A simple guide to avoid receiving a diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’ UPDATE


It’s been a while since some of our members first collaboratively produced RITB’s satirical ‘Simple guide to avoid getting a diagnosis of personality disorder’ leaflet.

The response has been incredibly encouraging. Many people have been in touch to say how much the ‘instructions’ resonated with them. In addition, it was  also featured in the March 2016 Clinical Psychology Forum magazine.

It seemed to make such an impact it was even nominated for the 2016 Clinical Psychology Forum Award.

In spite of this overwhelmingly positive response, there was also some confusion around the satirical nature of the guide. To clarify, the statements made in the guide are all from people’s lived experience of being diagnosed and ‘treated’ in the system for ‘PD’. The sometimes sarcastic tone of the guide conveys our anger at our treatment within the system and the nonsensical and enraging, circular reasoning we find ourselves the objects of. We want to stress that we are NOT making fun of people with a diagnosis of ‘PD’. We ARE people with a diagnosis of ‘PD’….and we are oppressed by the use of this label. We produce stuff like this because we feel we have no other way of making our voices heard. Please do not write it off as ‘a bunch of angry PDs sounding off’. If you read between the lines of this leaflet you will see the pain and suffering that this label has caused us.

Recoveryingthebin’s ‘Simple guide to avoid receiving a diagnosis of personality disorder’


We hope to produce more material like this leaflet in the future. If you’d like to collaborate with us please get in touch: personalitydisorderinthebin@gmail.com



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Emotional Prostitution & Mind’s Latest Request For ONE ‘PD’ Expert by Experience


Come along & be “inspirational”, spill your guts, serve yourself up on a plate and guess what you even get £50 to spend. What’s not to like?

So……here is the latest attempt by national Mind to try to inform themselves about ‘personality disorder’…..

Screenshot 2017-01-18 10.33.15.png


It begs the question, what the hell is going on with national Mind at the moment!? Only 4 months ago they outraged and betrayed many mental health activists by agreeing to a secondment of one of their key managers to a placement for the department for work and pensions. Yes, that’s right, the same DWP that has decided that if we are able to read an alarm clock, or raise our arms above our heads we are completely undeserving of support from the state.1

And now some bright spark has decided that Mind HQ doesn’t  know enough about ‘personality disorder’ and as a result have put out this request for one (that’s right folks ONE) person who has had experiences with this label.


PDintheBin would like to respond to the recent request for an individual with lived experience of ‘personality disorder’ to deliver ‘training’ to two groups of staff from their team. We are angry and appalled that Mind HQ have decided that this is the best way to access and inform themselves of perspectives on ‘personality disorder’. Heres why:

The Chosen One

Choosing one person to represent all the views and perspectives of ‘personality disorder’ is unethical and pointless. There has been so much that’s already been highlighted about the flawed and ablest idea that one person can represent an entire population. We see examples of resistance to this from all intersections of society.  For example when one disabled person is chosen to speak at a conference under the supposition of ‘representing the disabled perspective’. Likewise with issues around race, gender and sexuality. Why are we SO far behind with thinking around this in mental health? All this does is put us in competition with our fellow survivors and SU’s. It is yet another example of Mind’s complete inability to reflect on the position of power they are in. Singling us out in this way can also replicate abusive dynamics by seemly giving privilege to one who is deemed as ‘special’ and ‘unique’.

This is emotional prostitution

So the idea is that the chosen one, the one to represent all the experiences of ‘PD’, sits on a chair in front of ten people (again we have no idea who these people actually are….just ye know….Mind people) and tells their story, answers questions about their story and  gets their £50 and then what? Will Mind provide any support for this ‘service-user’ once they have spilled their guts. Will there be any follow up for the SU in terms of what difference their perspective has made?


All the battles over recent years to move away from ‘wheeling the service-user out’ at conferences to ‘tell our story’. Could Mind not think of ANY other way to access a range of opinions and narratives around ‘PD’. Really? This is it? If this is the case, we might be inclined to think that Mind are purposefully recruiting staff with a woeful lack of imagination. There are millions of ways to conduct this kind of research. There is also a dearth of information out there about how to scope services-user perspectives ethically. Have Mind somehow lost their internet connection? Has Google gone down?

