We the Undersigned,

Will choose our own path. We will not belong to anyone or anything. We will not be put down, emotionally excluded, cognitively raped and pillaged, while our peers are celebrated. We will rise up. We will build, create, explore, discover, and love. We are the neuro-diverse. This is our story.

When one becomes diagnosed with a mental disease, no one expects you to be okay. This is why, we are now proclaiming, we are fine without you. We don’t want your helping hands, we don’t want your questioning glances, furtive stares, and meaningless freudian isms. We want to speak for ourselves, care for ourselves, live for ourselves. Because what is life, if not political? What is life but not the real? What is life but not the pain, suffering, exhilaration, desire, and anguish? The knowledge that, yes, we are not the same, but we are in this with you. Together.

This is what we deserve. Kinship, mutual respect, and legitimacy. This is what you have for so long withheld. Our thoughts are not real to you, they are real to us, our voices are not heard by you, they are heard by us. Because of this we are validated, yet we have no agency to make our own decisions. We are not able to shape the nature of our care, and long have we been denied a place in the order of society.

Why not elect us, why not acclaim our ideas, why not display our art? Who are you to tell us that because we are different, we are worse? Where is the discipline of mental studies? cognitive capitalism is called just that; cognitive, yet we are the ones who have shaped your view of that unseemly beast only to be the objects of your psychoanalysis. Where is our part to play?

The instant a person says that they have a diagnosis, all else goes out the window. Our care, the most intimate part of our health, is being overlooked. The institutions of mental care in the United States are aging, and many of the best practitioners have flown to the more lucrative private sector. Too few funds for the legacy institutions come from the government. Too much money goes to short term crisis care. Not enough money for long term treatment and maintenance of individuals in the community exist.

The programs and institutions for these types of treatments are shabby, their staff is ancient and fails to connect with a younger generation who expect to have their needs put first. Too often it is the opposite, the institutions needs are met first, and patients (clients as they are sometimes called) get the last shot at the jackpot, that is they must buy a proverbial lottery ticket. One million to one that you get care that actually needs your needs. Care that isn’t degrading, institutionalized, and ‘mental.’

To be continued.

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