A Broken Mind, A Broken Heart

Being mentally ill means not only having a broken mind, but, also, a broken heart. God promises that we don’t get more than we can handle. I beg to ask the question, does that mean I am incredibly resilient and brave? Or, rather, is God actually real? I don’t believe in a perfect creator who would lie. So, better that s/he not exist than to exist and deceive.

It is difficult, this lifetime, and often too long to endure without complaining. The question is, can we dwell in this cesspool of all manner of human evil, and still believe in the unconditional embrace of God? Or do we become what the Potter predestined in His or Her Divine kiln to be: broken pots, marred and useless? Can we not then argue with the Potter? I’m not seeking a biblical answer, but a compassionate one–one that is genuinely from the heart. That is the one thing we mentally ill have left in our lives that hasn’t been defaced or destroyed. If anything, authenticity is something we mentally ill possess in spades.

There are many theories as to why some of us are overburdened while others merely suffer from affluenza. Many religious leaders and politicians aspire to only suffer from affluenza. I will not enter into the immortal records how some have done serious damage, not just to me, but to many who are targeted. After all, every institution, in order to survive, must have a common enemy and a common scapegoat. And when the Zeitgeist begins to find Satan tiresome, the abnormal-looking ones in the congregation will do.

Such discernment has me asking whether or not I deserve to exist. What on earth and in Heaven’s name is God keeping me alive for? And, in the end, who really cares whether or not I do?

I plead with you, if you have a mentally ill person in your circle of acquaintances, pray for him/her. I say “pray” because I know it is fruitless to ask you to befriend them. But say a prayer for whomever that person is, because you may save a life, today.~V

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Resigned to Rejection

I feel both inspired and disillusioned after listening to a British evangelist. How could this be?

This evangelist, like so many others, preaches about the need for community. Agreed. But when my English friend relapsed into depression, the church members and leaders under this evangelist were “not nice” and “believed he had demons that needed exorcism”. He felt “insulted”. And as he began to lose countenance, the five-year long friendships could not hold. He began to feel, justifiably, rejected.

You see, the mentally ill listen in their own isolation even to the human ministries of religious institutions. Leaders, in their bid to march forward, lose sight of those who need the most mercy. And the stronger sheep follow.

Not all resistances to happiness and to pollyanna gospels are demon-inspired. Many are human-made. Many more are genetic. And most involve complex, chemical imbalances that persons with mental illness cannot do much about, and which neither extensive pastoral counselling nor exorcisms can cure.

There is a song by the Canadian alternative band, BNL. It has a line that goes like this,

“Jesus and mental health are for those who can help themselves,”

Ah, the irony. Even those little Christs running around preaching are still failing. The Christian Gospel begins to ring hollow.

As much as the Holy Spirit has moved me despite the defects of the many Christian ministers, the bottom line is that I am still a reject.

If I linger, I become a scapegoat.

I would entreat the Christian Church to become more inclusive, but as one murder mystery writer on BookTV says, after all her research into mental diseases and reactions to the mentally ill by societies throughout the world and down the ages, there was little variance. In fact, both the illnesses and the subsequent reactions are, and have been, surprisingly and predictably the same throughout virtually all cultures, and through the oral and written histories of humanity.

Is this to say the the Church and little Christs are like the rest of society? Sadly, yes. Are claiming ignorance, dropping the ball, pleading for more time to change, and trying to find special ministries to “deal” with the mentally ill, valid pardons? If, as the Southern Baptists say, everything we need to know—all the answers to life’s questions—are in the Holy Bible, we just haven’t looked hard enough and that’s our fault, then, literally—how in God’s name do we manage to graduate so many pasty, paltry pastors and ministry workers to positions in the field to “lead”? They claim imperfection, but 2,000 years is a long time to remain complacently in error.

I hope, though I don’t particularly expect, the Church will work to distinguish themselves from those who don’t believe, for “all food is clean and good for eating” even for zealots, as Peter, the Rock upon which the Church is built, had been told by the Lord. But, you know, I’ve been going to church all my life, I was dedicated to God at a year old, I’ve been mentally unstable since I was almost the age of two. I became suicidal at seven. At the age of twelve, I rededicated my life to Christ and I meant business. By fifteen, I was spending a lovely summer sitting opposite my bedroom wall, talking to myself. By eighteen, I began to dissociate from reality. Then on my twentieth birthday, I was admitted into hospital. Did I deserve everything I got? (Some Christian blogger seemed to think so and wrote in response to my blog that all mentally ill deserve everything they get. I’ll remember that, thank you; it’s indelible.) All my life, despite faithful church attendance until my thirtieth year, I have been, and, still am, sick…and I have always been, and, still am, rejected.

