Bootstrap mental health rhetoric is not the move

Bootstrap mental health rhetoric is not the move

Thought question: How can I believe in the self determination of Disabled people - first hand knowing what it is like to have violent thoughts about yourself constantly, and not hold the standard of anti violence when it comes to suicidality?

     I write when I have a lot to say. When the ideas and conclusions are so great, my mind can no longer hold them.When I feel like I've thought something out so much it should be produced into the words and be shared outside my mind. And for a few months now, I have been going back and forth about anti violence work whilst believing in the free will we have as humans.

A quote I think about a lot, that I've heard more than once, but do not know the source to is that, "the state-the system is designed for us to kill ourselves"as Black people. And while that quote is often just attributed to lack of resources for adequate food, education, job opportunities, and other things coupled with upward mobility by class, taking that quote literally, and intersectionally, in the realm of Disability theory and ableism is complicated. 


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What is anti-violence?

First of all,

This is not about US second amendment rhetoric, which I clearly see as black and white - in lieu of mass shootings and lynchings of Black people at the hands of police, Black and brown people abroad at the hands of US imperialism, etc., there needs to be a severance of the relationship our country has with guns. A severance of the notion of entitlement to kill people -for whatever concocted reason- to own and shoot [to kill] a gun, especially without consequences. Would there be the same rate of killing of our technology wasn't so "advanced"? No, but the aggression may still be there. Hence, we must address and practice notions of non violence, and de escalation. In struggle, on our path to liberation however, so long as one side remains visibly armed,genocidal, and homicidal, there will be no negotiation. There can't be. 

This is not pro life rhetoric either. If you're thinking in matters of abortion, anyone should have the right to give life.  No one should be forced to give life. And along with that, no one should be forced to live in destitution under underfunded  and understaffed state care. If you're thinking about mass incarceration, we should not seek incarceration or punishment of death rather than rehabilitation back into society as a free person. 

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What unifies all of those political stances is the conscious notion of anti violence. No one should have violence inflicted upon them for any reason.

 Here, violence comes in response to violence. Violence is not considered as a first option of anyone, against themselves or others. It is a last resort to lack of resources, communication, or even will to explore other options. I of course subscribe to Malcolm X's school of  |b y  a n y  m e a n s  n e c e s s a r y|, all the same as Kwame Toure [pictured above]. State violence is organized. Everyday violence is not the same. For a less violent society, a disarmed society, yes disarming ourselves at the individual level is necessary. But first, there must be a radical restructuring of the state. That's what I'm interested in. 


How is suicidality violent? [State edition]

In the simplest terms, why is it 'illegal' to kill yourself?

Originally Answered: Why is there a law preventing suicide?

Historically, various states listed the act of suicide as a felony, but these policies were sparsely enforced. In the late 1960s, eighteen U.S. states had no laws against suicide.

By the late 1980s, thirty of the fifty states had no laws against suicide or suicide attempts but every state had laws declaring it to be a felony to aid, advise or encourage another person to commit suicide.

By the early 1990s only two states still listed suicide as a crime, and these have since removed that classification.

In some U.S. states, suicide is still considered an unwritten "common law crime," as stated in Blackstone's Commentaries. (So held the Virginia Supreme Court in 1992. Wackwitz v. Roy, 418 S.E.2d 861 (Va. 1992)). As a common law crime, suicide can bar recovery for the late suicidal person's family in a lawsuit unless the suicidal person can be proven to have been "of unsound mind." That is, the suicide must be proven to have been an involuntary act of the victim in order for the family to be awarded monetary damages by the court. This can occur when the family of the deceased sues the caregiver (perhaps a jail or hospital) for negligence in failing to provide appropriate care.

Some American legal scholars look at the issue as one of personal liberty. According to Nadine Strossen, former President of the ACLU, "The idea of government making determinations about how you end your life, forcing you...could be considered cruel and unusual punishment in certain circumstances, andJustice Stevens in a very interesting opinion in a right-to-die [case] raised the analogy."

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in some states.

For the terminally ill, it is legal in the state of Oregon under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. In Washington state, it became legal in 2009, when a law modeled after the Oregon act, the Washington Death with Dignity Act was passed. A patient must be diagnosed as having less than six months to live, be of sound mind, make a request orally and in writing, have it approved by two different doctors, then wait 15 days and make the request again. A doctor may prescribe a lethal dose of a medication but may not administer it.

