Woke up this morning to one of my sisters having an emotional moment over a class discussion of psychosis. She was really disturbed to find that the whole discussion centered around violence, with the teacher reinforcing the idea that people experiencing psychosis are unsafe, dangerous, likely to harm others.
Like I know that to some extent, talking about my own experience of psychosis makes people really uncomfortable. Most of the time I won’t use clinical terms like psychosis, delusion, etc because it does not feel accurate to what happened in my mind. When I do describe that instance as a mental health crisis, I do it for this reason — so that anyone who really hears me will have a chance to learn that public perception of psychosis is largely incorrect. That’s why I’m so open about it in the first place. It’s a big part of why I wrote Love & Semiotics.
I mean literally everyone has seen a headline about a person who Went Crazy and killed someone. It’s become this very convenient scapegoat for acts of violence that may have roots that are more difficult to face. “You’d have to be seriously disturbed to take human lives this way” — or, you know, hate crimes exist. But we keep trying to paint the Dylan Roofs and Elliot Rodgers of the world as bonkers because really looking at the racism and misogyny of our culture is not comfortable. It’s easier to say that you’ve gotta have a broken brain to do something like that.
Because this gets reinforced in every aspect of culture that relates to extreme states like psychosis. People with a different relationship to reality are constantly used as killer characters in fiction. At one point, Mychal and I tried to make a list of all media with schizophrenic characters that are portrayed as human, complex, nonviolent. We came up with only one example. This is a spectrum, of course — some movies etc get closer to the truth, but with psychotic people often being killed with abandon simply because nobody gets what it’s like unless they’re on the inside, closer doesn’t cut it anymore.
So maybe you want to know the truth, maybe you are a cool woke person who doesn’t conflate Shyamalan films with reality? OK, then I’ll tell you.
One of the defining characteristics of psychosis is fear. The idea of a total break from reality is absurd, we still see and hear and touch the world around us. But at the same time, you have these things that you Know. The thing about delusion is that you cannot fight it off by denying it. It sweeps you away and pushes all other truth to justify itself or become irrelevant. It is so strong and perfect in its certainty that the rest of reality has no choice but to mold itself around the unreal. My main thing when I was in it was the idea that I was finding secret messages everywhere. Like that scene in A Beautiful Mind where John Nash believes he’s breaking codes for the government? That’s somewhat accurate (but don’t get me started on how bad that movie is).
I would be reading a book and it was like the book I was reading had a second meaning hidden underneath the text. I could read a page, find the second meaning, it made total sense given the words on the page, and I’d try to talk about it and get blank stares. Or hey, that isn’t real. It’s not real. But in those moments, the absolute, vital, profound truth was that I had stumbled on this vast thing, and so the rest of reality had to bow down. Clearly if this other person doesn’t understand the messages, that must mean that I either have special abilities, I am a genius, or my apartment is haunted by the novelist’s ghost, right? These are the only options, because the messages are real, they’re right in front of my eyes, they connect, nothing has ever been this real before. And reality bows down.
But you get enough people telling you it isn’t real, you see the way they look at you, and maybe you’ve caught a glimpse of how your eyes look, and the fear sets in. Because look; these are not circumstances with low stakes. I saw visions of suicide triggers embedded in viral videos, infections of evil in every piece of media, the inescapability of Darkness, the world coming to an end. And reality bows down. How can someone live in that world? They can’t. So obviously I have to learn to time travel. If nobody will listen, if I’m the only one who can see that this is happening, obviously everyone around me has been programmed to the point of sedation.
It’s terrifying, yo. And oh my god, these robots are some of the strongest and smartest people I know, so that means that eventually there might be something that reprograms me, so obviously I need to stay away from any media created before, like, the 1900s. Classical music it is! I listened to a lot of Vivaldi during that time. And the fear sets in. I knew with total certainty that unless I figured out how to time travel and fix things, I was going to watch every person I’d ever loved as they died. I was terrified of like, seeing a candy bar commercial and being triggered to kill my father because I looked up the word “patricide” once. I tried to isolate myself, because I never wanted to hurt anyone, I would have rather died than hurt anyone, and Knowing that the next few weeks would involve more death and blood and pain than anything you can conceive of…I was a wreck. Just terrified all the time. Hiding and weeping and shaking.
Reality shifts and bends. Truth becomes fluid, what’s True is what’s Real, or is it the other way around? If I wear a hat, it will protect me from Them seeing my thoughts. Twenty minutes later: if I wear a hat, it is a marker, which signals to Them that my thoughts are accessible. Take the hat off. Wait, I have something I want Them to know. Put it back on. Take it off. But now I’m unprotected. Hat on. Hat off. Rinse, repeat.
These examples may not make a lot of sense on the surface. What I’m trying to say is: it is the scariest thing, you can’t fight it, it is Real.
