Monday, April 28, 2008

laugter... the best disease ever!

Dear people who like to laugh, and those who don't,

If laughter is infectious,
then that is a disease we should all want to catch!

Hoping to catch something,

opinions vs. sex

Dear people who like to mouth off,

Opinions are like legs.

Don't spread 'em if you can't deal with the consequences.

Keepin' it real,

Sunday, April 27, 2008

don't keep me waiting... it makes me anxious, but mostly impatient!

Dear Psychiatrist,

I met you for the first time at that appointment. Overall the appointment went well, I think. You seemed kind, energetic, motivated, and most importantly, caring. I like it when people are caring, because it means that if the proverbial shit were to hit the proverbial fan, then you would be there to help or at the very least, to offer guidance.

Honestly, I was a little nervous to meet you, considering the potential implications of a visit gone wrong. I mean, your sole job is to judge the status of my mental health; that kind of scrutiny is pretty intimidating, you have to admit.

(Remember all those years ago when you defended your thesis? That's almost how it feels to meet a new psychiatrist.)

I knew that the first thing you would analyze was how I was dressed, and how well I was groomed. You would then look to see how I responded to conventional greetings, whether or not I made eye contact, and whether or not I responded to your outstretched hand.

As we chatted, I know your brain would tick away to make sure that my time sequencing was correct, that I was aware of my current surroundings and relevant current events. I knew you would also look for signs of anxiety in my body language, signs of thought blocking, and I knew you would be analyzing my ability to relate concepts and ideas into a unified and coherent dialogue. You would also continue to make sure that my body language was appropriate and that my affect related to the content of my speech.

Yes, you had a lot to do in those 20 to 30 minutes we spent together. So I sat in a hard little chair, waiting; reading to keep my mind off the intense scrutiny I was about to fall under.

I have to admit, I was a little pissed that you kept me waiting for 30 minutes while you discussed your latest research project with that guy. And yes, I could hear every word as I sat in that dark little hallway that doubles as a waiting room. Your walls are very thin; therefore, you may want to consider keeping your voice down the next time you proclaim that "it's okay" to keep your patients waiting after your coworker asks if he should meet you later to talk more.

For thirty minutes I sat in that little chair, my bottom growing numb, reading, looking at my watch to note the time, and occasionally squeezing the tissue I was holding. For thirty minutes, that lowly little tissue soaked up the evidence of my anxiety and allowed me to offer you a dry hand when you came to greet me for the first time.

I really did not mind waiting. I didn't really have much to do that day.

The next time it happens though, I might actually have something to do, and I may feel compelled to remind you that time is money, and I'm not getting paid by the hour for these appointments.

Your anxiously impatient patient,

Friday, April 25, 2008

consumers are people who EAT a lot, and people who SHOP a lot...

Dear people who persist in using the outdated and derogatory term "consumer,"

I am not a consumer, fuck you very much. Calling me a consumer to my face will get you a strong admonishment and a rather long lecture on the history of that word. The history of that word isn't pleasant, and in fact, it is downright insulting. And the word consumer is as derogatory to me as the "n-word" is to a person of African or Caribbean heritage.

Here is a little bit of the history of the word consumer (excerpted from my previous post):

"If you don't know what the word "consumer" is, here is an explanation:

Consumer is what the mental health professionals call people who have mental illness. People with problems of mental health are called "consumers" because historically people with mental illness have been dependent on health care and social services... Their logic in using this term is that people with mental illness "consume" social services in the same way that people with money voraciously consume products on the market.

This is a dangerous term because in the word "consumer" is implied that people who require the help of health care professionals and social services don't give back to their communities. It is implied, by using this word, that people with problems of mental health only take from their communities. Examples of giving back include volunteerism, using experiential knowledge and skills in the workplace or to help peers, contributing to the community and social services through paying taxes, and so on.

I LOATHE the term consumer."

So in my quest for equality for everyone and in my quest to free all individuals from systematic oppression, I say we should do away with the term consumer.

And if you're wondering how in the world the word "consumer" is systematically oppressive; think of why white people are no longer allowed to say the the word nigger. Seriously. Think about it.

In the event that you need some help with this analogy, I will help you through it. Although I'd like to think that most people don't need me to hold their hand through a thought experiment...