Also, Mind HQ have an enormous amount of capital. Why then, has this so-called ‘personality disorder’ training come down to one, golden individual to impart their knowledge and perspective for no less that £50! As one of our members points out ‘so each member of Mind at the session would be essentially paying £5 for this chosen SU to spill their guts’ .…That’s a fiver folks… and we are somehow supposed to feel valued and important to Mind!? Perhaps we could suggest that Paul Farmer (CEO) is paid 5  quid the next time he agrees to give another one of his pseudo-anti-stigma speeches. Or maybe a few of us could sit in a room and wheel him in to tell us how challenging it is to be a privileged, white, male, executive charity giant. We can then give him his fifty quid, pat him on the head and tick our ‘consulted with oppressed executive’ box.

We at PDinthebin would like Mind HQ to try to imagine the worst events that have happened in their lives. Now try to imagine being asked to rehash these events in front of twenty corporate strangers. Now imagine those corporate strangers, situated in pretty nice looking offices in central London, offering you FIFTY QUID for this service you have provided to them.

Tokenism at its finest

The survivor movement has been highlighting issues with tokenism in service-user involvement and collaboration for years now. Some steps have been taken to combat tokenism so it is bewildering to see, in 2017, the national charity for mental health has arguably made one the most tokenistic requests for involvement to date. Can anything helpful be gathered by extracting the experience of one personal in this way?

Transparency and ‘cherry-picking’ narratives

This is a classic issue with Mind and most large semi-corporate mental health charities. None of us who may apply for this gilded role will know who exactly will be making the decision regarding who the chosen one will be. We also have no idea what Mind plan on doing with all of the applications that get rejected. Inviting people to apply for a single position feels as tho they have already decided what narrative they are looking for. Based on their chosen method for gathering information about ‘PD’ it is not a stretch to assume that their selection process is likely to result in the best example to fit their stereotype of ‘PD’ for whatever agenda they began this whole ridiculous process for. Also, have Mind even thought about the emotional consequences for those people who share their stories on their application forms and are deemed not good enough for the role. Do Mind really want to be telling people that their experiences aren’t enough. Isn’t this just replicating what people hear from services constantly, ‘your distress isn’t enough’ ‘you aren’t the one’. Why can’t we begin to think beyond these oppressive ways of communicating with one another.

What are Mind’s motives behind putting out this request? The lack of transparency around how this has come about and what it will be used for leads us to suspect that the one participant / specimen  may generously and graciously gift Mind their £50 of trauma only to assist Mind to secure more contracts and funding for more of the same inadequate, short-term, cbt based, ‘recover in 12 weeks then your on your own’ claptrap? Or maybe Mind are going to use this information to provide long-term and compassionate, non-pathologizing help for traumatized people…..we wont be holding our breath for this option.

We feel that Mind using distressed people in this way is abusive and sloppy. For a cherry-picked individual to provide a titillating training session for twenty strangers  who are ignorant enough to think that this would qualify them to understand anyone else who has been lumbered with this label is offensive and degrading. We strongly oppose it and encourage Mind to reevaluate what it is they stand for.


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The Trial of the Crisis Team- poem


The Trial of the Crisis Team

‘I’m suicidal.’ Hesitantly, I said
‘I might need a hospital bed.’
The crisis team’s advice to me:
Try a Warm Bath and a Hot Cup of Tea.’
I tried again. I said to them,
I don’t need hot tea or a warm bubble bath’
They looked annoyed and snapped at me,
‘That’s your responsibility’
I pleaded with them: ‘I’m at a loss.
I really can’t cope. Please don’t be cross.’
They rolled their eyes and said (with a bored sigh)
‘It’s up to you. You have to try’
I tried again – now I was crying –
‘I try so hard… I’m really not lying.
Now and then I need a hand
I need you to understand. Please.’
I spoke through the tears, spoke of my fears,
‘I’m scared I’m going to die’
I’ve tried. I’ve tried. I’ve tried for years.
Please help me. Don’t let me die.’
Their reply:
‘That’s your problem. You are a trial.
You display a ‘difficult’ personality style
And nothing we do will help you cope.
For people like you there is no hope.’
They cracked their knuckles and, scoffing, said
‘If you really meant it, you’d already be dead.’
I flinched away from their unbidden fury,
and cried; ‘I don’t need a Judge and a Jury.
Clearly to you I’m an unwanted chore.
Sometimes I don’t cope. That’s not breaking the law.’