I never felt the urge to hurt anyone. Ever. I was horrified anytime the thought occurred that I might be told to do that. Because the violent psychotic person image was told to me too. I cried for hours thinking that I’d be commanded to harm a human. I called my mom one day and sobbed on the phone saying that if I appeared to have killed myself, it was that I was murdered. I swore I would never kill myself. I never will. It’s off limits.
But reality bows down and the fear sets in. Once I came out of it, I had a year of terror, wondering in random moments how much of it was Real, if I’d died in my bed during that point where I blacked out, if I had damned myself somehow, if They had only backed off as another test and at some point I’d be back under the black sea. If I was the only thing holding reality together. If objective reality is a lie and we’re all in the God-Matrix and every person I love is just a projection of my mind. Because if none of that was real, if the realest real, the truest true was neither real nor true, what did I have left to hold onto? I spent that whole year afraid. Some of you knew me then, you remember me falling apart in conversation, you remember the fear.
Time doesn’t exist according to the Rules, but it does heal. It’s been four years and I don’t get afraid like I did anymore. Now the fear is different. Now the terrifying thing is, if I trust people with this knowledge about that time, even if words existed that could accurately show what it was that happened, even if I could entirely pin down what happened, god, you tell people this stuff and watch their eyes change as they do the math on exactly what are the odds that you’re gonna snap again and this time you’ll show up at their door with a sharp object. Because psychosis is violence as far as public perception goes, and as long as I’m open about that, there’s always gonna be a certain measure of being marked as crazy, dangerous, this unknown factor.
And this summer two people I love had similar experiences and I watched as they were quarantined and chemically lobotomized, and I saw the fear in them as they tried to piece together what Real is, and if Real even exists, and I never felt at risk. Because I know. I know that the reason your eyes look different when you’re psychotic is that you’re seeing into a different dimension and that requires a totally different kind of focus. I know that when you steal a sheet of patient photos from the nurses’ station it’s because it deeply bothers you that y’all are under observation. You just want to protect all of us who can’t see the danger. You’re afraid, you’re so afraid because you see the flames that everyone else denies, and it’s an incredibly heavy burden to carry, because you know that if anyone is gonna survive this, it’ll be because you personally carried them to safety.
A few weeks ago a completely innocuous bar conversation about TV led to a stranger with a gift for knowing the right questions getting a really rough outline of that time in my life and I felt that fear again, like how am I being perceived, and usually I try to dismiss it, but I got this flash of the fear I felt when I was half a continent away from my friend and someone called the cops on him while he was “out of touch with reality” and I just had this blind panic because cops kill my people all the time. Because y’all think we’re killers, that getting reality kind of scrambled automatically unlocks some kind of primal craving for violence.
I need you to know that you’re wrong. That what healthcare providers are being taught is wrong. That the truth is a person experiencing psychosis is far more likely to kill themselves than someone else. The fear is so overwhelming, guys. You’ve never felt existential horror like this, ever. And it feels like forever, and nobody understands, and everyone you’re trying to save just sees you as a threat. Suicide looks like a good exit strategy when faced with the idea that you might never come back from the fear. The professionals I saw during that time were a joke. None of them had any idea how to communicate through the fear and the darkness. They repeatedly asked, in different ways, if the people in my life were safe from me. My safety was not a factor.
I’m telling you all this because if you believe me, if you know me and see this newfound stability I’ve achieved, I need you to help out a little and start telling people to go fuck themselves when a new mass shooter gets a postmortem diagnosis and someone clicks their tongue and asks how insane do you have to be to take human lives this way? I need you to see through the bullshit of Criminal Minds and CSI. I need you to recognize that states like this are complex states of being, and what we’re treating as a fast track to mass murder can be one of the most profoundly healing experiences a human being can have. I would be dead if those books hadn’t started speaking back. I can say that with total certainty.
I need you to know better and to help other people know better as well, because it’s not like what you see in newspapers and on TV. I’ll swallow whatever you think of me personally, I know at this point I’m a total mad pride loudmouth who’s maybe got a bit too much of a bug about drug treatment. I don’t care if you don’t like me, find me abrasive and uncomfortable. But fuck you, teacher in my sister’s class, I was never violent, and all the people I’ve known who have had experience with psychosis would be horrified at the idea of harming someone, especially in that state. Hashtag burn the goddamn stigma to the ground, or whatever. My sis had to walk out of class because she was so upset about the discussion she heard. I’m asking, since you’ve got less of a dog in this race, even if you just speak up quietly and mention you know this one person and their experience was nothing like that, if you can find that courage, it would be nice.
Who knows, maybe once we quit blaming the crazies for all this violence, we can start getting to the roots of why people actually kill each other, and maybe we’ll live in a better world.