Think about how the n-word evolved. Think about how it is/was used. Think of the people this word is applied to and how they feel/felt about that word. Last, think about why we no longer use the n-word.

Now, think about the c-word. Think about how it came to be. Think of how we use it, and who we talk about when we use that word. Think about how those people feel about that word. Last, think about why we should no longer use that word.

Draw a little chart if you think it will help you.

Keeping the pots of controversy abrewing and hoping you're thinking over there on your end of our fibreoptic connection,

PS. Email me if you need me to spell things out for you. Above all, I am here to help and to educate.

forgive me (proverbial) Father, for I have lost... my motivation

Dear (proverbial, because I'm not religious) Father,

Father, forgive me, for I have lost my motivation. At least I think I have. I feel I have...

I am currently "between jobs" as my too kind and supremely diplomatic friend put it, after I told her that I am an unemployed dirtbag. In truth, I have been "between jobs" for about four months now. Granted, I have been dealing with health problems and waiting on a contract that keeps getting pushed back, but still, that does not stop me from feeling like a giant sack of shite every day. (My health problems are of the "physical" variety this time around, as opposed to the "mental" variety... as if that distinction should actually exist in our day and age, so please don't worry too much, dear readers!)

My partner saunters off to work every morning. And I bury myself deeper into my blankets, thankful for one or two more hours of sleep, dreading that I have to wake up and find things to occupy myself with that day.

Four months ago, finding things to do was easy, since me and my SO had recently moved into a new apartment. I occupied my days with painting, arranging furniture, cleaning, and organizing, while simultaneously trying to manage my health problems. He went to work. It was a great formula because we were both contributing to building our new life, just in different ways.

All of that is done now. There are no more changes to be made to the apartment. There is not one curtain left to hang, or one measly door to paint. He goes off to work. I wake up to another day... another day of feeling like a dirtbag.

So I sit, every morning, on my couch, and wonder, what the hell am I going to do with myself today? And I think; I feel like a sack of poop. I feel like all I do is cook, clean, and waste a lot of valuable time that should be spent working and earning an income.

The other day I visited my too kind and disgustingly diplomatic friend. We had a chat about what we were up to recently. I actually haven't seen her since I moved into the new place four months ago.

I told her how I haven't really done much in the months I've been at the new place. But I told her about the work I've done on the apartment. The furniture I've refinished, the rooms I've painted, the shopping I've done to get the place looking somewhat livable. I chatted about the gardening I've done, and the more that I plan to do. I told her about the meetings I've attended in order to "harvest" the job that I'm waiting on in the hopes that it will open up soon. I told her about the book I'm trying to write. How I sit for about four hours a day, three or four days a week, tap tapping on my digital computing machine (erm, my craptop). I told her that I'm averaging about two pages a day during those sessions. I talked about this blog that I've started. I talked about the books that I've read. I talked about the pets that I feed and give love to every day. I talked about all the baking I've done since I've moved in and so on.

At the end of our chatting, she interjected, "Wow, you sound pretty busy!"

I looked at her in total disbelief. I was shocked that she had said that; totally and speechlessly shocked in fact.

Here I've been beating myself up for being "unmotivated," and my friend, my blessed, wonderful, generous friend, in one simple sentence totally put my life into perspective (at least, the last four months of my life, anyway).

I guess it's all a matter of how we look at things, huh? And it's possible, that my goggles are a little screwed up or something, given all the hangups I have about wanting to be a "contributer" not a "consumer." How else do you explain why I've been castigating myself for the last three months?

Here's to waiting one more week for that mythological job to open up... and here's to one more week of "doing nothing!"

The busiest, yet most unmotivated, girl on this side of the pond,

PS. If you don't know what the word "consumer" is, here is an explanation: Consumer is what the mental health professionals call people who have mental illness. People with problems of mental health are called "consumers" because historically people with mental illness have been dependent on health care and social services... Their logic in using this term is that people with mental illness "consume" social services in the same way that people with money voraciously consume products on the market.

This is a dangerous term because in the word "consumer" is implied that people who require the help of health care professionals and social services don't give back to their communities. It is implied, by using this word, that people with problems of mental health only take from their communities. Examples of giving back include volunteerism, using experiential knowledge and skills in the workplace or to help peers, contributing to the community and social services through paying taxes, and so on.

