Are You “Safe”?

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.


11 Year Old Girl Raped, Disbelieved, Arrested

This girl was a crack baby abused as an infant. She was raped twice when she was 11, but the police never investigated either because her story–confused by trauma and mental illness–had inconsistencies common to trauma survivors. Instead, they arrested her and had her convicted for filing a false report. More than a decade later, justice has not been served. There should be no surprise whatsoever that rage at the police in this country has been brewing for a long time and is finally rising to the surface.

The Ongoing Quest for the Missing Birth Certificate 

Social Security caseworker left me a message saying my “document” (birth certificate) is available at their office in the dreaded federal building for me to pick up. This seems odd given that they repeatedly told me they’d sent it to me in the mail. Perhaps they discovered it had been sitting in their office all along, lost. But “security” (police state) wouldn’t let me in since I had a small pair of gardening clippers with me. The county administration building lets you check prohibited items to claim when you leave. The federal building not only does no such thing; they told me I had to take them off federal property “meaning across the street”. So apparently federal security now thinks the street and sidewalk belong to them and not the city. 

Also, I looked carefully for any sign saying photography isn’t allowed in the building. I couldn’t find one, unless it’s included in the huge sign with tiny print listing the conditions of entering the building. That would’ve taken a good 10-15 minutes to read, which would assuredly make the cops suspicious. 

So the quest for the missing birth certificate continues. I’m thinking I should recruit a round table of Knights to assist me in The Multi-Year Quest for Disability Benefits I Need and Paid For. American social programs must make Kafka blush in his grave. 

Pedestrians are 10th Class Citizens in Seattle!

A huge truck barely missed hitting me when I was crossing Pine St. on the west side of 1st Ave in the marked crosswalk with the light. I called SPD which will be a huge mistake as they’ll let the driver go and imprison me. No one ever cares about these incidents including the current Ped Board. This is exactly why we must ban right turns on red. The Ped Master Plan called for that in 2008, but our politicians aren’t willing to do it. So we keep dying and getting injured on the street. I guess it was brain stem instinct–I really should’ve just let him kill me. The officers have “discretion” once they talk to me to decide whether to cite the driver. We know they won’t. They live in the suburbs and love cars but hate cyclists and pedestrians.

Arrest Update

I’d been dreading it out of fear, but I finally called the federal public defender’s office, and I’m glad I did. I spoke to a lawyer briefly who’s going to ask the prosecutor what her plan is. Since this is my first arrest on a minor offense, he doesn’t think they’ll seek any “custodial sentence”, which is good but means I’m not entitled to public defense. He said they often offer to “divert” cases like this, meaning they dismiss the case as long as you stay out of trouble for a few months. I’d be fine with that. I don’t want a criminal record because I don’t deserve one. It sounds like the worst case if I went to trial and lost would be community service and a fine on the order of $150. He also explained another option where you pay a fine without admitting guilt, but it seems unclear whether it gets interpreted as a criminal conviction/guilty plea or not.

The idea that I refused to comply by falling down, when another guard had pointed out that I was shaking (out of fear and nervousness) and I temporarily lost the ability to stand or walk, is just absurd. I told them twice that I’m autistic, and the whole reason I was there was to file my disability application with the Social Security office, which had far more police officers than social workers or caseworkers–thus the two hour wait and overflowing waiting room.

Life Update/Thoughts on Our Rising Dollar

10628842_10152415917312507_8216021641307924469_o (1)Life has been very busy the last 7-10 days. Which creates a paradox where life in poverty is so hectic you don’t have time to document it, contributing to overall lack of understanding of what life in poverty is like. I’ve had a few dogsitting gigs that made me a little money. One generated another 5-star review online. I spent so much in September bus fare that a pass would’ve been cheaper, but dogsitting isn’t predictable enough to buy one early in the month. I volunteered to be in a TV ad for Pramila Jayapal‘s state Senate race. It should air on cable in Renton, where I don’t think I know anyone. But it was fun, and I met a very attractive woman who lives near my new home (I love Columbia City) and has been looking for a dogsitter. I’ve shifted my scant savings to financial institutions that pay higher interest. I got an iPhone 6, paid for by the trade-in value of my iPhone 4S. I decided to delay, again, buying a new laptop (this one is more than 8 years old and doesn’t support Chrome or Skype, for example, nor can it sync the calendar with my phone). So between that and the trade-in value they made available only if you ordered by 9/30, I figured I deserve a new toy. Which I like a lot so far. 🙂

