freedom

Page Eighteen, website outline

Living in a country that touts and flouts how free we are. But there are all kinds of freedoms, and there’s one extremely important one I have never, in fifty-seven years, been granted by my fellow humans: the freedom to be myself without constant punishment for being that self. Punishment takes many forms, from verbal insult all the way up to various forms of attack. Just for being me I’ve had an on-going stream of this stuff. Others have too. Especially others with Asperger’s.

Harping, like the chanting of Shakespeare’s three witches, all my life, on many themes that are apparently unbearable aspects of Anne Nakis’ selfhood:  too many animals  —  you don’t smile enough — you’re too negative — you’re not really an  atheist; everyone believes in god — you’re antisocial (by this they mean withdrawn, not sociopathic) — you don’t try to fit in…  and more. Almost everything about me, about who I am, is apparently either so annoying or so repugnant or so aberrant that anyone who wishes to throws in their two cents’ worth, and believes they have the right to do so. They have the right to mock, nag, criticize, punish. But I don’t have the freedom to be myself and be left alone about it. If you don’t like me, if I’m not your cup of tea, then just leave me the hell alone. Why do you have to hurt in some way?

All of this has taught me that it’s money in this country that buys you freedom to be yourself. I hate for that to be true, because I hate people making a god out of money. But the fact remains that if I’d been able to earn the money to buy my own home, no landlord and no other tenant could have bullied me the way they have repeatedly done for being myself, for being the oddball, weird, idiosynratic, creature that I am. No relatives and friends could have had much chance to do so, because I wouldn’t have needed them for any kind of practical help. I could have hung up the phone or slammed the door.                                    

To my mind, it is an ugly commentary on human nature to have to say in all truth that I have been alive for more than five decades, and have been allowed by only one person in one relationship, the freedom to be myself — without punishment or criticism. Everyone has nagged, or criticized, or insulted, or tried to remake me. And there have been many who have actively and viciously attacked me when I failed to allow myself to be remade in their image. I honestly don’t grasp, in light of all this, why there are so many people who do not understand why I don’t like human beings. Why do they think I would like humans, in light of this shabby (at best) treatment I’ve received from them? What grounds do you think I would have to be enamored of humankind?

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read…      Neverending solitaire  (asperger’s)…   Lifelines

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.


shelter life, et cetera

Page Sixteen, website outline

I have thus far stayed in three different shelters in two different states, and have had two trips each to two of them. I cannot say enough bad about the two in Massachusetts. The one in New Hampshire was better by far. Five stays in shelters to date, and I bitterly hope that there will be no more.

If I had to judge by the two Massachusetts shelters, both run by an organization called ServiceNet, I’d say that shelter life is designed to be degrading, to rob one not only of even minor privacies, but of dignity and of adulthood. You become a child being ordered around at daycare or summer camp.

At the New Hampshire shelter, there were very few rules. We needed to be in by 11:00 pm, and we each needed to do a chore once a week. Otherwise we could come and go as we pleased during the day. We each had fridge space and cabinet space and could cook our own meals, and each clean up only after ourselves. We could shower and do laundry any time the facilities were available. It was almost like living in your own apartment, except that it was a room, and you had to share the common facilities with other people. I didn’t feel demeaned or demoted to child status. Nor did I feel very invaded, as I had a bedroom to myself.

Very different in the ServiceNet Shelters. In Northampton we were kicked out at 7:00 in the morning and let back in at 6:00 in the evening. They did have more open hours from 9-12 and 1-3 when we shelter folk, and anyone else who wanted to, could get in out of the weather, have a snack, etc. But our shelter bedrooms were kept locked during these hours, so that we had no access to our belongings or our beds, and my bed was what I needed most those days.

