World AIDS Day…and what that means to me…

World AIDS Day…and what that means to me…

During the crisis in the 80s I was in junior high and high school. I watched the news with my parents every day as they exploited the dying calling them an abomination to God, and saying they were deserving of their suffering because they were gay.

I watched as it was used as a political platform to prove the “Christianity” of the candidate(s).

I remember as a young adult first realizing what hate and marginalization of people really meant. I remember my heart breaking when I understood how unfair and ugly this world really is. People were literally leaving loved ones in the morgue, refusing to accept their bodies because they had a “gay disease” and didn’t even deserve to be properly laid to rest.

So on this day I remember, and send my love to all those of my generation who lost their lives to this disease. We lost (almost) an ENTIRE generation of strong, caring, humans.

And I especially send out love to my dear friend Bunnie Benton Cruse who spent every waking hour doing anything and everything she could to lay those to rest who were rejected and left alone by their families.

– Bethany Brehm Anderson

The outbreak of “Gay Cancer” in 1980’s Southern California

Growing up in SoCal, where the initial major outbreak of HIV occured centered on the bath houses of West Hollywood, I watched the news coverage as the disease progressed over the first year. For a few months, HIV took on the name “Gay Cancer.” There was no name for the virus or disease yet. That’s what the media landed on. Gay Cancer.

The new epidemic had all the best components for the making of a rigid hateful stigma. The prejudice of homosexuality as an immoral, hedonistic activity was already in play. Disneyland cast members (as everyone who works there is named) regularly split up gay couples slow dancing at the Tomorrowland dance floor, as an example of how homosexuals were treated in SoCal. So when a new deadly disease killing gay men rolled in, the already existing stigmatization of homosexuality was amplified a billion-fold.

This immoral lifestyle has brought down upon us a New Black Plague! That right there is how the AIDS outbreak was perceived.

So here’s a story from my high school years about how goofy things got with the AIDS outbreak, at the very beginning in “Ground Zero” sunny SoCal.

Vintage clothes rock. I’ve always liked hitting thrift stores for vintage surf threads. One day back in high school (mid-80s) while visiting my best gal with my new stash of Hang Ten shirts, her dad warned me not to buy used clothes because of AIDS. He asked me to leave my Goodwill bag outside.

Never mind that most infectious viruses break apart when exposed to light. It’s why getting herpes from a gas station toilet seat is so hilarious. Not possible. But this is how much of a public scare AIDS was, laden with misinfornation and fear mongering. My best gal’s dad was not a hateful or unintelligent man. He was caught up in the fearful hype of a new deadly disesse.

Used clothes could be carrying the Gay Cancer. Amazing.

The misconceptions and misinformation… it created a culture of fear, prejudice, and mistrust in SoCal… I remember it well. It sucked.

Things are much better now, in terms of stigma and fear. AIDS isn’t associated with homosexuality by default. AIDS affects everyone, and anyone can contract the disease.

It isn’t immoral. It isn’t caused by any “lifestyle.” It isn’t a mark of societal shame. It isn’t a death sentence. It’s a disease.

So, for World AIDS Day, that’s my story to share. Compared to mid-80s Southern California, things are better. I am confident things continue to get better.

Yes, most narcissists are annoying. No, not every narcissist is abusive.

A flurry of articles on narcissism have been popping up the past few weeks. More specifically, these articles detail everything wrong with the narcissist, paying focused attention to how innately abusive and dangerous narcissists are to empathetic peers. The way the articles are presented, the claim is all narcissists are abusive and dangerous.

I’m not an apologist for the behavior of personality disorders. I was married to a narcissist for a decade and live with PTSD symptoms so near the surface always. My choice of being married to Susan fucked me up something powerful.

Truly. She gifted me a lifetime of emotional osteogenesis imperfecta. Ripping cool metaphor that is.

About this flurry of seemingly critical articles of late: What I’d like to see is a more measured account of narcissistic behavior, and the insinuated absolute that “all narcissists are abusive and dangerous” be tempered in the same way the absolute “all mentally ill people are violent” is being debunked . . . as all stigmas should.

