Will "Mad Pride" Add to Stigma?

Here is an article on “Mad Pride” and the battle to define “normality” continues. Personally, I do not wish to have any problems with my brain. And yes, I am creative and always have been. In my case, I do not feel that medications have stifled my creativity -- my illness has. Medications and therapy have helped, but I am not cured. But I am alive today because of my medications -- and I am not exaggerating. It’s difficult engaging in this debate as I have “neurotic” symptoms, not psychotic. I would never claim to know what it feels like to walk in someone else’s shoes, and I do understand that certain medications do cause individuals to feel like zombies or worse.

Listening to Madness:
Why some mentally ill patients are rejecting their medication and making the case for 'mad pride.'

By Alissa Quart | NEWSWEEK
Published May 2, 2009
From the magazine issue dated May 18, 2009

“We don't want to be normal," Will Hall tells me. The 43-year-old has been diagnosed as schizophrenic, and doctors have prescribed antipsychotic medication for him. But Hall would rather value his mentally extreme states than try to suppress them, so he doesn't take his meds. Instead, he practices yoga and avoids coffee and sugar. He is delicate and thin, with dark plum polish on his fingernails and black fashion sneakers on his feet, his half Native American ancestry evident in his dark hair and dark eyes. Cultivated and charismatic, he is also unusually energetic, so much so that he seems to be vibrating even when sitting still.

I met Hall one night at the offices of the Icarus Project in Manhattan. He became a leader of the group—a "mad pride" collective—in 2005 as a way to promote the idea that mental-health diagnoses like bipolar disorder are "dangerous gifts" rather than illnesses. While we talked, members of the group—Icaristas, as they call themselves—scurried around in the purple-painted office, collating mad-pride fliers. Hall explained how the medical establishment has for too long relied heavily on medication and repression of behavior of those deemed "not normal." Icarus and groups like it are challenging the science that psychiatry says is on its side. Hall believes that psychiatrists are prone to making arbitrary distinctions between "crazy" and "healthy," and to using medication as tranquilizers.

Read the entire article HERE: