Janet and John of Mental Health

Tomorrow I am finally having my Tribunal about Disability Living Allowance.

Today I had a “rehearsal”, which was so soul-destroying. For I have to fit in their concept of mental illness.

Well, from my experience and my reading, PTSD does fit their simplistic views of mental illness.

I should be in bed most of the time, unable to function, I should not socialise, except to go day centres. I have carers who do my shopping. I am scared of crowds. I have TV or radio on all the time to drown out flashbacks or thoughts of self-harm. And so on and on.

Hell, this makes so furious.

I have force myself to stay alive and to build a life, without much help from “carers”. I had no choice for the majority of my life but to learn how to be self-sufficient.

I did not get care from home.

I was not help to understand the rules of society when I was teenager.

No, when I live in my personal I had to learn how to survive. I was alone then, no-one care about my existence then.

So now, I still assume that I not expect help or assistance.

There is a large part which is bloody proud of how I kept myself alive and made a life for myself. I am proud how I made myself who I am today.

But DLA are not interested in who I am and how I became who I am. All they want is a “victim” that they can pity, then maybe I may get an extra £20 a week.

They have no idea what it takes to survive my life

I hate lying in bed. Bed was where I was raped, tortured, sworn at and made into nothing.

I hate staying indoors when PTSD gets bad, most of the male violence I lived through was indoors.

I have told to dressed as badly as possible. I need to feel neat enough to be invisible. When the male was at most extreme, I lost any care for how I looked and general cleanliness. I don’t want to reminded of that time.

I like to disappear into crowds.

When depressed, I go out and walk as much as I can, until my mind closes down. 

I do watch TV and listen to the radio, but I enjoy them both, they are not just background noise.

This all makes me furious.

Women who survive multiple forms of male violence will have PTSD, or they would be “mentally ill”. PTSD is a reaction to seeing and knowing the reality of the tortures that were forced into the mind and body.

PTSD is a sign of recovery.

But to survive, it is important to work with PTSD, not to push it away.

It is impossible to to do work whether voluntary or paid, if PTSD is to be taken seriously.

That I have learnt the hard way.

But the idiots who do my Tribunal know nothing about the effects of PTSD.

So I will do the Janet and John version of what a mentally ill woman looks.

It is not me.

I suppose it just a game.


One response to “Janet and John of Mental Health

  1. So true Rebecca PTSD is not as simple as saying 2 and 2 = 4 therefore all women and men who experience PTSD will all be affected in identical ways. But of course within the institutionalised notion of PTSD women will react differently to men. Men will react in one way and women in another.

    But this is what happens when institutions and the state take control. It is a form of control wherein the person suffering from PTSD is forced yes forced into a strait jacket of how they are supposed to act and react.

    I’ve met women survivors of male sexual violence and I can honestl say these women have never, ever reacted or acted in identical ways. But our patriarchal society wants PTSD suffers to ‘fit into a narrow box’ and by making them fit into a narrow definition it neatly controls and limits their lives. This is how abuse of power operates by denying the realities of PTSD and also by denying those who experience their rightful support and financial assistance.


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