Tag Archives: responsibility

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System

Reblogged from takingthemaskoff.com

This is an excellent post on one scenario of how two people, simply due to the circumstances of their birth, end up on two separate paths. I know that sounds trite and like every other story, but please read this one

A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System.
A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System
November 30, 2014 125 Comments

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“You know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see the party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re weak, please let us in.” After about a week that song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of that food! I’m breakin down that door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry”

– Tupac Shakur

It is my hope that we have a silent army building. The revolution will not be televised. But I see the replies I get, and it gives me hope.

I saw an article in the New York Times basically saying there would be less shootings if the mentally ill had less privacy and were more easily forced to be hospitalized. This is the New York Times! Who are the sick ones?

I’m going to tell a story. 2 stories, of 2 different people. They are both true stories. Then you can see how this all begins and becomes a problem. I’ll go back and forth between the stories until their paths meet.

Here’s Dusty, I don’t know, age 3 to 5. Happy kid, plenty of love. Just loves everyone and loves the world. He doesn’t see color, sex, religion. He has nokind of discrimination, all he sees is love.

Here’s the second story. This is my cousin Donald. The man he is with is my father. Donald also loves the world, he sees no race, sex, and discriminates against no one. He is a very loving and giving kid.

Dusty gets older. He still loves everyone and everything. However, Dusty grew up in a home that was infested with cockroaches, and had been condemned 2 to 3 times. There was about 7 or 8 kids living there, they had no food. Dusty was the kindest of the group. He got beaten by his brothers, picked on, and thrown around. He was told “You are a loser, give me your money, do my work.” He did not understand, he gave whatever he had to others.

When I met Dusty he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had 4 brothers and sisters, they all smoked pot, drank, and never went to school. Everyone walked around this place with almost no clothes. They had only 2 bedrooms. The house was full of smoke.

Cockroaches were all over. They had no shower, and a bathroom with only a curtain covering it. The old guys would come around drinking, smoking weed, and getting physical. The older kids were getting worse also.

There was something special about Dusty, his heart. He was born with an amazing heart. He loved everyone, and gave all he had. To tell you of this kids strength, words won’t do it justice. As a 9 year old, he was growing up in a house in which every adult was punching, smoking weed, drinking, and stealing. Also, the gangsters knew where the weed was. THE house, that’s where they were. But Dusty, at age 9, he refused to smoke weed or drink or do any of that. However, being sweet and sensitive, he was an easy target. He did not stop loving though, he still loved them all. He saw through it, through everything, even as a kid. So what happens when you are extra sensitive, caring, and loving? You get pushed down, forced to create a mask, his was the goofy guy. This is the same house where I met Joe. Dusty and Joe were cousins and best friends.

Here is Donald. He is my cousin. He was a great kid. His father was a doctor in a small town, he made lots and lots of money. That doesn’t make Donald bad, and he is not bad. In fact, he’s a wonderful human being. I know this story puts him in privileged category. But, that is not his fault, he is still a caring, kind, and considerate human being. His father, my uncle, was once in jail for stealing cars and grew up to be a doctor. The thing about Donald was, he was born gifted, and extremely smart. He was above the genius level. He may have skipped a grade, I can’t remember. He was and is not a bad person.

However, while Dusty was seeing what he saw, Donald was going on trips, and getting the best life had to offer. He worried for nothing, he could be a kId and thrive.

Thrive he did. He is a talented, smart, and funny guy that had charisma. He didn’t have to worry about gangsters, getting food, getting raped, or having mice and cockroaches sleep on him. He had a huge bedroom, went on vacations, had all he ever wanted. He had great parents. Now another thing I noticed about Donald was that when I went to spend 2 weeks with him when I was 12, was that in this small town everyone drank, and did drugs, at age 12. Which is common for a small town. They were 12 and flung this. All of his friends.

One time we went to his friends house, the kid was sleeping and the kid woke up, and lifted his pillow and there was jack daniels. They all smoked and drank, except Donald. His parents taught him this.

Dusty did it on strength of character. Donald friends said “man your dad is always getting thanked in the paper.” That was true, small town legend.

Donald’s pressure was to follow his father, and that is a different kind of pressure. One that is often not considered a problem, the gifted child.

However, that is just as hard as raising a troubled child. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. What they both had in common was they were gifted.

Dusty then ended up going away for a while after missing so much school. His brothers would go just enough to not get sent away. Dusty was the extra sensitive one, he didn’t care. Me and Dusty and Joe had a bond, we all loved each other and saw behind each other’s masks. One time, on the phone, Dusty had called his mom and said, “tell mike I lo, well never mind,” he wanted to tell me he loved me, but he was afraid. I stopped hanging out there.

That’s another story, this isn’t about me. Dusty eventually surrendered and started using drugs. Then, they had a guy from Arizona living at the drug house, his name was Carl. He had packages of drugs delivered to the house all the time. The police got involved, and a sting was set up. So the package is delivered, they all have Dusty answer because he is kind and wants to help. So he always does, and he did on this case as well.

Well, he signed, and he gets arrested, and now he has a felony. They knew it was not him, he gets interrogated, and interrogated. Does he give Carl up?, nope, never. This was when Dusty was 19. That’s his booking photo. He went to jail, then he just got off probation recently.

