In Memoriam

Sitting here for the past few hours after having discovered some of the most devastating and completely unexpected news, I am at a loss for coherent words to express the loss I have felt today.

Maybe one day, you will understand the desperate confusion, that raw feeling which permeates the skin of your face as you force back tears, constantly soaking up those pesky droplets that still force themselves out. When your heart breaks from the unexpected shock of seeing such a passionate glimmer of hope snuffed out from the world with no prior warning, no logic or reason, not even any unfair force to blame outside of life’s own cruelty. When muscles you didn’t even know existed begin tensing up in this desperate attempt to hold back displays of emotion, just for a while, just until you are alone and it is safe.

Trying to make sense of the irrational and unbearable state of distress you woke up in, that desperate itching to rip open your skin as if some foreign thing existed within and begged for release; demanded it, even. Where each scratch is never enough, and you have to force yourself to stop before blood trickles down the delicate skin of your hideous face.

To have that feeling, to know something is wrong, it’s one thing… Something which welcomes the sense of relief when everything is okay after all, but somehow it never seems to happen that way. The entire dreadful experience is just a precursor for the devastation which makes itself known before the day ends… Another indifferent cruelty thrust upon humanity by the world.

A life full of potential, of hope, of intellect and compassion, one so dedicated to the well-being of his fellow human beings all over the globe, so passionate and authentic: lost, and yet… It is those of us who lack this conviction, who lack this bravery and this purity of intention who are allowed to continue living in the hell scape which he only wanted to make better for everyone.

The gentle indifference of the world doesn’t care, and it never will, but in acceptance of that fact there are still those of us who will carry his ideas, his legacy, at least until this cruel universe decides that it is our time to fall as well.

Rest in peace and rest in power, Michael Brooks.

You were and will continue to be an inspiration to so many of us. I only hope that, at the very least, you knew that you made a real impact on the world during your tragically short life, and if there is something after, I hope that you see now how many of us you have touched who are mourning your loss in solidarity.

You will be greatly missed, comrade.

Maybe progress?

At least, I’ve finally confessed to my doctor that I have a problem.

One can only help that the resulting prescriptions help…

It is such a strange feeling, to be so entranced by this idea of death by unhealthy habits while feeling so miserable during the interim. It makes me feel sad for those who have perished unintentionally by poisons.

If I die, it will be swift; I am done with this silly game of “drinking myself to death,” at least, or at least as done as I can be…

There is a certain insanity in it, this decision that my genetic health problems are bad enough that I shouldn’t be making everything worse for myself in the name of some romanticised alcoholism…

I suppose all we can do now is hope that the pills help to kick the habit for good. At any rate, admitting such problems to those in a position to help in such a way is a step in itself, I suppose.

Nothing Really.

Part of me wants to scream at so many people…. Is it NOT FUCKING OBVIOUS when someone says “I’m not doing well, but how are you?” THAT THEY ARE NOT DOING WELL?

… Guess it’s my high standards regarding human intuition.

Who knew my entire view of humanity was that far off, I guess…. Everyone’s just concerned about themselves, and perhaps I’m no exception in the matter but at least I fucking try to make the concern mutual. At least I make an effort to notice signs of distress in others. /:

Sometimes

Maybe the best way to interpret a breakdown followed by tragedy is a wake-up call; a reminder of sorts not to take previous connections and luxuries for granted.

I could mourn, in fact I can’t help but do so for a certain as of yet undetermined amount of time, but to whatever degree of accuracy one chooses to ascribe to this sentiment, I also take that mourning as suffering to be gained from as some sort of privileged, modern-day Nietzschean idea; that we embrace and learn from suffering.

Having reached too far and poured too much energy into a cause largely imaginary, something or someone so far away from myself that their very existence a mere 20 years prior would have meant absolutely nothing to me – is this not a wake up call? Watching this mystery person fall victim to an even more severe version of infatuation with the unknown and abandon me for it… If anything it should act as a grounding force to one’s surroundings and I’d be foolish not to allow it to do so at least to an appropriate extent.