I’ve presented the case and now that you’ve heard it,
Reader, I leave you to consider the verdict.

By PDintheBin member

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Systemic Oppression, ‘PD’ and Suicidality

Over at PDintheBin facebook group, we are having some discussion around the ways in which we as people with a diagnosis of ‘PD’ are spoken about in relation to feeling suicidal. Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about. Suicide awareness campaigns call for us to talk more about suicide. Encouraging people who are actively considering suicide to seek help is one of the primary aims of suicide prevention strategies and people in need of help are often advised to turn to the NHS.


Yet within NHS MH services getting help for suicidal feelings is not easy. Some of the most vulnerable people in the UK find that when they are suicidal little help is available. Often people are diagnosed with mental disorders known to be associated with increased suicidality, and yet the National Health Service frequently leaves them unsupported. There are estimates that 10% of us who have attracted this label will die by suicide. However, statistics like this seem very unclear when factoring in the lack of over-all validity of the label. Perhaps a more legitimate question is ‘how many oppressed people end up taking their own lives’.

If a patient with chronic kidney disease needed dialysis NHS staff would not see that patient as ‘difficult’, ‘attention seeking’ or ‘time-wasting’ even if dialysis needed to be repeated and yet this can be the response of NHS staff to patients diagnosed as having mental health difficulties. The result often being a person having repeated experience of suicidality.

This is never more so the situation than when a patient has been labelled with a ‘personality disorder’, particularly emotionally unstable/borderline personality disorder. People labelled with ‘BPD’ are believed to have a suicide rate of 10%. Although it is difficult to form statistics around a disorder that has such poor diagnostic reliability, it is probably likely that people who have distress that some might label “PD” are at increased risk of suicide when compared to the general population. This is especially important given the strong association between self harm and suicide. 

Going back to the kidney patient, imagine a situation in which the patient’s condition had features that increased the likelihood of death and when those features were present NHS staff responded not with increased support, such as more dialysis, but instead with a rigid insistence that ‘they’re not really going to die’ and maybe even with displays of disgust directed at the patient. This is the very response often meted out by the NHS to people labelled with personality disorder who are brave enough to seek help with suicidality.

Comparison between physical illness and supposed psychiatric conditions is problematic and will be explored in a later post. However,  it is still shocking to think that a person who is clinically defined as being a high risk of suicide can be repeatedly denied help due to the constructed parameters associated with a ‘PD’ diagnosis. Yet a person without this diagnosis may be seen as more deserving of care/support.

Many of us at PDinthBin have had experiences of  suicide attempts not being taken seriously because they are “just attention seeking”. The implicit and sometimes shockingly explicit message to us as distressed people is that;  ‘You have to try harder to kill yourself in order to be taken seriously. Otherwise you’re just pissing about’ or ‘trying to get attention’  which obviously you can’t be given because it ‘rewards the behaviour’.

We belive that someone saying they have thoughts of suicide should be enough to be taken seriously by services. Sometimes feeling suicidal translates as ‘I can’t stand feeling like this and I don’t know what to do and I need help’. This is reason enough to warrant help.

It is said that one of the hallmark ‘traits’ of ‘PD’ is that we make frequent ‘threats’ of suicide to loved-ones and to mental health professionals. unsurprisingly, the context of these so-called threats seem to be seen as unimportant or ignored entirely. Services and staff contribute to a structural form of oppression that can generate the very suicidal behaviour they seek to eliminate.

For example, if someone finds themselves in an area that has a ‘pd’ specialist service. The current clustering system for entry into this service is often so high that many people, despite having had a label of ‘PD’ applied to them are denied help in these services. One of the inclusion criteria for ‘PD’ severity is aligned to risk, which of course is aligned with suicidality. It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the more suicidal you appear then the more at risk you seem and therefore you might have a slim chance of finding a service that offers something remotely helpful. On the flip side, the idea of being ‘treated’ in any service that labels itself as a ‘PD’ service can be positively harmful for many of us who have been harmed by the construct. The way that services are designed may mean that we have to actively accept the application of this label in order to access any form of psychological support.