This is someone you may see in jail, or at the shelter, or with the dirty clothes. That’s what you see, but this is what you’re missing when you make that judgement. These are the kids that come into our neighborhood, come to school, to church. We say get them out, those dirty kids with no manners. We don’t want to look at them, it’s like clutter in our clean house. We don’t want to deal with it, we want to pretend it’s not there. Then we may have to do something. So we ignore them and label them and call them losers or dirtbags. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

But that is how we all are part of the problem and we ask are co responsible for the inequality. You see these kids, these people, and no action is am action. Silence is consent.

Here’s Donald at age 19. He had a child. Now that’s a disaster if he’s in Dusty’s situation. However, Donald had great supports in place. His mom and dad helped the teenagers adjust, made sure everything was taken care of.

Donald was able to go to school and while Dusty was in jail, Donald was excelling. He finished college in 3 years and went on to medical school and finished. He’s a doctor. Now again, he’s not bad, not a superstar yet, I don’t think.

He is now starting to isolate, he is on a different level than others and he gets told that alot. So he believes it, so does his wife. So now the good doctor moves and starts dominating the medical profession.

They told me his iq is 156. I’m sure they told him too. He then joined the army like his father and got lots of medals and accolades.

Which is not bad. This is simply to show how we start to label and separate.

Here is Dusty taking care of his dying mother. He gets out of jail, meets a girl, and they have kids. He didn’t know how to have a relationship, he is on his own with no college, no skills, no understanding of life. Just love.

Then you have Donald with his 500 thousand dollar house that got egged.

How do I know this? Well his wife posted on Facebook that someone egged their 500 thousand dollar house but she wasn’t worried because they had security cameras all over the house. You know, to keep the “bad criminals out.”

Like clutter, she didn’t want to see that.

I also saw her post once that she was very upset with the mayor in the town they live in because he allowed a Wal-Mart to be built by their house. Her quote was “who else has to look out their 500 thousand dollar house and see a Wal-Mart, someone needs to stop this guy, do not vote for him.”

See as the separation is almost complete. What did dusty do to be placed below donald?

Nothing. But we see them each walking down the street and we treat them differently. That’s how we all contribute.

Dusty getting older, he split with his kids mom. He suffers from depression, severe depression. He feels rejected all the time, he smokes weed to forget, to not be himself.

He talks about suicide all the time. He misses Joe more than anyone. His heart is broken. Dusty and Joe spent all their time together. They even moved 2 blocks down from me for 2 years. I would drive by and wave. Really? Yes. I was no better than Donald. Even worse, because I drive by, and we still talked from time to time, but I was trying to get my life together. I could have said hi.

The doctor and his family. Now this is not an attack in Donald at all. It is about how we create separation. He worked hard, he’s caring, and he is a good man. He just started to believe he was different and better. He got told lies.

Lies we all believe, like, you need this huge house, cars, medals, and everyone to see how awesome you are.

So he fell in the trap. Here we are, the “look at us” photo.

You know how the native americans defined mental illness? They said anyone who lives in excess of what they need is mentally ill.

The doctors wife at the ritz.

Dusty and his kid at the laundromat.

The doctor and his boat.

Dusty at the playground. Having fun.

The doctors daughter with one of her trophies, she had special tennis lessons, beauty pageants, and she going to Oxford college on scholarship.

Same thing as Donald, smart talented kid. No fault of her own, the cycle continues. She is being brainwashed like he was.

He had a mask on as well. Still does.

Dusty being a dad and loving. He never knew life would be so hard when all he wanted to do was love.

The doctor is now continuing to serve and get accolades. To bad it’s all a lie.

Now this part is not real, but an example of what would likely happen from what I’ve seen in my years being in both worlds……

Now what happens if Dusty walks into Dr. Donalds office? How in the world can the doctor understand what Dusty is saying. Dusty says “Life isn’t worth living, I need to smoke weed.”

The doctors response is usually, “He just doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to work, he wants disability.” The thought process I’ve seen a million times. All the time, it’s the rule, not the exception.

So, let’s say Dusty had attempted suicide 2 times, and keeps coming back. He has to in order to get benefits and to get housing for himself.

The doctor is frustrated, in his mind he’s trying hard. That’s what life is, you just don’t behave like that in his opinion. In his world, you get up, work hard, and get it done. He can’t understand why Dusty complains that no medications work, yet continues to use drugs, and goes to the hospital.

He thinks Dusty has children, and he’s not taking care of them, he’s a “Predator” or a “Manipulator” or “Gamey.”

This is when I hear things like, why do they get free healthcare and we don’t. Almost a resentment at the patients. This is something that I see daily. The caring staff keep their mouths shut in fear.

So now Dusty has to be forced to take meds. He doesn’t get it, we have to help him. So we will put him on meds, and we aren’t going to listen to his side effects stories. We are going to force injections if he doesn’t comply with orders.

He can’t take care of himself. We have to in the doctors opinions.

Oh and, let’s charge insurance about 1500 dollars a day to do this. If the drugs give him diabetes, that’s too bad because he needs to be safe.

Good job young doctor, you’re saving the world.

