Published on Tiger Beatdown, March 2011.
The claim is often made that society needs to be protected from people with mental illness when in fact, the situation is just the opposite; we need to be protected from society. In no small part thanks to attitudes about mental illness, again, particularly surrounding women. The pathologisation of women’s emotions and lives results in extreme danger for many women. The diagnostic disparities (what is post traumatic stress disorder in a man is borderline personality disorder in a woman) contribute directly to the stigma experienced by mentally ill women; not for nothing are women with emotions who aren’t afraid to voice them accused of having histrionic personality disorder. Not for nothing do young women with depression and suicidal ideation shoot themselves in mall parking lots instead of seeking help.
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