The Ministry of Propoganda.

This is a semi-serious mental health post, I suppose.

A while ago, I wrote about the Ministry of Propoganda, and how it is basically the best defence mechanism I have against total despair sometimes. It’s basically a very formulaic, very silly, version of CBT, but it does the job on the big, complicated problems.

Basically, you treat yourself as the Soviet States of You (and you must be Soviet, as in “united” and “federated” and “working together”) and, in a huge, stately building in your capital, in an architecture conducive to the furtherance of your united cause, there is an office. That office, with its high windows, clean lines, and richly-but-not-opulently appointed furnishings, houses the Ministry of Propoganda, a hand-picked team of the best playwrights, artists, medics, economists and engineers that you have to offer. And every last one of them knows that they’re going in the squid pit if they don’t get public opinion back on-side in a timely fashion after a disaster.

The note comes in, delivered by a rather stern looking military runner; “Percy has done fuck-all today, other than lie on his back reading pulpy historical fiction novels, in pyjamas that haven’t been changed in weeks. He had half a wank in the morning, then burst into tears because it hurt too much to complete. He’s eaten exactly one bourbon biscuit, three cans of relentless, and doesn’t think he’ll get to sleep until noon tomorrow. Also, he’s refusing to talk to anyone, and claims they’re all exhausting and ‘pointless sheddy-haired bastards’. He feels like shit.”

First, the playwright speaks up;

“But what did he need to do today? In the ideal situation, what was the agenda for the day?”

The military man flips through the stack of papers, and reads the list; “Laundry. Sew some pockets into a pair of trousers. Go to the shops for food. Talk to Best Friend about going somewhere on the train.” he coughs, then says “Frankly, ma’am, he has fucked up on every front.”

The playwright arches an eyebrow, and carefully lights a cheroot. The medic speaks up;

“Well, from my point of view, that’s all by the by. He’s done well, in that he’s prioritised his health over everything else. Look at the evidence – Hasn’t injured himself by trying to get out of bed, hasn’t even over-taxed himself by doing the fun things that he wants to do, if they’re painful. Stopping mid-wank because something unrelated hurt? That’s some amazing willpower. And he’s done what he can with the resources available to keep hydrated and fed, whilst acknowledging that, in not doing much today, he didn’t need the calories of a full meal.”

Then the economist joins in;

“It’s good that he didn’t go to the shops either, because in this kind of state he’d end up buying all sorts of inappropriate stuff. You know how he gets when he’s hungry and in pain, just loads up on pomegranates and expensive pop, and empties the budget for the week. Staying indoors stopped him from financially wrecking us. Likewise, if he’d done the laundry, never mind injuring himself, he’d probably have shrank everything. And sewn the pockets on upside-down and got frustrated, and never finished the trousers because of being so annoyed with himself. Definitely a good thing that he didn’t try to do that today either.”

The playwright puts down her cheroot for a second and says;

“He’s recognised that he’s not very good company in this state too, which means that in not going out, he’s preserving his friendship with his best friend – They only have so much time together, and they both prefer it to be when he’s well. So it’s a painful, but economical, decision not to speak to him today. And this means that he rationally knows that he’s just being hateful for no reason, which is a good bit of insight. And if he had tried to make plans to go somewhere on a train today, they’d have been so conservative and timid that they’d be useless, and need to be done again when he’s feeling more confident. So he knew not to waste everyone’s time there.”

The engineer chimes in;

“Economical is a good word for the whole day, really. He’s recognised that it’s not going to be a ‘good’ day, so has completely stripped down the resources used to a minimum – Not wasted a clean set of clothes, when he’s going to be in bed anyway, not cooked something fancy when he won’t appreciate it. Has identified the safest way possible of making the whole day have the least impact possible. Artist – You can turn this into a poster, right?”

And the artist looks up from her drawing of the Great Leader, looking wounded but surrounded by the heroes of myth, into which the official statement will be superimposed and says;

“Yep, I’ve got that.”

The playwright drops her cheroot into the ashtray, picks up her own clipboard onto which she has been writing the whole time, and takes it over to the military runner.

