exactly that

Posts tagged ‘ableism’

If Only It Were Real…

My brain has been staging what I believe to be a very violent coup for the last couple of days. I have a hunch that it involves an exit of some sort from somewhere around my right eye. Oy, my stars it hurts, and Great Loving Ceiling Cat I have been tempted to help it along over the last day or two.

Pain drives to you ends that you wouldn’t normally be willing to seek. Even more interesting, I discover as I move through some of my worst days, the fear of pain can be just as motivating, as I find myself in a panic, sometimes losing my cool at the pharmacy when being told that my script for one thing or another needs to be delayed or can not be filled as per my doctor’s directions due to one policy or another. Fortunately I have been through several meetings with various administrators at our hospital about the “singer provider” programs, which I know to be nothing more than devices contrived to catch drug seekers, so I survive in the web of rules. Barely.

Not everyone knows how to navigate the system as I do, to ensure providers that they are legitimately living with chronic conditions requiring actual care.

But still, I find that even with all of this administrative understanding, and one offer to be a Patient Advocate for my eloquence and fierceness of fighting for patient rights, I still find a simple thing like filling a prescription that allows me to live my life in a manageable manner a trying affair.

My doctor attempted to write my script to allow me sixty days of medication, both because it would allow me to not have to come in every three weeks, and because our evacuation books require it. The hospital pharmacy and the policy won’t allow me to obtain this much at one time. Only thirty days, and that is it. The pharmacist took the time to tell me that the policy could be set aside if I had a real condition, like a seizure disorder, but not for me.

Funny, because my medication is specifically approved for my specific condition, which is a pain disorder, and going off of my medication for even one day causes a relapse of that pain, and side effects that aggravate that pain.

I forget, though, that pain is not a real condition. Not one to be taken seriously, anyway. When I complain to the doctors about my migraines, almost certainly they tell me it is because I am taking too much pain medication, and I am experiencing snapback. But I am using the pain medication only for the migraines, because I have so much trouble getting it for anything else, and have to squirrel it away just in case of migraines. It’s a cycle, and one I am sick of explaining away.

It’s the reason that I have become adjusted to living with a certain amount of daily pain, that I hardly notice how it affects my daily life, so that when I get something abnormal, like a migraine that a normal person would consider a level “7” or higher on a pain scale, I rate it a 6 (it’s super legit, right?), but really I think I may be experiencing the Stigmata, pound it with some pain meds, and try to sleep it off. I crack jokes about how it feels, about how I want to jump out a window or how I understand how someone one thought that drilling holes in heads actually cured headaches. I skip using pain meds on days I probably should use them so that I can use them more on high pain days. The migraine blinds me, it makes me see stars, it makes me dizzy when I stand, but I stave it off and push through with as much as my stomach can handle.

Then, the doctors and pharmacists can be kind of right, due to the stringent rules they set up.

It seems that pain is to be treated as if it isn’t real, and that those of us who live with pain are simply poor, suffering drug seekers.

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The Importance of Being Bellatrix Lestrange

Bellatrix Lestrange, as portrayed by Helena Bonham Carter, a pale woman with a mop of dark, thick curly hair lightly tinged with strands of grey, smirking devilishly in a black dress with white embroidery, pointing her wand at her own face.It is odd the way that The Guy and I have these conversations…or maybe it is a sign that we watch our Harry Potter movies too much, but one night while viewing HPatHBP for appoximately the nonillionth time I turned to him during the Unbreakable Vow scene at Spinner’s End, and began the following thought train (all quotes should be presumed to be “air quotes”):

Me: You know, all of Snape and Dumbledore’s plans would have been shot if anyone at all would have listened to Bellatrix.

The Guy: No kidding! She never trusted Snape. Look at how she taunts him!

Me: It’s because everyone dismisses her as just being “insane”, you know.

The Guy: Because she was in Azkaban, you know, and it has “driven her mad”, so she obviously doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Me: Obviously.

See, I am not in anyway advocating for Team Voldemort or something. There is a great discussion on racism that can be had about the antics of the Death Eaters (and the dynamics of having that point made from a primarily White PoV) in another post, but more interestingly to me right now in this particular post is that Bellatrix was completely right in her mistrust of Severus Snape and his position beside Lord Voldemort. Her feelings go much deeper than mere jealousy (but why shouldn’t she be jealous, since she alone stood proudly, unafraid of the consequences of supporting Voldemort when others did not?) to a practical mistrust of someone who seemed to benefit all to much from a convenient and literal get out of jail free card.

We know that Bellatrix was described as having a personality that bordered on displaying psychopathic tendencies* (from a lay perspective), in that she showed little to no conscience. We know that her cold and callousness was often played up if for no other reason than to reinforce that Bellatrix was someone who was a little unbalanced. Her pride in being a “pure blood” was over the top to a “normal” person, and we are to presume that no rational person would behave the way that she would. So, no rational person would honestly believe that anyone would dare betray the Dark Lord. She goads people with baby talk and laughs at inappropriate times which all adds to the image of the mentally unstable woman who just can’t be taken seriously, but is tolerated for whatever reasons (in Bellatrix’ case, it is more than likely her undeniable talent and power. Even Death Eaters can’t look that gift horse in the mouth, mental illness or no!).

I am not a doctor, nor anyone qualified to make medical opinions about the fictional personality of Bellatrix Lestrange, but I do know that often in real life people who have mental illness, to any degree, are in fact taken less seriously than those who do not. They are dismissed in everyday goings on, dismissed when it comes to their own medical care, told they shouldn’t have children, told they are not suitable parents if they do already, and when they leave the room you had best believe that people snicker that “poor crazy Bellatrix is raving again”… The importance of Bellatrix Lestrange is that she represents real people…real women who exist — whether intentional on the part of J.K. Rowling or no — who have valid concerns in the world, and who can not get their voices heard because their mental illness (or any disability) creates a barrier between what they say and what others are willing to hear.

So J.K. was free to write this character, whose madness and temper were often mirrored in her own cousin, Sirius Black (interesting, no?), who could go on and on at will about Severus and how he was not to be trusted, how he was really going to betray the Dark Lord. Severus was able to rest easy through her rantings, knowing full well that no one was going to believe her, that his triple agent status was going to remain unscathed, because, after all, who would ever believe a crazy person, right? Voldemort might have been better served had someone actually listened to her.

But no one did.

Interesting, that.

I mean, I guess it is a good thing, both for Harry himself, and for the sales of books five through seven or so and the corresponding movies, since the story might have stopped cold had any of that happened. Something to consider, I suppose.

Oh, how I do love discussing Harry Potter.

*These descriptions I take mostly from the Harry Potter wiki.

Photo: The Harry Potter wiki

Cross Posted at FWD/Forward

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