Thursday, 11 September 2008

MWAH! introduction - copy

The aims of MWAH! are two-fold; one personal, one social. On a personal level we need to make ourselves more noticeable, more conspicuous, and in so doing create a stronger community. Communities are held together by social and cultural bonds, but also by economic ties. Creating a community marketplace to express our potential and regain our financial power aims to improve our quality of life. This added confidence and financial freedom will help us fight the stigmas, misunderstandings and injustices that are still prevalent in every country regarding mental health issues. Our vision is global, our tool is the internet. We cannot wait around for donations, grants or charities to improve our lives. Whether you personally have a disorder or you are a carer, you have something to offer. Everyone has a story and it is shared stories that create communities. We can help you find your internet voice and with it the confidence to be heard loud and clear.

Our initial focus is on epilepsy, but we really do not want to just limit ourselves to this. Epilepsy is a complicated disorder with a whole range of causes and effects. Indeed, it has been estimated that 20% of diagnosed epileptics actually don't have epilepsy! One in five people reading this and taking anti-epilepsy drugs are on the wrong medication! This is really serious; given the often debilitating side-effects of the medications, the legal restrictions and social stigmas, do you really want to be misdiagnosed? There are many other reasons for having what at first may appear to be epilepsy; these may be neurocardiological or even psychological. This is why I do not want to limit ourselves to just epilepsy but to include the whole range of mental health issues. We do not want somebody to suddenly feel excluded just because their condition has a new label. We are more interested in encouraging people to push for a correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

One other issue is also coming into focus in my own mind – the pressures of what our mediocre society considers normal. Now this part gets a bit personal, but frankly, if you're not here for personal reasons then what are you doing here? As a child I was precociously intelligent, which may not sound like much of a disease but also has certain social problems attached to it. Edgar Allan Poe put it like this,“From childhood's hour I have not been As others were; I have not seen As others saw; I could not bring My passions from a common spring. [...] And all I loved, I loved alone.” Later, in my twenties, I went through a number of years of deep depression, yet came out the other side not by “pulling myself together” but by going deeper into the abyss and coming out the other side through a mixture of study and meditation, using the wisdom preserved in books when there was little around me. Now I have epilepsy and am supposed to crawl under a rock and hide away because, yet again, am not quite as normal as your average chimp. Well, there's a pattern here. A pattern I don't particularly like but one I can perceive; one that perhaps I can do something about. What is normal, average, mediocre is just the tyranny of those intolerant of anything outside their own experience; things that are sometimes way beyond their experiences. Most of life's most precious experiences never make it into a magazine or television – to do so would undermine the legitimacy of the garbage that does make it into the media. I will no doubt come back to this theme but for now just to say that a community of the mind has to be a community of diversity... and sometimes of extremes.



Some of the info above may be old but the sentiments are still alive. However, the blog structures have changed and will post more on that soon.

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