Humbug

Wee hours.

I’ve put on my scarlet Champion hoodie and a pair of dark blue jeans. Then I took my meds for the night, but I’ll be up for a while longer. The red hoodie reminds me of H— a few years ago, with whom I’ve lost touch. She became very ill from overworking herself and sleeping little, running on caffeine and nerves… Sometimes I feel I want to make everything stop. With Easter just a day away, I had an odd meditation on the fiction of Thomas Mann, especially Doctor Faustus, which implicitly deals with Schoenberg’s atonal music, inspired supposedly by the devil. Mann happened to be a Lutheran with the opinions of a Christian. But is it really fair to accuse people of demonology, especially if they are Jewish? Likewise, is it right to say that people with schizophrenia are possessed? And this is what I want to see come to an end. Ignorant people are unaware of their own ignorance, or else why do they persist in error? It does terrible violence to the mentally ill to impute demonic possession, let alone to attempt a deliverance or exorcism. It’s all hogwash. The real sick people are the Christians. Easter may come, but I’m already gone. 

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Through the Cracks

Quarter after eight.

The guilt and self criticism were getting me down yesterday, and still hard to fight off today. I don’t know what’s doing this to me. It’s sunny this morning. Michelle complained to me about a customer who was difficult, so I told her about an old joke that she also remembered… I feel very vulnerable and depressed, perhaps because of my relationship with the church. I really don’t want to go back again. Every day I feel less superstitious from taking the Vraylar so that the notion of metaphysics is implausible to my mind. I’ve totally lost my faith. I feel more like I did when I was younger.

Nine o’clock. I guess blind faith is taking another person’s testimony for something miraculous. But some thinkers like Emerson advocate judging for yourself. Dare to know and use your own reason. I’ve never seen a miracle… I thought my visit with Todd yesterday went poorly, but I felt terrible and had no defense from my own accusations. Yet I’ve been saying all this time that I don’t care for the agency. It’s not a comfortable place to go to. I am extremely tired of being treated badly because of my diagnosis, as if I were a second class subhuman. Thus I resolve to keep blogging and raising awareness for mental illness. We keep getting the shit end of the stick. If you fall through the cracks then you’re destined to stay there, hoping for a miracle. I’ve never seen a miracle. 

Free and Equal

Wee hours.

I still am not sleeping well, with my mind being perplexed by difficult problems. Surely to be liberated feels better than my troubled conscience? Maybe if everyone were liberated together. I remember the feeling I got from the city bus when I was a student over thirty years ago. It was winter, with a great dumping of snow on the ground. My dad was with me and we were headed home from the campus. Suddenly we came to a stop: two guys I’d known from grade school, now grown to their early twenties, boarded the bus and took a seat. They’d been playing in the snow. And though we saw each other and knew the other’s identity, we said nothing. Then I got home and began making notes for a paper on Thomas More’s Utopia. The word utopia literally means “nowhere.” What was wrong with this picture, the scene on the bus in the February freeze? And what is freedom if not everybody has it? 

Friday Morning Melancholy

Ten twenty five.

Before going to the store, my mind was assailed with dark self doubts. What if my life is similar to that of Ezra Pound? His madness caused him to commit treason, and he spent a lot of time incarcerated. Is my brother right that I should keep my mouth shut? I don’t know… Tonight I’ll probably stay home from recording the service at church. Only seven people are allowed to meet, under the new squeeze rules. But I got good news in the mail today. My SSI payments are going up eight dollars, and my healthcare package has been renewed… Many years ago I saw a film with Jessica Lange about some kind of mental illness. Her character might have been bipolar. She had emotional outbursts that she couldn’t control, and at the end, her parents had her lobotomized, making her a vegetable. I felt horrified and outraged by what I saw. I still think my response was appropriate. No one deserves to be a victim, a casualty of brutality. I feel that I’m whistling in a windstorm, but the rights of the individual must be heard out eventually. I’ve never been a one size fits all person. And that’s going to have to be okay. 

Justice: a Letter

I’ve had yet another lousy day, but right now I feel okay. When is this summer ever going to end? I was worried that my sobriety was compromised by my addiction to gabapentin, so I emailed Pastor this afternoon about it. He called an AA leader he knows who says that gabapentin is fine as long as I don’t take more than is prescribed. Pastor called me and let me know. This made me feel a lot better. Isn’t this summer the pits? What more could go wrong? The worst part of it is the fact that we’re all impotent to do anything— except pray, as if that were any consolation. That’s about as useless as our vote. Not even the weather cooperates with the people’s interest. What’s the most responsible thing you and I can do? We want to stand on a mountaintop and scream for justice, but the best we can do is lie down in the middle of the street in protest for Black Lives Matter. It isn’t as though what is right and wrong were not obvious to everyone. We all feel it in our hearts. But for some reason, injustice tyrannizes over the whole world. Why??? Perhaps life would be too easy if justice were simply handed to us on a silver platter. Maybe the pits of life make the occasional triumphs of justice that much sweeter. The best thing I can do, however small it seems, is to stay sober and take the blows on the chin every worthless day.

