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Mad in Islam: Compassion for the Muslim Alcoholic

Ariane Bakhtiar

Man drinks beer
Alcohol isolation darkness – Madness? David Jones/PA Wire

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…)

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The relevant question in psychiatry shouldn't be what's wrong with you, but what happened to you?

Editor: Do you, or people around you, blame yourself, others, diagnosis, society or do you recognize that “Something happened to me”

It took me a long time to acknowledge that I had been through multiple traumatic experiences. The first time I heard a therapist refer to my emotional reactions as the result of trauma I stopped seeing her. I wasn’t ready to acknowledge that people had done things to me that have left a lasting mark. I wasn’t taught that people could or had hurt me. I was taught that I was hurting myself. The message that I received, loud and clear, as a teen was that everything was the fault of my mental illness and that I was solely responsible for everything that had happened to me.  I was on a constant quest to fix myself so people would like me. I believed that people treated me poorly because I was difficult, sad, annoying, and impulsive. It never occurred to me that the poor treatment I received meant there was something wrong with them and how they saw me as a person. (more…)

Mad Pride Planning Group Toronto
Some members of the Mad Pride Toronto Planning Group 2016 - L-R Hugh, Lois, Sean, David, Tareo and Robyn, Karla, Mark, Judith, Tim and Sebrina (taking the picture)

Mad Pride Toronto 2016 has a big flexible planning group. On May 10, Hugh, Lois, Sean, David, Tareo and Robyn, Karla, Mark, Judith, Tim and Sebrina (taking the picture), met to organize a Mad Mad Pride Week at Progress Place. What a bunch of lovely people! Want to get involved? Learn more about how to

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MADx by night advertisement for event Friday 15 July 15, 2015 at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. Toronto

“What does it take to free our selves of what or who others would have us be?”

The-Rebellion.ca presents MADx by night during Mad Pride Toronto 2016. Come to laugh, rant, and rebel:

  • Friday July 15th 2016 from 7:00 to 11:00
  • @ Imperial Pub (54 Dundas St. E., Toronto).
MADx by night advertisement for event Friday 15 July 15, 2015 at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. Toronto
MADx by night Friday 15 July 15, 2016 at the Imperial Pub, 54 Dundas St. E. Toronto

More information from The-Rebellion.ca  about MADx

(more…)

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Baby Crying. Captions People spot me as a difficult child

I’m going to become a Mom near the end of 2016. While the unwanted life, birth and parenting advice is starting to trickle in (“You and your partner should really be married first,” “Don’t think for one second you can give birth without an epidural,” “Make sure you put your child in daycare.”) I find myself fearful about what people will think and say about me as a “Mad Mother”.

I cannot be the only Mad Parent out there that feels the pressure to go above and beyond to “prove” that they are capable.

I have been working with children, ages 18 months-13 years old, for a little over 8 years and have a background in early childhood education. I am very confident in my ability to be a Mom. But when I see pictures like this,

Baby Crying. Captions People spot me as a difficult child
Hey Mad Moms … Ready for some Guilt – Unhelpful picture indicating that “I am a difficult child because my mom has Border Line Personality”

as a person with the Borderline Personality label, I can feel my emotions rise and desire to protect myself and my family from the mean people who may look at me and think that I will fail my child because of my label rising.

To add to the injury of this picture, I found it on Facebook, posted by a Facebook Group I “Like” that is supposed to be supportive of the BPD community. Sharing photos and “research” that blanket all women with a BPD label as being bad mothers is shameful and offensive. (more…)