Keeping Each Other Safe

I’m not posting about politics much because there are people I love who are at risk just from seeing what’s going on too closely. Not to say it isn’t important to know what’s going on and to try to be a part of things. I feel like maybe my Facebook page looks blithely unaware to someone who doesn’t know me all that well. I’m just trying to keep a few people safe. But we’re all scared right now, yeah?
I’m on four hours of sleep at the moment. I woke up in my Sleep Chair and couldn’t doze off again. The last 48 hours have been brutal. So much shit has gone down in our country, I can’t even keep track of all of it. I’ve been watching in horror and trying to figure out what I can do to help. I’ve tried to be the hardcore support friend and listen and help people however I can. If someone seems really fucked up by what’s going on, one of my tactics is hey, get out of the danger zone by taking a minute to laugh at some mishap in my life lately. I’ve got a lot of mishaps. If you’re hurting, I’ll be happy to personally embarrass myself to give you a few minutes off your pain. Also I’m really sorry if you call me and I’m in a loud bar and I can’t stay outside because I’m wearing inappropriate cold weather clothing. I’m just creating new mishaps to share later.
But like, the last few days, it’s really been hitting home for me too, and I’m not really okay myself. Bad stuff has been happening in my heart and in my mind. Like a couple days ago I wrote a song I really liked, and yesterday I was practicing it and it was like all the joy suddenly got sucked out. Like who really needs more googlygoo love songs right now? I don’t write music that’s sharp enough to cut through fear. I don’t have clean clothes to wear but I’m tired of doing laundry and there’s gonna be a water shortage at some point in the next few years, right? Our president is trying to strangle the judicial branch and we’re probably going to war soon, so like, at what point does looting become acceptable, because I kinda need warm socks (I’ve been rotating through the same three pairs for a while now. How much this has to do with my lack of motivation to do laundry is between me and the presence). Should I try real hard to get a job? If I get a job I’ll lose my health insurance. Am I gonna lose my health insurance anyway? Should I buy gold Krugerrands with my tax return? How much does a Krugerrand cost?
It’s unclear how much of this is like, reflecting off leftover shards of paranoia in my mind. That shit becomes like a mental habit eventually. Do the pattern recognition thing long enough and you can believe in anything. So I go whooooa gurrrrl you’re thinking like a crazy person again. And then I talk to literally anyone and it’s like nope. Not just me. We’re all falling apart over this.
And then I feel bad for wanting to ask for help, partly because sometimes I feel like I’m not worthy of help because pretty much every night this week I picked potential mishaps over like, calling my congressman and making signs and putting together care packages for refugees.
Not that my congressman picks up his phone during my normal drinking time. And not that I haven’t done anything worthwhile lately. I guess that’s also kind of between me and the presence. But I digress, as if this whole post hasn’t been a series of tangents. Here’s another: I’m thinking so much about the function of art in all this, because that’s what I live and breathe, and it’s so easy to feel like I’m doing nothing when I’m practicing guitar or writing. There’s that really kind of loaded Vonnegut quote about custard pies that keeps bleeding joy right out of my soul. I’m saying all this so you know you’re understood. Because again: I feel alone in all this and then I talk to any artist and they’re like damn I felt alone in the same feeling. So I’m telling you this and I’m telling me this: we have the gifts we have for reasons that are important. Unless you believe nothing has meaning and everything sucks always. Then I don’t really know what to tell you. I tend to err on the connectedness and beauty side of things. Maybe that’s why I come off as blithely unaware. I really do make a serious effort at bright side glass full sorta mental habits.
But yeah at this point I’m feeling like we need to create that connectedness ourselves. It’s really hard feeling alone in all this. I believe in intentional community. And we might need those networks soon. Who knows how long Facebook’s gonna be around (see? Look on the bright side but throw some gallows humor in there).
I want to make art with you. I want to hug you and cry with you. I want to feed you and give you a place where you feel loved, if not safe (because really what does safe even mean these days). I’m gonna keep trying. I mean it. And I do need help. I’m not okay. But let’s be honest, you’re not okay either right now. Let’s help each other.