PPS. I LOATHE the term consumer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

oh, to be this innocent and happy again!

Dear animal lovers,

Can you remember the time in your life when you had that optimistic enthusiasm for absolutely everything?

Uh... neither can I. But this video is cute, and it will make you want to be young again. Or, it will make you want to be a puppy again. (Hey, whatever suits your fancy! I'm not the one who has to put up with your unusual proclivities!)

Introducing the infectious enthusiasm of Willow the Puppy.

Just click on the grey text and the YouTube video should pop right up.

Hoping you'll catch something (The happiness bug, people! Get your mind out of the gutter!),

you people are strange... really...

Dear people who do not like animals,

People who love animals don't get you and are very wary of you. Quite frankly, we think there's something wrong with you, and we are actually a little afraid. *O.o*

Just sayin'.

An animal lover from way back,

PS. This post is not referring to people who are afraid of animals or to people who can't have animals for health reasons... so don't get your panties in a bunch.

This post is referring to that minority of the population that has a genuine distaste for all life forms that are not human... generally including animals of all species and plants.

Usually these are the people who want to replace their lawns with astroturf, and they chop down the gloriously ancient (and beautiful) trees on their property, and they mutilate any leaf that has the misfortune to have strayed on their lawn.

oh feline master, i am forever your indentured servant!

Dear cat,

I love you, even though you vomit... often... on the hard to clean shag rug.

Next time, could you try aiming for the hardwood that is about 6 inches from the spot on the rug where you regularly puke?

Your kitty momma,

ghosts don't scare me... they make me sad

Dear invisible woman I saw sitting on the street on a freezing winter day,

Yes. I saw you. In fact, I'm pretty sure everyone who passed you saw you, even though we all pretended not to in our rush to get to where we thought we had to be.

You were sitting there, on a small chunk of cardboard, bundled in your scruffy sweaters and coats and scarves. If you were a different person, you might have been very warm, but you weren't someone else, you were you.

Homeless. Invisible. Alone, as you sat among the post-holiday rush passersby, you with steaming tears running in rivers down your weathered cheeks, many of us with gift cards and holiday cash burning in our pockets.

If we had acknowledged you, it would have forced us to consider your plight... perhaps even to have empathy for it. We would have wondered what unfortunate series of events in your life collided so that you to wound up on this particular corner, on this particularly unforgiving day. Maybe we would have wondered how our actions or inactions contributed to that unfortunate series of events.

It is possible that acknowledging you would have made us question the things we have, and why we do not share our things, and why we continue to want more and more things, while you have very close to nothing. It would have made us ponder, for a second, why we have become comfortable with this.

Had we acknowledged you, it would have forced us to stop and help you. If one person had stopped, maybe others would have felt compelled to do the same. But since no one stopped, no one gawked, and no one really even glanced, everyone felt justified in moving past you without a hint of acknowledgment.

Hundreds of people must have walked past you in a matter of moments. No one even looked in your direction, and when one of us had the misfortune to glance your way, we looked through you as if you were a ghost, as if we were suddenly interested in the bank of dirty snow behind you.

I'm sorry I was one of the people who walked by. I just want you to know that.

With great regret,

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

no, i am not crazy... let me explain...

Dear readers of the previous two posts,

Ya'll are prolly thinking, what the h-e-double hockey sticks is she talking about?

Well, those two posts are essentially criticisms of Scientology, and really any institutionalized dogmatic thinking that makes false promises.

Scientology, in my opinion, is an especially dangerous breed of cult. It is dangerous because it offers cures to people living with mental health problems. Unfortunately, the cures that Scientology offers are costly to access, and due to the secrecy surrounding the activities of the cult, it is impossible to substantiate the claims that the 'cures' actually do anything besides rob vulnerable people of their hard earned cash.

Scientology, in my opinion, preys upon the vulnerable; those living with mental illness, and those looking for quick access to a better life.

I think the people who are a part of this cult are participating in and endorsing a mass delusion. And for those who think mass delusions are impossible, go do a little research on the subject, and you may come to see that such events are much more than a theoretical possibility.

With Scientology the saying, 'He went in normal, and came out crazy,' is truly applicable.

A concerned informant,

g*ddam you neurons!