So what is to be done? Find a good atheist as psychiatrist and worship God at home. YES, do yoga. Befriend some dogs. Keep yourself well and get healthy. Work passionately on a creative project until you feel enriched. Call or Skype others who go through similar things for support. But understand that normal people are all the same, whether they’re Christian or secular. The sad reality is that we do have a place in society, and that place is at the altar named Rejected, Yet Called. ~V

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

The Provincial NDPs Still Favour Smoking and Drinking in Their Disability Clients to Them Winning A Lottery

There is so much that’s wrong in provincial politics. One is that, under the Liberals, the province raised the taxes and prices on cigarettes and liquour–and then bought manifold shares of those same tobacco and distillery companies. They were betting on the fact that profiting off the harm they were ostensibly trying to prevent was a sound, discrete business investment. Funding these companies to better their craft of hooking users to their addictions, the provincial government also profited off many of their mentally-ill clients, as most persons with serious mental health diagnoses depend on nicotine to get rid of voices, as well as to wake up properly from the sluggishness of their medication side effects–medications they are court-ordered to take. Many, also, then self-medicate with alcohol. Wow. Did I just type that?

The previous provincial Liberal government capitalized on the weaknesses of humanity. Wow. How sound is that? Now with John Horgan’s NDPs, the old rules still apply. And then some. Lottery winnings, windfalls that could potentially benefit those too disabled to work for a bit of extra cash, are deducted from the dole dollar for dollar, as I painfully found out this month. The arcane, Liberal-installed rule still is treated indifferently as a cash-grabber by the John Horgan NDP government. Wait, I did just type that. Wow.

The representative at the ministry office, in his explanation to me of why my cheque was thus deducted of declared winnings, even used his stern, punitive tone of voice, playing the schoolteacher persona so he’d have a better chance at not having me argue back. He said if I wanted to make rent, there are avenues like taking out a loan or applying for funding help from existing organizations. And that process could take months. Otherwise, I’d have to look at moving to cheaper accommodation–in Vancouver, in February. Wow, really?

I didn’t even use that money recklessly. I paid off two loans, lent a small sum to someone struggling with an infestation of ants, and banked the rest. There were incidentals, but kept it to small dollar amounts and discounted items. In the end, I thought I took care of things pretty well.

You see, there is a lot of provincial money going into addictions. There’s not much more than a figurative pat on the back, or mere words, to acclaim the hard work many of us do to keep out of addictions in the first place. We are brushed aside because we’re not in crisis, as if we don’t struggle with the same volatile emotions or cognitive disorganization, and from the triggering work stress that prevents us from being able to work in the first place. It’s just that some of us who are less scathed are actually following the program. But we don’t count. There is no incentive to stay on the straight and narrow. All the money is being gobbled up by the immediate and the urgent, which is an ineffectual tax upon effort and resources, since it is mishandled and not helping those addicted from their root causes to until they’re discovered dying on the streets.

So the John Horgan government continues the Liberal legacy of penalizing who live right and don’t cause trouble. Kudos to the NDP for turning its back on success stories. You might have thought better of a more humane government. I think the future looks grim fo persons with disabilities in British Columbia since if the NDP, the people’s grassroots party, can overlook the wheel that doesn’t squeak, what chance do we have with Liberal Opposition Leader, Andrew Wilkinson, in power? ~V.

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Re: CBT And The Importance of Self-Care

I have to admit I’m coming from behind. Always. Always coming just short of the start line. It’s called, in sports, a handicap. And, oddly enough, it is called that in medicine too.

Recently, I have had CBT as a part of my therapy with my pdoc. Actually it’s been going on for several years. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is when you take the thoughts you have that make you feel bad and neutralize them. So if you are having NATs, or negative automatic thoughts, you present yourself with a pleasant, plausible alternative. It works. Your NATs go away. Nobody in the medical field knows why it works; but, they just know it does.

At first, I thought, CBT was for people who told themselves lies to get through a difficult reality. Now I see that CBT has to be more honest than I’ve ever been, more profound than I’ve ever been, for it to work on an ongoing basis. Once you stop, you lose weeks worth hard fought step of progress in a few hours. That’s why I don’t counsel suicidal people anymore. I can’t afford to be brought down too. At the scent and whiff of a person who will bring me down, I make a gracious, but firm, exit from the conversation. You should as well. People who bring a vulnerable person down, and won’t stop despite your protests, don’t have a place in your life. You just can’t afford it. They are just using you. And some may not really understand that repeating the same circle of thinking doesn’t help themselves or the person they’re dumping on. They need to be immediately referred to a doctor or the nearest emergency ward.

