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  • Category Archives Matters of the Heart
  • these are fighting words of the defeated

    I was writing a friend about how what happened in my worst traumas sticks with me. The trauma itself obviously does but what the results of your gasping for something factor in as well. I found out after an incident where I thought my dad was going to kill me when I was 16 that the image of God I had built in my head was completely AWOL. When things are at their absolute worst what is is goes right out the window, only what is actually experienced in the moment matters. This is hard for people who haven’t suffered deeply to get their head around. Religion didn’t help me when I needed it to then, it didn’t when I had eye problems in 2002, and it doesn’t now even though it is shoved down my throat.

    One of the things those selling suffering tell you is it will turn you into more of an everyman. Maybe it’s true for some and especially for those who get past the gatekeepers of being published (and the act of being published in and of itself means you almost certainly watered down your experience to appease someone who suffered less than you) but it isn’t for me. The simple answer is that negative symptoms have eaten a lot of parts of myself away. And while that explains some of it it doesn’t explain all of it. People are whole in a single way but are broken in manifold ways. You’d think because of skyrocketing depression rates that people would be able to be attuned to each others worlds but a lot of the time it isn’t the case. People are islands experiencing their own individual hells and the modern psychology sanctioned hyper individualism (exacerbated by COVID) isn’t helping things any. Part of mitigating depression is just being with people and having common experiences with them (so you have things to talk and joke about). Otherwise our lives remain fragmented and balkanized. My experiences are so alien to even my closest friends and family that a lot of times I’m just talking past them. Losing friends means I live in my head that much more and this drives me further and further away from people. Obviously a good portion of the reason people scorn me is I don’t have the “life gems” like good jobs, nice houses, fancy degrees, nice cars, etc.. but that doesn’t explain all of it.

    One of the things I have noticed recently is people don’t like it when you call them a liar. They especially don’t like it when you let your life speak and it calls them a liar. Just having a visible disability means that every interaction with the abled world is seen as an incursion and every interaction makes people question their false notion that people have innate worth as they judge me as worthless.

  • Intersectionality is thorny

    Intersectionality is thorny in ways that both sides of the conservative/liberal divide don’t appreciate. Intersectionality refers to the idea that when someone is a member of more than one marginalized group their experience is a singularity to people who only belong to one of said groups. The analogy of a street intersection is used. If someone is both black and disabled they can get hit via either street but they wouldn’t necessarily ascertain whether it was one or other or a combination of both. The point is that like medical comorbidities, belonging to more than one marginalized groups adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

    I am someone with both a physical disability and mental illness and the two have added up to more than the sum of their parts because if just one part of you is broken then you lean heavily on the parts of you that are still whole. But if more parts are you can’t do this, for example with me being a social mentally ill social moth needing company my physical disability makes it so I can’t drive to force myself on people to befriend.

    What makes intersectionality more thorny than either side of the divide will admit is the fact that every way someone is has advantages and disadvantages similar to chemical compounds interacting where they can produce novel reactions. Case in point the black male. Maleness is no gravy train even if you’re white but what muddies the waters is the fact that the males feminists focus on as the patriarchy are the top 20% of men. If you just take those and ignore everyone else then yeah men are doing great. However when you start looking further down, particularly at the bottom 50% of males, a darker picture emerges. Males in this cohort of every race suffer because the three things that hit men harder are poverty, not having a father or father figure, and inability to control their anger. Now imagine being a black male, adding racism, Jim Crow, and police brutality to all of this. The intersectionality of blackness and maleness actually becomes worse than the sum of its parts because the parts of maleness that manifest themselves in men further down actually hurt them and this is amplified by the fact that aggression is actually punished more severely if you’re black not to mention the bias in the legal system.

    A female walking through a store will be be ignored, a poor white male will be watched while a black male may be accosted. Anti male and anti black bias come together in multiple to make things worse. Women of all races get treated much better than men in the legal system (though it’s the worst for black men).

    It’s politically incorrect to be a men’s rights activist but I think this angle can help us understand racism better.

