Question of the day.

If you could change three things about your country, what would you change?

My answer:

While I think that our current government (United Right) is way better than what we had for years with the previous party (Civic Platform) which was in power, it could still be a lot better and there is lots of room for improvement, and I feel quite sad that for now, there doesn’t seem to be any better option. Lately in particular, I’ve noticed that our foreign politics/diplomacy is totally crap and if only I could, I’d change that asap, somehow. I don’t know if it’s that we have no luck for ministers of foreign affairs or is this seriously intended but it’s really bad, if not ridiculous sometimes.

Another thing I would change is I’d improve the situation of disabled people, but in particular of those who are mentally ill or have some rare diseases. Not that other disabilities don’t need help or it’s less important or anything like that, as a blind person I know that there is a lot that could be done to the blind community, which I’m sure is true of any country, and other disabled communities also have their often more than fair share of problems, but also being mentally ill I feel like the mentally ill community has much less support, and there’s an awful lack of awareness. I’ve heard that there’s especially some huge problem with children with mental health issues and that they frequently don’t get the level of healthcare they need. I once had a conversation with someone – perhaps even here in the blogosphere, can’t remember –
about personality disorders and how they’re stigmatised. And I said that here in Poland they aren’t even stigmatised like they are in the US, because people don’t know enough about them to form some strong enough stereotypes or something. Yes, it is also a thing here that when doctors don’t know what to diagnose someone with, and a patient is somewhat “difficult”, they’ll happily go with BPD, it is overdiagnosed, but an average person who hasn’t had much to do with the field of mental health in their life won’t have much of an idea about what borderline personality disorder is in practice, unless they know someone with it and know they have such a diagnosis. People here don’t say they’re so “OCD”, because while OCD is certainly not unheard of, people aren’t familiar with it enough to just use the term casually like Americans do for example. Stigma is a huge problem, but I personally feel like lack of actual awareness is a bigger problem. Most people know something about mental health and mental illnesses in theory, but in practice not much. There aren’t a lot of resources for mentally ill people, online for example. Or communities, whether offline or online where people could receive some support, unless they’re in psychiatric institutions, or there’s also no support for their families. There are charities, or individuals who are trying to do something on their own, but their outreach is often limited so there’s only so much they can do. It would be great if there was more initiative higher up.

There even seems to be some lack of awareness among professionals, or so it seems to me as a mentally ill person and as a keen observer of people. Since I’ve joined Carol Anne’s of Therapy Bits email support group for people with DID, as a supporter, I’ve been wondering and trying to do some, any, research about the situation of people with dissociative identity disorder here in Poland. There are some basically informative pages on health-related websites geared at patients, some a little more indepth but theoretical articles on psychology-related blogs, but other than that… nothing really. The term “split identity/self” is familiar to people and some people say they have a split self when they are of two minds or feel kind of internally conflicted. When I dug deeper I found some trauma specialists touching very briefly on DID in their works or during lectures but I couldn’t even find someone who would specialise in this. Later on, I remember I found some sort of a map or something if I remember correctly, I’m not good with maps and diagrams but generally it was about in which countries this disorder is diagnosed and I did manage to figure out that Poland wasn’t on there. Later yet, I briefly mentioned it to my last therapist that I am part of such a mailing list and trying to support people somehow, and she immediately was all like: “But you know it’s not a real thing, DID? It’s only a sort of psychosis?” I said that it doesn’t seem so to me, but it’s her who is the professional here after all so she should know better, but I didn’t want to get into a discussion on this during my therapy session which should be about me, not DID. That was really sad and kind of upsetting to hear to me though.

Our country isn’t free from traumatic events occurring to little children. And so I feel for all those Poles who do have or might have DID and either don’t know about it or no one really cares, and I’d like it to be different.

Speaking about mental health that would also include the autistic/other neurodivergent people and making things easier for them in our society, especially adults and more “high functioning” children. I’m not autistic myself as you probably know but as you may also know I do have some connection to the autism world, having been assessed for it twice and “accused” of having it many more times, and have a bit of an idea what it looks like here with it. Similarly I feel like we need more awareness of rare diseases, as much as possible given that they’re rare, as I know a lot of rare disease patients here struggle with access to their medications and funding for them.