Asking for help in a way that services can hear can sometimes feel like a torturous game of snakes and ladders. Many of us  aren’t able to ask for help directly but when we do, we can be seen as having a sense of entitlement. If we express suicidality and are not taken seriously we may go on to attempt suicide which in turn can be interpreted as ‘an attempt to access inpatient/acute services’. Many of us use self harm in order to desensitize ourselves toward the ultimate goal of suicide. Strangely this process also appears to desensitise professionals who may decide that we are constantly  ‘crying wolf’. This kind of empathic burn out in proffesionals is particularly dangerous given that the ultimate goal for some of us will be to actually complete suicide. Ignoring the boy who cries ‘wolf’ is only ok if no wolf exists or will ever exist. But sadly the wolf does exist and for many of us the over-all message from services seems to be that we are not deserving of help with it. Simply because services themselves have given us this label and have defined who we are and what we need or do not need. Whats worse is that everything we do, everything we say, comes with a question mark over it because of our ‘PD’ diagnosis. statements about our needs appear to be filtered via a lens of ‘is this manipulation?’ and ‘what is this PD patient really requesting?’.

As one CPN wrote on my notes, ‘this patients presentation underestimates the risk she presents to herself’

How many of us do not present in ways that enable us to receive the help that we need? What happens when we can not play the patient role? What can we do if we get stuck in endless cycles of harm, with professionals making judgments and interpreting what our journeys into self-destruction mean?


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How do you respond when we die by suicide?

At PdintheBin we believe for many reasons that the diagnosis of personality disorder should be abolished. One reason is the harm the label causes by reducing the support and compassion available to people when they are experiencing suicidal feelings. NHS staff and other proffesionals can justify treating a ‘borderline’ experiencing suicidality differently to how they would respond to someone without that label with rationalisations such as ‘It’s all for attention – they won’t really kill themselves’ or ‘if they’re going to kill themselves nothing we do will make any difference’ or simply ‘it’s their choice’. When such attitudes are so ingrained that they inform responses even when a patient has died by suicide the possibility is reduced that any lessons will be learned.
So we call upon NHS mental health professionals to ask themselves how they would respond if their client, labelled with personality disorder, died by suicide and to reflect on the reasons for their response.

What type of NHS professional are you?

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Nothing about us without us: ALL OF US


This is a response statement to the PD ‘consensus’ survey recently posted on NSUN’s forum.

PDinthebin would like to respond to the recent ‘Personality Disorder Consensus Survey’ disseminated in order to gather views about possible treatment within hypothetical scenarios. This is a collectively written document that expresses our views and needs.

PDinthebin is a group of supportive, often excluded, people who have been diagnosed with ‘personality disorder’ (‘PD’). We have found the label and the concept to be harmful and we fundamentally disagree with it as a construction of a ‘disorder’. We also disagree with how it is used by clinicians to label people seen as ‘difficult’ and we strongly oppose how clinicians treat those of us with this label.

We feel that ethical research and scoping should be robust and inclusive, allowing for a variety of perspectives. We believe that this survey contains many methodological flaws, in particular, it does not allow space for the views of those of us who fundamentally disagree with the construct of ‘PD’. Nor does it enable those of us who do not wish to approach services for fear of having to accept this label to take part in a meaningful way. This means that we had no way to express what support and help we need from services. Thus far, service users who are happy to have received the diagnosis and identify themselves as having a diagnosis of ‘PD’ have already been given a platform in various forums and consultations on the future of shaping ‘PD’ services. We therefore argue that a consensus cannot be reached nor a common goal established when our voices are repeatedly ignored and excluded.

We represent those people who have been actively harmed by having this label applied to us by services. Our lives and identities have often been shaped by the horrific responses of services to us as ‘personality disordered’ people. We also feel a burden of responsibility to speak out on behalf of young people who are increasingly being told that their personalities are disordered at a vulnerable and formative age.