#EndTheStigma

There’s another social media campaign to #EndTheStigma and you’d think I’d eventually learn not to engage, but I’m nothing if not stubborn, I guess.

Since someone always thinks I’m personally attacking the way they live their life, let me preface by saying that if you’ve had unqualified success with a medical treatment model, you can maybe just skip this and pretend I didn’t say anything. This isn’t aimed at you.
OK now that that’s out of the way: first, I have seen very little evidence that there is any stigma left around seeking drug therapy for mental health issues. Everything I’ve seen in the past few years is incredibly supportive of the idea that if you are suffering, you should totally go get help, take your pills, it’s a disease dontchaknow. Even within the recovery communities I’ve seen, people use clinical terms and discuss the drugs they still take. Even some of the most hardline antipsych activists I know will still use diagnostic language.
Here’s my gripe. There’s still stigma that doesn’t have a catchy social media campaign to end up. With all this encouragement to Go Get Help, there’s a pretty large number of people who will end up receiving medical treatment for a disease they do not have. Diagnostic criteria for mental health conditions is scarily fast and loose.
We have removed stigma from depression but not from sadness. From anxiety and panic but not worry and fear. And as a result, there’s not much help for people who have strong emotions and difficult circumstances.
When I was a teenager, I was sick for a year and came out of it very sad. I went to the doctor and was told I had clinical depression, and took Paxil, which has the side effect of murderous rage in some teens, and was told that rage was mania, which meant I had bipolar disorder, and the bipolar drugs I took killed my impulse control, which led to me getting into a horrible traumatic relationship, which led fear incursions, which netted me a prescription for benzos, which put me in a dreamlike state, which resembled waking dreams, which I was told were hallucinations, which got me a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder and more drugs with such awful physical side effects that I wanted to die.
I was never mentally ill until I was put into treatment for an illness I did not have.
When I declared my intention to withdraw from my final drug cocktail, people felt the need to talk me out of it. There was this one woman who I barely knew, I’m still not sure who felt it was appropriate to tell her about my decisions regarding my care, but she confronted me, told me about her daughter’s history with hating the drugs she was forced to take, and told me I’d be dangerous without the drugs. That I should make sure to keep myself away from people, take the social control pills, or isolate yourself. Let me reiterate; I was not sick.
That thing that happened in my mind when I came off pain pills, it was really distressing. It was bad enough that I was hospitalized. I tried to refuse drug treatment and was ordered by the court to take antipsychotics for 90 days. I made it maybe three weeks before I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was sleeping fifteen hours a day and the waking nightmares of my visions had not lost any power. I stopped that drug and immediately began to get better. Mental health services stopped giving me appointments. There is no help for someone who refuses to accept a diagnosis and drug therapy.
January is a hard month for me emotionally. My last hospitalization was 9 years after my first, almost to the day. I have a lot of difficulty managing sadness and loneliness, and sometimes that overflows into something that’s uncomfortable to watch as well. It’s hard for me to feel safe getting close enough to people to talk about how I’m feeling. I still get afraid that the response will be something about getting professional help.
This wasn’t just one bad doctor. This was fourteen years of many doctors, therapists, social workers, hospital visits and crises. Nobody ever questioned whether I was actually sick.
This isn’t just me. There are many others who have been misdiagnosed and had years taken from us. I missed the part of my life where most people learn how to be an adult and relate to others in a healthy way. A lot of us, myself included, have brain damage from years of being on neuroleptics. And we can’t seek help without being plunged right back into that.
The stigma I want to end is the stigma that says we aren’t allowed to talk about this.
It says that medical decisions must never be questioned.
It says that because I feel things strongly, I am diseased.
It says that I should be ashamed of my emotions and take drugs to make them more comfortable for others.
It says that the way I am is unacceptable.
It says that talking about the way I was harmed is irresponsible and judgmental.
My birthday is coming up. It’s my spiritual birthday, marking the time I was reborn. This spring marks four years that I’ve been free of symptoms of a disease I was told would never leave me. The reason I keep writing about this is to say that there is hope, and to encourage everyone to end the stigma.
Mad pride y’all.