If I’m not apologizing for the narcissist and I’m not embracing the narcissist, what precisely am I carrying on about? Look, what I’m asking is to be careful not to create an unintended stigma around narcissistic personality disorder based on this flurry of articles being passed around.

Recall the wisened utterance of Jedi Master Obi Wan Kenobi:


“Only the Sith speak in absolutes!”


If you understood that reference you have betrayed you’ve seen THE PREQUELS and I weep for your sullied, tormented soul as I weep for mine. We can never unsee THE PREQUELS. Never. Never.

To be fair, I have great difficulty having any sort of meaningful relationship with someone displaying narcissistic behavior. They’re really flipping annoying and draining. It’s like having a relationship with a mirror. Thank the stars for low hanging fruit or I’d have no wit at all.

Fast Times at Bipolar High

Hello and welcome to the introduction to a new blog series: Fast Times at Bipolar High! In this series, I, Payton, will be explaining how I made it through highschool in Albuquerque, New Mexico while battling to understand and cope with the symptoms of my bipolar disorder while still attempting to grow up, have friends, be a good student and above all else, not lose my mind. This series may get a little intense for some readers so be warned: IF YOU CANNOT HANDLE INTENSITY, STOP READING THIS BLOG! Although, for this intro blurb, I will keep it pretty reasonable. I plan to cover topics such as what its like to be afraid of one’s self, how to positively spin being a totall coocoo weirdo, stigma in public schools and how I survived it, dealing with intense urges as a teenager, leadership, choosing the right school for myself, reconciling being a potential danger, shame of mental identity, the importance of a support system and much more so stay tuned! Without further ado, here is my first entry!

Hi. I’m Payton. Growing up, I wasn’t your typical student. No, I was a slacker. Now, I wasn’t a slacker because I hated school or because I thought it was beneath me, no, I was a slacker because while the other students were studying for finals, I was traversing a world of visitors, visions, hallucinations, harbingers and so much more. The only way I could get through my early life was to live through my madness. It wasn’t an option to just shut it off. The only way to do that would have been to shut everything off because my madness is a part of me and that’s called suicide. Although I often considered it and to this day, I can’t begin to comprehend the miracles that led to me remaining on this earth, suicide is no longer my eventual goal. Despite my…ahem…unique brain being a part of who I am, I do not choose to identify with it. I am not Bipolar. I have bipolar disorder. I have a cold. I have a bad back, but these things are not who I am. I am a poet, an athlete, a smartass and so much more but I am not my vices. I am not defined by what ferocity hold me down but rather by the grace with which I rise against it all.

Due to my constant escapades into the other world, I was not always mentally available to complete assignments, remember birthdays or pay attention to traffic signals but I was never idle. Nay, when my parents would receive calls about their son not taking school seriously and being disrespectful, what my educational professionals failed to realize and mention was that instead of this, I was busy respecting the Otherworld and taking my own subconscious seriously. The two were not mutually exclusive. Like I said, I lived through my hallucinations. They were not random (as bizarre and flippant as they often were). They had a purpose and always…always, they wanted to tell em something. My pseudo-scientific understanding of these visions is that when a brain is wired improperly wired and it’s conscious and subconscious are failing to properly interpret, communicate with and respond to the surrounding environment, an anomaly occurs. Things that would typically be handled with grace and time like reacting to love interests, dealing with rejection and handling trauma are instead processed by the subconscious and then violently & dramatically foced upon the conscious mind without warning. You see, the typical brain’s conscious and subsconscious are like two employees working the day and night shifts. They trade notes between shifts and the work of one impacts the work of the other but they don’t really directly interact very much. Ah…but my brain is far from typical. My day and night shift workers were constantly fighting for more hours because they lived in an unstable enclosure and the costs of rent, security, utilities and food was staggering, not to mention all of the creative aspirations they had to fund (which were all inspired by their unstable lives). Eventually, the boss decided to just let them work at the same time! This is when I dreamt while awake. This is probably also the reason that from age 10 (right before I was diagnosed with Bipolar Type 2 with Psychotic features) every single dream I’ve had has been a lucid dream. This meant that I had the responsibility of not only manually sorting out my processing of my day to day life while I was unconscious but also that I had to tame the subconscious beasts that everyone else’s subconscious naturally tames while I was awake! You see then why it was difficult to be a straight laced, 5 minutes early, B+ or better sort of student, no?