“Here,” she says, taking his notes from him and ripping them in half. “Take this to the pritners’ office and have it distributed to all public message boards.”

He reads the statement;

“Yesterday, our wise leader chose to weather extreme hardship by operating at the absolute minimum tolerated level. By remaining inactive and forgoing social contact, he has prevented the Body from being damaged in ways which could take weeks to recover from. Although yesterday was a trying, painful time, leavened as well as possible with entertainment suitable for such a crisis, by our actions we have preserved our physical, social and economic integrity, to allow for greater prosperity in future.”

As he’s walking down the corridor, he thinks about it. Utter bollocks, obviously. He reads it again in the lift, and tries to remember what his original notes said. Something about being a fuck-up? He reads it again. No, it couldn’t have been – That was a series of very good decisions.

By the time it’s at the printers, he’d forgotten the original note existed at all.

Advertisements

All aboard the Halloween Bullshit-Go-Round

Last year it was Jokers’ Masquerade, this year it’s Grace Dent. Fuck’s sake.

I also seem to be the only person who’s angry about this, so I feel like even more of a headcase than usual.

So, this is the salient chunk of what she wrote;

gracedent

I’m going to have to bite, and be that annoying cry-baby that you’re railing against.

First of all, I’m sorry that you’re terrified of patients escaping from a secure hospital. It might cheer you (or not) to know that you’re still more likely to be murdered, kidnapped or raped by someone that you know than by someone who was involuntarily sectioned. Even if you live next door to a secure unit that regularly loses track of its patients.

Then I’m going to share a “darkest fears” story of my own, which isn’t a hypothetical one. Many years ago I lived alone in a ground-floor flat. I’d been there for about a year, and I was having a period of serious mental ill-health at the time – Psychosis, that led to fairly severe self-harm, and to the brink of a suicide attempt. When I realised that I was about to try to kill myself, I instead phoned 111, who told me to get myself to a safe place and wait for the emergency ambulance. Living in a tiny ground-floor flat, the only safe place where I thought I wouldn’t be able to reach something to harm myself with further was sitting outside.

So I dropped my tools into the sink, opened the front door, and sat on the kerb to wait for an ambulance, in my pyjamas, unlaced boots, no socks, and with a towel over the worst of the bleeding.

The first responder to arrive was a police car, with one officer in it, who first checked that I wasn’t holding a knife, then sat down next to me, applied pressure to the wounds, gave me his gloves to stop my hands from freezing off, and let me cry my eyes out into his hi-vis stab vest.

A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived, and carted me off to the local mental health ward. The treatment I got was quick, appropriate, and frankly I couldn’t fault it.

Days passed, and I was back at home and starting to recover – Nothing ambitious, just about able to make toast and watch TV, and going to bed not long after sunset; this being midwinter, at about five or six in the afternoon, and sleeping for about twelve hours a day.

The first bit of graffiti just said “Skitzo”, and it was in permanent marker on the front door. A couple of days later is was joined by “A psycho lives here” in spray-paint. After that, there were just buckets of paint thrown up the windows. When I ventured out to buy more bread, I was told by the man behind the counter in the corner shop that “Of course they’ll want you to move out, if you’ve cut yourself, it’s not that far in anyone’s eye to imagine you’d attack them.”

Near the end of the week, the problem of the paint-splattery windows was solved by someone putting bricks through all of them. The brick through the bedroom window actually hit me, in bed, and I sat up in time to see that it wasn’t just teenagers, it was someone who lived further up the street. He shouted abuse when he realised I was looking at him, and threatened to come in and “get me”.

As you can probably imagine, sitting in my living room and listening to a neighbour frantically kicking at the front door and rattling the handle, trying to get in, is more terrifying than any halloween costume could possibly convey.

I moved out the next morning, after a sleepless night.

But, honestly, that’s not my darkest fear. My fear is that it’ll happen again, in my new house, which I love and never want to leave. I know it’s been close a few times – I’ve been lucky in that the people that’ve found me wandering around dissassociated, or cut to ribbons, have been very understanding and have always just taken me home safely. That’s luck, not judgment.