People Aren’t One Size Fits All

Hi, I guess it’s time for one of my occasional rants about our broken mental health system! I am a person who had a third of my time on this beautiful planet ruined by doctors who didn’t know what they were doing, I’m still In Recovery, I’m pretty open about my story so feel free to ask questions, it won’t offend me. Every time I post something like this, I get a person commenting or messaging me to say how great their mental health services are, and if you feel like doing that, let me just respond now and say: that’s awesome for you, I’m happy you’ve received good solid help, you are in the minority and this kinda doesn’t concern you. No offense. I’m here for the ones who are getting damaged by the system. If psychiatry is working for you, keep on keepin’ on.
Ok.
Today (and for the last couple weeks) I’ve been gnawing on this very challenging question of what to do when someone you love is in an extreme state. This question has been raised because four people I dearly love have gone for a swim in the black sea over the past few months. I watched a couple of them get locked up in hospitals and put on literally handfuls of drugs (btw neuroleptics cause brain shrinkage/damage over time, if you take an antipsychotic drug you should look up what “tardive dyskinesia” is rn). I thought about my experiences in hospitals (and MH services in general) — how dismissive staff are, how it’s kind of just a holding tank while you get “stabilized” on drugs, the weird indignities you suffer while you’re trying to heal your mind, etc. There’s kind of a one-size-fits-all mindset to a good deal of mental health services.
But people aren’t all one size, and shit ain’t gonna fit everyone, and there are so many cases where the current approach (isolation, diagnosis of lifelong brain disease, drugs) is unhelpful or even harmful.
Like people who are dealing with trauma. People who are dealing with trauma that is exacerbated by someone locking them up, watching their every move, and having total power over them. People who experience psychosis or mania but respond badly to drug therapy. People who have been previously abused in psych facilities (happens all the time y’all). People who are so lonely they’re suicidal and afraid of further isolation. People who would be more validated by hearing someone say “of course you’re depressed, your life kinda blows right now” than “of course you’re depressed, you have a chronic brain disease.” People who are sad, not depressed. People who need a chance to just bug out every once in a while because reality doesn’t seem real when you have game show hosts running for president and creepy clowns popping up all over the place. People who want to be seen as people, not patients. People who are “noncompliant.” People who experience uncomfortable emotions but recognize them as emotions, not symptoms. People who are allergic to psychiatric drugs. People who are trying to recover from their diagnosed condition. People who embrace their madness to some degree. People who are poor or have crappy insurance.
These people do not have a place in the current system. Even talk therapy isn’t covered by most insurance, especially if you are not being medically treated. There are places where alternative modalities are being practiced, but they’re few and far between. So how do you help a loved one who falls into one or more of these categories when you see them suffering?
Open floor for discussion on two topics:
1. How can we civilians support alternative modes of treatment for people who are excluded from our current system in some way?
2. How can we as a culture work to destroy the silence and stigma surrounding the experience of uncomfortable/extreme emotional states (as opposed to pathologizing these states and accepting sufferers only after they have “sought treatment”)?