But I was not totally innocent. I slacked intentionally. School didn’t seem to be a very friendly environment for me. It certainly wasn’t onein which I could explore my mind. No, as I later realized with the help of my Kwa’a (Hopi for grandfather), American Highschool isn’t about learning meaningful information or how to think (that’s what college is for), American Highschool is about learning to follow directions. I was literally incaple of following the directions of the first school I attended. So, I took to the wind and with the help of my mother, father and some friends, found a school that worked for me. I didn’t even end up graduating from that school, but it taught me the importance of finding the right fit for my own needs- not the needs I’m supposed to have. As users of the mental health forces that be, we are consumers! We cannot always just take what is given to us, sometimes we must find what it is we need in order to heal and prosper. We cannot be ashamed of seeking help and we must realize that it is our duty to seek help/treatment if for no other reason than to not be a scourge on society. Hopefully we find other reasons like wanting to make our families proud or better yet ourselves proud but prison is real! And so is death. For a long time, the fear of those two things was the only thing keeping me from succumbing to them and at times, I didn’t even have that. It is an absolute miracle that I am not dead, in prison or on the run right now even as I write this. How about a round of applause! I am a student from the graduating class of We Made It! My dear friends, my loving family and my stellar mental health professionals helped me cope with the fear of harming myself and others and helped me not let it come to that but lets talk about that for a second- fear! Fear divides and often conquers us if we let it. There are six natural behaviors. Fear is one of them. Disgust is one of them. Hatred is one of them. Love is not. Compassion is not. Understanding is not. All of those things are taught and learned. Thankfully, joy is also a natural behavior. Lets capitalize on joy. Also, lets become more than what we are made of. Lets become unnatural- unnatural in the sense that our behaviors are chosen, not natural. We are born with fear. We can seek understanding. We can seek enlightenment. Lets seek enlightenment together. I have seen so much fear in my attackers that the only person I pitied more than myself was them, but no more. No more tears. Let’s fight back. Lets wise up. Join my side and lets Stand Up To Stigma.

“What group are you with?” Stand Up To Stigma explained

A number of folks I’ve recently met asked “Are you with NAMI?” or “Are you with DBSA?” or ‘Are you with MHRAC?” or “Are you with ____?”

The answer is “No.” I’ve resigned from each board and committee of all organizations where once I held leadership positions and I am focusing exclusively on Stand Up To Stigma peer education programs, peer focus groups, and peer support groups. These are the projects important to me and my close friends and to be most responsive to the needs of our communities we must be a fully independent peer collaborative.

What I learned is behavioral health solutions must be innovative and opportunistic. The enemy of innovation is asking someone else for permission to do what you KNOW is right in your heart.

When I was 46 the State of New Mexico honored me with an award for Lifetime Achievement in Behavioral Health Innovation. I’m stoked by the opportinities DBSA, NAMI, MHRAC, APD, BCFIC, and other organizations/acronyms provided me. What I realized is what was being honored was the advocacy stuff I was accomplishing independent of existing organizations.

So, the longer answer is it’s great collaborating with good folks like NAMI and DBSA, and it’s doing stuff as a completely peer-developed, peer-managed, and peer-led organization where I feel most useful in mental health advocacy.

My friends and I work best where growth, community, and innovation are encouraged and nurtured.

We’ll be talking a lot more about STS’s mission as we move forward with our support of our community.

F*ck you Kl*nopin

Remembering when I used to have a life. I do this all the time. My friend gets mad at me saying I’m always speaking of the past and showing older pics. But, it’s these times I remember since the loss of me. I guess it’s a reflection on the good times. Like an old man/lady who sits on the porch telling their grand-kids about the good ol’ days.

