"Mad Pride" and the perversion of "self help"


As I understand “mad pride”, it’s not about deciding one has a mental illness and then reveling in it: it’s about coming to terms with the fact that no one is in fact normal, accepting that social standards of normalcy are unattainable for all people, deciding not to uphold harmful ideas passed down from dominant society, and (here’s the most important part) then attempting to live as functional a life as possible, whatever ‘functional’ may mean to you.

(For example, ‘functional’ means something different to someone who wishes to become a doctor or lawyer than it does to someone who wishes to be a poet, a forest ranger, an animal trainer, a professional dancer, a peer counselor, etc. ‘Functional’ also means something different to a person who, for example, is agoraphobic vs a person who is schizophrenic: the first person may strive to go out in public without having a meltdown, while the latter may wish to channel and understand their schizophrenic episodes without allowing it to take over their lives. No two people will have the same concept of ‘functional.’)

Learning functionality, often through self-directed cognitive behavior therapy, is a big part of “mad pride” — in fact, the thing that alerted me to the existence of “mad pride” was an article about a growing number of schizophrenics who are managing their illnesses without medication and still going on to be fully participatory in the pageant of life (so to speak). To me, a person who is not a fan of the patriarcho-capitalist psychiatric industry, that offered real hope and suggested real possibilities besides simply “an increasing number of people being pathologized and all of us being stuck in the medical wheel for the rest of eternity.”

It does not mean, or should not mean “I self-diagnosed off the internet, and now that I’m mad and proud of it, that means I can live in my parents’ basement doing nothing for the rest of forever because MAD PRIDE!!”