But, I hear you ask, what does this have to do with halloween costumes? Well, everything. In the events I relayed, I would always have cut myself, would always have been sectioned, and would always have had a long, boring recovery ahead of me. But my neighbours attacking me, in what they thought was a preemptive strike and defending their community? The only reason that happened was because of the tremendous stigma against the mentally ill, which is fuelled by (amongst other things) horror cliches about asylums and psychopaths and people in hospital gowns with fake blood down the front and manic grins.

I don’t think it’s going to be easy, but in our lifetimes it used to be perfectly acceptable to wear blackface costumes and to suggest that all Black people were either gangsters or warlords, and nowadays that’s the preserve of only a hardcore, openly-racist few. And I don’t think it’s unrealistic to think that within the same amount of time again, we might be able to make it unacceptable to cause this much harm to mentally ill people as well.

The horns the horns the horns…

The destruction of a perfectly good word;

So, when I was about fourteen I had a friend who was chronically ill, and she was in hospital quite a bit. One of the things that happened was that she got impacted bowels sometimes from being, well, confined to a hospital bed by the sheer amount of gubbins she was hooked up to. One day, when we were there, she was gleefully celebrating having had a massive bowel movement – “Litres and litres of the fucking stuff” as she put it, watery diarrhoea brought on by a bad takeaway that we’d brought in the night before. The nurse, who was not all that much older than us and was hanging around, put the theory that she had been cured by a lamb jalfrezi soundly to bed with a metaphor;

“You know the Tyne Tunnel, right? There’s always traffic jams, the lorries backed up all the way across the river. So you get to the roundabout on the way in, and there’s nothing but motorbikes…”

Thus meaning that, regardless of all else, I can’t use the word “motorbikes” without a puerile little giggle. Which explains my many circumlocutions to avoid talking about the plural of a motorcycle. Difficult when owning one, and having friends with more than one motorbike, and more than one motorbike-owning friend.

 

Motorbikes morotbikes motorbikes. Aaaaahahahahahaa.

 

But what else is this about – Well, it’s that friendship group. To a greater or lesser extent, we were all goths. Or enough into metal and poetry and victorian gothic literature and tattoos that the difference was negligible. And we were probably the most tightly-knit large friendship group that I’ve ever been in, beyond even the normal teenage things.

Could argue which direction the horse and cart are travelling in here, but since we were a group that read books and listened to music that adressed things like depression, physical illness, and loneliness we were both more ready to recognise it in each other, and to accept people who were suffering. When our friends were depressed, we could name it and knew the beginnings of how to deal with it. We knew that, sometimes, “I don’t want to be around anyone” really meant “I don’t want to be around anyone” and not “I hate you personally” which was a step up from most teenagers. We knew about the complicated relationships between the Byrons and the Shelleys and their friends, so we knew that “You slept with my partner!” didn’t necessarily mean that the friendship was over, or that the pair was doomed, or even that monogamous pairings were the answer to everything. And, of course, we were teenagers, so we got everything wrong, but we’d look for frameworks within our culture, and lo, there were plenty.

And now there’s another study out saying that teenage goths are more likely to be depressed, and that this means that goths should be watched more closely than other subcultures. And, well, that just feels wrong. I don’t think that being a member of a subculture, even one that does go digging into the dark, is going to trigger a mental illness. I think that, if you’re already depressed or heading towards a mental illness, finding a subculture where depression is considered to be just part of the spectrum of human experience rather than being either the bogeyman or something to be joked about is pretty much a relief.

 

Unrelatedly; Just got my 666th comment!

Headclutcher

This is a really worthwhile campaign – http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/getthepicture (Found via the lovely @SLCathy)

One of the great cliches of mental health reporting is the headclutcher photo; You know the one – Person sitting, often on a flight of stairs or backed against a wall, with face obscured by hair and head held in one or both hands.

Funnily enough, a lot like the pose I’ve been adopting in trying to deal with this over-prolonged photophobic migraine.

