My big health activist dream is to create a feminist mental health center. I think that would be absolutely wonderful. Diet talk, self deprecating talk, and excuses would not be allowed. We would hold all kinds of classes-some would be intellectual-I would offer classes on how the patriarchy and society's expectations damage us and how we can combat that (like learning to not base our self worth on pleasing men or the patriarchy), because knowledge is power. I would offer Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, family therapy and individual therapy. I would make sure that my staff was diverse, representing people of different races, sexualities, and backgrounds. We would have tons of support groups, some for purely mental or addictive issues and some to provide support for people who are trans, queer, of color, those who deal with chronic pain, trauma survivors. I would have a fat acceptance group. There would be groups to help those with eating disorders and there would be an eating disorders nutritionist. We would have social groups too. We would have clubs that would help people become more social and develop more friendships. If someone was doing well in their recovery then we would let them lead their own club based on their interests. We would have music, art, and recreation therapy, and a feminist library. We would offer self-defense classes and workshops on female and other minority empowerment. We would offer avenues for people to become involved in advocacy and we would make sure that our clients had many opportunities to offer their input and develop leadership skills. There would be cooking classes and practical classes on how to take care of yourself, building up skills like balancing a checkbook, how to save money, how to interview for a job, etc. While many of these services would require some kind of fee and registration-the fee would definitely be on a sliding scale-most of the support groups and clubs would be open to the public. In that way, even when a person left the program, they could still get support by continuing to attend the support groups and clubs. (Free aftercare has been a majorly important part of my own recovery, so I know for a fact that this is important.) There would be 12-step group of all kinds for both consumers and families. Families would be very strongly encouraged to go, because it is never only the patient with the problems. There would be classes on how to get in touch with one's spirituality if one wants. Yoga and meditation would be offered. Writing my big dream out is painful, because I want it so badly. To me, my idealistic feminist mental health center is close to heaven. The problem is I have no earthly idea how to get even a little bit of this started. It's a wonderful dream I have, but I am afraid that it is totally impossible. Not without a lot of help and support. If anyone has any ideas on how to make this dream a reality, let me know.
So here are my goals and dreams. The first part is practical and doable-the second, probably not so much. I feel like the second is so big that there is no way that it could ever happen, especially by someone like me, who is poor and disabled, but I figure the first step is to say what I want out loud. The rest can happen later.
Actually, what really gets me is when you speak up for the marginalized, and the general response from some is something like, “Why did they invite that kind of treatment?” I’m beginning to wonder if human beings can’t help blaming the victims of this world.