For all the bullshit about sleep “hygiene”–as if it’s an issue of cleanliness or moral weakness–it seems bloody obvious that sleeping in a different place every weekend with different animals, noises, beds, etc. is one of the MOST disruptive things you could do to your sleep. I’ve been pet sitting for 3 1/2 years, but not one health care provider pontificating at me about sleep has bothered to consider that. I need to be at home. Which means I need a different source of income. Which should be SSDI, but you can die waiting for that. I just managed to summon all the energy to arrange a trip to Florida; I’m in no position to fight the disability denials or start something like online editing for hire. I need someone to help me with that stuff, the energy of initial startup, but that would require them to be paid for their time. And a minimum wage sure as hell won’t do that, no matter how high or low. But situations like mine are invisible to those who choose a solution based on ideology, insist it’s perfect and ideal, and blind themselves to the human suffering it causes. I’m just collateral damage.
The language used by US mental health providers around suicide is very fucked up. They like to ask if you are “safe”, which in fact doesn’t mean safe at all. It means going to stay alive–keep suffering. As long as the police are at large, you are obviously not safe. No one in poverty, with a disability, or who’s a color other than white is safe. And as long as you’re stuck in the 3rd world backwater that is the US, making sure you suffer as much as possible and can’t get anything resembling help, you are obviously not safe. In fact, the only time you truly ARE safe is when you are dead.
The other thing they like to ask is “whether you are suicidal”. But like pornography, this is never defined–because we really don’t want to talk about it, no matter how necessary. There is a big difference between having a loaded gun pointed at your head about to pull the trigger, and drawing the abundantly rational conclusion that you’d rather be dead, or would be better off ending than prolonging your inescapable suffering. If suicide were as easy as flipping a switch or pushing a button, I’d have done it a million times already. If I were asked whether I’d rather be alive or dead, there’s only a generous maximum of 10% of the time when I’d want to be alive. I’m old enough and smart enough to have lots of experience and knowledge and know what the hell I’m talking about. But it should be obvious that, even though I would almost always rather be dead than alive, that doesn’t mean I’m imminently about to kill myself (I can only wish). There is a long continuum here, but like most things, we ignore it, put a wholly inadequate label on it, and pretend it’s a simple dichotomy. And woe to anyone in pain who answers one of these questions “incorrectly”. The police will come for you, and you’ll likely be killed violently.
What advice would you give a diabetic in 1915 (before they discovered insulin)? How about a PTSD victim from the Civil War? A schizophrenic in the 18th century? A depressed denizen of the 17th century? A sleep apnea sufferer in the 16th century?
Now, imagine someone who’s in the exact same position today. You don’t really think medicine has reached the point of isolating, identifying, and treating or curing every malady people suffer, do you?
This drives me nuts. I’ve lost so many relationships with family, friends, and professional contacts because they can’t even stand to hear about suicide. Including the head of the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness, while she constantly posts from their Facebook page about the importance of mental health and its confluence with homelessness. The hypocrisy is astounding.
“When my brother died, people had the nerve to come to say to me what a coward he was,” Barnes recalls. “My brother was a firefighter. My brother went to Afghanistan. My brother fought for his country. He goes into burning buildings to save people’s lives, and he’s a coward? My brother had a weak moment with a lifetime of depression.”
…“The biggest barrier or the biggest cultural barrier we have to preventing suicide is not being able to talk about it,” says Jack Jordan, a clinical psychologist in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, who’s widely recognized for his expertise in counseling suicide survivors — those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide.
*Girl from temp job who agreed to get coffee with me? Ignoring me.
*Microsoftie who chatted with me on Tinder and wanted to meet in person? No word since April 29.
*Girl who replied to one of my “if I had a girlfriend” posts on Whisper saying we should hook up? Totally disappeared.
Now tell me why I should waste more time, effort, and emotional energy racking up more rejections, lead ons, and getting ignored? It’s hopeless torture. I’d rather just be castrated already. I couldn’t afford a prostitute even if we did legalize it. Sex is a human right, but some of us are more equal than others.
I’m in one of those phases where the psychological pain is so bad I’d rather hurt myself physically to distract from it. But I’ve been getting spasms on the right side of my brain ever since I did that the last time.
Therapist didn’t say anything about the four big scratches on my wrist. They’re from my cat, but usually they check to make sure.
There are other therapists at this DBT clinic, but they all seem to be women. Normally that’s fine; most of my therapists have been women. But I feel like this one personifies my observation from undergrad that all the wrong people major in psych. She’s very good at dressing, acting, and talking professional and “mature”. She’s into fitness, fashion, and jewelry, which I find superficial and pointless (I found her on Instagram). She has a PhD but no license yet. I feel like she’s a rich white girl with a charmed life who doesn’t really get someone like me or real suffering (people so often criticize me for pre-judging people this way, but I’m a better reader of people than most and usually end up being right). She asserts an optimism I find fake and unrealistic. Yet I feel like switching is punishment, maybe because I’m also very attracted to her. Yet jealous or resentful. There’s a lot of dating and sexuality that men just understand better since they share my (unfortunately) male perspective. She said she can tell I’m really upset (Duh) and wants to talk about it (is there any point?), but I’m sure none of these rules or restrictions will change. A well-connected Seattleite on Facebook demonstrated to me again today that wealth, race, mental health, and attractiveness matter more for success than knowledge, kindness, fairness, creativity, principle, or intellect. I wonder if I need a therapist who’s older than me, with more life experience to appreciate my situation. I’m not like most people at all (she asked why I think I have Asperger’s, so I have to go through that tired rigmarole again…) and life can’t be confined to one inadequate 50-minute session a week.
This is what passes for mental health care in America. Other people turn to sex, drugs, alcohol, smoking, or other vices to cope with life. Those aren’t available to me or don’t affect me.