping make the situation that you are in better. It starts with shit like “I believe YOU believe it happened,” and continues with “no it didn’t happen, you’re just psychotic.”

It’s incredibly dismissive behavior and it needs to stop, and the only way that’s going to happen is victims and survivors learn to advocate for themselves. That’s a really difficult request when you’re already frustrated because you’re dealing with complex emotions, but it’s a part of the deal when you’ve been abused or traumatized.

According to an article by CTV, a girl or woman is killed every 2.5 days in Canada, due to abuse. So um if that’s the case, maybe we need to stop looking at victims as they are crazy, and start acknowledging that abusers need to pay for their crimes.

Just some food for thought.

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

Author: Devon J Hall

Devon J Hall is a thirty-seven-year-old Writer and Author from Surrey, British Columbia by way of Calgary Alberta. She lives with three cats, one mother and is addicted to coffee, cigarettes, and weed, not necessarily in that order.

2 thoughts

  1. Thank you for sharing your story with us! Unfortunately this is the messed up world.. you get labelled a psycho for the trauma’s that you have to go through.. not only that but to go and speak to professionals who are supposed to be the one’s that we ‘trust’ and to be told that you are simply ‘psychotic’ because they do not have the experience just leaves me lost for words.. i hope that you manage to find the correct support and i am sure this article has helped give an insight to people x

    Like

    1. Thank you so much for reading. Yes it’s a difficult journey, and it can be isolating, but it’s also incredibly empowering to know that I know what I am talking about.

      Like

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