I remember traveling, going to concerts, comedy clubs, movie premiers, out dancing, going to school to get an MBA, dating, etc. Nothing made me upset, depressed or anxious, except the normal stuff that would cause anyone to feel this way. Everything was impromptu and everything made me excited, especially swimming, hiking and biking.

The best memory is never having to use an alarm clock; in bed at 10, up at 6 and then for a long bike ride before the sun came up. No meds in my cabinet except for a multi-vitamin.



This pic is when I was in Mexico with my girlfriend. We just hopped a plane and went to Mexico and had the absolute best time, even though the hotel was cheap and I slept on a block. It just didn’t matter. I went with the flow on everything. I always laughed at shitty situations and found the good in the bad, the silver lining on every cloud.

Well, now, I just want to die. Every day I feel like I have the flu, am burning on fire, movements in my body, SI, anxiety off the charts, etc. I have no real friends/family anymore. Nobody understands and nobody cares. The world is a fair-weathered friend. I guess it’s a survival of the fittest theory.

I want children, a nice husband, nice friends (the ones I have are utter shit), a safe home and to wake up at least feeling 75%. This is no way to live. I honestly don’t see how people do it. Some doctor destroys our lives with a shitty Big Pharma drug and we must resign to the fact that we will be sick/bedridden for a decade, if we even make it. I’ve lost my looks, my personality and my will to live.

I very much miss the good ol’ days.

F*ck you Kl*nopin.

Letter to the Psychiatric Times editor: Mania and Hypomania: The Latest Thinking on Duration of Episodes and Other Features

Dear editor,

In response to the October 29, 2019, article by Dr. David Osser, I would like to share insight into diagnostic modeling from the patient perspective.

https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/article/mania-and-hypomania-latest-thinking-duration-episodes-and-other-features

I’ve got bipolar. Both I and II. And schizoaffective disorder. And . . . anything else diagnosed in that 15 minute span of presentation at the ER, which is where I received each of these diagnoses.

For me, an initial diagnosis is a great place to start deciding how to treat my symptoms. After that, the game plan is to treat my specific symptoms and not the diagnosis. Providers sometimes miss this essential progression in treating peers because of adherence to diagnostic criteria.

My significant issue with bickering about manic durations is that showing symptoms for too short a span (it appears 7 days for mania and 4 days for hypomania) serves the primary medical rationale “We might treat it wrong if we don’t have the proper diagnostic definition.”

I’ve been riding this rodeo since 1987, diagnosed in 1999. I’ve had rapid cycling with frequencies every hour and not days. Some providers question the existence of mixed episodes. I’ve had a provider insist I treat psychosis first because of the schizoaffective diagnosis, when the psychosis is consequential of severe depression. Treat the depression, the psychosis goes away.

In all this time messing about with treatment, there is one constant:


All mental health treatment is trial and error.


So, does it really matter about the duration of mania in treatment? I’m showing mania-oid symptoms that happen to last three days. Try me out on some LiCO3. If my mania-oid symptons abate, bam, good job. It’s mania. If not, then . . . let’s trial and error other treatment options.

Being practically cynical, adhering to a minimum episodic duration means peers like me won’t receive the proper treatment of mania because I don’t meet the diagnostic criteria. This is exactly the contrary argument being debated for a revised two day episodic duration . . . even with the proposed revision, my true treatment needs again fall outside the diagnostic capture zone.

Being fully cynical, I often believe the DSM is a billing manual more than a diagnostic treatment manual. This is borne primarily from years of trial and error treatment efficacy frustrations and probably isn’t a reflection of actual purpose.

All said, my sincere recommendation for providers is treat the person and the empirical symptoms and not the diagnosis and diagnostic criteria. This is what works best for me in my recovery journey.

Kindest regards

Steve Bringe
Founder, Stand Up To Stigma

Dragging Me Kicking and Screaming.

My divorce . . . I wasn’t fond of my divorce. The only difference between my divorce and a bloody, puss-filled, and inflamed hemorrhoidal tissue is nothing. It was icky and messy, it hurt really really really bad, and it was a world-class pain in my arsecrack. So uncomfortable, so ouchy.