Now Dusty has not been without weed for years, so asking him to stop is asking him to feel all these feelings that he has never felt before. Forcing him to take his mask off without support. The feelings he had been told to block his whole life, the feelings that have made him an outsider and not accepted.

Then give him a med that makes him feel no better for at least 6 weeks. Then it might not be the right medication, so we may have to start all over.

He will have side effects like drooling, sedation, diarrhea, and tremors. That occurs right away. Plus feeling all these emotions. Then when he sleeps too much we say that he is lazy, or non compliant with his treatment.

So we force him out of bed, and we make him go to groups with someone explaining all these “skills” he needs to use. Then he can’t participate due to the meds, the side effects, being off drugs his brain had coffee to rely on, and now having to freak with all these suppressed emotions.

So he is said to be non interested. So we need to give him more medications.

Of course we do.

Now he’s angry. No one listens, he’s sensitive, but he has had enough. He explodes from this and other patient’s likely taking advantage of him, and staff telling him when he can shower, piss, and treat him like a criminal.

Because, we say, look at his record, he is a felon. No one asks why or what happened, and they won’t believe him anyways, he’s a “manipulator.”

True story…

We had a young man admitted to our place the other day. I’ll call him “kev.” Abused age 1 to 3. A ward off the state at age 3. Picture a 3 year old being abused and taken from home, then a 3 year old in a privileged home, they’re is no difference, why do we seem to think as adults that there is? He was in foster homes his whole life, sexually abused, and beaten.Then at age 19 he committed an armed robbery, and he was shot 3 times. Then he Went to max security prison for 7 years. In prison, he cuts himself enough to need surgery, he has been known to swallow glass, and toothbrushes requiring surgery.

The assessment by “the team.” Is that he is “smooth, and manipulative.” He swallowed these things to get to go to hospital, a trip out of jail.

This is dangerous to call him manipulative. If I think you are manipulative then everything you do I take as a con. If we instead think of him as this kid who has a desparate need for acceptance and love, you will treat him differently. Then he will react differently. Then he gets better treatment. Our staff are young, impressionable, and eager to learn about psychiatry since it is romanticized on the media at times.

However if you work in government, they need to save the taxpayers money, they don’t want us spending “their” money. We have to hire inexperienced staff, because they are cheaper. We train them by what they see. The cycle continues.

So why would someone like Dusty shoot his doctor? It’s not so black and white if you look deep enough.

What’s the difference between…

This 19 year old young dad.

And this…

This young dad? (This is Joe and Anthony from last post)

The answer is nothing. Until we divide them. When we divide, we create class, uppers and lowers. When really we are all connected.

It won’t end. It can’t. Until people start fighting back. The battle is not going to be easy, we won’t see the end. We won’t see the victory. That will come after we’re gone.

But there is going to be a fight, we know that there is going to be a fight because we are going to start it. We will lose some, as we lost Joe. We won’t stop. Love always wins. Always.

If I’ve made you mad, then I’ve done my job. Happy people don’t create change. You have to be angry, you must have discontent to create change. So be angry. Then do something about it.

If 1 person reading this gets 1 thing and does something, that’s perfect. The ripple effect will be huge.

Love you Dusty.

The end.

If you want to see this in video.
Here it is..10 minutes I think.

 

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The World Interpreted through Alice in Wonderland

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Consulting the Oracle

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First Meeting

Many Don’t Arrive

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A Meeting is Held

Alice is voted unanimously as Ambassador

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Waiting to meet the Red Queen

(With trepidation )

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A productive discussion did not seem in the cards

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And, in fact, became quite hostile.

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Things on the home front were not much better.

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With a heavy heart, Alice helped prepare her friends for battle with what little she could find.

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Alice listened to the Mock Turtle’s prophecies of the outcome of the war.

    4E9FC6FE-AC4F-4C99-AF28-2985270D3379.png Is the Mock Turtle going to be right?

Mr. Putin, speaker with two faces?

Mr. Netenyahu, regretful of civilian deaths?

 

Who will take responsibility for their actions?

Who will pretend to paint the roses red with the blood of the fallen?

 

Addedum to the Jungle, via IGN

IGN, a ‘gaming site aimed at 18-34 year old men, attracts over 40 million unique visitors monthly to their site worldwide’, according to the “About Us” section of their website. 40 million unique visitors. That’s a lot.

They have recently instituted some changes to their forums, which I thought was timely considering my last post. If they can attempt this at a site of their magnitude, there’s no reason it can’t be attempted at Goodreads, or even Amazon, given they have the people to do it, and do it fairly. I think it’s extremely interesting, and something to think about.

Here’s the link the the article at IGN:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/12/changing-the-comments-at-ign

Here’s the article, written by IGN’s Head Editor, Steve Butts:

Changing the Comments at IGN

IGN announces new moderation guidelines.

So there’s this problem with IGN. A lot of the comments lately have been terrible.

Horrifying is probably more like it.

While most IGN comments are respectful and productive, we’ve let the abusive comments get to a point where they dominate our discussions. When even just one hostile comment is enough to ruin an entire thread, we’ve got to take our job as curators of our site more seriously. The best way to create an appetite is to feed it and, by letting these abusive comments live on IGN, we’ve been encouraging more of the same. It’s long past time for that to stop.

