Tag Archives: insanity

I went and bought a suitcase today.  Actually, a three-piece luggage set, which at regular price was $199, but I got it for $70.  Pretty great deal.  It’s just weird to buy luggage.  It struck me as something real people do, and I’ve lapsed back into feeling like I’m not a real person.  Does the fact that I now own a matched luggage set make me a real person?

I’m not sure that will make any sense to anyone outside my head.  I’m not entirely sure I’m capable of making sense.

It’s all surreal, you know?  I’m really dysfunctional; I hardly leave my bed or get dressed or brush my hair or anything.  But at the same time, I’m planning for this big trip all on my own.  Going back to where I grew up, to most of the people I grew up with.  And I don’t know how I’m going to do with it.

I still sort of think of Birmingham as home.  It’s a little confusing–I never intend to live there again, I never really fit in anywhere there, but I’m still fond of it.  But I haven’t been back there in seven years, and there are a lot of bad memories there too.  And some bad people.

And then–Florida, with my mother, to help her after her neck surgery.  I volunteered for that: why?  I thought I was past trying to be good enough to make her love me, but is that why I’m doing it?  I’d prefer to think it’s mostly selfish, that I wanted to spend time at the beach and I volunteered because she’ll be at work most of the time, so I’ll get to do what I want.  I don’t know which is true; it’s probably a combination of both.  But it disgusts me that I’m weak enough to still go seeking her approval by playing the good daughter.

I think a lot of the confusion is because there are so many parts with conflicting feelings.  Cognitive dissonance, because it doesn’t make sense together.  Luckily I’ve gotten good at ambivalence.  I can hold multiple contradictory beliefs or wishes simultaneously, and I don’t know if that’s a good thing or if it just means I’m extra crazy.  It probably doesn’t matter which.

I’m not making sense, am I?  I don’t think I’m making sense.  Part of me cares, but most of me doesn’t, anymore.  I don’t know what I’m talking about.  I don’t know what I’m writing.  It probably doesn’t matter.

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Gun Control and Mental Illness

So now I’m the caucus coordinator for my town for the campaign I’m working on.  I don’t know why, since I’ve never been involved with a caucus before, but the town campaign coordinator asked me.  I’m always interested in learning new things, so I said yes.  That’s one of the things I love about working on campaigns: there’s always something new to learn, so I never get bored.  So it’ll be fun to learn all the new stuff about caucuses.

Tonight I went to a forum with the five Democratic candidates for governor.  I won’t bore you guys with all the details because most aren’t interesting or relevant to people who aren’t from my state or aren’t huge political nerds.  But there was one issue that came up that’s relevant.

One of the questions was about controlling gun violence.  There were the usual answers: stricter gun control laws, anti-gang programs, cutting back on the import of guns from states with fewer regulations, etc.  Inevitably, one of the candidates mentioned that we need to have laws that require disclosure of mental health records if you want to buy a gun.  I groaned because it ALWAYS comes up when there’s a mass shooting: “OMG TEH CRAZIES ARE GONNA KILL US!!!11!1!”

Then my candidate spoke.  She said that we should conduct appropriate threat assessments for mentally ill people because most mentally ill people aren’t any more likely to be violent than anyone in the general population, and most are not a threat to the public.  I wanted to run up on stage and hug her.

All too often, we’re portrayed as scary, especially those of us who have been hospitalized.  During one of the 2012 presidential debates, Obama said, “We need to keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and mentally ill people.”  He put me, a person with a serious mental illness, on the same level as a convicted murderer, and I’ve never murdered anyone.  Aside from my martial arts practice and whacking my sisters as kids, I’ve never even hit someone.  When our leaders make statements like his, people with mental illness suffer.  It increases the stigma and makes people afraid of us.

Statistically, you’re more likely to be killed by a shark than a schizophrenic.  The single greatest predictor of gun violence is alcohol use.  Still, every time there’s a mass shooting, every news anchor in America wants to diagnose the shooter with a mental illness.  But committing violence, even something as terrible and huge as a mass murder, does not necessarily mean the perpetrator is mentally ill.  It is entirely possible to be full of hate and rage without being mentally ill.

I was very proud of my candidate tonight.  She’s the first politician who’s made me feel like my mental illness doesn’t make me a bad person.  She’s the first politician who made me feel like she wasn’t scared of me.

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