As I studied Psychology in college, I read about the history of treatments imposed on the mentally ill people who displayed bizarre behavior. They were hoarded into a building, chained and allowed to remain naked, living like animals. The keepers of these strange people charged money for the spectacle, much like we pay to walk and observe at a zoo.
The sting of the shame for the mentally ill as imposed by society has changed outwardly, but not within. The minds of ‘the observers at the zoo,’ feel that they must beware of these people. We are separated into “psychiatric wards” to receive the treatment that will correct the defect. The defect must be extinguished…removed…erased! But even then, so long as it’s controlled–that’s okay.
I have worked with young and old people who are mentally impaired. They are no different than “normal” people. They eat, sing, laugh, cry, love, hate, get angry, like everybody. Why then must we be separated by labels and hoarded into institutions? What about the thousands of young and old who have been incarcerated because they have no adequate assistance to defend themselves and receive help? Who cares?