Warning: this is a long one. Pour yourself a drink and settle in.
|‘Have you now or ever talked about putting pins in outlets as a kid?|
I had my interrogation yesterday (background here). The HR prick had talked to everyone in my section over the past week to suss out just how crazy/dangerous they thought I was. It was like taking a fun poll to him, I guess.
A lie of theirs was that the previous Administrative Investigation was only about the petition circulated around the staff saying they thought I was crazy/dangerous but providing no specific incidents at all for their allegations.
But that interrogation covered a wide range of incidents going back to when I was almost killed in front of my wife by a SWAT team tenderly dispatched by the VA (I’m going to be blunt about who did this to me) because they were soooooo concerned about my well-being.
So prick HR man says the results were a ‘mixed bag’ and then, in all seriousness, told me “some of the people you think are your friends are the ones who complained about you.” And no, the photo here isn’t lying – saying that I stuck so many metal objects in outlets AS A KID that its a wonder to God and my mother how I didn’t land up killing myself was actually reported by one or some of my coworkers as a ‘disturbing’ remark.
So from now on, I will refuse all holiday parties and staff get-togethers. I’d rather walk into a pit of vipers.
Am I hurt? Yeah, but I shouldn’t be. People generally suck and in our culture and especially at the VA, destroying people is a sport. Pick on the weakest and ruin them. It’s fun!
If anything, I believe I am owed an apology. If not for almost getting me killed, at least for my wife. She has never been the same since the incident and has suffered greatly along with me. She is also upset because some of the people that did this to us we welcomed into our home or I gave a ride in my new car. But I won’t hold my breath for an apology. That would be the decent thing to do and the VA never apologizes – they pay out.
I just don’t care anymore. Yeah, I have bipolar/depression/anxiety disorder. I never asked for it. It influences my behavior in ways I can’t always control. If it makes people feel any better, I hate myself for my inability to control it and all the lost opportunities it cost me along the way.
Please don’t talk to me of stigma. I’ve had it right up to my eyeballs and I’m here to tell you, it’s not going away any time soon. People in American culture just love to bully the weak and different too much.
I never should have tried to educate people. It was like handing your enemies a sword and asking them to run you thorough with it.
But sometimes the bipolar do and say things that are genuinely odd and, as for myself, I always apologize and I felt trying to explain why these things happen would be a good idea. I probably would have got more understanding if I blamed it on doing lines of cocaine.
But I don’t’ care anymore because at 53, I’m tired of being perceived as a freak and I’m tired of trying to get people to accept me for who I am.
So fuck ‘em.
I want to be around the hurting and broken; the people who have been through the fire, taken society’s shit and are still standing, wobbly, bruised, cut, but still standing. They are the ones I identify with, not the people our society holds up as being examples to us all. Most of them are insufferable egomaniacs who were born on third base and think they hit a triple. We’re told to envy the Kardashians (and people like this) and respect corrupt cops, politicians and others among out ‘betters.’ You know, people like this. Don’t worry about Brock. He came from the best breeding and he’ll be on Wall Street making big bucks soon enough. There are reasons these people climbed to the top of the greasy pole as Disraeli said. And it is not because they were angels on earth.
I will no longer try to get in shape to fit in. In fact, I will eat whatever I like whenever the mood moves me. I will get fatter and fatter. With a few brief exceptions, I have always been this way and I will die this way. Please don’t waste my time talking to be about my health. I fully realize what I am doing. Our days are numbered anyway and I’d rather go with a Ding Dong in my mouth than quinoa, thankyouverymuch.
Oh, you’re angry that you’ll have to pay for me? Well, I’m angry I have to pay for your space weapons and other tools of death that make connected defense contractors obscenely rich. So fuck you. If it makes you feel any better, by the time my arteries are nearly closed, I’ll probably take myself out to save your precious health care money for the more deserving. I don’t want to grow old in this culture anyway and the dirty little secret of you ‘achievers’ is you’d like us to off ourselves anyway. Then you’ll scream at us for daring to thwart ‘God’s plan’ by selfishly killing ourselves. Gives you a psychological two-fer to feel all smug and self-satisfied.
Well, I guess this has turned into a genuine rant of sorts. This will never be accepted as a article by BP Hope or The Mighty or any of the other sites supposedly dedicated to the bipolar or mentally ill. They want happy stories of overcoming by photogenic young people not screeds, however truthful, from fat middle aged white guys who haven’t been published in Huffpo. Go ahead and check them out and tell me I’m wrong. You’ll only get the bitter old crazy middle aged fat guy viewpoint right here and nowhere else! Bookmark it!
Well, what else am I not going to do? Ah yes, pretend to take political or social stands I don’t believe in to keep ‘friends’ happy on Facebook and other places. I realize that my views are probably the opposite of what mainstream society thinks is ‘acceptable’ but I have allowed my need for friends to put me in this prison.
Speaking of acceptable, see what Youtube is doing? De-monetizing videos they claim are ‘not advertiser friendly.’ Meaning, ones that don’t challenge anyone’s thinking or biases or present subjects deemed unpleasant to social justice warriors or their mirror-image counterparts, angry blue haired Christian women in Kansas. Yes, you’re two sides of the same coin.
