Oh How The Mighty Has Fallen

Oh dear.

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. We have to stay strong in this time of unrest. The Mighty, I am disappointed. Mad In America, you deliver once more.

As many of you may know, those two online magazines are among the largest contributors to mental health writings. The Mighty has a focus on disability, mental illness (their term, not mine), and disease, a very versatile platform with contributors I’ve always enjoyed reading. The people have good hearts and their stories are always worth reading. They will always be worth reading, because those stories are people’s lives, regardless of what I’m about to say in this post.

Mad In America is a website I was first introduced to when applying to my position at Second Story Respite House–mostly because Mad in America wrote a couple articles on them and because the trainer I had for IPS, Steven Morgan, has contributed some articles. But the website also has articles on science and drugs and psychiatry and social justice, another versatile, well spoken, and respectable magazine with just as respectable contributors as The Mighty.


The one thing I understand about being a major website with editors and contributors regarding mental health is the same thing I understand about being a non-profit, “progressive”, mental health program: funding is shit. Funding is shit. Funding is shit. It’s not easy to keep these kinds of things going, and temptations are out there. Embellished temptations that look better than they are.

When I read the article “Why I Resigned From The Mighty” by Twilah Hiari published on Mad In America, I was disheartened but not surprised in the least. Not the least. You can read her work for herself, and I encourage you to, but I’ll give a quick summary.

She’d been offered a position at The Mighty as an editor I believe, and summoned to a work retreat. There she learned the chief revenue officer’s plan to monetize The Mighty with pharmaceutical advertising. The quote Hiari included from her is as follows: “If the CEO for Abilify was in the front row right now, he’d be salivating”. This deal included giving drug companies data on the website’s users for targeted advertising and marketing.

I will never at all blame this officer for her poor decision–because that’s what it is, a poor decision, and we’ve all made poor decision in life. I can’t fault her for being human. And I understand the need to fund the site and pay contributors, but the problem with this is that it’s like protesting Animal Abuse, and then–unknowingly or knowingly–buying a product in a store that tests on animals. You have to be careful with this kind of thing. You have to be very, very careful.

Hiari then goes into her own experiences with the drug Abilify and how it’s negatively, very, very negatively (go read her article, seriously) impacted her life.

And I think the important distinction here is to recognize that Hiari is not bitter about how medications have caused her harm and now refuses any and all association with them and plans to blast them on the internet, but that she’s pointing out a serious issue we have right now: this inclusion of  big pharma whose intention is money and nothing more into our mental health empowerment strategies. Big Pharma is not for mental health empowerment. If they were, we probably wouldn’t call them Big Pharma.

That’s like funding Second Story through Big Pharma and allowing them to place their appointed psychiatrists in our house to monitor our guests’ medications and market. I mean, fucks’ sake. Yeah, that’ll go over real well. Come in and undermine everything we stand for, thanks, appreciate it, high five.

*Major Eye-rollage*

Corporate pressure is real, and The Mighty has Fallen. Beneath the pressure, that is.

We have to remember in this world that’s controlled by business, that when we have a view that we stand for, we have to actually stand for it. Not sit, not cower, not bend over, but actually stand. So your legs might hurt, your back might ache, you might feel week, but it’s your view. Own it–don’t sell it.

How Do You Feel About Safety?

What’s your experience with this? With suicide hotlines, or being interviewed about it with a mental health professional?

Because I feel there’s a major flaw in this system, and I’ve thought about different ways it could be fixed, I’ve thought about ways it could be improved, internally and externally if that makes sense–everything is internal and external with me–, but what I’ve yet to do is ask others who have similar experiences to me how they feel about this.

The last time I used a suicide hotline or service thing, I don’t know what to call them, I was halfway going to do it. I pretty much led the entire county and hotline on a wild goose chase. I was teasing them about trying to find me before I die, while simultaneously trying to find a place to either jump off and break my neck or jump down far enough to die on impact. That’s hard to do when you’re avoiding overpopulated places like bridges. Maybe I picked a hard way to go for a reason. All I knew was 1) the trees weren’t talking to me anymore 2) I didn’t see any point in anything and 3) there were no more butterflies, and that’s a problem.

Eventually some county social worker and a sheriff got me. My boyfriend had got to me first, because I told him where I was. I’d told the hotline people where I was too, but in cryptic language and they must have decoded my message.

Anyway, my point is the whole reason I fucked with those hotline people, and pretty much myself, was because I hate, hate, hate when I get asked “can I help you get safe tonight?”

What the fuck does that mean. What does it mean? Can someone tell me? I don’t know what it means and I don’t know how to answer it. If I say I have a plan, they freak out. If I say I don’t have a plan, they say well, let’s keep you safe tonight and then suggest I listen to music or write.

I have different reasons for suicidality. Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed and can’t handle my emotions because I don’t know how to do that efficiently, so I say I’m going to kill myself. Sometimes I half-mean it, like when I sent them on a wild goose chase, and when I really mean it I tell no one, I just try. TRY. Because I’m shit at killing myself too. People say that’s a good thing, and being in my right mind right now I say it’s a good thing too. The creepy thing is I got the same treatment in the hospital, I got the same run around.

I also got a lecture. Remember? Remember that LCSW I posted about? My God, 45 minutes of fucking her repeating what depression is and ignoring the fact that I’d said several times I didn’t feel depressed, just overwhelmed, e.t.c and then at the end of it all, after I stopped talking for thirty minutes, she got concerned and said “I hope some of this resonated with you”.


Who knows, it could have been more than 45 fucking minutes, THERE’S NO CLOCKS, HOW THE HELL SHOULD I KNOW.

Whatever. The point is, nothing got resolved because everyone just wanted me safe and I didn’t know what that meant, and they seemed to feel that means leaving me alone for two days and I don’t know if that’s what keeps me safe or not, I don’t know. Because when they asked me in front of the entire room if I still wanted to kill myself, I lied very angrily, pretty much through clenched teeth, “no.”

So is the goal to just stop people from killing themselves, or to actually resolve the feelings of wanting to die? I didn’t want to say yes and get my rights taken away. I saw it coming from a mile away, I didn’t trust them an ounce. I don’t trust anyone. I was pretty much convinced the two women who were talking to me actually wanted me to kill myself, legitimately, like they were working together, which is partly why I didn’t sleep on top of the last week and a half of me not sleeping, and why I refused the “sleeping medication” they wanted to give me. Sleeping medication my ass. Fucking cyanide. And I wouldn’t have dared to mention that or anything about the trees, magic, or voices.

So my question is, since different people have different experiences, what do think about your “safety”?

Does helping you stay safe do anything for you?

Do you find yourself giving answers as empty as their questions?

*Some food for thought. Or thoughts for food.*