Many cobbers here know that I am in fact a crazy person. I use this term lightly and in a way to reclaim the word “crazy” for myself. Fun fact: I have mental health problems, I have been diagnosed with ADHD and am at high risk for Bipolar Disorder, which does not tend to show signs in women until their thirties. Well dear cobbers, you can then understand my excitement for The Tunnel of Oppression and the fact that it had a mental health section. I was stoked for some people to see where I come from, to see the stigmatization and oppression of those with mental disorders.
The Tunnel of Oppression was a fantastic effort on the parts of everyone involved. I thought that for a first-year event the turnout was great and that the advertisement and excitement surrounding it was on point.
I was actually featured in the body image section. In that section we were told to give a picture of ourselves that we love and then tear it apart. Come up with things you would change, cover or successfully hide from others. I found a picture of myself from my sister’s graduation and proceeded to recite every comment that has ever been spewed at me about my appearance. Double chin, overweight, hair, makeup, my nose is too wide, my eyes squint too much etc. I was genuinely thrilled for this to educate people, to present myself outside of the overconfident light I am often in.
You can imagine my disappointment when I got to the mental health section and saw very few things. Like, just few things in general, a black piece of fabric with pieces of paper listing a couple facts, but no student testimonies and little to no comments on the progression of mental health in the past few years.
I found out that Active Minds, a Concordia affiliated group, is the group responsible for the section. One member mentioned there was very little time for there to be something put together, but beyond that the group has very little funding.
All of this at first wildly irritated me, because if you know me you know that I have a lot of feelings. These feelings evolved over the course of the day from irritation to annoyance and then onto understanding. I looked at the whole situation as a lovely social commentary on mental health.
The fact people do not know this group exists, the fact we have very little information on mental health in general just speaks to the amount of ignorance our culture has on the subject. I also find it absolutely hilarious that anytime I mention I have a therapist at 21, people’s eyes could not bulge anymore. They balk at me saying I have ADHD: “Well, everyone has ADHD.”
In the end I hope that this event has opened people’s eyes, not only to the oppression that was very well represented, but also to the subjects that were a little less so. Want to talk to me about my therapist? I would love to chat.
Katelyn Henagin graduated from Pierz-Healy High School in 2010, and grew up in both Pierz and Worthington, Minnesota. She is graduating in 2014 with a Philosophy Major and a minor in Psychology. If you feel like talking to Katelyn, striking up a conversation about Harry Potter is always a good choice.