But yes. Headclutching is, although not unheard of, not common. I’ve known individuals who’ve last-second resisted self-harm by sitting on their hands, gripping their arms, twisting their hands in their hair or just plain grabbing their heads, and of course tricotillomania is a thing, but why those two comparatively rare situations are the headline way that we represent mental illness is a bit beyond me.

The cynic in me says “It’s because it’s a way to show mental illness in a way that doesn’t show someone’s face.” Is mental illness still so stigmatised that we won’t show a face next to it? And considering that we use stock photos including faces for stories about all kinds of incredibly embarrassing or personal things, even things with quite a stigma to them (The classic “Woman sitting on edge of bed looking sadly at camera whilst man sleeps behind her” photo for all sexual advice columns). So what makes mental illness so bad that it feels like a risk to put a face, even a face with “Picture posed by actors” written below it, next to it?

The realist in me says “It’s because nobody really understands that mental illness happens to both more and less people than you think, and that those people are just people”. I’ve talked about mental illness before as being a bit like asthma. Some people will have one attack, ever, and never really have to think about it again. Some people will know that they’re prone to asthma attacks, so will know when they need to go to the doctor to get another inhaler. Some people will have asthma for their whole lives, and carry an inhaler everywhere, but will have it so well-managed that other than the prescription, you’d not really know. Some people will be hooked up to a nebuliser and barely able to get a sentence out straight for weeks on end. Some people’s whole lives will be defined by their asthma, and some won’t even think about it much.

This is why the “One in four!” statistic bothers me so much, as well – Every time someone cheerfully says “Oh well, one in four of us will get a mental illness at some point!” in response to someone disclosing their illness, they’re doing both a very good and a very bad thing. Firstly, they’re reminding themself that mental illness is common and that the mentally ill aren’t a terrifying other (which is good) but secondly, they’re often using it as a card to allow themselves to not have to listen to the ill person.

Possibly a good way to think of it is that one in four people have mental illness at some point in their life, but it’s far less than one in four that end up disabled by them. It’s also useful to increase awareness that not all mental illnesses are the same, just like not all physical illnesses are the same.

So, what’s this got to do with headclutchers?

Well, one of the things that’s the problem with the headclutcher is that it portrays mental illness as always being acute, and it portrays acute mental illness as always being headclutchy. If you expect the mentally ill person to look depressed and have their head in their hands, you won’t notice the bipolarbear on a spending spree, or the schizophrenic who’s suddenly convinced that her girlfriend is cheating on her, or even just the depressive who’s given up on his sport and doesn’t go to the pub anymore.

It also means that someone who is experiencing mental ill health, and tells someone about it, is less likely to be believed if they don’t look headclutchy in some way (If not literally clutching their head, then at least physically not in complete control of their body, possibly badly-groomed and unable to make eye contact). Some people do, some don’t – Some feel like they do, but have such a command of social norm that it doesn’t take them much effort at all to put on their best suit and look well, so they look normal anyway.

So, what’s the alternative? We still need photos to go with stories about mental illness.

Here’s a few that I can think of, as a non-expert, so they might not be good, but at least they’re not nothing;

For stories about hospitals, services, or inpatient treatment – Pictures of the facilities? Signs pointing to the psych ward, lovely redbrick hospital frontages, waiting rooms nicely decorated with big fish tanks, or empty wards illustrating numbers of beds. No faces required, since it’s about service provision. Possibly even pictures of telephones, for phone services.

For stories about diagnosis – GPs’ waiting rooms, the outside of the surgery, a stereotypical GP’s office. They’re much more relevant to the actual act of being diagnosed than

For stories about medication – Pictures of pill packets, or dosette boxes. Still no faces, and no judgment with them. Also an opportunity for pictures of your friendly local pharmacist or similar.

For stories about suicide rates – First of all, for fuck’s sake, stop showing methods. Secondly, stop showing headclutchers because it’s still inaccurate, and someone that’s looking for headclutching isn’t going to be looking for actual warning signs. And why not just illustrate with landscape photos of wherever you’re talking about? It gets across some of the sense of the story, the physical location, it isn’t graphically horrible, and frankly a nice landscape might cheer up anyone who’s just spend ten minutes reading about preventable death.

