A pill bottle with brown pills spilled out next to it. To the right of this is a pile of medicinal herbs.

Finding the ME in (ME)dicine

Content note: addresses mental health and mentions suicide

Finding the ME in (ME)dicine.

Means finding out where I got lost. Pinpointing where I was misguided to believe that my self worth and need for self care was less than that of White folks living with bipolar II disorder. Or that to be a survivor of mental health trauma, as a genderqueer Person of Color means I must reject all westernized forms of (me)dicine and thought to be aligned with my kin.

But what if I have never been fully aligned? What does it mean to be decolonial? To align with my ancestors, if sage and herbs are not stopping the voices, the pain and the debilitating weeks of manic depression? Where do I fit into the decolonial narrative where, I’m like yeah, fuck the system and then turn around be like, I gotta go pick up my Western (me)dication or I might die or kill myself?

Who do I turn to?

Decolonial organizing, rhetoric and thinking has let this differently abled, Brown, giggly, sissy, sad fag down.

My mind has run away from me this past year and what filled its place was Harry Potter, dementors and realizing that the entire cast of Lord of The Rings is white. Leaving me to wonder what my wildest joys are and who my allegiances are to.

Having the privilege of access to healthcare, I have had to self-advocate through intense manic episodes, show up to appointments, explain and explain again my stories of why I deserve access to (me)dication, and when I wasn’t able to show up, or advocate for myself, I most certainly

went without.

Best believe, folks on the other ends of the phone and reception desks quickly realized that I know my worth. That I know my mind and cosmic relations, my Brown skin, my weight, my hair, my height, my genders (and no that is not a typo), are all birthed from my ancestors and I know without a doubt that they would want me to feel better.

To be present I constantly have to push out intrusive thoughts that have for so long been my only constant.

So when I look for support from other folks who claim to decolonize their thoughts around (me)dicine, meaning that herbs, limpias, and sweat lodge ceremonies are the go-to I wonder why they hold up the very same oppressive themes of Spiritual elitism by undermining my need to use (me)dication?

Meaning that, when I’m with my homegrrrls, and I bust out with talk of queer, kinky sex–all my fluid faggotry–around expanding decolonial theory, or casually mention my diagnosis of bipolar II disorder, they look at me as if I’m talking about some unholy, colonial rhetoric.

Leaving me pissed about their righteous ableism and feeling isolated within a movement claiming to deconstruct hierarchies and unequal access to healing.

Where do I go when my (me)dication and diagnosis are all that people see of me or more chaotically,  refuse to acknowledge my disease at all?

If decolonial theory and practice undermines very real episodes of mania and trauma, it is a death sentence to not only me, but countless other Queer and Trans People of Color who are reclaiming their health.

Not only that, but I know that these folks wouldn’t walk up to someone with a visible disability and suggest that they should try a more holistic route to managing their care, as opposed to using the assistance of a cane or wheelchair.

So why do that to people with invisible disabilities?

To be met with, “Have you tried the holistic route?” or “It’s not that bad” completely undermines my diagnosis and the intense struggles it took to get me to the point of accessing (me)dication.

To promote anti-(me)dication suggests that all pre-colonial remedies can solve post-colonial traumas and mental health issues. To that I say, Grrrl bye. 

Not to mention that I endure immobilizing flare ups while waiting for the herb bundle I just smoked to kick in. Now I’m not a naysayer of herbal remedies in any way, but what happens when burning sage and smoking chamomile and limpias aren’t enough?

Because if people see health as only one dimensional, there is nothing decolonial about their medicina or healing in any way.

A “Hunger Games” elitism has been born out of decolonial movements: who can out-decolonize the other.

But my taking care of myself should be seen as the most radical form of self love.

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