In California, medical facilities are empowered or required to commit anyone whom they believe to be suicidal for evaluation and treatment.

Suicide legislation - Wikipedia

What does performative wellness do other than stigmatize conversations about mental health and wellness?

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  • It demonizes and 'others' Disabled people

  • Rather than expose the mechanics of concepts of a 'health' i.e. hypocrisy and materiality, it seeks the give answers and solutions for Disability 

  • It instils and sustains ableism in idealizing certain body-minds based on 'health'

Suicide is criminalized because there 'must' be a punishment, a state debt paid for whatever reason - morally to those you know, and physically/ materially to the government. 

Example: If someone calls a wellness check on you, police show up, not crisis intervention specialists, or EMT's of course. That is state violence, not investment into your wellness or an adequate judge of your supposed mental health. As police protect whiteness and property, how can they be a judge, jury, and executioner? Taxes have paid for those police and will pay for your behavioral health unit stay. but, upon release you will be expected to pay [at gw hospital in d.c. that's $3,000 a day, per patient, for insurance purposes apparently]. and when you are released, there is a stigma about that experience- for work, for family, for friends, for school. when you attempt suicide you suffer, you may experience ptsd, but the effects of life on the outside afterwards? that's inflicted violence by all these other entities. we have organized society in america, and many places in the world to be like that.


Have you enabled suicidality?

As I've said before, we can do whatever we want as human beings.

You have the right to kill yourself, as do I.  This is not an organized revolution or uprising. This is about self control  and response to adversity. I will not support violence against people in matters of life and death. To choose violence is to choose death. Seeking help, exploring different modes of wellness, talking about your identified problems, and finding community, is to choose life. Suicidality is not harmful, suicidal ideation is. That contemplation is essentially different because we make can the conscious decision to act on it, or not.That conscious decision to stop fighting, ignore resources, and give up on oneself, is one I will not support or enable. I have before, and that led to almost losing my life multiple times.

In my recovery and growth since then, I have talked to suicidal people, not in moments of ideation, but in action,as in seeking help. To support suicidal people is to be there for them physically, emotionally, or in spirit. To listen to them, share resources, and be present with them. Supporting suicidal people is not ignoring them for whatever reason or blocking them out because you are too simple, and they are too complicated. Supporting suicidal people is not going into moral debate with them about their right to kill themselves, rather than seeing if they are in a safe place in their mind-body. Stigmatizing struggle and trauma is often about hiding your proximity to it and sustaining that privilege. This is not that. To be someone that has been in behavioral health units, has those thoughts, and someone that advocates on these issues, I cannot enable violence against yourself. 

Life gets bad. We experience trauma We lose people in life. We don't wanna struggle no more. We are tired of fighting for ourselves everyday, in our minds, and in the streets. I understand. But death is not freeing, quite the opposite. It's limiting. You life ends right there, yes the trauma, and yes the infinite amount of opportunities, people, and places you have yet to experience thus far. Bootstrap rhetoric says figure that shit out, don't complain, and don't blame; that you alone control your destiny. Believing in, and practicing intersectional theory in this case means acknowledging all of the systems of power and oppression that have, do, and will affect you. Self empowerment and self determination are not mutually exclusive with that logic.

Only in community, and direct commitment to radically loving myself was I able to gain control of my life. I have found that this common narrative among survivors of suicide attempts and Disabled people that struggle with violent intrusive thoughts. 

I'm not saying 'Why are you like this' nor am I screaming 'Get better'. I'm sharing my story and anti violence rhetoric which centers Black, Disabled, Queer people. I am operating within a Critical Disability Theory in critiquing violence: to self - suicidality and suicidal ideation, anti violence, and organized violence, law, and power.

I seek to help and motivate others as best I can. I will be there for YOU. Maybe you can't do it alone, but I'm not going to suggest giving up, or death as the answer.


Serenity is the balance between good and bad, life and death, horrors and pleasures. Life is, as it were, defined by death. If there wasn’t death of things, then there wouldn’t be any life to celebrate.
— Norman Davies
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Sunshine Blogger Award!

Sunshine Blogger Award!