  • it wasn’t worth it

    people say the pain of the process will make sense in the end
    but kneading and baking are only worth it if the bread doesn’t burn

    As I write this some people are trying to concoct some kind of redemptive narrative on how the last four years of Trump made us better somehow. Some people paid the ultimate price for his ineptitude with COVID with their lives. Others’ mental health was reduced. I’m a mess. Two of my smartest friends are engaging Q Anon, one as a believer while the other as a vocal critic. In 2016 I had hope that this could be turned around but now, even with more Democrats in power I do not. I think we passed a tipping point where both the radical left and radical right have come to believe the game has already been lost. Fatalism is the most powerful way to be powerless. And people on both ends of the political spectrum are gaining numbers while the middle is being hollowed out.

    I didn’t suffer so much directly from Trump despite a couple brushes with losing my healthcare. But I think sometimes what you lose in the suffering is worse than the hurt of the suffering itself. Society is more toxic than ever. Families are torn apart. Feminism is attacked, hurting women, and its backlash hurts men. Let me tell you, it has felt like eight years, not four. So maybe Trump slowed time down so much that he packed eight years worth of misery into four.

  • Religious Addiction

    Ferkins and Gaspar were right. I have religious addiction. The only difference between religious addiction and salvation is whether there is something at the other end you are interacting with. An example if you are spending 8 hours a day on the internet but that time is spent working and making good money to provide for your household, that isn’t internet addiction. But if you are spending 8 hours a day on the internet watching video game commentary videos, that is.

    If there’s something at the other end, that’s a relationship. If there’s not it’s just stalking. The reason I suffer from religious addiction is because I was raised religious and I have nothing else. People who have things that give them meaning and value don’t usually suffer from this.

    We need to focus more on helping people build an image of God in their head that will make the function. With me that has gone totally awry.

    Take alcohol for example. For most people it is something that helps them unwind, have fun, and connect. But for people with mental illnesses it is often an addiction and causes them to be non compliant with their medication. To the casual drinker who enjoys the bar scene those of us who can’t handle alcohol seem strange and foreign. For me this is what religion is. The voice of God told me to do all kinds of crazy stuff like drink piss, date women out of my league, and kill myself. I was exposed to every toxic trope Evangelicalism had to offer like the idea that you will have photographic memory of your entire life as you burn in hell. Plus church people treat me like shit but that has more to do with disability and negative symptoms than the religion itself.

  • Truth is Tall!

    truth is TALL
    it marks the gaps
    between high status
    and low status people

    I don’t view truth like the Greeks who equate it with beauty or the Christians who believe Jesus to be the way and truth. I view truth as the machinations of the materialistic universe. It is what makes an apple fall towards the earth when you let it go. I believe the social rules of a society are almost as ingrained as the laws of physics even though we are lied to from the cradle that they aren’t.

    One of the hard things I have had to deal with in my life is the people I knew who cared about what was going on the world ghosting me or ignoring me for being too low status. My closest friend from college ghosted me for being too low status. He cared about Africa and Latin America just like I did. Then more recently during Africa’s Ebola epidemic I was looking for someone who cared about it as much as I did but the only person who did was too high status to talk to me.

    I bring this up because my low status works against me in ways that it wouldn’t for the average beer and shot person whose interests were more in line with the average American.

    I bring this up because there is a huge humanitarian disaster wrought by back to back hurricanes in Honduras that has displaced hundreds of thousands and flooded urban areas and crop land. The person I found it out from was the owner of Mayan Buzz Cafe which is a place I love. You can donate to relief here. It is legit because it’s someone my dad knows.

  • for me, it isn’t over

    Adelle has a song “Someone Like You” that has the line “And that you’d be reminded that for me, it isn’t over”. That song is her not being able to get over a guy but I think it applies to people like me who don’t have the machinery to forgive. I like to say time heals some wounds but infects others and it is true for me because I see pictures of people whose wrongs helped precipitate my psychotic break (and my inability to not live at home) and everything just comes rushing back again.

    I can pantomime forgiveness but in my heart it is bullshit. If you wrong me and the wrong’s shadow falls infinitely far I won’t forgive, beyond that I really can’t. I can choose to not retaliate and treat you with respect but I cannot forgive. That’s why Christianity’s imperative to forgive confused me, I get it that they were trying to break cycles of violence but to actually forgive you would actually need the experience of God that that religion claims to give you.

