Mad Pride Week 2016 began July 11 at Ryerson University at the Ryerson Annual Activist Lecture by Navi Dhanota. The speakers and questions unearthed challenges and insights into activism in the education system and beyond: from community organizing to litigation.
Members of the Mad Pride Toronto Planning Group welcomed students, faculty, activists and the public.
Q. What are you most excited about with your workshop at Mad Pride?
1. Dialectical Living is most excited about sharing with Mad activists and allies the innumerable benefits of mindfulness in everyday life on July 15th at Ryerson University (4:30 – 5:45 pm SHE 660 (99 Gerrard St E, near Jarvis)). Thanks to Mad volunteers for setting up this great space.
Q What do we need to know about you and your Mad Self (as a group or individual)?
2. What you need to know about Dialectical Living is we are a peer based organization. That means all Dialectical Living employees and volunteers have lived experience.
Q How do you describe your experience with madness?
3. Our peers have various experiences with madness. One of our peer workers, Kristen, wrote a great piece on being a mother with a mental health history. Check it out!
Saraƒin is a writer, illustrator, cartoonist, and mad identified person. Asylum Squad, the webcomic, was born during a year long stay in a Toronto mental institution as a creative means of passing Saraƒin’s time. She will be selling her work at the Mad Hatter Street Fair and Marketplace.
What are you most excited about with your new book, Asylum Squad: The Jung Ones 2?
I am excited, as I always am, at the prospect of making new fans, and advancing the storyline. This book was the most action packed in the series thus far, and was a joy to work on.
What do we need to know from previous issues to understand the new book?
It helps to have at least read The Jung Ones pt 1, even better to have read Monster Hospital 1 & 2. There are recaps in each new volume of events that occurred in previous books. Basically, at this point, Liz Madder and company are well into the Ajna Project: an experimental drug treatment program based on Jungian psychiatry, that they signed up for, and were accepted into, during their stay at St Dymphna’s psychiatric hospital.
How do you describe your experience with madness?
I do not like psychiatric labels, for I have been given many in my life, and none of them seemed to stick or describe me very well. I prefer to use the term Mad, even though I don’t consider myself a “sufferer of mental illness” – rather, I feel that I see the world through an unusual perspective due to a form of spiritual emergency that started in my mid 20s.
Note to the Reader: Terms like mad, crazy, drunk, or junkie are often harmful in that they have historically been used to marginalize people with mental health challenges. In an effort to reclaim harmful language, this article includes mad as a term of empowerment for those who have been excluded socially and/or pathologized by the clinicians, hospitals and rehab centres that have “treated” them. The title “Mad in Islam”, then, refers to Muslims and their allies who recognize the need for programs and services established by Muslim communities for mad Muslims.
The surah Al-Ma’idah (the table spread) – a chapter of the Qur’an – states: “Satan only wants to cause between you animosity and hatred through intoxicants and gambling and to avert you from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer. So will you not desist?” (5.91) Intoxicants, but in particular alcohol, create a spiritual barrier between God and the believer. While scripture does not provide much explanation as to what establishes this barrier, the dulling properties of alcohol are a detriment to prescribed activities, like salaat – prayer – or iqraa – the study of scripture –, that require alertness and authentic intention.(more…)