For your own sake, you need distance. If that means hanging up or blocking or cutting off all contact, so be it. Since when is a NO!” not a categorical no? How many deficit points do you have to get to before you drag yourself out of the peat and bog, and start recovering? And just how much does this person mean to you? And can they take it elsewhere? Or are they just making excuses for using you as free therapy? Does it improve your life? What does it take to get to the point of no return? Do you really want to go there? Think about it honestly. Be true to your basic person. Call yourself on things that feel off. Stop sabotaging, or stop letting others sabotage, you.

In short, you need to look after yourself because there are enough people out there who, when they are given a chance, will tear you down. Ancient advice, but so relevant. Be good to yourself, first, because nothing matters more—nor should it.

Or in shorter terms: why should I give a fuck about someone who doesn’t give a fuck about me? ~V.

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Tough Talk: What It Means To Be A Writer

Your calling as a writer mandates certain meaning in, and of, your life. You were never meant to let that calling go to waste. You were meant to find your bliss when you sit down, take out your device, and start to write.

You were never meant to be happy. Happy writers don’t have the depth of empathy that good writers have. And given the mess our lives are in, emotionally, and how you see that manifested in your community or other parts of the world, you have a lot of misery to generate a plethora of timely topics, and timeless ones.

You were meant to be alone. Writers suffer from what I call the Writer’s Vicious Circle of Isolation. The very nature of their calling isolates the writer. It makes the writer awkward and sullen at parties. Writers yearn, unusually more than they’d like to disclose, for love and people and good company; their very inability to turn off their torturous sensitivity, and their lack of refined diplomacy, inhibit relationships. Their given strength drives away what they most yearn for, and makes them isolate and write even more, only to yearn all the more. If they are honest with themselves, they will admit that there is nothing social about writing. They may move many hearts, or many millions of readers, to fall in love with their characters, or, even, the writers themselves. But, nothing in the act, vocation, and fallout of authoring a bestseller, a classic, or anything at all, encourages their truly communing with others.

With that being said, you must adjust to your realization, after your initial dismay, and accept the role as a solitary and competing alpha wolf. It isn’t that you are evil and don’t have high ideals, or even that you lack good, humane, and compassionate intentions. It is that the nature of writing, the nature of the beast, is to hunt. The industry isn’t to blame; it just conforms to the nature of the phenomenon of writing, itself. If the industry can’t turn a quick buck out of you what are you good for? To them, you are essentially a high-class escort–a highly-skilled, highly-valued, and conversational prostitute–in print. I mean, in their point-of-view, why else should books exist at all if not to sell? They may ask, “What is the justification to the existence of your writing? Why are you not, instead, a grocery clerk?” Without the industry, how else can you, the writer, reach the masses? It cuts both ways. Both parties benefit. Yes, you paid a price, but you got what you wanted. So, stop whining.

There is never a good balance to the gold-painted, particle board on which you balance upon a lever, because on the other side sits a circus elephant. It does tricks. And trompe-d’œil, or illusory vision, is its specialty. Often more than not, writers must leave their post and walk over, risking adversity, to do violence to the unfortunate bloated fool of a clown on the other side. Only, we realize, tardily, that it is merely a mirror. And, the weight bearing us down was our reflection. We don’t like ourselves. But we have to deal. It is our lot in life. After our demise, we will be forgotten or celebrated, but we won’t know nor be able to care about it, by then. Meanwhile, our fate is to write. And write we shall. ~V

©2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

Implementing CBT As An Excuse For Not Finding A Cure

I just came out of a chat conversation with person familiar with the mental health system. What was evident to me as we chatted is that there has been a stagnation in treating people needing better medication, or, God help us, in finding a cure.

Admittedly, 99% of the world population are not benefitting much from this worldwide austerity, either. Well, there is still progress in medical breakthroughs. The problem is that psychiatry isn’t a priority. Psychiatry just isn’t sexy – that is if you go on a hospital tour and don’t find an ambivalent Kiera Knightly bending over, in her Edwardian undergarments, waiting to be paddled, softly…Nope, psychiatry is seen as the black sheep of medicine. (But even then, black sheep are still sexier…to some…)

What happened? The medical drug industry has found it easier to stay with rehashing atypical medications of the same tenor as the previous generation of drugs. There are no advancements: only cosmetic changes. Turn the drug into a wafer. Turn the drug into a long-acting-slow-release tablet. Turn the drug into a micro-chip that lasts – really? I mean, Really??? Oh ok, no I missed something: CBT, or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is the ultimate insult to our collective, mentally-defective cognizance. Go on, stay focused on this next paragraph.