I wonder if you can conceive of how shocking and horrifying, — yes, horrifying, — these shelters were to someone like me. I can’t speak for any shelters anywhere but the three I stayed in, and in two of those, the people were as unlike me as you can get. Most were alcoholics or addicts. Most had arrest records and jail time under their belts. Homelessness was a cycle they went through periodically, when, for whatever reasons, they stopped paying their rent. They were uneducated. They were sneaky. They knew how to kiss up to shelter staff and act like civilized, reasonably decent people, but then I’d encounter them hanging out with each other on the streets when the act was dropped, and their true, ugly colors shone out. This was especially true of the inmates of the Turners shelter. When you take a person who for fifty-five years has lived in houses or apartments and has paid the rent; who is reclusive and has Asperger’s syndrome and physical illnesses and chronic depression; who has never been arrested or served any time in jail, and so on, and throw such a person into this seedy, lunatic fringe atmosphere, it is devastating. At least it was for me. Culture shock, and all sorts of shocks, and the screaming torment of no privacy at all. I lived in a state of constant, high anxiety, and constantly bit down on my internal screams, keeping them from escaping through my mouth. Constant pretending. Not ass-kissing, as the others were doing, just pretending that I didn’t want to murder every single one of them so that I could have some privacy.

~~~  And now it’s 2011. I haven’t stayed in a shelter for two years now. But all I have to do is think about my various shelter days for a minute or two and here come the pounding heart and the shaking hands, the tears and the inability to sit still.  Maybe staying in a shelter isn’t an ugly wound for every person who does it, but it was for me.

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And then there was living outdoors for two months, which, while it entailed more physical hardship than the shelters, was in certain ways much preferable to them. When I think about that time living outside, I get the same shaking hands and pounding heart and tears, but I also get something else: the memory of the beauty of nature, and of nature’s animals all around me. The geese, squirrels, ducks, chipmunks, and so many more that I lived with. I was living in their home. The dusks and dawns… seeing every minute of them first-hand, with no window-glass between my body and the sky. I fed the animals every day, wherever I was camping. I was in the natural world, a part of it, in a way that you can only be if you live outdoors. That particular part of my homelessness showed me that if I owned my own land, I’d make it a point three or four times a year to pitch a tent and live outdoors for a week or two. To remind myself how the outdoors really feels.

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read…   Spite and malice…   Braonwandering

read…  Mental hell

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 
 

therapy (and psych drugs)

Page Eleven, website outline

                                                                                                                      

         “What we call ‘normal’ in psychology is really a 
           psychopathology of the average, so undramatic
           and so widely spread that we don’t even notice it
           ordinarily.”
                                                                      

                                                    Abraham Maslow

 

                  “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a
                    profoundly sick society.”
                         

                                                                             Jiddu Krishnamurti

I found these two insightful observations in another text, written by a person who is neither Maslow nor Krishnamurti. I fear from the context in which I found them that these quotes are being liberally used by new-agers of the airhead philosophy variety to proselytize for meditation and yoga and letting go of ego and becoming one with everything, which are fine ideas if you don’t go haywire with them and shoot out into the ozone. But most new-agers do shoot out into the ozone.

I, a committee of one, will turn these insightful observations to a completely different purpose. I use them here to condemn, fervently, this psychopathology of the average. To condemn, vehemently, the idea of becoming well adjusted to a very sick society. It is the succumbing to the conditioning that browbeats us to become part of this average, to become this so-called “well-adjusted” robot in the sick society, that is partly responsible for allowing the sickness of society and the lacklustre of the “average” to proliferate to their current malignant levels.

And now a hypothesis of my own (formed with evidence garnered from much personal experience):

       Many people who go into the psychology profession, at any level,
       do so because they are pretty well screwed up. They believe that
       taking this course of study will make them better, and then they
       can hang up a shingle and make OTHER people better. Fraid not.

Let me qualify that a bit and narrow my hypothesis down to therapists in Franklin County, Massachusetts. While I lived the first half of my life in eastern Mass, I did have some very good therapists. But moving to western Mass has been a descent into ignorance, in the therapy world and in many other ways too.

I stopped taking the antidepressant (celexa, if that’s how you spell it) midway through December 2010, having started it about seven months before. The longer I stayed on it, the more tired and listless I became. Lowering the dose was tried, but over time the same thing happened. I still take the anti-anxiety, but an attempt to raise the dose from a half milligram to a whole one brought on the same tired, listless result. There are a great many things my abnormal immune system doesn’t like, and I don’t think it likes these drugs.

… Now it’s April 2010, and I don’t take the anxiety pill anymore either. Though I’d like an anxiety pill to use as needed, to take when it really flares up, they won’t prescribe them that way anymore. At least not here in Franklin County, where people make their own rules about absolutely everything. No, they make you take these pills twice daily and have the junk in your system all the time. I don’t want it in my body all the time, and neither does my fierce immune system. The longer I stay on any one of these “psych” drugs, the more side effects I have. A doctor told me twenty-five years ago when I had side effects that I couldn’t take these types of drugs and should never take any again. But they keep coming out with new ones, and people periodically talk me into trying one, and it’s always the same: the longer I take it, the more depressed I get, the more tired and listless, headaches, and more. I don’t think it’s ever going to be a match, my body and the psychobabble boneheads’ drugs.

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read…   Lifelines…    Mental hell

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2010-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.