Dear my neurons and neurotransmitters,

Hey, you! Yeah you! You bastard neurons, and you shitty neurotransmitters... Oh, yeah, you dick-head enzymes too! I'm talking to all of you! Listen up!

No. Don't ignore me! I know you can see me looking at you disdainfully, and I know you see me wagging my finger at you angrily!

Your job is to work in harmony. I don't know the secrets of that harmony, and there are a lot of people out there who have invested a lot of time, energy, and cold hard cash to learn how you function in that requisitely synchronous manner.

Since your job is pretty important, and I'm sure you are aware of what you are supposed to be doing: Stop slacking off! Jackasses!

If you continue to slack off, I am going to go find some Scientologists. Then I am going to shrink them down with the shrink ray I invented during my last psychotic break. Then I am going to snort them and command them to find you.

Do you have any idea how nasty those little buggers will be? They are going to get all dark ninja on your ass and make you behave. And whoever doesn't comply, will be eliminated, as per the code of the dark ninja Scientologists.

And don't forget, those ninja Scientologists are masters at covering their tracks, so you won't even know what hit you.

Your master, even though you show no respect,

PS. For those who don't know what a dark ninja is: Good examples of white ninjas include Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo, and Rapheal, of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame. A great example of a dark ninja master is Shredder, the evil nemesis of the Turtles.

/tongue in cheek

L. Ron Hubbard... I invoke thee!

Dear God (aka. L. Ron Hubbard),

One of the wonderful symptoms of psychosis is delusional thinking. So, given the possibility that I could become delusional at any given moment due to the lack of cooperation between my neurons and my neurotransmitters, I have made a vow to turn my delusional thoughts into the opportunity of a life time that will earn me scads of dough.

*L. Ron Hubbard, I invoke your spirit to guide me through my quest, should I ever be given the opportunity to enact it.*

While in a delusional state, I am going to write a manifesto. After writing said manifesto, I am going to call a media conference and proclaim that the manifesto was inspired by a power that is older, more experienced, and more knowledgeable than myself and the average human.

Since I will be in a delusional state, I will be so convinced in my beliefs that people can do nothing but succumb to my enthusiasm and share in my delusions... er, beliefs.

I will prey especially on women by offering them promises of a patriarchy free life, based on the teachings of my manifesto. The only caveat is that they have to give up their relationships with men, they must conform their thoughts and behaviour to the teachings of the manifesto, and they must live in a commune that is located in the remote forests of upper Siberia.

By eschewing relationships with men, and surviving the hardships of upper Siberia, my manifesto will promise that the women will be rewarded in the afterlife with a harem of youthful, muscular, tanned, shirtless, and extremely anxious to please cabana boys.

In order to become a part of my cult... uh... clan, my followers must first pay a small fee of $19.99 to buy the manifesto. After they have read the manifesto, they must enroll in the 'clearing' classes. Which will be available for the low low cost of $49.99 per session. These 'clearing' classes are designed to educate my followers in great detail about the central tenets of the manifesto so that they can live a better, more fulfilling life.

If I deem a follower worthy, she (maybe even he) will be invited to engage in what I like to call 'full and fulfilling membership.' Meaning, the follower will be given the opportunity to donate all her earthly goods to the clan, and move to the compound in upper Siberia where she can live her life in the fullness of the freedom and enlightenment that our manifesto promises.

If a follower reads the manifesto and engages in the clearing classes, it is *possible* that she will have the riches of the after life. However, by donating all of her earthly goods to the clan and moving to upper Siberia, it is *guaranteed* that the follower will have access to the riches promised in the afterlife.

Your Leader In Training,

PS. This fresh and fundamentally original doctrine will be called, The Enlightened Teachings of Olivia Beck: Foundations of Mythtology.

/tongue in cheek

dear readers... i am appealing... wait! that came out wrong!

Dear readers; lovers, haters, and those who care not a whit,

I'm making an appeal here.

I love mail. I love mail that is positive and supportive in nature. I also love mail that contradicts my opinions as they are expressed through my writing.

If you want to send mail of any type, feel free.

Also, if you want to comment on a specific post, comment at will.