And lastly, culture, yay! We have such great, Polish culture. So many Polish artists who are undiscovered and often very poor. I’m not talking celebrities, who often got famous because their mummies or daddies had just the right views during the communist period, which helped them reach the fame in some area, or just get enough money, and then their children inherited the fame along with the surname, even if they aren’t all that talented at anything in particular. I am talking actually talented people who don’t get to promote themselves anywhere significant enough. One thing our government really did wrong was with the public media. I’d like to believe their intentions were originally good indeed, as they wanted, and still do, to repolonise our media (because the majority of media in Poland are owned by foreign companies). They concentrated their efforts on the public media at first, pretty much right away after they won the Parliament Election, and changed people in charge of Polish Television and Polish Radio. That’s pretty much all they did really, only now they are kinda, sorta trying to do more and repolonise the press, and it’s been five years since that election if I’m counting right. Anyway, what they did back then wasn’t really a gamechanger at all, because the people they chose to manage the public media are very incompetent for their roles, as it seems. Especially the chairman of TVP (Polish Television) has earned himself a very bad reputation, both from those on the left, and on the right. He’s a real king of cringe to put it shortly, but what saddens me the most is that his name is Jacek, and I really like Jaceks, and he is making a bad reputation for all the cool Jaceks out there, I’m afriaid. 😦 Well no, I’m just kidding obviously, I’m sure a cool Jacek can defend himself, but it’s just sad to see such a cringey guy and know his name is Jacek… The King of Cringe is particularly well-known for supporting disco polo artists and their music (disco polo is essentialy Polish disco, very cringey and trashy). One disco polo artist who is quite well-liked there in TVP once tweeted that disco polo is like new folk music. That Polish composers like Chopin or Moniuszko were once strongly inspired by folk music, so maybe there will be a time when future Polish composers will be inspired by disco polo. You can imagine that really made me – as a folklorophile – go nuts. Anyway, you can hardly see any higher culture in TVP now.

Now that we have Covid and artists all around the world have financial problems, I’ve heard that for example our Polish painters, or independent musicians, have been struggling a lot more than before. Meanwhile, our Minister of Culture and National Heritage had magnanimously decided to help out the artists financially via a culture support programme. It was quite controversial, because some of the beneficiaries were meant to receive absolutely huge amounts of money, and all of them were the famous celebrities, who, totally in my own opinion, aren’t really all that talented in their area as their fame, and even more so the compensations they were meant to get, would suggest. (There were four millions Polish zlotys in total in the whole support programme). People got ragin’, one singer guy – Kazik – who is quite known for strong views even said that he doesn’t want their stolen money, and the Ministry decided to “verify” the list of the beneficiaries. Don’t you verify such things in the first place before anything else?

Aside from the unfairness of it all on average people, which another huge problem, does it really have to be so that it’s somehow decided at the top who should be famous/popular or not? Whose music we are supposed to like and listen to? Can’t it be just people who will choose what they like, rather than have shit shoved down their mouth and be told that they find it delicious? I think there should be more equal chances for artists to emerge, more support in times like these for those who are independent, either because they want to or because there isn’t any other option for them really. I want to hear more diverse Polish music, more young Polish musicians. I want to hear people talk about more ACTUALLY good Polish films. Or Polish visual artists who are actually alive and doing quality stuff. I want to hear about contemporary Polish composers, not because I had to hunt for their music myself, but in the media, or from other people (and for them not necessarily to be composers influenced by disco polo :D). I want a properly Polish talent show on the telly, I mean, we have The Voice (of Poland) and the like, but these are all practically foreign, which is not a bad thing in itself, but why can’t we have one of our own? It would be cool if the contestants, if they’d be making music, could share their own music rather than only cover what someone has already created which is the most common formula of such shows although I do realise there are exceptions, and then actually have some support, whether financial or in whatever way it’s needed for such newly emerged people, that would help them exist in their field in a substantial way, not just for a while after they release their debut album. It would also have to be something good quality, not necessarily somehow super sophisticated because it should be digestible for an average person but something where you could actually find some objectively aesthetically pleasing art of some sort. So yes, I would love to be able to promote Polish people who are talented in some way, but have some external obstacles which make it difficult for them to show it off in front of their nation more widely.

I know it’s all probably incredibly idealistic if not utopian, but oh well… why not?

So how about you? 🙂 You can dream big if you want like I did. And, aside from the main question: besides those three things you’d like to change about your country, do you like it overall, or do you feel like you’d be better living somewhere else? I definitely do love Poland! 🙂 Just felt like saying it because it was quite a negative post and I didn’t want anyone to think I’m dissatisfied with my country overall, there just always are things that could be better, some a lot better.