the rack and the screw

Bisexual & Bipolar Stereotypes Overlap

Posted in feminism, mental health/madness, something queer by bellareve on April 14, 2009

I’ve noticed that there are similar and  recurring themes, stereotypes, and discourse about bisexual women and women with certain mood disorders (particularly borderline & bipolar) 

Members of both groups are often accused of:

* being manipulative to loved ones (including lying and cheating)

* being unpredictable and impulsive (what will the crazy bitch do next?) 

* being unable to form healthy, stable relationships

* behaving wildly or dramatically (sleeping around, drinking a lot, doing drugs, etc)

* being heartbreakers, abusers, and in general fucked-up (yet exciting!) women to stay away from, lest they ruin your life

Think about how many times you’ve heard variations of “sex with damaged/bi girls (and hey, strippers too) is awesome, but don’t get too close or marry them or take them home to mom.” This is pernicious, stigmatizing, and objectifying. And it doesn’t seem to apply to bisexual or bipolar men. (Although they have their own set of myths & stereotypes)

Does this stem from the expectation that individuals with mental disorders are violent and harmful? For instance, many think that people with schizophrenia are dangerous, but studies suggest they are actually more likely to be victims of crime than perpetrators. When women are added to the equation (and I say added because men are the default) the threat of physical violence is turned into emotional violence. Mentally ill women become “monsters” who wreck family ties with their “attention seeking” stunts.

And bisexual women will totally fuck someone else behind your back! Just ask a guy or a lesbian who has been betrayed. You see, bi girls are unfit for long term commitments. Better have that hot threesome and discard them!

PTSD

Posted in mental health/madness, sexual violence by bellareve on February 23, 2009

A few months after being raped at 18, I was hospitalized for PTSD. 

It took a few months because the symptoms came slowly at first. Intense anxiety, fear, vulnerability. Being always alert and on edge. Then sadness. Then howling rage. It all culminated in some episodes of suicidal thoughts, at which point I checked myself in.

For the next five years, therapy, medication, and the support of various friends, family, and partners kept me alive. And not only alive, they kept my symptoms, for the most part, under control. To the point where I was highly functional, safe with myself, and occasionally even happy. (Part of this had to do with discarding incompetent counselors/doctors who weren’t helping me, and experimental meds that made things worse…no easy task as many know)

But now the damn thing is back.

I realized this is probably what provoked me to start this blog, subconsciously. Because I’m having such a hard time and writing calms me down. In any case, my current therapist, the one who I like the most, suggested this. Apparently PTSD can in a way be “dormant” in one’s nervous system/mind,  similar to a virus, “activating” years later due to some type of trigger.

It came flooding back, not gradual this time, but tough and black and all consuming like tar. The same longing to self-destruct, the same difficulty getting air into my lungs, the same terrors at nighttime. The trigger, I’m certain, was the recent end of a serious relationship. The symptoms came almost immediately, eerily familiar, and just as unbearable.

I’m trying to survive but it goes against the instinct to disappear.

BDSM & “mental health”

Posted in blogwars, feminism, mental health/madness, sexual pleasure, sexual violence, something queer by bellareve on February 19, 2009

I’m not going to talk much about BDSM, except for this: The idea that women who like it are sick and need “mental help”/therapy.

Guess what? The mental health establishment is not always kind or helpful to women (or queers). Not even in 2009!!!! The institution you recommend is not exactly grounded in feminism. Although psychology and psychiatry can and have benefited some suffering people tremendously, they have also historically been coercive, violent, misogynist, and homophobic. So I wouldn’t dream of telling a stranger on the internet that she “needed” therapy. Disrespectful, for one thing. 

Now if you wanna talk about how fucked up and sick SOCIETY is, have at it, because that is another story.

Agency

Posted in blogwars, feminism, mental health/madness, sex work, something queer by bellareve on February 19, 2009

Here’s another topic that I feel gets drastically simplified in the ol’ sex debates. 

In one corner, we have some rad fems (like Twisty) who insist that, in a patriarchy, women have no agency. Zip, zero, nada. We might as well be inanimate objects batted about by our Overlords.

The other corner says women do have agency, and get mad over and over again when this is denied. They don’t really buy the whole patriarchy concept at all, and treat it like an wacky, irrational conspiracy theory wielded by mean-spirited womyn on the internet.

Once again, I’m not comfortable with either position.

I am comfortable with saying this: many of the world’s women don’t have agency, because they are impoverished, enslaved, institutionalized, and/or incarcerated. Agency can also be limited by things like financial duress, lack of educational/health resources, and being of a marginalized race or sexual orientation. Also, I cannot speak for other survivors, but I felt my agency was nonexistent when I was in an abusive relationship. And I do not speak for others with disabilities, but I feel that my mood disorder significantly limits my agency. 

On the other hand, there are women with the luck, privilege, and resources to have agency. And if a woman tells me she’s free, my instinct is to believe & trust her. Also, I would need to see some type of solid evidence that patriarchy erases all agency for every single person born female before I could get on board with that. It’s not something I can just take as a given if you say it enough.

more specifically

Posted in mental health/madness, sex work, sexual violence by bellareve on February 6, 2009

Since this blog is anonymous and will remain so, I feel somewhat free to disclose the delicate. Here’s my story in brief:

I spent a few months as a stripper when I was 18 and again at 21. The first club was outrageously filthy and the second one was more fancy & “upscale.” My feelings & experiences in both situations were highly complicated. 

Possibly unrelated: at 18 I was a survivor of repeated date rape. I was NOT abused as a child in any way. My childhood = stable.

Also perhaps unrelated: I date and screw both genders but I only fall in love with women. Madly in love.

And finally: Post rape due to PTSD, I entered the mental health system and have taken use of it ever since. I find it deeply coercive, misogynistic and homophobic, but in the words of Hedwig, “it’s what I have to work with.” 

oh, and I also have a Women’s Studies degree.

As can be expected, there are several issues here. And this blog is to untangle assumptions.  I feel super silly & presumptuous posting rules for something I suspect few will participate in, but I’m a sensitive girl, so:

1. If you think my history of sex work disqualifies me from being a feminist, Bye.

2. If you hold pejorative notions of gays, women, or the mentally struggling, go elsewhere.

3. No attempting to diagnose me. Been there, done that.

intro post: about my creds & approach

Posted in feminism, mental health/madness, sex work by bellareve on February 6, 2009

Hey kids,

So after a couple years making my way around the silly little internet, I have decided to unleash my opinions on you, world. Or at least the five people who may read this.

I read a loooot o blogs, and I’ve discovered that I tend to disagree with many people on issues near and dear to my pretty red heart. 

I’ve also started a lot of blogs and neglected/cancelled them due to being busy surviving life. This one shall be different, I sure hope.

Here you will find a unique take on things like mental illness, sexual violence and pleasure, women in the media, queer issues, and sex work. From someone who is young but has Been There. My perspective is strong, but when there are two “camps” or sides of a debate, I usually have problems with both & take a third angle. 

There will be copious Sylvia Plath references. You’ve been warned.