I was getting burned out as a patient representative visiting the Brattleboro Retreat last winter. I found my conversations with patients to be mostly rewarding and mutually beneficial, but all of my attempts to seek accountability and positive change on the units were met with steep resistance, excuses, paternalism and so much sanist rhetoric.
The Odyssey is the story of my life. I left the sheltered hills of Ithaca 8 years ago to go fight a war, and I’ve been tempest tossed, shipwrecked, imprisoned, and driven mad ever since. I’m a complicated man, polytropos.
I’ve often found myself and others in my life perfectly embodying Homer’s characters. I’ve been Penelope, playing host to suitors who just won’t leave. I’ve been Telemachus, outraged at injustice but powerless to stop it. I’ve been Odysseus, using my cunning and guile and ability to tell stories in order to survive. I’ve even been Argos the aged dog, laying on pile of dung while waiting to die.
Lessons from various extreme states over the last few years, and from various migraine visions over the last year:
1) The laws of thermodynamics apply to literally everything, including oppressive systems and social change.
2) Insects are better than people.
3) Mushrooms are better than people and will save the planet.
4) The state is trying to killing us.
5a) All social constructs are gods
5b) All gods are bastards
I have this very rich and fantastical reality in which I (whoever or whatever I am) sometimes reside. I am a super hero. I am god-slayer. I have the power to destroy whole worlds and tear apart the very fabric of reality. I have a dragon that eats fascists alive. If I were to share too much of my internal reality with a psychiatrist, I would likely be labeled as having “delusions of grandeur.” People have been thus psychiatrized for less.
Dear United States of America,
I love you so much I just want to eat you up.
I want to snack on your drones like potato chips. They’re so crunchy.
I want to slurp up your pipelines like spaghetti.
I want to rip up your border fence, fold it up, and swallow it whole like it’s an oyster.
It’s good with Tabasco sauce.
I want to nibble on all your detention center walls and cages.
I think they will crumble just like crackers.
I started hearing it several months ago, just once in a while, always late at night. There were strange loud noises at night. The chug chug of a diesel engine accompanied with strange whirring and grinding, electric humming and buzzing. Clanging, creaking.
What was odd was just how close it sounded. Like there was machinery running right outside the building, maybe even in the building somehow. My building is right near a commercial area. I just assumed one of these businesses was using trucks and heavy machinery at night, and that it sounded closer than it actually was. I had no idea how close to home, and how sinister and evil these sounds actually were until recently.
I woke up on September 1st, 2017, and I knew that it was bad. Instinctively. I just had a gut feeling that everything was terrible. My head hurt. I felt nauseated. I am a synesthete, I have sensory processing differences. I have color associations for letters, words, days, and weeks. “September” for me has always been red. So that morning on September the 1st, that morning that was overwhelmingly bad to its core, everytime I saw something that was red, it popped out at me with such intensity that my head started spinning. Everything grew dark. I started to faint, barely catching myself each time.
Recently, my small socially liberal home state of Vermont was considering building a 925 bed private prison complex with psychiatric and juvenile facilities. Not surprisingly, the proposal was met with overwhelming opposition by liberal and leftist Vermonters. I think that many of us do not take kindly to private corporations that pocket taxpayer dollars while profiting off of systemic oppression.