I will do my best to respond to your mail and comments in the most appropriate manner. That is to say, if you are an ignorant hating ass, I will return in kind. Unless I take pity on your sorry uneducated ass and just try to teach you something despite yourself. If you are supportive and loving, I too will reciprocate with an equally pleasant reply. Emails and comments of an ambiguous nature will be treated on a case by case basis. I reserve the right to be tenacious and bullheaded at all times.

Send me mail! Please!
*does the make it mail dance*

Your eager recipient,

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

after the rain comes a rainbow... in the form of kitties!

Dear Sun Worshipers and Lovers of All Things Cute and Fluffy,

Two things that will brighten your day and effectively kill some time (and maybe some brain cells!):

An Engineer's Guide to Cats
- this will rob your life of 7 very happy minutes.

The Mean Kitty Song - this will make your life feel like it is 3.5 happy minutes shorter.

Both of these are YouTube vidz. Just click on the grey text, and it should go straight to the video. Don't forget to give the videos some time to load.

Forever the optimist, even when I don't really feel like being one,

PS. Sorry for all of the heavy posts so early on in the game!

the true tragedy of illness and mental illness

Dear Directors of Unhappiness and Stewards of Despair (and Everyone Else to Whom This May Apply),

I think the greatest myth of our time is that we are supposed to be "happy." Not content, not satisfied, not well fed or comfortable; we are supposed to be happy in that pathetic sappy Hollywood way.

I have never met anyone who is happy. I have met content people. I have met satisfied people. I have met successful people. I have met comfortable people. And I have certainly met people who are well fed. But I have never met a happy person.

In actuality, I have met a lot of sad people. I have also met lot of people who are stressed and anxious. And I have met many, many people who are afraid. But mostly, I have met people who are lonely.

I'm not sure what causes loneliness, except for the obvious; an absence of people to share your life and experiences with. But I think most people can attest to feelings of being alone even when they are surrounded by a substantial number of people who love them.

My feelings of loneliness are most likely to happen when I feel like I can't communicate with the people around me. And I'm not talking day to day stuff, like, how's the weather, and oh, how are you. I'm talking about being unable to share my feelings, being unable to share how an experience has affected me, and generally being unable to relate important aspects of my life to people who I think would generally want to know that information.

So when people talk about feeling lonely, it's not always because they don't have friends. Loneliness can be a result of the people in your life not being 'active participants' in your life.

When I first became symptomatic many, many moons ago, the memories that are most vivid in my mind are the memories of loneliness. It was a feeling that sat deep inside of my chest. A feeling that bore the weight of a stone, and a feeling that often resonated as if it had just been struck with a great force.

In a world where mental illness is effectively swept under the carpet, and where discourse is not free and open, I think the everyday person does not have access to the language that is needed to discuss issues of mental health. I also don't think that there is enough accurate knowledge of the everyday experiences of people living with mental illness residing in our 'collective consciousness.' (Our collective consciousness being the sum of experiences and knowledge that most people of our country are likely to come across in their lifetime.)

The little knowledge that does exist in our 'collective consciousness' has been coloured by negative stereotypes and dangerous mythology. Some of these stereotypes and mythology include: i) That people with psychosis are dangerous and more likely to hurt others. ii) That we can't trust the somatic complaints of women because they are more emotional and are thus more sensitive to the effects of stress (ie. histrionic). (Thanks for your wonderful contributions, Freud, you misogynistic ass!)

So I think the true tragedy of illness and mental illness is that too many people who live with conditions that affect their mental health are unable to communicate their experiences with their loved ones. I think this breakdown in communication is what creates the loneliness and despair that resides in the hearts of people affected by illness.

So when I despair about the disease, that is my despair... that I cannot communicate with the people I love. And when I think about the tragedy of illness, that resounding sense of loneliness is the first thing that materializes in my mind.

Your doorman (to the portals of communication),

Monday, April 21, 2008

dear lovers of *good* music...

Dear music lovers and advocates of empowerment,

4 bands with music that will move you (and maybe even inspire you):

Antony and the Johnson's. This lady is dealing with issues of transgenderism. The pace of her songs, her lyrics, and the emotional honesty in her voice will move you.

The Mountain Goats. The lead singer struggles with issues of abuse at the hands of his father (stepfather?). His lyrics are informed, powerful, and utterly heartwrenching. Some of his songs are intense anthems for empowerment.

