by Tim Fromla
I read a post on Facebook and am glad that a member of our group pointed this out
I’m at GA. I just attended UUA GA 2019 Workshop “Combatting Destructive Behavior and White Supremacy Culture”. When a speaker segued from the behaviors to discussion on “destructive behavior policy development”, she inferred some ‘behaviors’ as “… people not taking their meds”.
That did not sit well with me.
During Q/A (just minutes later) I called them on the ableism. The speaker apologized. Another thanked me (that she learned something) and another said MH is a sticky subject for POC.
I get all of that.
I fear, however, that by limiting discussion to racism, ableism is now alive and well.
I do experience mental health issues, am on medication, and a PoC myself. My mental health is the opposite of those mentioned by the speaker. I am, by many, appear to be an introvert and my illness has hindered many opportunities in my life. Most of my work was hard labor, as my anxiety failed me to get that proverbial cushy job. I was in all intent and purpose, a victim of ableism. Even with an MBA, I could not go past the interview phase of any job. Being a PoC did not help much either. So I remained to do the construction job and nearly destroyed my body.
I then decided to return to school and start a new career. I am now majoring in Marriage and Family Therapy. Besides a better paying career, the hiring process is a lot easier as those who do the hiring tend to be more empathetic to those with disabilities.
Not every person who has a mental health issue is an extrovert. There are people who think I’m an introvert when I am a chatty extrovert. When my world collapse around me, I don’t want anyone to know. In class, I can keep my mouth shut and not participate. If I do, I would have an anxiety attack and shut down.
The good thing was, the person I’m quoting brought up the faux pas and the speaker apologized. It’s great to know that our G.A. recognizes mental health issues, but I would hope that our regional and local churches recognize this organization.
I also found out that we have new members too. The messaging, I hope, will change when someone who is schizophrenic or experience depression would be treated like someone who has the flu or cold and not typecasted like a gun-toting maniac.
It’s great to meet new members and I hope this group expands too.