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My piece at Shape's 'Perception of Balance' exhibition

I received the good news that one of my pieces was accepted for the Perceptions of Balance Exhibition at Shape Arts.   My piece is called ‘Balanced Mind’

I have been labeled ‘mad’ by society, so therefore seen as unbalanced. Society’s way of redressing that is not to help me make sense of the childhood trauma that triggered my psychosis, nor to tackle inequality and discrimination in society because of that label. Its way was to medicate me into submission. For decades I was on antipsychotic medication. I did not laugh or cry on these meds. Is this well balanced? It took away my symptoms but my life too. Is that a fair payoff, a balanced payoff?

A tablet does not cure abuse, isolation, or stigma. But I was sedated, out of society’s hair. They said the tablets would make me feel better. Please define better when I have lost my soul. Maybe you don’t need a soul nowadays. 

The message: don’t speak your mind. Your silence and submission are signs of being well-balanced.

So my art shows that the medication weighs heavier, and the promise of peace of mind, of having my life back is an empty promise, not worth the prescription pad it is written on.

I have given up the meds and regained my life. Some may say that shows I am unbalanced. I say it makes perfect sense. 

There is a private view of the exhibition on the 20th Sept. 

Date: Thursday 20th September 
Time: 6pm 
Location: Shape. Deane House Studios, 27 Grenwood Place, London NW5 1LB

Please RSVP to jenny@shapearts.org.uk and let us know if you have any access requirements.

Posted by Dolly Sen, 5 September 2012

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 9 September 2012

Dolly Sen does 4thought

 Here is my itty-bitty contribution to Channel 4 Goes Mad season. 4Thought asked the question: 'What is Madness?' I could have talked for hours on the subject, but if fact the producer didn't want me to answer it but tell my story in a minute and a half. I would have liked longer to qualify some of what I said, but here it is www.4thought.tv/themes/what-is-madness/dolly-sen.

What has been interesting about the 4thought this week, when it poses that question is the debate it has brought up amongst people who use mental health services themselves. Earlier on in the 4thought week there was a woman who talked about angels, and some people who use services didn't like it, that it showed hearing voices as a positive thing. What is really shocking is that so many people who hear voices and stuck in the system don't know that most voice hearers are not in the system. Romme and Esher did a study on it and they found the difference between the two groups was that those not in mental health services felt they were in control of their voices, whilst those who use the mental health sytem didn't feel in control. 

Here is the angel lady's contribution www.4thought.tv/themes/what-is-madness/rosemarie-moore--2

I know this slot of the lady talking about angels would be very useful in my training around mental health to explore: What is mental health? Because this woman is probably mentally healthier than most people, in that she may be happy, contented, and feel connected to the world. It would start a discussion around hearing voices, and the fact most people don't know that most voice hearers are not in the mental health system, and most voice hearers have helpful, supportive voices. So when is the point that mh professionals deem it pathological? Because the evidence shows pathologising it is a sure way of people suffering more because of it. In societies where voice hearing is acceptable, it has a higher 'recovery' rate. It also opens up the question: what is delusion? Because a Gallup poll in 1995 found 70% people believe in aliens and 31% believed in ghosts. This is an unusual belief but a socially acceptable belief, which brings up the question: how much of psychiatry is based on judgment and social policing than on 'illness'. Believers of God think atheists are deluded, and it is true the other way round. The discussions out of that minute and a half clip can inexorably change and make people questions their beliefs around mental health. And that is a good thing. 

Posted by Dolly Sen, 26 July 2012

Last modified by Dolly Sen, 26 July 2012