Kimya Dawson. Her recent popularity can be attributed to the huge success of the movie Juno. Kimya's music has a deceptively happy sound that closely resembles bluegrass or folk. In her lyrics she discusses issues that relate to social roles and health... Her lyrics are kind of opposite of the lyrics you would hear in traditional folk songs, hence, her music is characterized as 'anti-folk.'

XiuXiu. This guy is avant garde in style, and some people might find his musical style a little different than what they are used to (ie. this is not easy listening). As a hint, if you like NIN, then you will probably enjoy the music of XiuXiu. His lyrics rawly (and graphically) discuss his experiences with homosexuality.

Your muse,

is olivia a bitter person who is antipsychiatry?

Dear People Who Need to Know,

My bias: I am female. I am old enough to have enjoyed the heydays of Nirvana, but too young to grasp the reverence for classic rock. I look white, but I have a visible minority heritage that isn't obvious by my appearance. I grew up knowing too well what a fridge looks like when it's empty. I have the benefits of a university education, and hold dual degrees, one relating to the realm of medicine, the other relating to the realm of metaphysics.

I have been diagnosed with what the medical profession likes to call a SMI (severe mental illness). I have lived intimately with the effects of my diagnosis for 10 years or so. My condition has affected me in profound ways in a psychological sense, in an economic sense, and in an interpersonal sense.

Pardon me if my experience ever clouds my judgment or colours my words, and I will do the same for you.

So, given my experience, I'm going to lay out *my* opinions on psychiatry, and hope that my words are not too often abused or distorted from their original context.

In a general sense, since my experiences with psychiatry have been positive, and I see a movement in psychiatry towards accountability and collaboration, I regard psychiatry as a potential benefit for those who are affected negatively by their mental health.

I know that many people have suffered abuses (in the form of stigmatization, discrimination, sub-standard levels of care, enforcement of unwanted treatments, literal abuse, etc.) at the hands of the mental healthcare community. I respect your experiences, you own those experiences.

But those experiences are not mine. And although this blog will express a significant amount of frustration with current standards in health care, I am not fundamentally anti-psychiatry.

In the same way that abortion is a contentious, weighty, (and I believe, personal) issue; mental health is an issue that carries with it a burdensome load that is equally personal, weighty, and contentious.

So, in short, if a person confided in me that they were negatively affected by their mental health, I would suggest to them that they may benefit from seeking help from the medical community. That being said, I would be very careful about the places I would direct them to, since (those who have received mental health treatment are well aware that) not all doctors are created equal. Some doctors are simply better; being more approachable, more informed, and more invested than others.

Your 'Only Human' and Fundamentally Biased Blogger Who Genuinely Respects Her Treatment Team,

enough love for everyone!

RE: Comment regarding "dear people who post on"

Dear Olivia,

I just wanted to let you know that sometimes we try our hardest to keep our loved ones with us. Please don't think that everyone feels this way.

I know I don't.

April 21, 2008 3:13 AM/end

Dear Baldy,

thank you for your comments.

i do know for a fact that not everyone feels this way, since my family and friends have been fantastic throughout.

in fact, the optimist in me believes that most people do not feel this way.

it just hurts to see things like that. it really does. and i think it is irresponsible to ignore these types of sentiments.
With Gratitude,

PS. I sincerely appreciate that you wrote to let me know this. It means a lot to me.

know your place woman... er... patient... uh... uppity person

RE: Comment regarding "Dear People Who Look After People Professionally" entry.

Dear Olivia,

This is pretty hilarious, actually.

I'll bet your health care professionals looooooove treating their "defiant" patient, and are just kicking themselves for pushing themselves through all those gruelling years of medical school only to find that clever, clever you had already found all the answers out there among the oh-so-reliable "interwebs".

Your "research" isn't really worth anything, except as a basis for you to ask questions. And that's only useful if you'll listen to the answers.

Good luck getting taken seriously, ever, by any doctor, with your current attitude.


April 21, 2008 3:18 AM/stop

Dear Anonymous ,

no. my research and university degree are worth nothing.

i am a stupid idiot!

i must not get uppity, demand quality care that is free of judgment; and mostly i must keep my mouth shut when i feel that i am experiencing stigma or discrimination.

thank you for reminding me of this. i sincerely appreciate your effort and willingness to share your "knowledge" of issues of this type.