A reminder to appreciate those nearby – connections neglected for political or otherwise petty social reasons (as they can be admittedly exhausting).

… Neither really serves as a replacement for another, of course, but perhaps each is a reminder not to take the other for granted until both decide you’re better left behind.

Vitamin R // A

While this song was written about Ritalin, it may as well have been adderall….

As my doctor continues giving me these amphetamines to treat a learned ADHD while neglecting to test me for those sleeping disorders which would much more accurately describe my symptoms, and then instead insists that I can’t function properly because I’m on the spectrum…

When I have OBVIOUS childhood trauma, combined with clear anxiety, depression, and other symptoms which might be made slightly more intense by virtue of autism but certainly in no way are caused by this….

And now I’ve aged out of my insurance coverage, so he just wants me to plead Asperger’s Syndrome as an excuse for a disability services waiver when I know for a fact that this is /not/ the root cause of my issues with society.

….

I can’t even deal with the medical system in this country.

Bottle Up & Explode!

Sometimes, keeping all of these thoughts inside becomes an unbearable burden, but for your sake it’s one I’ll do my best to carry alone.

I’ve always had a tendency to see the world through rose coloured glasses or whatever they call it, to believe that two people on opposite sides of the globe might actually find a way to be together despite our failures being what we ultimately share in common…

I never see reality for what it is in the moment; it’s always a retrospective. I should know better, I should recognise the same naive hope that I used to have and how entirely unrealistic it is, and in a sense I do, but it’s too late at that point…

I can’t help you because I can’t help myself, but I’m never going to admit this because to do so would be even more devastating than shouldering the burden of my own failures alone… I’ve no right to rob you of your own optimism or hope.

What Matters to Us?

I cannot deny my education; I can’t hide the BA in Philosophy or the BS in Mathematics and Applied Mathematics that I have earned over my 9 semesters as an undergraduate in college. I can’t deny that I was a mere 3 credits from adding a minor in physics to that list were it not for the government telling me I had “too many” credits toward a degree and my grants would be cut. I also can’t deny that I spent two years in a graduate programme studying mathematics, even if I didn’t complete the requirements to obtain that Master’s degree before my financial assistance was, again, cut off. I did well in school, but that being said, school is the only life I’ve ever known.

I am essentially an educated but unemployable person, both on the autism spectrum and a member of the LGBTQ+ community living in the reddest of red states. Most regular retail or call centre jobs would, I know for a fact, drive me to a mental hospital if not a successful suicide attempt within 2-3 weeks – I know this because I have tried to work in those environments and something inside me knew that if I went back for one more day, I was just asking for my third admission, my fourth admission, to the mental hospital which is so broken in its system of operations that it thinks treating suicidal patients as prisoners and cutting them off from any support system or coping mechanism they have found in ordinary life is somehow going to help them. (I’m sorry, but denying me regular contact with my own mother was not helpful in dealing with my internal struggles.)

I have lived my entire life with the belief that I, as a person, am worthless. I still believe this, despite the progress I have made with weekly therapy appointments in acknowledging that my skills might be unique or valuable in their own right. I still maintain the fundamental belief that I, as a human being, am worthless. This is a fact that has been drilled into my skull from birth by both my parents and the society in which I was raised.

Yet, most people look at my CV and see academic success alone. The lack of reliable work history concerns potential employers but the presence of significant education is enough to convince socially funded programmes that I don’t need their assistance. Even if I have a disability, I’m not disabled enough. I don’t deserve healthcare benefits because, even though my income is less than $500/mo most of the year as I struggle to get on my feet as a freelancer with zero self confidence, I don’t qualify for healthcare assistance because I don’t have a child and the social security office probably won’t grant me disability benefits based on the argument that “I can work some, but my mental health would not allow me to function in a full time job with benefits.”