You Wouldn’t Say That If They Had Cancer

I’m getting targeted ads about mental health now (great, awesome) and the newest one echoes something I see a lot these days, which is “you wouldn’t talk that way to someone who has cancer” — or a broken leg, or mumps, or whatever physical problems.
Look: first, that argument is fallacious as hell, don’t even start comparing depression to cancer, that’s outright offensive. But okay, let’s talk about this…completely different topic. If my friend has a broken leg and they think they’re curing it by taking pain pills, yeah I’m gonna say something. If my friend has had several heart attacks and every time we spend time together they show up with horrible fried foods, yeah I’m gonna say something. If my friend has cancer and says “well, I know I should be doing something about this cancer, but it’s not my fault I have cancer and I shouldn’t have to be the one to repair the damage, so I’m just gonna wait for someone else to fix it” yeah I’m gonna say something. If my friend is bleeding profusely and they’re like “no no it’s okay, I’ve been diagnosed with a bleeding condition, this just happens and I have to just wait it out” yeah I’m gonna say something.
If my friend is using clinical, diagnostic terms for their legitimate emotions, if my friend is taking strong drugs instead of working through their trauma, if my friend is being told their sensitivity and empathy is a biologically based brain disease, yeah I’m gonna say something.

Psychiatry is Not Medicine

I need to get this off my chest, please bear with me for a moment.
Psychiatry is not medicine. The practice of diagnosing people with brain disorders, chemical imbalances, and genetic conditions based on lines drawn arbitrarily around self-reported emotional symptoms is not in any way scientific.
Prescribing brain-altering drugs that bear multiple black box warnings and the constant disclaimer that “it is not known how (drug) works…” based on unscientific diagnostic criteria is not in any way medicine.
Mandatory mental health screenings which use questionnaires developed by AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Eli Lilly and other drug companies are unethical and dangerous.
Some of these drugs lead to dependency. Most of them have side effects that can make a person unable to function. They are being prescribed to hyper children, to teenagers who are stressed out by the hellish experience of high school and puberty, to adults grieving over trauma and loss, to the elderly with dementia.
This is absolutely wrong, and until psychiatry begins to diagnose and prescribe in a scientific manner, I will continue to see the entire field as dangerously fraudulent. If you disagree with me, I understand — it’s very easy to get caught up in ad campaigns and promises of pills that will relieve emotional burdens.
However, if you believe that I’ve gotten stuck in some kind of “lunatic fringe” in any way, I invite you to stop reading this blog, as I don’t need you keeping tabs on my life. If you choose to look at my views on psychiatry and see it as science denial or anti-medical views, then we clearly do not have mutual trust.
Thanks buddies. Peace.