Some of what we’re dealing with is an extension of the trash-talking that’s part of a competitive gaming culture. Some of it is just the bold lack of empathy that the facelessness of the internet allows. Some of it is just the natural tendency of some people to find happiness in making other people miserable. The excitement over next-gen consoles and the increasing popularity of games in general means that we’re seeing more new users on the site each and every day. When you add all those factors together, it’s clear we need to pay more attention to our interactions with each other.

With that in mind, we’ve revised our community moderation guidelines and brought on several new moderators. As Editor-in-Chief, I’ve also made it clear to the entire content team that moderating comments and positively confronting abuse is a critical part of our jobs. All of us — staff, moderators, and community included — have to lead by example. No longer can we simply throw our hands up and suggest that cleaning up IGN comments is someone else’s responsibility, or worse, pointless to even try.

We’ve written new guidelines for the IGN comment culture and moderation, which are going into effect immediately. They outline what we don’t allow. Take them seriously and hold us all, readers and staff alike, accountable for their enforcement. Positively confront and report abuse where you see it. I promise I’ll be doing the same.

Will that mean we won’t tolerate disagreement or fiery debates? Not at all. We’re an audience of advocates who come to IGN because we feel passionately about certain platforms, products, and philosophies. Being able to express and defend those tastes is part of why we’re here. Articulate disagreements about those tastes are a healthy and necessary part of those interactions. The comment guidelines aren’t meant to stop that.

The problem comes when a disagreement stops being about the merits of the argument and starts being about the people making it. It’s okay for us to disagree with each other, but we won’t tolerate abuse and threats disguised as disagreement. We also won’t tolerate ad hominem attacks, where you insult a person’s character or identity merely because you don’t like that they’re not the same person as you. None of us are perfect, and we all have bad days, of course, but we can’t let a difference of opinion devolve into being nasty to each other.

This change starts today. I’d like to say the change will be instant, but it won’t. It will take time as we discover and encourage new habits in each other. I’d like to say that the change will be absolute, but it won’t be that either. It will take constant attention and thoughtful reinterpretation. What I can say is that the change will be worth the effort.

If you have any questions about any of this or want to know how you can help, please sound off in the comments below, or reach out to me or our Community Manager, Sean Allen.

Steve Butts is IGN’s editor-in-chief. Keep up with him @SteveButts on Twitter or SteveButts on IGN. Do not follow him down the streets of San Francisco.

Welcome to the Jungle (gym)

I’ve been posting some about bullying at the elementary through high school levels. There’s another kind of bullying going on, right now, probably as I write this, that I have to admit I haven’t delved into with the depth and resourcefulness I normally would. Mostly because the topic makes me shake my head in disbelief that people could be so petty, so immature, and so completely amoral. And I’m not talking about children, I’m talking about adults, the people who are supposed to be examples to these children.

I didn’t do a lot of research because I didn’t really think it was needed. I’ve seen the writing spray painted all over the walls of both sides of this repugnant war that’s taking place.

Has anyone read The Pushcart War, a children’s book about a battle between street merchants fought with pea shooters? How about Comfort and Joy, a Bill Forsythe film about rival ice cream companies fighting over a recipe for ice cream that, in the end, end up being members of the same huge family? Those are delightful, because they poke fun at the ridiculousness of how far some people go to win.

So what, then, am I talking about? I had heard and read about this on Goodreads in some of the forums, and was shocked. When Amazon bought Goodreads, I remember there was concern that some of the pathetic, infantile behavior of reviewers on Amazon would make its way over to Goodreads. I had no idea it wasn’t restricted simply to the reviewers, but some of the authors as well. I was on Amazon yesterday, looking at a very long thread of discussion about this, about how dissenting views on books mysteriously disappeared, as did those who didn’t particularly like the book or recommend it. Someone would write a post, recommend it to a friend, and by the time the friend got there to check it out, that short of an amount of time, the post would be gone. They would repost it. That one would disappear as well. What’s going on, Amazon? And Goodreads, I thought it was just sockpuppets and reviewers going through on their mad slap a one star rating on everything in the m/m romance section or against particular authors in that section, or any other author you happened to dislike. I didn’t realize they were pre-planned strategic assaults. And authors. Authors should know better. They should know not to engageIt’s not worth it. Breathe. Count to fifty before even thinking of reaching for that keyboard. When you engage with someone who wants to get involved in nothing but an insult war, you’re sinking to that level. Walk away. Be a duck and let their words just roll off of you. Easier said than done, but be a professional, be the person other authors will respect.

Because right now, anyone who has engaged in this behavior is right back in elementary school, it’s recess, and I have all the clothespins. What the heck? Clothespins? Yeah, that took me a while, too. See, I worked in a classroom that wasn’t fully involved with the rest of the school, and the school had assistants who worked as recess monitors. Kids would come up to me all the time, because I was a grown up, and ask if they could go to the bathroom, George was picking on them, Charlie hit Elizabeth, Arthur called Sandy a bad word, and I had no idea what to do with them. I worked with children who were nonverbal, and this barrage of requests was a shock to me. I finally asked one of the other assistants what they did. “Just tell them you don’t have any clothespins,” he said, “and they’ll go find someone who does.”

So, the ineffable power of the clothespins, and, as I said, I have them, just for this moment.