I just want to be able to afford regular check-ups with my primary care physician to keep my mental disorders in check and monitor treatment. I shouldn’t have to pay hundreds of dollars for a 20 minute visit consisting of “Is your medication still working?” “Well, yeah pretty much,” “Okay, here’s a refill.”

I certainly shouldn’t be hit with over two thousand dollars worth of bills because I was forced into a mental institution against my will over a misunderstanding by ignorant cops who see old self-harm scars and decide that those are enough to warrant an involuntary mental health hold in which I end up handcuffed, treated as a prisoner thrown into an ER where I am denied my basic right to use a fucking toilet; even if I willingly surrender my right to pee in privacy, I can’t even leave the room with supervision to use the proper facilities. All of this because I have old scars on my legs which indicate a history of self-harming behaviour.

The very fact that I had success in university is a curse when it comes to finding employment that I am mentally capable of handling, and it is also a barrier preventing me from gaining access to healthcare that, from my understanding, was intended to help those (like myself) in a position of poverty that feels impossible to escape from.

Granted, this is addressed in the debate over health care to a very limited extent, or at least I have to believe that these issues are covered in the lofty ideas Democrats propose for reform – I haven’t heard anything specifically dealing with mental health and the marginalization of those of us who have a record of being diagnosed with any form of “crazy”. Be it trauma, depression, autism, schizophrenia, they don’t care. We’re all labelled as second-class the moment that someone from the system steps in to intervene and make everything exponentially worse by claiming to “help” us.

I want so, so badly to see someone in a position of relative power, someone who the people are listening to and who has even a modicum of influence over the issues that common Americans think about, speak out against this broken system and declare their support toward those of us who need legitimate help to tackle these battles – not prison sentences that the court arbitrarily decides they’re only going to foot half the bill for.

Maybe we’re a minority, maybe we’re not a group that’s going to show up to the polls en masse and make a substantial difference, but we are sentient human beings with legitimate thoughts and feelings, and we should not be treated like second class citizens or criminals simply because we have been labelled with some form of mental illness.

We still matter. We’re still here, and we are suffering, and we deserve every basic human right just as much as anyone else.

That Moment

I was watching Kanye West on the Netflix special with David Letterman, and while the whole thing was actually incredibly interesting, there was this one specific thing Kanye mentioned that’s still resonating with me.

For mentally ill people, there can be “that moment” – the moment when everything builds up to such a point that you become so paranoid, so convinced that the world is against you, that you have nobody in your life that you trust, and how do the authorities deal with us in this moment?

We’re handcuffed, shipped off to a hospital, cut off from everyone in our lives, essentially treated like criminals. They don’t do this to people experiencing a physical health crisis. They don’t handcuff you and throw you in the back of a police car because your cancer is acting up and you need a doctor. But at that moment when we need someone, just a single person we can trust, they do the absolute /worst/ possible thing instead. They take someone who is already breaking from the stress of mental illness and do everything they can to make it WORSE.

And this needs to change. I don’t know what I think about a lot of the things that Kanye says or does (to be honest, I never paid that much attention to him in the first place), but I have to say on this point he is 100% correct. The gross mistreatment of the mentally ill in society NEEDS to change. This system that treats us as lesser people, that does everything to make us worse and nothing to make us better, it desperately needs to change.

It’s been almost three months since the incident happened that saw me handcuffed in the back of a police car, sent to an emergency room where I was literally denied use to the bathroom because of the cuts on my legs, and I’m still dealing with the fallout from this whole ordeal that really, at the end of the day, only served to make me feel WORSE about everything in life. I’m fighting huge bills I can’t afford, having to make my case for financial assistance and payment plans because some judge arbitrarily decided that the state would only cover a certain amount of my bills and the rest is my responsibility. I’m broke; I’ve got student loans, credit card debt, and now the state is making me pay for what feels like my own time in prison?

At least if it was for potentially killing someone else instead of being at risk of killing myself, I wouldn’t be paying for the fucking time spent in prison.