For stories that really are about mentally ill people – Why not just use pictures of people? If the story is about a footballer who became mentally ill, show someone playing. If it’s about a new talking therapy, show two people talking. If it’s about getting ill when on holiday, show someone on a beach or something. Effectively, the story is about someone’s mental illness, so you don’t need to reiterate that they’re ill by showing them, inaccurately, headclutching. Yes, a picture of someone kicking a football doesn’t tell you anything new about mental health, but at least it doesn’t spread a lie like a headclutch does.

Anyway, yes. Support #GetThePicture on Twitter. Time To Change are doing really good work.

Flying Updates

So, I have a complete AC separation on the right hand side, my right clavicle is rambling around loose and keeps hammering my vagus nerve and making me feel dizzy, and everything from buttock to skull is in spasm, resulting in my right foot being blue and it being difficult to breathe.

This post brought to you, incredibly slowly, by speech-to-text.

So, like any sensible zeb, I’m gearing up for a swim.

Being disabled is a bit horrible, really

Basically, I want to talk about internalised disablism, since it’s a thing I get a lot.

I’m also going to start this post with a very wry, very self aware “I can’t be disablist! Some of my best friends are disabled!”

It’s reached the point where, in some circles, complaining at all about being disabled is called internalised disablism; This line of logic suggests that the only reason that someone would want to climb a mountain or finish reading a long series of novels or go for a month without self-harming is because they, at heart, hate themself and have aligned their life goals with a society which views the achievements of disabled people as being either less important, or only important if they can be compared to the achievements of non-disabled people (Note – I’m saying disabled and non-disabled here because I want to include only people that’re both able-bodied and non-mentally-ill in the category of non-disabled, It’s just easier that way.) One of the things that’s routinely cited as an example of internalised disablism is not wholly embracing the Social Model of Disability.

Quick primer; The Social model says that a disabled person is not disadvantaged or suffering because of their body or mind, they are suffering or disadvantaged because of society’s attitude to their body or mind, and that the primary thing that we should do to prevent disabled people from suffering is to alter society to fit better. The Medical model says that the disabled person is suffering because of their body or mind, and that we should take steps to bring their body and mind into line with being ablebodied and sane/neurotypical (Note – I have used neurotypical here to include that Autists and Aspergics are broadly included in the medical model. I’m not on the Spectrum, so I shan’t presume to talk about how the Social and Medical models apply to Autusts or Aspergics. Anyone on the Spectrum who wants to make an addendum to the post or help me work out which resources are good and which are bad, feel free).

 

Note, in saying that I believe that the Medical model is valid, I’m not saying that society is doing its best. Society needs to get its fucking act together and make accessibility a priority, both in the physical sense of “If it’s a modern building, carve it up until you can get a wheelchair through it”, and the social sense of understanding that “we put in a wheelchair ramp” isn’t enough to make it accessible – There’s plenty of walking wounded, and it’s difficult to find places to socialise where Deaf or Blind people are automatically included, there’s often nowhere to let someone recover if they’re coming around from an injury or a seizure (Memorably, last year at the opera I ended up hiding out in the cellar stairs behind the bar, since there was nowhere else that I could stretch out my sorely-put-upon spine without being jostle or disturbed).

 

Anyway, I sometimes wonder if the people making these arguments have never done something purely for the pleasure of doing it – If they haven’t considered that maybe the view from the top of Blencathra is beautiful, or that stories are fascinating, or that not having bleeding infection risks on your body is better than having them.

When I say “I would like to have a sub-60 second 100m again”, I’m not saying “Disabled people are worse than non-disabled people” I’m saying “I enjoy the sensation of going fast in water, and it is natural to want to measure progress quantitatively”.