With kind regards,
Your friendly crazy person who doesn't know her place, O.

PS. Isn't it great how the anonymity of the "interweb" makes us think we have a license to be total assholes?

dear people who like to learn... something good to know

Dear People Who Like to Learn,

Words to live by:

"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."

- James Madison

Knowledge is power. Don't EVER forget that.

O. (A fellow lifelong learner in the School of A Hard Lesson Learned.)

Sunday, April 20, 2008

dear people who post on

Dear poster,

You said this (posted on the April 20/2008 edition of

"When my schizophrenic brother finally succeeded after 15 years of suicide attempts, I was relieved."

As a person who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and who has successfully managed the condition for over 10 years, I want you to know, that reading this statement made a part of me die a little.

Please understand that I know that I am a burden to my family, and to society in general. And please understand that I know that my actions can cause problems, stress, and pain.

I already know this. Why do you have to reinforce how shitty I am and how much people like myself make your life miserable?

You need to know that this is why we kill ourselves. We despair and we suicide because we are acutely aware that we cause problems (for ourselves, and for the people we love). We suicide because mental illness HURTS everyone it touches and that pain is often unrelenting.

You need to know that mental illness hurts its sufferers from the bottom of our toenails to the top of the hairs on our heads. I'm not talking about a literal pain; I am talking about a relentless ontological throb that we endure from our daily toils in a fast, competitive, and unforgiving world that cries for conformity (and punishes those who do not fit neatly into those compartments you have all neatly sorted out for yourselves).

Please realize that I can understand where this sentiment comes from, and that I respect your feelings, but fuck, what about me?

My sympathies for your loss,

dear controversial art person

Dear Aliza Shvarts,

Thank you for being a screamer in a world full of sleepers.

Your New Fan,

PS. Visit this site to see what I'm talkin' 'bout.

Friday, April 18, 2008

dear people who look after people professionally

Dear Doctors,

As someone who has been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder, I have had a lot of contact with the health care community. Some of these contacts have been very helpful and fruitful for my personal development and physical comfort, but other contacts have left me leaving your offices in a state of despair, frustration, and/or anger.

When treating any patient who comes through your office, please remember the following:

With the ready availability of information in the form of print and electronic data, I know that I have a lot of knowledge at my finger tips. In my opinion, knowledge is power. And for a long time, you folks had all the power. (Goddam the invention of the printing press! It was the beginning of the end for authority!)

Thankfully, with the encouragement of education in our culture, I now have a degree of power too. I now know many of the things that you know. I may not understand things to the full extent that you do, but trust that I have a few brain cells to rub together, and what I do not know, I am fully capable of learning.

I also know that my diagnosis often interferes with how you relate to me, no matter how impartial you claim you are. I can understand how the word "psychosis" glares up at you from your charts, threatening every interaction we have with its presence. I am acutely aware of this since I have lived my life branded with that word for close to ten years.

Please think twice before you think to patronize me by brushing off my physical discomforts as "stress" or "anxiety." And when I have found an "unconventional" solution (by YOUR standards) that solves my physical discomfort, please do not patronize me again by brushing it off as a placebo effect.

Keep in mind that you do not live in my house. You do not know me. You see me for 15 minutes, perhaps 3 or 4 times a year. So spare me your judgments and do your job with an open mind. And if you don't understand something, maybe you'd best go crack open a book, because I know I've done my research before I've even set foot in your office.

Your Defiant Patient,

Thursday, April 17, 2008

dear people, welcome.

Dear People,

Welcome to my blog.

I like hamsters, and cats, and lemurs. Fish are ugly, and I refuse to eat anything that has a tentacle on it for fear of being strangled.

Music is good, but not if it sounds like banshees shrieking, or guitars being sodomized.

Many moons ago, I was diagnosed with an inability to differentiate what is real from what is not real. The doctors and scientific community call this "inability" psychosis.

Life has not been easy, living with such a diagnosis. That fateful day, when my psychiatrist uttered those dreadful words, was the worst day of my life. As the words poured out of his lips, time slowed, and I could sense that searing hot iron of stigma burn the words "mental illness" into my brain. I was branded. Forever, and ever.

In the age of information, stories are few and far between. This blog is my story... and maybe yours too.

More to follow.