This is not a woe is me.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a mood disorder. If an inpatient stay has been scribbled in your record. If your suicide attempts have been clinically documented. It doesn’t matter how long ago these things happened. It doesn’t matter that you’re in a different space now. That you’ve been treated. That you’re in treatment. That those records don’t resemble your life now. That they are historical medical notes and a part of your history. They are your past.

The most stellar of stellar letters of recommendation or opinions are weightless. Professional decrees of support don’t matter. A formulaic combination of notes in your record add up to shoving you in a box. A box of “you’re not capable”.

I’ve been denied opportunities because of my medical history. I’ve been denied the option of volunteering in a particular program as a result of my medical history.  I’ve been mistreated because of my medical history. I’ve been forced in to following a punitive system intended to address behavioral and performance issues. A system that runs under the guise of counsel and support. News flash: depression is not a voluntary behavior. The impact of depression on ‘performance’ is symptomatic. And temporary. They are not performance issues as defined by the system. Punishment is not support. Allowing no room for medical context in the conversation is not counsel. Corrective action is detrimental and does not foster improvement or compassion.

As PC as we strive to be, bureaucracy dictates who passes, who’s allowed, and who doesn’t fit in to the mold.   {one of these things is not like the other}   The majority of our public systems is rife with rules and policies fortified by judgement and discrimination. You’re not aware of this until you or someone you know has run up against it. You can’t understand the impact unless you’ve been cornered into deciding whether to retaliate and muscle through the consequences or jump in to the box and just get through it. To steer these injustices toward a system that truly supports, these conditions must be made visible. By fists with pens. By a phalanx of words. To snuff out the stigma suffocating our basic human rights.

 

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