Arn't I A Woman?: Giant Aliens and Doctors



Apr 25, 2012

Giant Aliens and Doctors

I try to talk a lot about getting better, going through recovery and all that. I use the word “recovery” even though I’m not sure of its accuracy in relation to mental illness. It seems to presume that mental illness can be overcome, or conquered, and that once you have “recovered” long enough, your illness dissipates into thin air, its existence nothing but an uncomfortable memory.

I use it here in a sense similar to an alcoholic or a drug addict in recovery. You never stop being an alcoholic, you just stop drinking. So what is recovery, then, from mental illness if it can never be alleviated from your life? I’ll never wake up one day and not suffer from a personality disorder; I’ll always have the depression gene floating around my body. My recovery is I guess attempting to neutralize these genes, to accept that they exist inside me always but hope that through therapy and medication these genes will soon lie dormant.

‘I don’t know much’ about human biology, and honestly, I don’t think Doctors really do either. I think a lot of this shit, cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive thinking, a lot of the stuff I’ve seen in therapy, it’s grasping at straws. And that scares me, because I wonder how many people still suffer because there isn’t really the right kind of help out there for them. Sometimes it feels like Doctors just kinda throw up their hands and start making shit up because they have no earthly idea how to help people. 

                                                         "no no no, I think this is working!!" 

 I read somewhere that bipolar disorder is currently the 6th most debilitating disease in the U.S.. That’s a mental disorder. Think about how that statistic proportionalizes to the population, how many people that would be. Yes, proportionalize is not a word but a great lesson I learned from one of my professors is that if a word doesn’t exist for what you are trying to say, make that shit up. Yeah, I had a badass education. And that speaks to the fluidity of everything. Language, science, nothing is permanent. They continue to evolve just as life does.

So what scares me in my own quest to fucking just feel like a goddamn normal human being for one second of my life, is that basically we know nothing about how the brain works, and so how are you going to treat me if you don’t know why I’m like this?

My therapist wants me to start going to some group therapy meetings, which I’m kind of excited about. Because one of the scariest things about suffering from mental disorders is the deep isolation you experience. I’ve spoken about this before, but I think more people, including myself, could reach a deeper level of recovery if we created an environment that was open and understanding to such diseases, if we encouraged people to speak up about their suffering and share with each other their experiences.

I write this because I feel frustrated. I feel sometimes like something is happening to me and no one knows why and I can’t do anything to fix it. Like a giant alien is attacking me and I am paralyzed, I can’t stop it and I can’t even scream out for help. I am frozen in this moment. That’s kinda what it feels like to suffer from long-term depression, and all the other shit I suffer from.

So it’s like, can someone please just get this fucking alien off my back for a second?!

                                                           above aliens excluded

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Sojourner Truth

Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

Sojourner Truth

Delivered 1851 at the Women's Convention

Akron, Ohio