After my divorce, I did that most natural of bipolar activities. I isolated. Big time. Calls went unanswered and window shades unopened. The thought of retrieving mail brought on such anxiety-ridden bouts of sleeplessness and self-doubt I questioned my ability or willingness to breathe. My Blanket Fortress was in a perpetual threatened state of being saturated in urine because, in practical terms, it would be easier to change my sheets later than to take on the Himalayan expedition of crawling to the bathroom to use the toilet. I kid you not. This was a serious debate I had each day. My divorce left me in razor-thin mortal existence and my bipolar depressive symptoms were insistent on knocking me off this ragged edge.

I have friends. And, with some of these friends, I was missed. This longing for my presence elicited concern and this longing also elicited an unsolicited visit to my home. I have friends, and I have very good friends who know about my bipolar symptoms and I have very good friends who like me alive. One such friend is Michael.

After a month of completely ignoring the world, Michael and his boyfriend came to my home and kept unrelentedly ringing the doorbell, and despite my bipolar depression sensibilities, I had to answer the door just so I could murder whoever was incessantly leaning on the doorbell button. No, I don’t want another copy of The Watchtower. I appreciate you dropping by. Oh, yes. Stand very still. You have to be murdered.

Drats. It was Michael at the door with Geoffrey. They were smiling, although Geoffrey appeared nauseous over my appearance and aroma. Yes, I was nasty gross from weeks of hygienic neglect. Still, don’t invest too much weight in Geoffrey’s reaction because a used bandaid floating in a public pool triggers Geoffrey’s gag reflex so badly that he dry heaves until his entire body is turned inside-out.

Michael said, “Get ready. You’re going out with us tonight.”

I said, “Michael, leave me alone. I feel like shit.”

Michael said, “No choice, buddy. Get in the shower.”

I said, “Michael, I don’t have the energy for a shower. Just go away.”

Michael said, “Fine. We’ll give you a bath.”

I said, “Michael, I’ve told you a trillion times, I’m not gay and regardless of sexual preference I’m not into threesomes.”

Michael said, “You can’t insult me until I go away. Off to the bath.”

I said, “Fine.”

Geoffrey said, “Uggggg!!! I just threw up a little bit in the back of my throat!”

I said, “You had to wait to say that until my clothes were off? What an excellent ego boost you offer.”

Michael said, “Grow up. And don’t bother deciding on your outfit for the night. We have something special set for you.”

For Michael and Geoffrey, the outfit was more important than hygiene, but only just. What they had planned for me involved many razors and many parts of my body. It involved the makeup aisle at Walmart. It involved a trip to Savers. It involved viewing clothing sized “14” rather than sized “L.”


I was being dolled up in drag and taken on the town.


Shit. I hate my friends.

After the rigorous scrubbing so I didn’t smell like a dumpster fire in the alley behind a curry house, I had so little energy to argue or struggle. I just said, “Shit, Michael. Fine. Whatever. I have only one demand or I’m not going.”

“And what’s that?” inquired Michael, already boasting a smile that wouldn’t fade.


“I’m only going if you promise to keep anyone from hitting on me tonight. I’m severely depressed. I can’t take that kind of attention from anyone.”


With no hesitation, Michael and Geoffrey agreed to my non-negotiable. Perhaps demanding EVERYONE hit on me would have made them go away.

Painted up with cheap, vibrant face makeup so I looked like a Teletubby vomited a bag of Skittles on my head, and spruced up in a Prince-purple discoball sequined full length prom dress and electric-shock blonde wig, Michael and Geoffrey shared we were going to dinner at my favorite restaurant at the time (Trombino’s on Academy, still a fave) and then off we’d go to shake the night away at Pulse (admittedly, the best dance club with the best dance music in Q-Town). I barely picked at my thick and rich chicken/pasta plate. I barely had the energy to lift my chin above 24 degrees off my chest. How the hell was I supposed to go dancing to a bass-soaked 350 bpm reimaging of INXS’s “Need You To Night”? Collapse was imminent. I didn’t drive myself, effectively without escape. I was screwed.