    Time heals some wounds but infects others. Some people get over wrongs much worse than what I have experienced but I think whether you stew or pull through has a lot to do with how much opportunity in your life is offered. Had I gotten a job and a place and a social life and respect from people it would be a lot easier to put the past behind me because I overcame the wrong the best way possible, living well is the best revenge to people who were obstacles to you living life to the fullest. I also think this is why in developing countries in the Middle East where groups of people hate each other a lot of the hate is just due to not having anything else to do. These terrorists are usually engineers that weren’t even allowed the privilege of drinking to blow off steam and have little to no future vocational prospects. What do you think is going to happen when you offer them a chance to express their anger in terrible ways.

    Psychologists like to brainwash people into thinking forgiveness is a choice which it partially is. But something inside of you that you can’t control also has to make the choice and if it doesn’t all bets are off.

  • Brain Power

    I’m starting to see why some people can be Christian while others can’t. I think a lot of it comes down to brain power. Brain power is something separate from intelligence, brain power is more about how you can organize your mind to get what you want out of it, intelligence is just how fast and expansive it works.

    I search old emails a lot and I remember my aunt who is a Christian therapist telling me in 2005 to play cognitive tricks where basically in the circumstances that weren’t totally bad I marked the things that weren’t total crap as God working. Something similar is going on in that popular praise and worship song “Waymaker” where they tell you to put your brain in sleep mode and pretend God is working even when you can’t see it or feel it. My problem with playing mental gymnastics is I am aware I’m playing them as I’m playing them so like a magic trick that I’m aware of the slight of hand going on so I don’t get the desired effect.

    People with a lot of brain power can tell their brains to do whatever they want and their brains obloge. It’s almost like they have really good software controlling their microprocessor. For example an iPhone will shut down their processor’s high powered cores to save battery life. For a person this might mean checking their brain at the door when they walk into a church. The ability to believe in the supernatural at one moment and then be perfectly sane at another is more of an accomplishment than you think. I could only believe in magic when I’m psychotic or close to psychotic.

    I think brain power is important in all kinds of other areas but religion is just the one I think about the most. When you don’t have much in this life you think about religion more because it’s shoved down your throat and you don’t have anything else going on.

  • some angry poetry

    God doesn’t “elect” most of us on the spectrum
    because he hates us just as much as everybody else does

    who’s more powerful than God?
    the people who own him!

    when people say looks can kill
    what they really mean is that bad looks can
    because looking bad is often a sure ticket to loneliness
    and loneliness is as bad for you as smoking

    being accepted by Christians
    involves reverse gaslighting
    getting them to think you are extra sane

    ever-ee time i contemplate suicide

    my brain is a microcosm
    of a world without God

    the heart is like a pinata
    it makes itself beautiful
    with the unconscious aim
    of being broken open

    to most people you are a baseball card
    they are looking for your stats on the back
    or filling them in with their mind
    given what they see on the front

    i believe suffering is good
    it’s good for making you go on the government dole
    it’s good for making everyone but helping professionals
    stop talking to you
    it’s good for others who now have more access to life gems
    you were competing for (good jobs, mates)
    it’s good for stealing meaning from your life
    because the good things in your life like dignified work and relationships
    were the things that gave meaning, and are the very things suffering takes away
    it’s good for making all your conversations consist of emotional baggage
    so nobody wants to talk to you
    it’s good for alienating you because you no longer have common experience
    so you have nothing positive to say
    it’s good for making you invisible (at best)
    because you often have something visibly wrong with you
    that makes others feel uncomfortable

    no justice
    no peace
    no goodness
    no hope

  • Not In Touch With My Emotions

    Proponents of modern psychology are remiss as to why I’m not in touch with my emotions. There are several reasons:

    I’m bipolar 1 and the illness itself as well as the medication stunts emotion. Before I was bipolar I didn’t have as much of a flat affect, I felt things more and was more expressive. People connected with me better because of it.

    I had some scares around losing my vision when I was in college. For a while I was in fear of losing my vision. This eventually caused me to start repressing my fear which impaired emotional function.

    Starting at around age 31 I got tinnitus. My tinnitus is not near as bad as some people but (as you can imagine) someone likely on the autistic spectrum who was born blind I am super sensitive to sound. To deal with this new stream of unwanted input I became more emotionally numb.

    The parade of people (of both genders) cutting me off and ghosting me hasn’t helped either. Most people deal with this but when you have a disability with relationships you have to take what you get because most people won’t touch you with a ten foot pole. A lot of these people are pretty damaged too so it makes for a lot of bad relationship things.