See, these behaviors, reviewers going after authors,

authors going after reviewers,

reviewers giving books that are a “threat” to “their” authors one star,

reviewers giving books that go against their belief system one star, say, because of sexual orientation,

reviews disappearing because they are unflattering, flagged as abuse by who knows how many of the author’s “allies,” or the authors themselves–I have no idea on this one,

reviewers not actually reading books and giving one star reviews simply for the hell of it, or saying, this really isn’t my type of book, and giving it one star,

writing reviews that are nothing but insults to the author and have nothing to do with the book,

and anything else I may have inadvertently left out, on behalf of either the reviewer or the author.

Look at these things. “Oh, they’re not that bad, they’re just reviewers being reviewers.” That’s what they always say, isn’t it? Excuse me? Did I give you a clothespin? No, you may not leave.

Now look at these things and ask yourself this question: Are these things I would do or say if the person were standing right in front of me?

I don’t want to hear the answers. You have to answer to yourselves. To your own moral codes. Because think about that question and then think about the following issue, that is also being committed by reviewers and some authors online.

In some cases, reviewers and some authors have searched and found data on all their intended “Targets,” including where they live, children’s names, where they work, phone numbers, etcetera. A frightening amount of information, in some cases. Excuse me, NSA? There might be some candidates for jobs for you over here. Because let me tell you something, those of you who have done this? You have gone TOO far. That is stalkerish, restraining order time far. Would you want people to have all that personal information on you? People who don’t like you and who know what they might be planning? Think on that. You are nothing but a terrorist literary group, which is nothing I ever thought I would say. Over what? Ratings on a book. Or a book written by someone whose beliefs you don’t like, which I believes pushes it into the land of a hate crime. If nothing else, this knowledge is intended to be used as a threat. No? Why did you look it up, then? Sending them Harry & David’s at Thanksgiving?

This is nothing more than bullying. Pick any search engine and look up “bullying” and “suicide.” Think about the example adults need to provide. Is this it? The anonymity of the computer that you use as your shield when making these attacks, you think those kids don’t know how to use that technology far more efficiently than you do? How much better is what you’re doing than what they’re doing? Driving children and teens to suicide?

What is wrong that there is such hatred getting thrown around on these book sites? I think part of it must be that people aren’t actually reading, because otherwise they wouldn’t have the time to waste acting in such a manner. So, all it really takes for people to lose their humanity is to stick them behind a computer so no one knows who they are. Boy, then they’re tough. It’s easy to be obscene when you’re unseen.

This won’t cause a drop of difference in the whole debacle. But I’ve had my clothespins for a few minutes. Now each of you take one and report to the Principal’s office.

Words on Bullying Not From Me

Reblogged Below

When Groups Go Horribly Wrong

I have been trying to get over this in my own way, but without talking about it, and it isn’t working. It was only yesterday, although it seems longer ago than that. I suppose because it was so intense.

Tea PartyEveryone has all these warnings about meeting friends online: they could be stalkers, they could be pretending to be someone else, they could be chainsaw wielding mass murderers…they could be “bad people.”

What if something happens, and a little of the above is true, say, they could be pretending to be someone else, but they have a reason for it, one they can’t control. Say, a mental illness, possibly on top of a lot of other confusions in their life, which triggered a massive breakdown.

I was in a group that I absolutely loved. I could be myself, it was a small group, and it felt like a little family in a sense. I felt at home there. Then, one night, the moderator, who we all loved, disappeared. Just simply vanished without a trace, without an explanation, nothing. Disturbing is the least shocking feeling many of us felt. Among betrayal, shock, sadness… One of the now co-moderators said that we were basically ungrateful, that he had left without saying anything because he cared too much to say goodbye. I didn’t really think much of it at the time. That was on June 11th. A couple of days later a new moderator appeared, a mystery moderator, dressed in a suit with a question mark face. I think I can say with relative certainty that this unsettled many of us. Everything started to slowly break apart–there were rumors that it was the previous moderator who had come back–who had never left, and the two co-moderators were entirely fictitious characters he had started. There had been an outbreak of sock puppet one star raters earlier, so that was another consideration. The fact was that no one knew, and people were becoming distrustful. This distrust was sharply rebuffed by the co-moderators, who said they were real.

Yesterday everything came to a head. There was a group, the one that I agreed with, who didn’t care what the new moderator looked like, we just wanted to know what kind of person he was. He had already changed the rules: it had been, “No criticizing other members.” Now it was “No criticizing other members or the moderator.” He kept deflecting the issue and questions about his personality into whether or not people wanted him with or without a face. Finally he was called on it in such a manner that he had to reveal himself. Our group was mostly gay man and straight women. He was straight and married, so he said. He was rude and lascivious in his greeting to me–all three of the men, all gay, had made comments about me in one way or another. I didn’t really think of it at the time, that all three had said something. After all, what are the chances of that happening? Upon reflection, not very high. The possible reasons

for that I’m not going to go into here. Upon further questions, he started to break a little at a time, someone who knew him well tried to talk to him, someone who knew who he was and his past. The moderator proceeded to ban a couple of people from the group. We knew something was really wrong, and told him he could contact any of us who was there–I sent him a private message–he was already somewhat delusional and accused me of something to do with one of the co-moderators which wasn’t true, told me he was blocking me because he didn’t want to play that game, and was going to advice that specific co-moderator to do the same. I tried to reach them repeatedly. One blocked me immediately, the other said he was sick of conspiracy theories and then blocked me. They still aren’t receiving messages today.