 

In a couple of discussions with friends, I’ve found that there seems to be a bit of a dividing line between who wholeheartedly disregard the Medical, and people who have problems with the Social (And, indeed, finding someone who is completely one or the other is rare anyway). The dividing line seems to be what I’d describe as “endemic suffering”. If you have one leg, but are sitting in a ski-lift with a cup of hot chocolate and an attractive Bavarian next to you, the only thing that will disable you is if there’s no way to get down without using two feet. If you’re sitting in that ski-lift, but instead of your leg being missing, it’s dangling a beartrap, you’re going to be disabled by the pain. Likewise, if you can’t even contemplate the lovely Bavarian calligrapher because your vision is slowly filling up with swarms of illusory but terrifying hornets, you’re going to be disabled by your own mind.

 

The weird middle-ground that I’ve found is physical fatigue; Some people with it prefer the Social model (“We shouldn’t lionise sportspeople so much, it perpetuates the disablism that anyone who doesn’t do physical exercise is somehow a bit morally suspect”) and some prefer the Medical (“Are there any stimulants that I can take so that I can at least get as far as the gym? I want to look like Stuart Broad.”) Indeed, the middle-ground in that seems to fall on how much the person in question enjoys or values sport for themselves, or what their primary experiences with sportspeople have been – If you were bullied by the entire rugby team, or went to a hockey-centric school whilst you were an avid bookworm, you’re likely to have a less positive view of sports in-general than you would if your experiences with sportspeople en masse have been positive or neutral.

 

(The first time that I was accused of being disablist towards myself was about sports, actually. And came from another disabled person, so it had plenty of weight. My love of the Paralympics and my belief that sport in schools, or more broadly the opportunity to exercise in school, was a good thing, was held up as being part of the culture that oppresses the disabled. I was told that, in participating in the glorification of competitive impulses and the perpetuation of the idea that sporting achievement was a good thing, I was adding to the harassment and othering suffered by disabled children. I was also reminded that the Paralympics sets impossible standards for disabled people to live up to, and that seeing one disabled person excel in their chosen discipline was tantamount to treating all disabled people as performing monkeys. So that, basically, all disabled people should opt out of practising any kind of sport, because it was perpetuating disablism to do so. It’s kind of stuck with me. Firstly because this was someone telling me that my only healthy-ish coping mechanism, hard exercise, was an outright evil however I practised it, and secondly because I couldn’t think of anything more disablist than saying “Sport is for the ableds”. On, and thirdly because the person telling me this had waited until I was exhausted and miserable and trapped on a long plane journey and in no mood to argue back to tell me. I understood the reasoning, and it was based in experience, and the person with the opinion was perfectly entitled to hold it, but it still made me feel like a terrible human being who didn’t deserve to live.)

 

Well, this has been quite a segue, but that brings us quite neatly back to the point; At that point, I felt like I was a Bad Cripple, and that’s one of the two axes on which I feel internal disablism.

 

The Bad Cripple Factors

 

-“It’s disablist, on TV, that when a disabled character dreams they’re usually not disabled.”

Well, it’s a cheap plot device, but I always feel guilty now that when I dream, I’m not in a wheelchair and wracked with pain, I’m usually walking comfortably through a huge city with watercourses everywhere that I can dive into and swim without fear or fatigue.

 

-“It’s disablist to present a mobility exoskeleton as a desirable thing, walking isn’t the be-all and end-all”

I would be first in the queue for an exoskeleton. I would cut my own legs off with a rusty hacksaw if it meant I could have a robot body that was better than my own.

 

-“It’s disablist to present the non-mentally-ill perspective as the objective/correct one, and the mentally ill as the subjective/wrong one”

And yet, if I think that someone has said something incredibly offensive to me, I’ll always ask a more sane friend “Did he mean what I think he meant?” and the answer will often be “No, but I can see why your depression might tell you that he did”. I feel terrible that I sometimes need a reality-anchor in the form of my friends, but without it I would probably have moved to Slovakia and bought a ferret farm in a fit of mania by now. Or, more seriously, I would have cut ties with everyone I know, defaulted on my mortgage, and fled because I thought that everyone was plotting against me. Or I’d have killed myself, when faced with an insoluble problem like how to say that I didn’t want to go to a meeting.