CBT is a somewhat-thoroughly researched method used in the psychiatric community that is more similar to a philosophy than a science. Their basic tenet is that our interpretation of our perception is off, it’s skewed, it’s screwy. If you can intercept between perception and interpretation (i.e. reframing perception), you can change the thought that passes through your head, and hence the feeling, into something positive, upbeat, more worth calming down about, smile-worthy! Do it often enough and you could change your brain chemistry…sometime in the indeterminate future…but, if you skip it, just once, when facing some faulty perception, and you go back to square one. What is wrong with this? Well if it works for you, it’s because you don’t have a racing mind with what seems like hundreds of different paranoid thoughts assaulting you within waking hours.  CBT is the the diverting of funding from actually finding a cure. Governments love it. CBT, distributed through talk-therapy, is hence inexpensive. It makes their denizens behave and stay out of trouble – meaning that if we don’t stay out of trouble, it’s our fault. It is not quite in the range of severity of mind-control, but it is a form of thought-alteration. I mean if the next-door neighbours in front of me turned around, looked at me, and started laughing, they were probably thinking of their uncle’s joke about the same hat that I happened to be wearing? REALLY???? I mean I know I’m a kind of creative type, but I don’t go around reconstructing reality to compensate for my paranoia. Maybe I should? Maybe you should…

Honestly, I feel CBT is bogus and dangerous. The basic assumption is that our interpretation is flawed anyway, and we can never know what people are referring to in our presence, it is thus a practical solution to an age-old problem: paranoid thinking in the mentally-defective. After all, we only see unreality anyway, so who has time for us? Do we really think that in the age of austerity where the top 1% still get millions in bonuses each year, we’d be considered a priority? Come on, woman! Get real! Get sexy!

Thing is, we are a subpopulation of captive consumers whose illnesses are the drug industry’s cash cow that a cure would kill off. So there. I said it. They don’t want to fix the problem. They are redolent and resplendent in cash. In our age of austerity, the psychiatric drug lords are rolling in cash. If they aren’t, they’re doing something wrong. After all, it is just a numbers game to them.

They’ve given up on us. With CBT, no new medical or medication breakthroughs, and with the drugs we do have, fourth-generation drugs, mimicking each other and mimicking previous generation of drugs, do you really think we’d get much further than our chemical straightjacket? Or do you also not care? ~V

©2016-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved

The Inequities of the Sexes: An Ancient Story

Too many Judaeo-Christian scholars and clergy, mostly men, give their blind praises to kings David and Solomon. Virtually unlimited wisdom. A man after God’s own heart. Righteous men, right?

Most Jewish and Christian clergy would say so. Of course, they don’t take into account how David married many wives and had many concubines. He was so righteous that he locked up his defiled concubines with a eunuch out of compassion so they’d never have a man again and thus sin…after what Absalom did to them on the palace roof. And he demanded Michal back, even though she was already long unloved by David and was married to another man, who followed her, as she left, and he weeping desolately after her. All in the name of godly righteousness. Kudos, Dave.

Solomon had 600 wives and 400 concubines. He was favoured by God. 1000 women? Really? But the Jewish and Christian clergy have no problems with this as they blithely sing their praises to the wisest king ever. And, of course, the insignificant downfall was pinned on the lure of his foreign wives. Really???

Thing is, what do we make of God, thus far? Is he fair? Is he righteous? Does he care about the welfare of women? Well the prayer of thanksgiving that Jewish men from ultra-right goes like this, “Y-w-h, thank you for not making me a woman.” That is the first thing they utter every morning as they get up from their marriage bed. Nice going, dudes.

Recently, some bloke told me his boss was harassing his female employees to the point that they would cry and/or quit. I asked, quite reasonably, that if his boss hates women, why not hire all male staff? He responded, casually but shocked, at first, “Because girls work harder,” and then qualified it energetically, or frenetically, by saying his boss was a good guy and was just trying to get by like any other boss in the country. He also said that he said some consoling things to the girl, but it was too bad that she was already married. WHAT? Excuse me? He also said that he hated doing the ironing, the only other task besides patrolling the premises and napping on the couch.

He would Skype me after taking his meds and before falling asleep. I got the sense I was a mere past-time for him, and so deleted him. Our mutual friend then advocated for him, saying he found me good entertainment value (wtf?) and that, sheesh, does every guy have to be assessed for his marriageability? I thought that odd, coming from another woman. Then, I realized, she shared his values and also preferred the company of men over women, hence the passionate advocacy. (She swore on the lives of her two kids that this guy was harmless). Whatever.

Is God friendly, if he isn’t going to be fair? I revisited Genesis many times while searching for the specific curses God put on Adam, Eve, and the snake. The curse was that a woman’s desire will be for her “husband” and that he shall “rule over her”. Take that, Eve, for eating the forbidden fruit. Ouch. It’s not whether in contemporary times if it is fair or not. It was a primordial curse that God justified. So, in the end, it seems God can’t even take it back. He is then justified despite the unfairness of how we as women suffer. It is the way it is.

I don’t blame the ultra-right male Jews for their prayer. If I were a man, I’d be praying the same thing. ~V

©2017-2018 Veekwriter All Rights Reserved