I have always believed that the natural end of capitalism will be fascism.
I have always believed that the natural end of socialism will be slavery.
The fundamentally flawed human race cannot exist under any economic system without allowing our seemingly natural desire for wealth and power to fuck it up.
We’re doomed no matter what. Take a good, honest look at the planet. We’re destroying our own planet so a tiny minority of people can remain unbelievably rich. We deserve what we get.
I must now realize that people like me simply cannot have the friends we always wanted. I have been consciously aware all my life that there are things about me which, in time, repel people. I understand what these things are: they are the weirdness that erupts when I have failed to keep my condition under control. Or, they are the times that my real feelings about things finally burst through.
Example: I lost a bunch of friends I used to be very tight with back in 2004. Some were from my high school and their extended friends included a firefighter and a cop. We were in a fantasy football league that went back to 1994. On the night before the draft, we’d get together for a big backyard cookout at the firefighter’s house and then play poker for most of the night. God, what fun. One of those evenings, the cop was talking about how he’d trick stupid (read: poor) people into revealing they had pot on them in order to make an arrest. One of my friends high-fived the cop. I was horrified. And said so. And that was the beginning of the end of that.
It’s time that, rather than running from that part of me to appease others, I should embrace it. I’ve been conforming for all of my life for one reason or another and I’d like to spend what little time I may have left actually being comfortable in my own skin for once.
Looking back, it amazes me the things I was actually able to do despite my condition (although in almost every case, my inability to control my condition led to early exits from these jobs): I was a sportswriter, a columnist and a pretty damn good reporter for five daily newspapers. I was a radio talk show host and a popular one who could have been a national talker if not for. . .well. . . I was a soldier once, in military intelligence in the Army Reserve, but again, being true to myself, well. . . And it’s not what you think. It wasn’t political. I got into a shouting match with the 1st Sergeant because I had the temerity to believe that letting reservists get drunk on a field exercise and drive around in armored vehicles wasn’t a very responsible way to run a company.
Management in any organization doesn’t like being told they are wrong/incompetent/evil. I never played that game and paid the price over and over for it. I’m actually kind of proud of it. In our culture, we make the worst people management because they’ve proven their reliability over their competency. Always remember the Peter Principleand the Iron Law of Institutions. They never fail.
I realize that as a result of this, I will find myself more and more in my natural state: alone. And that’s OK. Looking back, I’ve found that my fondest memories have been being by myself, in my room, with my books, music and scratch pads. I have a wife who gets me and that is the luckiest thing that has ever happened to me. I hope she understands as I slowly shut myself off from human interaction and I hope she will not let that stop her from going out on her own with her friends and having a good time. She deserves it after putting up with me.
I have come to believe that to lead a life that is truly free, you don’t need to live off the grid as a survivalist (although I get why people do that). I believe you have live your life as if you are already dead (or soon will be, take your pick). Admittedly, it gets easier the longer you live because you have fewer people to impress to make a living and living itself becomes more of a dreary slog. And, after awhile you realize that most of your prestige is based on what others can gain by knowing you, your friends will drop you like a rock over trivial matters and getting stuff doesn’t make you happy, even if it is the car of your dreams. I know what many readers must be thinking now and you are right. You’ve heard this somewhere before.
But the ‘already dead’ thing? Well, that comes from another movie (well, TV miniseries) and it concerns how soldiers at war can get over their fright. It’s what I would have done if I had been called to the Iraq War back in 1991: the minute you step off the plane into the war zone, believe you’re already dead. That enables you to do the things you need to do as a soldier. A corollary is something I’ve lived my life by which many regard as being disturbed thinking (but it works for me): always prepare for and expect the worst. If it happens, you can handle it better because you were psychologically ready for it. If it doesn’t happen, the relief and, perhaps, happiness, is that much more magnified.
Remember: whether you know it or not, for many of us, life IS war. We fight every day against our own conditions/compulsions and against a society that doesn’t understand or want to understand us. We have to fight these little wars on several fronts: against our families, our friends, our workplaces, the government and other authority figures, and, of course, ourselves. We didn’t ask for war but in order to remain true to ourselves and survive in a world WE don’t really understand; we have to fight it – everyday. No wonder so many of us develop hypervigilance.
Some people can successfully fight this war to a natural death. That is a great accomplishment but no one with a mental illness leaves this world without deep and hurtful wounds. But they have won a great personal battle. Some fight as long as they can until they choose to make the pain end. Society calls them selfish cowards. They call these poor unfortunate souls those names because they don’t want to face that their society really doesn’t live up to our ideals that all of us is connected to everyone else. They also want to feel superior – that could never happen to them.
If you believe in a creator of the universe, or whatever you call it, believe this: the creator didn’t build everyone with the same amount of steel. Some have more than others. It doesn’t make them bad people. In many cases, it gives them the gift of empathy, a rarer and rarer gift nowadays.
So for my lifelong war, after I saw this part of the movie ‘Band of Brothers,’ I have now adopted Lt. Speirs’ philosophy as my own. Let him explain:
ADDENDUM: Today’s depression comix:
This is almost literally what I said to a coworker the morning of July 7, 2015 that brought the SWAT team to my door the next morning and started the 14 months of hell.
That co-worker can fuck right off with the rest of them.