Project in Process:
Description of Project:
I decided to draw a visual representation of mental illness. I drew a girl, who is “throwing up” the words people “throw” at her. She labels herself as the individuals around her label her. It represents the feelings of individuals that have mental illnesses behind closed doors. It is the pain and harmful words that society puts on people with mental illnesses without seeing the actual effect that it has on them.
List of Ideas:
#1 Sociological Idea: Patient-Objectification
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: During many cases in which the mentally ill go “crazy,” they are treated as an object rather than an actual individual. In one case, a mentally ill individual, Mr. Awkal, committed a crime in which he would be executed. When they found out he was considered insane, the Judge then said the hearing would be after his execution. In most court cases, this would not have happened, but, because Mr. Awkal was not in his right mind set, the judge seen it as an opportunity to kill him. They considered Mr. Awkal an object rather than your typical killer.
#2 Sociological Idea: Vicious Circle
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: The sociologist Erving Goffman noted that as psychiatric patients are put on a bad ward, their behaviors tend to get interpreted as further justification of seclusion, confinement, and more limitation. As limitations are intensified it is supposed to be seen as helpful, but it in the end, it just makes the patient worse according to Saks.
#3 Sociological Idea: Maladaptive Fallacy
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: It is often assumed that the problem with someone who uses drugs or who is diagnosed with a mental illness is that they are unable to adapt to ‘normal’ social conditions. Elyn Sake deems this to be a false statement. If society as a whole simply took the time out of their daily lives to understand mental illness rather than place the immediate stigma onto it, the world would change. She felt trapped inside of her own mind afraid to open up in the fears that she would be placed directly into a hospital which was not necessary. Most individuals with mental illness are able to control their thought and actions, but immediately society is taught to assume the worst of them. It is the environment that needs treatment, not the mentally ill.
#4 Sociological Idea: Medicalization of Deviance
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: As long as these ‘problems’ are seen as something ‘wrong’ with an individual, the social system that produces them can’t be addressed. Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wonders if we could decrease the amount of depressed people as we did to the people with heart disease. Why can’t society view mental illness as merely just an illness? Society needs to stop thinking about “mental disorders” and start understanding them as “brain disorders.”
#5 Sociological Idea: Demedicalization/Socialization of Deviance
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: This procedure entails locating the deviance or the problem not with the ‘condition’ or individuals previously seen as deviant but with the social system that labels people deviant and/or that abuses and neglects the people so labeled. During many cases in which the mentally ill go “crazy,” they are treated as an object rather than an actual individual. In one case, a mentally ill individual, Mr. Awkal, committed a crime in which he would be executed. When they found out he was considered insane, the Judge then said the hearing would be after his execution.
#6 Sociological Idea: Degradation Ceremonial
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: Elyn Sake, a well-educated professional was degraded in the eyes of the community, which results in various forms of neglect and coercion. When she was sent to the hospital for having a psychotic break, she had asked to continue doing her school work, in which she was capable of doing at the time, and the doctors considered it a crazy thing and said that she was not competent. She had lived the majority of her life with her disease and was capable of doing everything that anyone else could yet she was still degraded when doctors became knowledgeable of her disease. In this case she was the person labeled “schizophrenic,” and the psychiatric examination was the degradation ceremonial.
#7 Sociological Idea: Socially Produced Psyche
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: As Laing mentions, psychiatric practices often make things worse for patients. Saks also agrees with this statement. When hospitalized, she told the doctors she was Schizophrenic, then when they found that out she was slammed onto a cold metal bed rather than a typical patient. She never struck anyone or harmed anyone, never even released a threat, but was filled with drugs and restraints. “Something is wrong somewhere, but it can no longer be seen exclusively or even primarily “in” the diagnosed patient.”
#8 Sociological Idea: “Schizophrenic” (& Drug) Strategy
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: Elyn Saks talks about her Schizophrenic experience and how it is controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. All she wants from the individuals around her is for them to be understanding and compassionate of her illness. She does not want to be considered abnormal because she is a well-educated woman with a degree in law. During her psychotic breaks, she knows how to take herself from society, although hospitalized once, she realizes people do not truly understand her disease. When hospitalized, she told the doctors she was Schizophrenic, then when they found that out she was slammed onto a cold metal bed rather than a typical patient. She never struck anyone or harmed anyone, never even released a threat, but was filled with drugs and restraints. While hospitalized, she still wanted to be a part of society, doing her law homework, and explained to them that the restraints do NOT make them feel safe.
#9 Sociological Idea: Stigma as Death Camp Singularity
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: A Chinese agency stresses that mental illness is the reason for school attacks. By which most people who attack schools are mentally ill, they should not classify all mentally ill individuals as attackers. In China, the individuals who are not mentally ill, fear the ones that are and consider themselves better, regardless of what mental illness they may have. Therefore, in China, if one is not mentally ill, they are superior to the individuals that are, because they are not put into the category of “attackers.” [“Xinhua Insight”: “School Attacks Highlight Need for New Approach To
Mental Illness In China”]
#10 Sociological Idea: Dysphoric Engagement, Difficult Disengagement
Related Aspect Of The Phenomenon: When individuals with a mental illness enter into situations of authoritative control whereby they are given destructive commands, they are ‘caught up’ or ‘trapped’ in some way. Once again, Elyn Saks reflects on her time in the mental institution in which she was told she was crazy, had restraints which made her feel as if she was in prison rather than receiving help. She was doing just fine until she entered this place in which they back tracked her process rather than lead her to recovery. Being told that one has a disease rather than accepting it on their own terms allows the person it is happening to, to go “crazy.”
How did I make it?
I took the time and did some research. I looked at different images that people had drawn to bring awareness to mental illness and created my own version of it.
Advice to Others?
Participate in discussions and do the readings because it makes the projects much easier to do. Once you have a grasp of the ideas, it’s a breeze from there. Personally, I do my projects on topics in class that I am interested in and have more questions about because it makes it interesting to do.