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An apology

From:Sally Caves <scaves@...>
Date:Friday, May 14, 1999, 16:55
I just received a private message from someone
on the list that upset me, and that was in response to the
response I posted to Irina's remark about Americans.  I said that
the demographics in America are slightly different than
in Europe and "opined" that not everyone in therapy was
"mentally ill."  I also expressed distaste for the term "mental
illness"--not because I think depression and anxiety are not
serious illnesses.  Far from it.  I'm not a psychiatrist, but I have long
resented the easy application of American doctors, my
own included, of the term "mental illness" to chemical problems
that can make one's life miserable.  I should like to retract that,
and apologize for any pain I've caused anybody.  There
certainly is a continuum or spectrum in which mental disorders
can affect one mildly or disastrously.  I had objected, at the
time I posted, to the application of the term "mental illness"
to the full spectrum, partly because of my own sense of the
stigma of that term.  I don't want to go into my personal
experience with this disorder... I don't think that's anybody's
business.  But I do want to caution everyone from making
easy generalizations (myself included), or easy redefinitions,
either about illnesses, whole national groups, or individuals on the
basis of what they post to the list.  That last was for my flamer.

Just a little note about me:  I'm especially sensitive to
generalizations about Americans--how "fat" they generally are,
how rude, or how often they see therapists, or how "mentally
ill," and my response to Irina was unforgiveably un-thought out.
My apologies.  But please, let's return our discussion to language
and conlanging.  To be sure, talk about "lunacy" and mental
imbalance seems appropriate, sometimes, when talking about
conlanging.  But it's a sensitive, sensitive issue, and should
be dealt with sensitively and humanely, and without recourse
to stereotype.  I really think the world of all of you and of this
list, and want to keep it that way.

Yry hterme nwetis nwetis uanta
(me again all regretful)