The new moderator, who is the old moderator, is still there. He might stay now, when he was threatening to leave yesterday. Who knows. I left the group. There seemed to be something specific against me, although I’m not entirely sure what. I had gotten along fine with the old moderator and both of the co-moderators. But that isn’t the most important thing I have to say.

The most important thing I have to say is that yes, sometimes group moderators are bad people, creepy people, people who otherwise couldn’t get anyone to talk to them, slimy people you’d never approach if you were walking down the street.

Our moderator was NOT one of those people, Even now, he’s NOT one of those people. He’s mentally ill and needs help. I’m mentally ill too, I can empathize with him. Going into a full-blown episode on line is not something I would want to happen to me, and I wish he had professional help. He needs it, because he’s a loving, caring, sweet and kind man. He did things I know he wouldn’t like knowing he did. Things I know I would forgive him for because they were said while he was in a manic state and he can’t really be held responsible for that, I believe. Whether or not the other people he hurt forgive him, that’s a personal decision on their part, and I couldn’t blame them for going either way. It was hurtful.

As for the co-moderators, you did a fine job of not co-moderating, which leads me to believe you are constructs. If you’re not, you should be ashamed of yourselves. All you had to do was read what was happening on the board to see the truth. There is no excuse for not intervening if you are real. If you want people to believe you, make them believe you. If you are real, try to talk your new “Co-Moderator” into getting some help instead of running roughshod over everyone, including the two of you. Setting your profiles to private and not receiving messages doesn’t really engender faith in the truthfulness of your identities.

Just remember that sometimes there are people in groups who are not “bad,” they just need help. Mental illness isn’t contagious, you won’t get cooties from it, or if someone sneezes on you. Have empathy for the person, let them know you care, even if they tell you you’re lying. What you’re saying is getting into some niche in there. Don’t write them off as a bad person, though, because they’re not. They just need help.

What about Straight Pride?

This came up in group I’m in and a member kindly posted this link:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/13/opinion/granderson-straight-pride/index.html?eref=mrss_igoogle_cnn

I looked at some of the comments following the article, which is always a dangerous thing, because that’s where all the interesting people start climbing out of the woodwork. I should mention the post before this one was one talking about “religious bigots raising their children to hate everyone, such as gays, and perpetuating their irrational christian beliefs.” Normally I stay out of religious arguments completely. I’m not religious. I come from a family (stopping at my parents) of Southern Baptists. I see the kind of “love” they preach. Love everyone unless they’re different. Love everyone who follows all our rules. Put on a good show in public, but in private it’s not so important. I truly don’t understand the comment below, and I don’t understand how someone could be so ignorant of the world around them. I find it hard to believe that anyone could make the statement in the second sentence and truly believe it–I think I can fairly safely say that it isn’t an accusation but a matter of fact that bible centered churches have and actively do preach hatred and the denial of rights toward individuals who are gay, and that many christian groups have taken a strong negative stance against gays and gay rights.

“What Christian organization are you speaking of? Because NO Jesus centered and Bible centered Church that I have attended has EVER preached hate or the denyl of rights. What it DOES teach is love and acceptance. I may not agree with their life choices but that doesn’t mean I hate them. What they choose to do has nothing to do with me. I may not agree but I still love. Just as Jesus did for me. The people who you are speaking of would be ignorant, hateful, and practice bigotry whether they were “Christians” or not. Just because they call themselves a Christian doesn’t make them one. I can call my self a Muslim but if I dont follow the teachings of the Koran and Muhammad I am not a Muslim.

Edit: I took out a section of this post in which I used a more extreme example of hate and violence to try to “win” this “argument” I apologize and retract the former. Homosexuals that experience hate and violence are no less important because some other groups may experience more.  Eric Truman 

My response:

“Have you taken a look around and read the news lately? Why is it the religious groups that believe that reparative therapy is possible? I’m afraid that there are more religious groups against equal rights for people who are LBGTQ than for them. 

For those of you who believe it’s a life choice, think again. People are born the way they are, already oriented the way they are. This makes them no less equal, no less worth loving, gives them no less right to chose who they want to love, than any of the rest of us. 

Who are the groups who are keeping them from having the rights they should already unquestioningly have? Religion, and the government. Two groups who should have no voice in a persons’ sexuality or who they love. 

Anyone who says that religious groups only teach love and acceptance are looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, and seeing what they want to see. 

God made everyone in his image, correct? Does God make mistakes? I don’t think so. Would a religious person agree to that? God made people who are straight, who are gay, who are lesbian, who are all gamuts of that spectrum. They are not aberrations. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them. They are perfect the way they are. 

Step out of your box and truly look at the world around you. Say hello to someone with a disability who uses a wheelchair. Use tolerance. Practice patience. Love. Treat others as you would want others to treat you.”