“I’m not kidding, Michael. Nobody better hit on me tonight. Get the word around as soon as we get to Pulse.” My mood sucked and I was exhausted from bipolar depression increasing the gravitational constant of the universe for only me. I had nothing left in me to ward off unwanted romantic attention. It’d be easier to melt into a puddle of infected off-green sinus-goo and take residence in a CDC petri dish for all eternity. Michael sighed his reply.


“I heard you and we agreed to protect your chastity. Don’t worry.”


We got to Pulse and I wearily pleaded with Michael and Geoffrey to crack the window and leave me in the car. No go. Michael is slim and Geoffrey is short. How they hauled my 6’3″ nearly-dead weight frame into the club and kept me upright on the dance floor for three hours is Herculean and I learned that night that either bloke could kick my ass if wanted, even when I am at full strength. Very humbling, although it did make me feel very safe and protected. This was important.

The three hours were the worst three hours I’ve ever spent immediately following a meal at Trombino’s while dressed up like a prom date drunk on steroids. It couldn’t end soon enough and it didn’t. The saving grace is Michael and Geoffrey were true to my demand and I wasn’t hit on all night.

Finally, my upright misery could turn into prone misery as Michael and Geoffrey ferried me back to my house and the safety of my Blanket Fortress. It was the first time I was out of the house in over three weeks, and truth told I didn’t hate being out of the house. This is entirely credited to the love and caring Michael and Geoffrey showed me. This sort of adoration is energizing I’ve come to appreciate in my very best friends.

Collapsed in the back seat of their Prius, I forcibly mumbled out, “Hey, guys. Thanks for getting me out of the house. And really thanks for honoring my wish. No one hit on me all night and that means everything. Thank you.”

Michael looked at Geoffrey and Geoffrey looked at Michael as if thumb wrestling to decide who would acknowledge my gratitude. It was Michael who lost.


“Um, Steve. We didn’t have anything to do with that. You just make a really ugly woman.”


After leveling that devastating full-body ego slam, my friends stayed the night to make sure I didn’t kill myself.

It was one of the best nights of my life.

Kindly reprinted from Steve’s Thoughtcrimes.

I’m Human, You’re Human, Let’s Talk

I’m Human, You’re Human, Let’s Talk.

by Amanda Jenson
STS Editor

We’ve experienced another several horrific tragedies lately. As someone who knows what trauma and pain feels like I am sorry. I see you. I hear you—even if I can’t know exactly how you feel. I won’t pretend to.

When these tragedies strike the media focuses on the gunmens’ mental health. I don’t deny that someone who creates such heinous misery has some kind of insanity clouding the mind, but we focus so much on his or her mental health that we forget to focus on the survivors’ mental health and what they are now going through.

My friend with bipolar pointed out that the victims still living will not want to seek care for their health now because the media (including president Trump) immediately bludgeons our feeds with the stigma that having a mental health issue means you are violent.

Proof:

“This is also a mental illness problem,” Trump said of the mass shootings. “These are people that are very, very seriously mentally ill.”

“Trump called for reforming “mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence and make sure those people, not only get treatment, but when necessary, involuntary confinement.”

“Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun,” Mr. Trump said. Calling mass shooters “mentally ill monsters.”

Unstable gunmen are dangerous, no doubt, and there are no words for the horror I feel at the actions committed by these people, mental illness or no, but comments like these are dangerous for thousands, if not millions of those who suffer with mental illness. We are now “monsters” who don’t belong in public. I’m appalled at the ignorance and stigma portrayed and a little awed at the uncaring and unfeeling behavior they display to those who suffer with mental illness.

Those emotions sound a little like how they describe the gunmen.

Victims may see their symptoms of deteriorating mental health and equate themselves to being dangerous as well, just like their persecutor was.

Who would want to get mental health care if “involuntary confinement” is being used as a means to control those who may want mental illness help? Chills curled their gentle governmentally-controlling fingers down my spine when I read this.