A Regret

One twenty. The clouds are burning off. Sometimes it feels like nothing is going right. I know that’s too extreme. At least something must be going right. In fact it’s only one or two things I don’t like, and these color everything else dark. If I could drink without consequences then I’d be tempted. But I can’t even do caffeine. A tiny bit of chocolate, maybe. I had some thoughts about good and evil this morning, from a religious point of view. The devil exists only as a social taboo, not as a real being. Evil thoughts and deeds come from a deeper place in the brain, a place we mostly shun. I wonder why my supervisor’s job ended? One participant of the agency looked at him and proclaimed, “I don’t like you, you’re the devil!” He in turn judged her to me for having drugged her way into schizophrenia. He was being absurd because he used to be a meth addict. He was the most addle witted person I ever knew. The guy was actually pitiful for being so insecure and cowardly. He never learned how to think, or maybe lost the ability… We had an occupational Black Friday at the end of June or July 2008, so that’s why I remember my boss right now. It was every man for himself, with a lot of treachery. I was ashamed especially of the street hires who made trouble for the participants. I worked with the lowest of the low. There was one participant I should have defended before she lost her job. I should’ve gone to the CEO and told her exactly what had happened, but I didn’t have the balls. Mary Alice seemed like such an ogre to me instead of a human being. I lacked the self respect to go and face her. I was just a peon in the scheme of things. But the one who should’ve lost his job a long time ago was my supervisor…

A Complete Jerk

Ten o’clock. I feel tired from the heat. I know so many people whose minds are on autopilot, who couldn’t think about anything originally. But to do so, first your perceptions have to be clear and accurate. I don’t know what accounts for seeing things justly. It’s sort of like your response to meeting a starving person. If you have the means, do you feed him or do you watch him die of hunger? My brother is callous enough to do the latter. It arises from a warped sense of what is right. His standpoint is one of resentment and jealousy toward those who get something he doesn’t. His personal feelings get in the way. This is not rational or even reasonable. In the profoundest way, it is dishonest. It is illiberal, which is another way of saying merciless. It’s the opposite of generous: stingy, niggardly. I was with him once at McDonald’s when he deliberately saw to it that a woman and her “service dog” were kicked out of the restaurant. He said it was the law— but whose law was he upholding? Ultimately it was his wounded sense of fairness to himself. The poor woman had already paid for her meal. My brother is a complete jerk.

The Sinister

Quarter of four. I’ve just been dreaming about things that happened a year ago; about Bonnie and Stephanie, and Tina and Kelly; Lola and Channing and Jonah. It was indeed like a dream to have spent so many hours at the old S— H— Hospital. The taxi rides made it seem like I was never there under my own power. Just hop in and hop out and sit down for group eight or nine miles away from home. What a jerk I must have appeared to Bonnie, always asking questions that could collapse her house of cards. Underneath the guise of superiority, the staff of P—Health was human and fallible. But I couldn’t rid myself of the impression of bureaucracy gone wrong, like the Third Reich or something. All those blue bicycle rentals placed throughout the city. The long arm of the bureau. Of filthy rich businesspeople. If it hadn’t been scary, it would’ve been absurd. Everyone working there was snooty and complacent. The attitude spoke, We are the best. We have the best of everything. Who could ask for more? Like Nazi nationalism: the best women, the best beer, the best music, the best mythology, are all right here. Look no further. P—Health was a microcosm of an eternal verity: that pride en masse leads to world catastrophe.

Courage

Nine thirty. I dreamed that, at the end of the pleasure cruise, I was going to be executed. And in reality, the trailer will be picked up Monday. This puts pressure on me and also on the contractors… I just realized that the thought that makes me weak is that of Polly. I deplore her racism and always will. When I say I dislike Jung, preferring instead the grace of Emerson, I really mean it. By giving Jung another chance, I made a concession to Polly for a while. But now I reject them both on the grounds of indefensible bigotry. I am strong enough to stand without family support. I’ve been doing it for over two years already. I’ve seen firsthand the damage that Jung’s theories can cause socially. Whether the contents of the collective unconscious are the same for a person of color as for a white person is a stupid immaterial question. Jung’s theory of what causes people to be gay has been formally thrown out for reasons of discrimination. Too much of his psychology presupposes the white maleness of his clients. His ethnocentrism is an embarrassment, and belongs left behind in a museum. Meanwhile, my family will probably never be raised in consciousness, which is a sad thing. I just have to do what is right, not only for me, but for the world. Raising consciousness, in the end, is a matter of courage.

We Shall See

Quarter after four. I made a run for Milk-Bones and Coca-Cola. I’ll just play it by ear with the family. I think they will keep being brazen about bigotry, and eventually it will blow up in our faces. At first I won’t say anything. But I know it will get to a point where it’s unforgivable. How much am I asked to forgive? Is racism tolerable or not, if it’s in your own family? The answer ought to be simple, but isn’t. My relatives are my blood, and we go back a very long way. But learning is learning, and can’t be reversed. Some people don’t even want to learn. The world is a big place full of information, full of joy and pleasure, happiness to spread around. I don’t understand why some people want to obstruct the greatest happiness for the greatest number. I don’t get it and I never will. Life can hit me with the worst disasters it wants, but nothing could make me change my mind on the injustice of racism. The world has advanced and left my family behind. And the more it does, the more mulish and stubborn they get about their hate. It seems an impossible predicament. We’ll see how it goes, but it’s probably predictable.