Update (8.24.2011): In the particular situation I was thinking of when I wrote this, I think my friends knew less of how mistreated I've been than I realized, which puts things in a better, less hurtful, perspective. Still, there are other situations that come up where this is not the case, so the post still stands as a thing that happens.
When mental health care comes up in conversation with my friends, or anyone really, I can't help but pounce on it. They hurt me so much and they continue to hurt so many people. It is outraging and heart-breaking. I'm bitter, but I'm not only bitter because my anger is entirely legitimate; I was mistreated and abused. When it comes up in conversation, sometimes I get teased for being bitter and so quick to pounce, which is fair even though it stings. But sometimes my friends seem to try to excuse the mental health care professionals. That hurts a lot. Sometimes they come up with some of the same excuses for the professionals that I have thought of to explain their atrocious treatment of patients, but they seem to let these excuses prevail and actually absolve the professionals of guilt instead of using it as a reason a well-intentioned person might slip into abusing patients.
I get that professionals have to be guarded because a lot of patients are manipulative, but that isn't a good reason for them to assume I am manipulative. I get that in a hospital-setting not everything can be arranged to perfectly suit each patient, but that isn't a good reason to blame me for not trying hard enough when affirmations don't work for me. I get that not all patients notice the logical inconsistency and factual inaccuracy of the platitudes and "life lessons", but that doesn't make it okay to lie to me or any other patient. I get that mental health care is a field prone to compassion fatigue, but that doesn't excuse taking it out on me. I'm really not asking a lot of the professionals: please treat me with respect, please don't lie to me, please engage with me, please don't abuse me. I am asking much less of them than they explicitly tell me they will do for me.
I don't understand why my friends fight me on this. Do they not believe me when I say I was treated poorly? Are they trying to dissuade me from acting like a conspiracy theorist? Do they think it isn't that bad? I don't know; I just know it hurts. It feels like they are telling me that it was okay for these people to treat me like this. It scares me because, more than anyone else, it should be my closest friends who I am able to persuade that mental health care needs to change. I might ask them why they fight me on this, but I'm also afraid that, by bringing this up again, I will just cement their position that I am wrong or misperceived things or whatever they think.