 

-“It’s disablist to want to not be disabled”

And lo, I can feel bad for saying things like “I wish I wasn’t in pain” or “I wish I could climb that” or “I wish I could finish reading this book without needing the longer paragraphs read to me”. Being in pain is bad. Being unable to walk or swim or climb as well as I want to is bad – And that’s not unique to my disability, I’m pretty sure that everyone with a competitive streak wishes they were stronger and faster, and everyone with an appreciation for the countryside wishes they could spend more time comfortably out in it. And being in pain, jesus christ, being in pain is bad. Waking up, every day, knowing that I have to make the choice between too sore to move or too stoned to think? That’s bad.

 

-“Keeping fit has no bearing on disability, you can be a couch potato or a world-class athlete and still end up disabled”

And yet, the only thing that mitigates the symptoms of EDS is regular, muscle-building, weight-reducing (when people have weight to lose) exercise. A lower body mass puts less strain on the already-knackered joints, and greater muscle mass allows finer control of the limbs, and lessens the likelihood of becoming so exhausted from simple activities that injuries happen. It doesn’t apply to all disabilities – probably not even to most – but it applies to mine.

 

And then we combine those with the other side of internal disablism; The I Am Not Worthy.

 

The I Am Not Worthy Factors

 

-“Why would anyone want to spend time with me? I have nothing interesting to say.”

-“Why would anyone ever find me attractive? I’m underweight, I smell of opium and ketones and I bathe twice a month.”

-Why would anyone ever want to share a meal with me? I pick at the food then usually get stomach cramps and give up.”

-“Why would anyone want to go on day trips with me? I always hurt myself and we have to go home early.”

-“Why would anyone want to be my partner? Their lives would be so much easier with someone normal.”

-“Why would anyone want to fuck me? It’d be so much easier with someone less frail.”

-“Why would anyone want to live with me? I create endless mess and fill the house with mobility kit and drugs.”

-“Why would anyone want to be my friend? I have crises over nothing and alternate between misery, mania, and suicidality.”

-“Why would anyone pick me for anything, over literally any other human being? I’m not as good as other people.”

 

To which there is just one answer;

 

-“And yet, they do.”

 

…I’m working on it. I don’t think that I can be the only person who feels like this; Like I’m not good enough at being proud to be disabled to fit in with other disabled people, but like I’m not good enough at being a normal, functioning member of society to fit in with the abled people.

 

But mostly, probably to the chagrin of campaigners for wholehearted uptake of the Social model, I’m working on it by picking my battles. I complain incessantly to First Buses, since their drivers (Other than a few, and whenever I see them on the bus I am cheered) as a whole are careless and disablist and don’t care if they accidentally fling a passenger down the length of the bus, refuse to help with wheelchair access when the wheelchair space is blocked (And don’t start me off on the recent legal action which determined that wheelchair users have no right to use the wheelchair space), and don’t wait at stops for long enough for passengers with mobility difficulties to exit the bus. I speak up to defend the disabled in conversation, and am frankly ashamed of how many of my friends still casually use invocations of mental illness as a shorthand for dangerous/ignorant/unpredictable, and how many of them really like the idea of adding “And then they were crippled/insane” as things to make a character more Dark And Edgy. I write to local businesses to get them to improve their accessibility, and they often do. As a balance to this, I try my hardest to keep fit, since I prefer to be able to walk and keep my mind my own. I don’t expect people to take my hallucinations seriously, or to listen to me when I’m obviously talking nonsense. I don’t denigrate the worth of activities which I can’t do.

 

There’s probably something much more intelligent and much less longwinded to say about this. Maybe later.

Never look back.

Am I odd, in that reminiscing about the past at all makes me violently depressed?

I went and had a look through my old blogs tonight (2002-03, 2005-2009, 2010-2011 and 2014-) and, even though none of them have particularly depressing content (Other than, well, seeing that yes, I really have been very depressed, very insomniac, and in constant pain for my whole adult life, and that so many of the lovely people with bright futures in the early entries are now dead or vanished), it made me cry uncontrollably.

Seriously, I should just never look back. I hate my life now, I hated it then as well, and yet I can’t help but look back and think that it has just got quietly worse.