Not My Words, Not My Story | Julia Buxton

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From Asylum Magazine: “One of the first things that struck me when I entered mental health services was how little interest staff took in me describing my experiences or how I felt. I couldn’t understand it, but workers only seemed to care if it had a bearing on their index of clinical symptoms.

In relation to depression for instance, if I attempted to use other descriptors such as feeling sad, heavy, desolate, gloomy, or pointless, it was met with impatience. It all had to be about measuring my mood in numerical terms or reporting symptoms. I had to learn, and learn rapidly, to translate my experience into terminology the professionals used, one which was itself imposed upon them by their training and the system they worked within.

. . . To be in so much distress yet so disillusioned about others’ ability to understand or help you is bad enough, but it feels even worse that there are such limited lenses through which your experience will be filtered. Anything which doesn’t fit this is disregarded as simply irrelevant and superfluous. This focus is simplistic, reductionist and incredibly frustrating . . . There is no opportunity to interpret things for yourself, create any meaning out of them, explain them to yourself, or discuss them with another person on a human level. They’re the experts, not you; they must know better.”

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