We believe that:


  • For a medical professional to state that our personalities, the very essence of who we are as people, is disordered, is both degrading and inhuman. It is therefore a fundamental violation of the Human Rights Act, Article 3.
  • It is both coercive and an abuse of psychiatric and psychological power to require people to accept and receive a diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’ in order to receive the help that we need to support us in our distress.
  • It is shameful how many of us are not told directly that we have had this label applied to us. We often find out by accident or it is alluded to in our meetings with professionals but never named. This suggests that professionals are aware of how offensive and humiliating this label is and how damaging it can be.
  • It is morally wrong and scientifically questionable to use a label that has been found to have very little inter-rater reliability amongst clinicians (1, 2). This is particularly problematic when the consequences of having this label may be devastating. For example, many people have reported how this diagnosis can: lead to your children being removed or put on an ‘at risk’ register far more quickly; negatively affect decision-making if you apply to adopt children; potentially result in being denied entry to the USA; lead to character assassinations and assumptions of ‘moral defectiveness’ or ‘dangerousness’ at benefit decision panels.
  • It is abusive, and often fatally so, to deny us help within acute mental health care services when we are suicidal and/or acutely distressed. This has resulted in several high profile deaths when some of us have tried desperately to seek help only to be told things like: ‘hospital makes PD worse’, ‘your PD means you’ll always be in crisis’, ‘you’re just attention seeking’, ‘you need to find new ways of coping’, ‘we won’t tolerate this maladaptive behavior’ or ‘you are just acting out’.
  • The construct of ‘PD’ encourages services to disregard what may have happened to us in our lives by focusing on what is wrong with us. This is effectively blaming us for our own distress.
  • We are trapped in a double bind. On the one hand, we are told that in order to ‘get better’ we must take responsibility for our ‘behaviors’. However, on the other, we are simultaneously infantilized by a system that defines and decides what our difficulties are and allows us no say in what might help us.
  • If we are so distressed that we experience psychosis, we deserve the right to access medication and other support to help with this issue. We also deserve the right not to have our psychotic experiences defined as ‘pseudo-psychosis’. This implies that because we have the ‘PD’ label our experiences of psychosis are somehow not real or less so than those without this label.
  • It is totally unacceptable to apply a label of ‘PD’ based on the fact that we may self-harm. Self-harm happens for all kinds of reasons and is not indicative of a ‘disordered personality’.
  • Self-harm has meaning and should be taken seriously by services, not just seen as a ‘BPD trait’ or written off as typical ‘borderline’ behaviour with an assumption that it is merely manipulative.
  • It is iatogenic and counterproductive to replicate the myth that we are ‘challenging’ and ‘complex’ due to our ‘PD’ diagnosis rather than our often traumatic life experiences and daily struggles in oppressive circumstances.
  • The idea of ‘PD’ as ‘complex’ and ‘difficult to treat’ often enables professionals who do not declare themselves to be ‘PD specialists’ to distance themselves from us and deny their responsibility to provide empathic and humane treatment.
  • It is unjust that the ‘PD’ label is often considered to be an aggravating factor in the criminal justice system, unlike other mental health conditions that may be seen as mitigating factors.
  • The dominance of DBT and MBT is helpful for some people but many of us have found it be oppressive, pathologzing, blaming and harmful. We are left with no other therapeutic options available to us because we have been labeled as ‘PD’.



We are advocating for:


  • The right to access a range of treatments and therapies that are specific to our individual distress without having to be treated under a ‘PD’ service or label.
  • The right to have our individual narratives heard and acknowledged and not reframed into a construct that is oppressive and blaming.
  • The right to have therapy/or treatment without the constant fear that what we say, think, feel or do will be pathologised, misinterpreted and labelled as a feature of our ‘disordered personality’.
  • The right to have our understandable reactions to trauma and abuse officially recognised and validated and not interpreted as a flaw in who we are or a part of a ‘disordered personality’.
  • The right to not only disagree with the diagnosis but to have it removed permanently from our records, present and historical.
  • Access to treatments and therapies like EMDR, long-term psychotherapy, medication, attachment-based therapies, specific interventions and support around self-harm, patient-led support groups, creative and body therapies, narrative therapies. Thus we are asking for therapies that permit the expression of shame and rage, rather than their suppression of shame and rage. We need therapies that frame our abusers or oppressors as disordered rather than us.
  • Gender-specific and trauma-informed services for those of us who have experienced sexual abuse or violence, rather than a focus solely on cognitive or behavioural approaches. We also call for feminist-informed approaches and services for those of us who identify as female and have experienced extreme disempowerment and oppression.
  • Services that are informed by racial and social justice models that validate intersectional disadvantage rather than psychological and psychiatric models only.
  • A process of truth and reconciliation between services and those of us who have been iatrogenically harmed by the diagnostic process and subsequent treatment.
  • A tolerant and non-pathologising attitude towards our appropriate and righteous hurt and anger with both services and their mental health professionals; many of these people have either stood by and watched this label be used against us or actively participated in its promotion and ideology.
  • The right to have appropriate help for us at times of distress, especially when that distress has led to self-harm. We are fighting for the right to not be labelled as attention-seeking or treated as ‘another PD case’ within primary and secondary services.
  • Training for professionals completely outside of the ‘PD’ framework and ideology. This would focus on enabling professionals to support people without replicating abusive practice. It would also acknowledge systemic oppressions such as being caught in the ‘benefit trap’, the replication of early traumas through on-going relationships, and feelings of mistrust after being abused.
  • The co-production and delivery of training for professionals by a wide variety of people with lived experience, not just those who agree with the construct of personality disorder and seek to gain financially from this endeavour.
  • Appropriate disciplinary action and consequences for both individuals and services that treat us in oppressive and abusive ways. No person who is in immense distress should be left without help or support. No person should be told that we ‘simply have to find ways manage our own distress more effectively’ because we have ‘PD’.