The thing that I think stands out most jarringly to me is the statement in the “Edit” section of Mr. Truman’s post–he mentions “winning” the “argument.” I’m not sure if he’s retracting that as well or if he still means it. Equality isn’t about winning an argument. This is a fight for rights, yes, but only because the rights which are duly owed haven’t already been given as they should have been.

While not religious, I still think the above postulation does make sense. I also believe that religious groups and politicians should mind their own business, once they’ve straightened out this mess and given equal rights, legally, to everyone who should have have. Not deserve to have them, although they do, but should have them as human beings just like anyone else. As a basic and fundamental right. We’re past the days (I thought) where children had to be protected under animal abuse laws because there were no laws protecting children from abuse. Aren’t we?

This country, in it’s attempts to escape oppression for freedom, has done a fine job emulating that oppression. Oppression against people of different races, beliefs, women, LBGTQ individuals, children, people with disabilities…

I went to my SO’s daughter’s 8th grade graduation last night. She had been attending a Charter School loosely based on Waldorf principles, which emphasis creativity, individuality, the ability to work together (they don’t adhere so strictly to the Waldorfian principles because, quite frankly, they were written over a hundred years ago and they haven’t changed with the times). These children, approximately twenty of them altogether, have grown up together. They’ve had the same teachers, the same classes. All of them gave short speeches. For those children who entered later on, in say, 5th grade like my SO’s daughter did, they were suspicious of the methods of the school and the curriculum because it was so radically different from those of a regular public school. (This school has a waiting list, we were lucky she got in). But these children gave the wisest, funniest, most heartfelt speeches. Some of them said they’d hated school until they went there. For some of them, it was their last chance school, they’d tried every school in the district and been unsuccessful. They all mentioned the school being like a family to them. These kids have it together, and are much more mature than I was when I was fourteen. They’ll need it, because now they’re going on to public high schools around the district, and she’s going to the biggest high school in Eugene, but is also a very good school. They have values and ethics some adults are lacking. Her mother is lesbian, with a partner who’s known her since she was 5, so she’s grown up used to differences. I’ve known her since she was 8. She has changed so much, and I know that she will be a kid who won’t bully other kids in high school. She’ll help them. It’s in her nature. I am incredibly proud of her and her tenacity for standing up for what she believes in. I hope there are more young adults like her, or who will follow her example, and help fight against bullying and prejudice. I’ve talked to her about it. She’s very receptive–unlike many fourteen-year-olds, you can have conversations with her about pretty heavy things.

So, in a way I suppose it will be a fight, although I think it’s sad that someone who isn’t gay thinks it’s something that needs to be won. To me, it’s not a matter of winning or losing, it’s a matter of long deserved reparation that should never have had to be asked for, and should never have been withheld–basic human rights.

Chat

Review: Bear, Otter, and the Kid

Bear, Otter, and the Kid, eBook   by TJ Klune
Dreamspinner Press    Release Date: August 12, 2011

I have to admit that I’m torn about this book. I did something with it that I normally don’t ever do. Usually, as soon as a derogatory term against the disabled community appears in a book I stop reading it, mark where I am, what the term was, and write up a quick note on Goodreads, Amazon, and my blog about it. The worse offenders are YA novels, which is really disturbing. The term in this case was “retarded,” one that seems to be on the upswing these days, sadly, as it had been slowing down for a while. The fact that it’s appearing in so many YA novels is really disturbing, I think, because it’s showing a whole new generation it’s ok to say those things. It’s being incorporated into their culture.

It’s something I think editors need to be aware of, possibly more important than a misplaced comma or a maligned semicolon.

It shocked me to see it in a m/m romance book, though. I hadn’t seen anything of that nature, that I remember, out of everything I’ve read so far. I contacted Mr. Klune, but haven’t heard back from him. What I think is truly ironic, however, it that it’s someone from one marginalized group demeaning another group that’s marginalized.

Just to take a quick side-step here, and forgive me, because my memory’s not always that great and it’s been awhile since I’ve taken these classes. Brown vs Board of Education was a groundbreaking case for more than just, at least in the eyes of the law, the judgment that separate educational facilities were NOT equal, starting the beginning of desegregation. This is important because it had a ripple effect, it was the beginning of civil rights movements for many groups, including gay rights and rights for people with disabilities, among many others. Both groups had to fight, and both groups still face countless challenges. Politicians and religious groups turn sexual orientation into something they have no business in, people with autism are refused heart transplants because the doctors don’t know how they will react in a hospital. Illegal restraints are used on children with disabilities who are nonverbal, and they can’t tell anyone because they don’t have a communication system and people who know are either too afraid to speak up or punished if they do. Gay men are attacked simply because they’re gay. WTF? I meant to keep this more positive, but I feel this deeply, because I’ve advocated for people with disabilities who can’t speak, who people don’t listen to if they can speak, and who people treat as “retarded” just because they’re nonverbal. Just because they’re nonverbal doesn’t mean they don’t understand exactly what you’re saying. Just because a man is gay doesn’t mean he can’t love just as deeply or truly as any other human being. Feel passion any less.

So what do I do? I finished the book–I liked it, other than the fact that “retarded” was used three more times. So now I feel conflicted and upset, the more I think about it.

I advocate for the right to love and marry whoever you want to, to have or adopt children if you want to, and I advocate for people with disabilities to have their rights respected. What do you do when two things you feel so passionately about conflict?

