Long grey hallway of a dilapidated old asylum.

Calling a Spade a Spade

As I sat down to get started on what I thought would be my first blog post, “When Summer Camp is a…” the birds in my head started fluttering. “When Summer Camp is a what?” “What do I call it?” “Is the preferred terminology different in the psych survivor community than it is in the neurodiversity community?” “Does it matter?” “Since I’m a member of both communities and am writing about my own lived experience, shouldn’t I get to choose my own terms?” “But what if I offend a fellow community member?”

In the end I decided to use the terms that I feel best reflect my personal experience and perspective on the matter. So I’ve opted to stay away from the more flowery modern terms such as “psychiatric hospital,” “mental health wellness center,” “treatment center,” etc. Instead, I have intentionally chosen to go with the more sinister sounding, “asylum,” because I feel that the more commonly used terms give people the impression that these places are benevolent hospitals designed to help people. That the atrocities that took place within the walls of these places are a thing of the past. These are “hospitals,” after all, not “insane asylums.”

This, of course, is absolute bullshit. If you think that people aren’t being verbally, emotionally, physically, sexually, chemically, and financially abused in addition to the obvious denial of basic human rights, loss of autonomy and self-determination, infantilization, gaslighting, and coercion at the hands of manipulative family members and so-called “professionals,” then you need to climb the fuck out from under whatever big ass rock you’ve been hiding under and get a clue. Until then, I’m gonna call a spade a spade and a fucking asylum an asylum.