We ask that this statement of need is considered in the planning of any future service provision. We also hope that those of us who disagree with and have been harmed by the diagnosis are meaningfully enabled to join any further discussions around these issues.

For more information or to speak to one of our members directly please contact:


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Welcome to ‘PD’ in the bin!


We welcome everyone who wishes to support our cause or wishes to find out more about what we are fighting for. We see the reframing of our distress into the construct of ‘personality disorder’ as deeply unethical and abusive.


Many of us have been treated appallingly within mental health services. Many of us have been denied and actively excluded from services simply because this label has been applied to us at some point.

We reject the pathologisation of our way of being in the world. We find the PD label dehumanizing and it encourages  a system and society that seeks to blame us for our own reactions to distressing life circumstances.

We deserve dignity. We demand to be treated with respect and compassion, like every other human being. We reject being guilted and shamed for our experiences. We believe in a human rights and social justice based approach to our distress.

We deserve trauma-informed help that is politically and contextually aware and we shouldn’t have to adopt an oppressive label or identity in order to receive such help.

We are are often vulnerable and distressed people. We are  not dogs to be behaviourally modified in order to fit more appropriately within society’s expectations.

We want the right to choose our own journeys out of distress. We resist the diagnosis-led system that chooses a pathway for us.

We find it an offensive and abusive social injustice to expect us to accept responsibility for our ‘actions’ when more often than not we have been the victim of social oppressions and abuses that no one has taken responsibilty for.

We resent and resist the pervasive behaviours of the psy-industrial complex towards us. It frequently  ignores and assimilates our histories of sexual abuse  and/or violence. It replicates abusive dynamics from our histories of multiple oppressions.

Those amongst us who identify as women  reject the persistent use of BPD/EUPD to pathologise and dismiss our APPROPRIATE anger and what has happened to us throughout our lives.


Community and Solidarity

Speaking out towards the abolition of ‘personality disorder’ both as a name and as a concept

We do not believe in the colonised concept of recovery. It is important for us to make our own choices about how we want to live our lives and focus on what is important to us rather than behaviour agendas and ways to cover up our distress. We are fully in agreement with the Recovery In The Bin Group.

In this group we do not promote pro-PD  treatments or recovery agendas. There is a whole industry dedicated to that.

We aim for this to be a dedicated safe space from pressures to conform to any therapeutic pathways, outcomes and targets. Likewise we do not tolerate pro-religious agendas.  We welcome UnRecovered people.

We are all in it together. We believe that we have intrinsic value as human beings whether or not we are ‘resistant to change’, ‘disengaged’ or ‘lacking insight’.  We do not need to be pathologised, labelled, oppressed, and pressured into programmes, courses and therapies to become acceptable. We want to be credited with knowing what helps us, not have mandatory attendance therapies chosen by professionals under the threat of removal of support.

We don’t want to feel distressed or traumatized. We do not wish to be identified as having defective personalities.  We choose solidarity and humanity.  We think that the capitalist society we live in, and the resulting social problems with housing, welfare, and scapegoating of people who do not thrive in this unstable environment, causes a major part of our current distress. Protest, campaigning, letter and email writing, and standing up for our human rights help us to cope.

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