not anti-psychiatry, but anti some aspects of it
I don’t like how it conflates all these things:
- people who have neurological problems that affect cognition or movement
- effects of past trauma, current abuse, or unsuitable environments
- people who create problems for other people
I’m anti-psychiatry, but I don’t think people know what I mean by that. This is extremely long so it’s under a cut with a TL;DR at the end. But please don’t respond to me if the only line you’ve read is the above one, because you will not grasp what I mean.
This is my stance on psychiatry, too, based on my own knowledge. Mel’s is a lot more thoroughly researched and extensive.
I forgot to put into that post, that I think services need to be made available to psychiatric patients on the same basis that they are made available to people with physical or developmental disabilities. That is:
- Figure out what the person has trouble doing.
- Figure out if there’s a way to teach them how to do it.
- If they still can’t do it consistently, or if they don’t want to be taught how to do it, then do it for them, or assist them in doing it themselves, depending on their wishes.
- All of this should be directed by the disabled person, not by some random caseworker who decides what’s best for us.
- This should be available in the person’s own home and they should never have to move in order to receive this assistance.
That’s how it’s done in the DD and physical disability world, at its best. That it’s not done that way in the psych world speaks volumes about why I don’t like psychiatry.
Stimming is not just a coping mechanism
I see this defense of stimming a lot:
- It’s wrong to train autistic people not to stim
- They use it to compensate for overload
- Or to focus
- Or to compensate for other problems
- Or to express distress
All of this is true. But it also misses the point. Stimming isn’t just a coping mechanism. It’s much more than that. Stimming is a positive part of autistic experience, not an unfortunate-but-functionally-important thing we have to do.
Imagine if facial expressions and tones of voice were considered wrong, and someone defended them this way:
- It is wrong to teach children to adopt a flat affect
- Children need to be able to frown
- Children need to be able to indicate through the tone of their voice that something is wrong
- Children need to be able to cry. That’s a way of coping with pain and overload
All of those things are true. But if that’s all defenders of tone and facial expression said, it would be horribly misleading. Body language and tones are more than that, and they are good.
Stimming is like that too.
- Stimming is not just necessary. It is also natural, and good
- Flapping in response to a nice texture is not fundamentally different from smiling in response to the smell of a flower
- Rocking in response to someone saying something offensive is not fundamentally different from frowning in response to a slur
- It is ok for autistic people to have autistic body language
So today turned out to be awesome.
Flint came to me unsocialized and fearful. For the past 11 months he’s been with me, he never wanted to settle down for any bonding time, until today. I had him out watching tv with me and he curled up in my arm and bruxed as I pet him, for about thirty minutes straight.
Whenever I read a ‘rat care guide’ on the internet I always want to see ‘PATIENCE’ written in bold lettering in the ‘how to prepare for your new rat’ checklist. Flint has always been a fearful, anxious nipper. Many people would claim he’s a ‘bad rat’ or not a ‘good pet’. Which of course is not the case. Flint is a wonderful ratty, who needs someone who understands rat behavior and is patient enough to work with him at HIS pace.
What’s disturbing to me is that people get the ‘Well you’re gonna like me or else’ attitude with small animals. People try to spite these creatures by shoving them in small cages, or dragging them from their cages to ‘socialize’ (terrify) them against their will.
Bond with your companion animals at there own pace. You can’t force trust.
I always think that the best way to bond with an animal is to go the way they want to go, at the speed they want to go. You sum it up perfectly by saying “you can’t force trust”. And when you’ve truly earned a tiny animal’s trust, it’s the most amazing feeling in the world. Thank you for this post. I hope you and Flint continue to make progress. :)
I think the original poster’s advice is good advice for working with *any* animal - and humans too. Respect, patience, going at their speed, not forcing them to do things they don’t like.
The first rat I ever got to know was named Xena, she was a school rat. She would bite a lot and it was a rule that anyone handling her had to wear thick leather gloves. :( She had a rough childhood and not very many good experiences with humans. She was also a mom. And becoming a momma (at least with rats) tends to make you Serious Business.
I spent a little time every day handling her (With the leather gloves :( ) or if she really didn’t want to be touched, just sitting with her and making soft noises at her and talking with her. Which she got to like. :)
Then they decided they were getting rid of all the rats - both adults and babies. (Which was *right* after they chose to let her have kids. It wasn’t an accident. >.< I am glad they had an animal program, but how they ran it…) And so I started to look for homes for all the rats - including her. I was worried about finding a home for her. One of my friends was interested, though. And even after explaining what Xena was like - Crystal still wanted her (she also had rottweilers so she wasn’t phased by scary reputations).
After that, Xena never bit anyone… except once. When she was on Crystal’s shoulder, her older brother started yelling at Crystal and getting in her face and harassing her. Xena *put her body between* him and C. and bit him on the nose. He treated his little sister with a bit more respect after that.
I swear Xena saw me and C. and most of us as her kids she had to care for and protect.
(also, one of her kids became my first rat. :) )
When a rat is cudding up with you and you are rubbing them on he shoulders a little, and they start bruxing. And the vibration travels rigt to your Heart. Sweetest sound in the world.*
*purring is wonderful too.
Sometimes, Restrictions Only Increase Life’s Richness
I spent six years in bed, six years I found
The richness of the love surrounding me
A tree outside my window so profound
From detail comes familiarity
They say that all restriction is a curse
A nightmare from which folks can never wake
But we exalt our highest forms of verse
Like sonnets, which restrict which form to take
And always those who could, would hurry past
Without a glance at me, or at the tree
The richness that they missed, they moved too fast
To see what I and other slow folks see
For life is rich to infinite degree
It’s found in sonnets, and in folks like me
[As usual, this can be found on my main poetry blog. More discussion of this poem below the cut.]
Goodnight, all. :)
Ok I have a bunch of pictures of them playing aka smushing into a box outside.
I’ll add them to the queue but here’s one now :)