To everyone else this may seem like no big deal. It’s just a word. There are no such things as “just words.” Words influence, they hurt, and they bully, because there are people behind those words who are capable of inflicting pain, whether it’s physical, or mental or both.

This isn’t intended as an attack on Mr. Klune, and I’m sorry if it’s taken or seen that way. It’s more built up frustration. For anyone who writes and uses terms that are derogatory. The fact that I feel like people snicker at me–“oh, it’s that crazy lady who gets all worked up about people with disabilities.” I have a lot of reasons to get worked up, I won’t go into them here.

I just wish I could have read the book and enjoyed it without knowing those words were there, because they really ticked me off. And I really would have liked it so much more if they hadn’t been.

Optimized-homophobia_only_oneattitudeslittle girl

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Author’s Responsibility

I posted this review at Goodreads and Amazon after starting and getting about 140 pages into Forbidden, by Syrie James and Ryan M. James:

I didn’t actually finish this, I only reached page 137. It is your average paranormal high school angel romance, enough that I would have finished reading it, most likely, and probably given it a decent rating. So why did I stop?

I have noticed an increasing trend in young adult books using derogatory terms in reference to individuals with developmental disabilities, in this case, on page 137, “Holy crap,” Erica said. “We’ve been so short-bus about this.”

Teenagers probably think this is funny and just read it, laugh or not, and go on. As someone who writes and also works with children with disabilities in an elementary school, where we are trying to stamp out bullying and engender understanding, it truly dismays me when I see this happen in books that have recently been published. The children I work with are kind and loving, they are just different. They have autism or cerebral palsy or Down syndrome, in some cases other syndromes. There are some wonderful students at our school who come and volunteer as peer buddies to students in our class, and become their friends and understand their differences better.

Yes, sometimes people with disabilities act differently in public, make strange noises, or do strange things. They are honest, they don’t hide who they are. Just because some of them can’t speak doesn’t mean they don’t have things to say, they just need people willing to take the time to listen.

Authors have a responsibility, to an extent. If we put something in a book or story that’s derogatory, there needs to be a good reason for it, not simply put it there to make fun of people at their expense. There’s nothing wrong with people who are gay, lesbian, bi, transsexual, transgender, bi-racial, a difference race than our own, etc. etc., and if comments were made about anything like that, there would possibly be a stir about it, but often if it’s making fun of disabilities, it doesn’t get mentioned.

It is not open season on people with disabilities. Authors need to remember this, think about their audience, and remember that what they write sinks in. It encourages further devaluation of a population that doesn’t deserve it, and includes some of the best people I’ve known.

It’s truly a shame, because I think this book has promise. I just think that authors, editors, and publishers such as HarperTeen should think about these things a little more closely. Just because someone with a severe disability might not be reading your books, someone who loves someone who is might be.

Keeping the Castle (Review)

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Keeping the Castle
by
Patrice Kindl
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published June 14th 2012 by Viking Childrens Books
ISBN
0670014389 (ISBN13: 9780670014385)

My Goodreads review:

I have to admit that I am not entirely sure if this book deserves four stars or five. Maybe it is just four. But I have been having a couple of those days where my mood is just all over the map, and I simply feel worn out, and now I do actually feel better after finishing this.  This little book (and it is little, and it looks pretty) is funny, very much like Jane Austen, and while it does have it’s tense, wondering what’s going to happen moments, it has a certain degree of freedom in its reality–e.g. a certain character having a child from an unapproved marriage (by her parents), and presents the idea of not marrying and being able to do what one truly wants to–such as following artistic endeavors.

*****Some spoilers*****
There are a lot of Austen-like references–Pride and Prejudice and Emma are the two that pop to mind first. I liked Mr. Fredericks from the start simply because he seemed to be the only one that was looking at the world who wasn’t wearing rose-tinted glasses and saw things for what they were, and also because he was kind to Alexander. So did Althea, but she was still caught up in the necessity for marriage, trying to arrange things she thought would help but didn’t, and in some cases making things worse–things started to get a little out of control. Much like the castle, with all of its jutting turrets and odd angles, Althea is trying to fit into a world she doesn’t quite understand–all the knows is that she needs to marry for money to keep Crooked Castle. But what, really, is the point of keeping such a monstrosity, as eccentric and endearing as it may be? All she and her mother have been doing, their whole lives, it to pour money into this decrepit thing, which, as Mr. Fredericks pointed out, doesn’t have a strong enough foundation to even stand on.

Getting into my symbolism mode here, I think Crooked Castle could be used as a metaphor for marriages where the two people don’t have much in common. They try to make it work, and it gets edges and goes off in all directions. If they can keep the big storms at bay, maybe the foundation with survive. Maybe the Baron (Boring lol) and Charity will be able to succeed in their marriage as neither of them are particularly deep thinkers. Miss Vincy will work things out. Althea and her Mother will both be happy. I loved the fact that Mr. Fredericks proposes to Althea as Crooked Castle is continuing to crash over the cliff a little bit at a time–a few chairs, other bits of things. As the impossible thing Althea was trying to save is destroyed, a whole new life opens up for her, one far more pleasant than living in a leaky, damp, drafty, cold castle.