an otherworldly scene. blue-green cliffs and a purple baobab tree are in the foreground. in the background, a rainbow springs from the top of the tree, and it seems as if this landscape exists somewhere in deep space as there are stars and nebulae visible. the moon in all its phases rises in the distance. a small artist tag in the lower right corner says @tashajfierce.

(reposted from instagram for accessibility)

cw: MENTAL ILLNESS, MED WITHDRAWAL

Consensus reality is a postmodern concept, based in the idea that reality is inherently subjective. What we all “agree” is real, is real. That means “reality” is highly influenced by systems of oppression.

We are currently living within multiple consensus realities. The dominant, liberal/neoliberal consensus reality is the WSSCAIP (White Supremacist Settler Colonialist Ableist Imperialist cisheteroPatriarchy), which has us grinding ceaselessly yet somehow still at each other’s necks for scraps, and which is responsible for: the destruction of the planet, the colonization and genocide of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island and around the world, the enslavement, colonization, and genocide of African peoples, etc.

There are fascist/alt-right/neoconservative realities which derive from the main consensus reality but are invented fantasies, branches in the timeline. QAnon, for example, believes instead of cishetpatriarchs and capitalists, the world is run by a pedophile cult. Fox News taught us climate change is a hoax, and that COVID-19 isn’t real/was engineered by China, etc.

I clearly don’t agree with the realness of any of that shit. I agree that the WSSCAIP exists, yes. But is it part of what i consider my reality? Not exactly.

What’s real to me? What we human animals need to survive and keep our bodymindsouls thriving. What the non-human animals need to survive and thrive. What plant people need to survive and thrive.  The relationships between all of us, all the things on this Earth of this Earth. The Earth itself, the Sun, the Moon, the relationship between our world and the universe.  Those things are real to me.

Some background: I’m a crazy person. I was diagnosed with a bunch of so-called mental illnesses (bipolar/schizoaffective, DID, BPD, GAD, PTSD, some other stuff) when I was younger, and I was on all sorts of meds for decades. And then later when I was older, I realized they were fucking up my brain and I had to come off them.* It took seven years to withdraw. I had to learn how to deal not only with my underlying craziness but also the craziness that arose in me from the withdrawal fucking up my brain chemistry even more. I faced what i thought was my end numerous times. Slowly, surely, I felt into a way of generative living with my crazy.

I’ve been calling the framework I built around my crazy magical depressive realism, a way of living in the lineage of liberatory madnesses.

Being a magical depressive realist means acknowledging the true, destructive nature of the multiple consensus realities I navigate while, to the best of my capacity, living in and building towards alternate realities. Realities where things that are real are sacred.

It also means accepting and honoring that there are some experiences and affective states that are real, that are created in concert with my bodymindsoul, but somehow exist outside of the bounds of shared reality, and cannot be easily contained by diagnostic labels or symptom profiles, or productively managed by biomedical model-based treatment strategies.

I accept & honor these states & experiences by no longer trying to suppress them in conformance to the WSSCAIP, by caring for myself, allowing my community and pod to care for me, and seeking treatments I can access and that work well for me.

By embodying magical depressive realism I commit to reconciling my personal realities, the universes I hold inside myself, with the realities of others, where appropriate, in order to avoid harm. I am constantly reconciling my reality with the realities of living day-to-day in a world that is hostile to liberation.

At the same time, I do not abide the pathologization of my (our) personal realities and “negative” human emotions/experiences under the WSSCAIP. I respect the lessons depression, dissociation, and other altered states of being have to teach us about our world.

I understand that magical depressive realism is a radical idea in a world where bipolar, ADHD, psychosis, dissociation, BPD, and other so-called mental illnesses are demonized and blamed for lost productivity and profits, for failed relationships and missed opportunities, for the antics of a white supremacist U.S. president. Our ways of being are inconsistent with capitalism. Our existence is resistance. I want us to refuse to compromise our well-being to gain acceptability or access. Our bodymindsouls are too precious to be mined for resource.

__

If you, too, have had your way of being pathologized, I invite you to choose your reality.

Will it be the biomedical reality, the reality of the WSSCAIP, where you are an aberration, a “broken brain”, a useless eater?

Will it be the reality of liberatory madnesses and magical depressive realism, where you can harness the insights our ways of being offer us, to aid in collectively changing the world?

Or will you embrace an altogether different reality, your own unique way of moving towards liberation?


Sources: embodied wisdom, black feminist theory, the sociology of mental illness (ex. Creating Mental Illness by Allen v. Horwitz, [2002, UChicago press]), my ancestors, & so much more.

                  *not the right path for everyone – do what works best for you

 

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