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Mental Health Week's theme is Dignity, I am still looking for it. / 2 October 2015

Mock up of pharmaceutical drug, reading 'Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day.'

Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day. © Dolly Sen

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Next week is Mental Health Week and this year's theme is dignity. This is my take on it:

Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day

Being labelled, pathologised and medicated,
I cannot claim my mind for myself
I cannot claim my life for myself
So how can I even have dignity?

Medicine does not heal
But seals the scream
Is that dignity?

Dignity are never in the side effects.
Weight gain – my arse is getting bigger than my dreams.
Too tired to reach for the day, let alone the sun.
Try having sex without coming – dignity?

Love with a lot of going – dignity?
A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, but try it with a largactil shuffle.
Constipation does not feel like dignity
How can I sing the song of dignity, drooling?

I would walk away with my head held high, but am too tired, too alone, too despised. 
But let’s put aside the pills for a moment.
Is dignity in the waiting room?
Is it in the set of eyes that sees you as a sickness?

How much does dignity cost exactly? It’s not in our budget this year. It’s not in the economic case.
Dignity is not in the control and restraint, face down, begging to breath.
It was not in the staggered silence of my ‘community care’.
It is not in the 'burden of care' phrase.
I am still waiting for my appointment with dignity.

Dignity means not begging for my identity, my dreams, it means not begging to be heard, to be cared for.
Dignity means honouring the person, but not being hated will do.
Dignity cannot be taken 4 times a day.

And shouldn’t be bitter pills to swallow… 


Margaret Cook

6 April 2016

You are a prolific artist and writer that's for a start. I am also an artist from Australia. I have only today come across you though my getting the email from Disability Arts online. I am loving all the things you are doing. It's very clever and really can change the way the world views people with mental health issues. This is the dare I say it a new wave of artistic expression to express how society could really hear and learn about people's lived views of mental health issues and how the systems further traumatises people. Go girL.

I did 20 years of consultancy advocacy and even had my own consumer run NGO and really wasted it on years of dedicated challenging work to make difference. But I find art so much more rewarding uplifting and gets the message through with less is more with what you have done here it really inspires me thank you. Margaret. 🎨🙋

Cath Stewart

12 October 2015

I liked the"None Of Your Business Card"

Jane mccormick

6 October 2015

Fantastic piece just about covered everything there. Hard reading but really powerful.

Merry Cross

3 October 2015

Powerful poetry, this, conveying so much. Thank you Dolly.