In Which I Get Really Pissed Off About Forced Treatment

It’s time to vent for a brief minute and then I’m gonna go grab notebook and vent in a more constructive way.
Let’s have a come-to-Jesus moment about psychiatric incarceration and forced treatment because damn, you’d think everyone gets that this shit is close to my heart, but somehow I’ve still got distant family members feeling the need to message me and tell me how gosh darn amazing Haldol is at preventing the brain damage inherent to having a manic episode for more than like, five minutes or whatever. Here I was thinking that my mental illness related brain damage was the result of ten years of doctors treating me like a guinea pig and dumping chemicals into me to treat those icky emotions nobody should have to feel. Silly me, I guess. Overhauling my neurochemistry is apparently the ideal alternative to experiencing a pretty natural mood state! Live and learn.
It’s hard for me to get directly angry at people in my life for believing this shit. We’ve got so much medical model bullshit pushed at us from all sides, and buying into that idea is really comforting. A pill that can fix my shitty life sounds pretty awesome. If you try to argue against that, people you care about will use the words “lunatic fringe” right to your fucking face. It’s easier just to go with the flow. It’s easier to just believe your psychiatric nurse friend who tells you that “there was a study” that showed that pills are the bestest and injections of neuroleptics won’t hurt if it’s only a couple times. I can’t really even stay pissed at my mom for signing the papers that got me locked up in 2013 and my sister locked up this week. I get that dealing with people who are wigging out is scary, especially when you have little kids in your house, and I get that our mental health system doesn’t have options for situations where you don’t want to go whole hog and have your daughter incarcerated in a place like that. It seems more productive to just stay pissed at the systemic shit. Besides, Mom’s as worried as I am, and I know she’s grieving over seeing another daughter go swimming in the Black Sea, and she didn’t expect so much resistance at attempting to be involved with care decisions (like “can i please take my daughter home now???”). Yeah — once someone’s involuntarily committed, it’s prison. They lose their rights and so do you.
So — can we please stop signing papers on each other?
Like OK, y’all know my shit here, y’all know what I went through with myself and with Mychal. There are alternatives. There are ways to help someone that do not involve putting them behind four locked doors and six different pills SIX DIFFERENT FUCKING PILLS. Well, I guess that’s wrong — it’s actually five pills because one medication is administered with a goddamn needle, or it’s nine pills if you’re counting the 4mg of Ativan they’ll give you every day, just for asking.
Ativan was the hardest drug for me to quit, btw. I was on Ativan for two years after I quit everything else. James kicked his cocktail successfully and only got suicidal when he tried to quit Ativan. He’s never been the same since quitting Ativan.
But I digress. You may be thinking something like “but what about when someone really truly Needs The Help” and i will laugh at you and remind you that the last time I took a swim, I’d gone three days and three nights without food or sleep, and that what I needed at that point was to rest and eat. But nope someone signed a court order and guess what? The shit I saw and felt on the psych ward fed the delusions. That and the fact that someone close to my mom came to me when I was in a vulnerable state and convinced me that I was demon possessed and needed an exorcism and set up an extended prayer session with a faith healer, who was a very kindly person, I can’t fault that guy, but damn, THAT shit ended up integrated into my belief system and three years later I still have trouble sleeping some nights because what if I really did sell my soul????????? What if she was right?
Let’s keep track of the points here —
1. Don’t fucking incarcerate people for mental health stuff because they lose all their rights, possibly for a long long time (possibly forever! Not a joke)
2. Don’t fucking dump a shitload of drugs into someone’s system. If a person is experiencing psychosis, it partly means they’ve got something incredibly serious that they need to work through. Sedation to the level of zombification totally halts that process. Congrats, you just set that person up for another swim in the future.
3. Don’t fucking tell a delusional person they’re demon possessed, oh my god, why do I have to type these words in 2016, why did this happen to me, I’m still grieving. I guess a more relevant concept is “don’t fucking fuck with someone’s mind while they’re delusional” because this shit happened to James too and it BROKE him. Ask him to tell you the story sometime. Or not, because he won’t tell you, because he’s still literally phobic about even talking about it out loud.
K. I guess my Big Point in this post is that we as a society have no idea how to deal with psychotic episodes. I’ve been typing this for longer than I intended so I’m gonna cut it short, when I’m less furious I’ll come back and post something about how to effectively talk to your ocean buddies.
I leave you with this very important message: stop fucking signing court orders to incarcerate your loved ones. Psychosis/delusion (much like teen horniness) is not a crime. Live and learn. Please actually learn this time, in case I ever take a dive again. I would like to come out of it less damaged in the future.