If the media wants to discuss and accuse mental health as the problem for these violent acts then look at the full spectrum of how mental health plays into tragedies, because we now have many people out there ruminating on a bloody scene that they can’t quite believe was real, trembling in the night instead of sleeping. People are flinching and crying in a corner, trying to cover their ears and heads simultaneously, from every little sound they hear. They are wondering if the generally safe world they once knew was a lie. They won’t let their children leave the house now. Their anxiety has overtaken their body and they aren’t eating. They’re vomiting every time they try, their tears rushing too quickly down their face. They aren’t even sure if they are alive anymore. Did they die in the shooting? They think they should’ve died instead. They wouldn’t experience this horror and guilt that they are still living. Those gunshots they keep hearing? Are they inside or outside of their head? They just want those images gone. Some can’t stop picturing their loved ones lying broken on the ground.

And then you have the other spectrum. You have the people laughing, saying they’re fine—the people who perhaps even make crass and sadistic jokes. Why? Are these people sociopaths? They feel numb. They are thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” and instead of seeking help, close themselves off even further for fear of being dangerous and out of guilt of their seemingly callous reaction. Are they like the gunmen? No. A resounding no!

They are dissociated from horrors that can break the human mind. It’s a natural response to disasters and serves a survival purpose. I would know. I have a dissociative disorder borne of extreme violence and horror in my childhood. My disorder is considered a “severe mental illness”. I still function as a kind member of society. (Yet I know what it’s like to sit in that corner shaking and crying due to PTSD. I also know what it’s like to pop out inappropriate jokes.)

Do I want to go shoot people? Never.
I’m seeking professional and community support for my trauma and pain. I hope those affected by these tragedies will too. I hope they look past the media and governmental stigmas and get the support, love, and understanding they deserve and is naturally needed. There are many of us out here in the community with mental illnesses waiting to hug you, waiting to tell you what services and help you can get, waiting to express how sorry we are and that we know—not exactly, not perfectly, but we know.

I know what it feels like to be cruelly victimized by people. I know what trauma and horror is. It’s stuck in my brain too. Most people with mental illnesses are loving, intelligent people who advocate for others who struggle with mental health issues. Let us hold you now.

Hey White House, Media and those with stigmas still, don’t you think some of these people affected by this will be suicidal? Do you think the horror is over for them just because you played the blame game so effectively? Want to save some more lives? Stop insinuating that all mental illness is dangerous and that those of us with them need to be locked up against our will.

Those affected will be suicidal. Some are now. Save the people left too, stop just focusing on the horrors already committed. And for the love of all humanity (literally), stop telling the world that those of us with mental illnesses are all dangerous. Save the ones who won’t get help now because of your dangerous and scape-goat comments. Stop perpetuating the violence you claim you want to fix.

1. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/04/trump-says-hate-has-no-place-in-our-country-after-shootings-in-dayton-and-el-paso.html

2. https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-calls-for-involuntary-confinement-of-mentally-ill-in-shooting-address

3. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/05/us/politics/trump-speech-mass-shootings-dayton-el-paso.html

4. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/08/04/trump-says-hate-has-no-place-in-our-country-after-shootings-in-dayton-and-el-paso.html

My Seasonal Affective Disorder is a Real Drag this Time of Year

Something needs to be done about my Seasonal Affective Disorder and how insufferably cheerful and gratingly pleasant I get during summertime. Not imposing upon my loved ones just because I’m joyful must be leaving a huge void in their heart. There must be a med to drag me into even a mild doldrum, requiring the people in my life the burden of having to be on suicide watch 24/7.

I hardly want to spend any time at all in my bed beneath my Blanket Fortress. And this unforced smile is so easy and uplifting. What a chore this is. For myself, for everone.

I’m so sorry for feeling happy and productive once again. I feel selfish to the core.

Forgive me for this and I’ll forgive you for eating the whole goddam bag of Cheetos. Those were for everyone, you realize.

Reprinted with kind permission of Steve’s Thoughtcrimes.