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Why bord3rlin3? Part 5,000a

May 24, 2011 10:06 pm

Two of the most difficult things you can do are to (1) live life with a mental illness and (2) care for those with mental illnesses. The first is harder, primarily for the fact that those who do #2 can take a vacation, can get off work and go home for a sound night’s sleep. Those who do #1 are stuck. I don’t really fault my former partner for leaving me (as much as I wish she hadn’t), because I realize how difficult I am to live with. If it were possible, I would have left myself decades ago.

(“Doing #1 and/or #2” is far from the best phrasing, and is ripe for elementary school potty jokes, but I’m not going to put effort into improving it at this point. Plus, I get a tiny kick out of its childish inappropriateness. So, if you find yourself giggling like a schoolgirl (as I am) whilst reading this terribly important post, you may consider this an opportunity to practice “getting over it.” Or not.)

During my recent experience in the crisis shelter–where my broke, uninsured ass stayed voluntarily while medications were restarted and tweaked–I had a wonderful opportunity to hang with my peeps as one who does #1. Although they all knew I am a once and hopefully future doer of #2, I was fully and comfortably accepted as gooble gobble One Of Us. In my own community of crazy folk in crisis, among the borderlines, bipolars, and schizophrenics–whether we wandered in from the ED, the group home, the parents’ basement, the street, or the apartment–I felt at home, empathically bonded with my differently brained fellows.

Why is this obviously intelligent and thoughtful man living on the street?

You have to make that decision for yourself–just know the pros and cons–you could still catch something, an alley is not the safest place, but on the upside, you get laid. But what’s up with the purity ring?

Why do health care professionals so often make it so much more difficult for borderlines to take care of themselves?

Honey, this is a terrible place to pick people up.

Why is it so easy for me to see these other people as capable and worthwhile but so difficult to see myself the same way?

What are we going to do if all of these last-ditch supports vanish in a haze of defunding? Can we get the private sector to see the light and kick in? 

I’m not shocked. That’s what we do: we mistake love for something else, we have trouble making boundaries.

Here’s what I want to do. I want to articulate the obstacles that we face as crazy folk (hey, if the queers can do it …)/people with mental illnesses and attempt to suggest and develop approaches, solutions, workarounds, whatever. As I see it now, the obstacles will fall into certain categories:

  1. Mentally Ill People as Their Own Obstacle
  2. Health Care Professionals as Obstacles
  3. Social & Economic Obstacles
  4. The “Mind-Body” Problem

If I missed anything, I’ll try to pick it up later. Communication and discussion is encouraged. I’d love the feedback and the communal “think-through.”

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