I had an initial intake appointment at the private DBT clinic, and I actually feel hopeful about it so far. It seems like a better fit for me than the Harborview program. I got assigned to a therapist who has experience in PTSD, which I think is my top mental health issue right now. Also, she’s about my age and pretty. 😛 I also FINALLY got a blood glucose meter and test strips, and the insulin pen we fought 2 1/2 months for (I had to prod the pharmacy and bug my insurance). But now my nutritionist thinks my blood sugar levels are coming down enough that I may not need the pen. At least this is a good problem. If I can get my average bg under 150, I can resume an autism drug study in Bellevue that pays decent money.

I’m to be arraigned next week and have a trial set in December for my Failure to Comply arrest. I may have persuaded my parents to pay for a private defense lawyer, but I haven’t had time to get one yet. Only this week did I get the actual writeup of my supposed crime, in which the officer says I “argued” with the Federal Protective Service officers (to them, anything other than immediate, complete, unquestioning obedience equals refusal) and refused to leave by falling down. When other people had already seen me shaking badly because I was so nervous/worried. It got worse after that, and I lost the ability to walk or even stand for a while. The officers had to almost carry me, and offered to get an ambulance. The head pig, though, said I was faking. I’d tried to explain multiple times that I’m autistic and how that was affecting me, but I don’t think they gave a shit. Anyway, the idea that I refused to comply by falling down reminds me of the guy in Ferguson, MO who was wrongly shot by the police, who then also charged him with destroying government property because he bled on their uniform. This is the country we live in now. My lawyer and public defense friends think I’d likely be better off taking a guilty plea with community service or a suspended sentence, but I find this so ridiculous I want to see if it can be dismissed or I can win a jury trial. I can’t abide the idea of pleading guilty to something I didn’t do. Aspies are very strong on principle(s).

Finally, I wrote a very long email to my parents basically to promote myself (which is very difficult and unnatural for me) and convince them I’m worth helping financially. I shared it with a few close friends and relatives and got incredibly positive feedback. My psychologist aunt said I struck exactly the right tone and apologized that I’m stuck with the parents I got. I was amazed at my parents’ reply, which was nice and clarified some of their goals or hopes more clearly and explicitly than I ever knew. I nearly cried tears of joy. They say they’re very busy, which seems odd as they’re retired, and today sent a photo of their “new girls”–three sheep. I have absolutely no idea what that’s about, had no idea that was coming, or what the heck else they plan to do with their 10 acres in West Bumfuck, Oregon. They’ve lived their entire lives in suburbia and have never farmed or even gardened a thing. All I can think of is going there so they’d spend money on me (even just nice restaurant meals) and assembling a gorgeous, huge ham radio antenna array. I can’t wait to buy a $100 apartment antenna I found from MFJ and hopefully get back on the air once my friend and I move into our new house. I’m told there will be a class this winter for upgrading your license to the highest class (I have the middle of three basically), and I hope to take that and get my Extra class license even though the class is up in Snohomish County. I think accomplishing that will make me feel proud and hopefully generate some momentum for other positive things.

With that, I should get the heck out from behind a screen and hit the grocery. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook about a NYTimes article I read on the US dollar rising against other currencies:

My lightly informed opinion is that the dollar was too high for too long because that’s what Volcker and Greenspan did with interest rates. And given that recent history, we need a period of lower interest rates and a weaker dollar to sort of balance things out–give exporters, tourism, and beneficiaries of cross-border shopping a chance to do better. Sure, you generally want GDP to grow rather than shrink, but in this country that indicator, like unemployment, has become detached from what the economy is doing for most people. If CEO to worker pay were 25:1 instead of 350:1, and if GDP growth and productivity gains were broadly shared like they were 1945-70, I’d be more concerned with GDP. We’ve already seen that middle class and poor foreigners are doing better than their US counterparts. We also see Germany loosening immigration laws because it has a worker shortage. Spain, Portugal, and Greece aren’t Germany–economies vary within the EU. But I’m leery of the notion that Europe’s economy is really–objectively, broadly–doing worse than ours. They certainly don’t have our poverty and suffering at the bottom, and my sense is that they’re mostly more democratic. Austerity doesn’t work in recessions, but that seems more limited to the UK. We didn’t exactly get the Second New Deal we needed either. (though the stimulus program bought Seattle’s new LED streetlights that Bruce Harrell takes credit for)