Some Support from "The Economist" on US Criminal Justice

Readers who were interested in my recent "United States of Punishment" blog essay may be interested to know that the British newsmagazine The Economist has an article that supports my harsh criticisms of the US criminal justice system. The article is called, "Rough justice in America: Too many laws, too many prisoners," with the sub-heading, "Never in the civilised world have so many been locked up for so little."

The article is from the July 22nd 2010 Economist, with link at

The article contains some very significant statistics that you may want to copy down and save for future reference, if you are at all interested in the state of our justice system. To quote one section which relays some of these stats,

"Justice is harsher in America than in any other rich country. Between 2.3m and 2.4m Americans are behind bars, roughly one in every 100 adults. If those on parole or probation are included, one adult in 31 is under “correctional” supervision. As a proportion of its total population, America incarcerates five times more people than Britain, nine times more than Germany and 12 times more than Japan. Overcrowding is the norm. Federal prisons house 60% more inmates than they were designed for. State lock-ups are only slightly less stuffed.

"The system has three big flaws, say criminologists. First, it puts too many people away for too long. Second, it criminalises acts that need not be criminalised. Third, it is unpredictable. Many laws, especially federal ones, are so vaguely written that people cannot easily tell whether they have broken them.

"In 1970 the proportion of Americans behind bars was below one in 400, compared with today’s one in 100. Since then, the voters, alarmed at a surge in violent crime, have demanded fiercer sentences. Politicians have obliged. New laws have removed from judges much of their discretion to set a sentence that takes full account of the circumstances of the offence. Since no politician wants to be tarred as soft on crime, such laws, mandating minimum sentences, are seldom softened. On the contrary, they tend to get harder."

Once again, the article is from the July 22nd 2010 Economist, with link at

I am gratified to find some support for my own concerns in The Economist, as this is not some far-left or ultra-liberal publication. Often, the magazine has conservative views that I disagree with, but I always appreciate that the views are presented with intelligence and wit.

Our prison situation is indeed out of control: fiscally wasteful, humanly destructive, and socially counterproductive. Intelligent people on the left and the right are both starting to see this, but making any change is sure to be extremely difficult, because the criminal justice-prison system--the "war on drugs" and all the rest of it--has become a profitable industry with many vested interests, not unlike the military-industrial complex that that old lefty Eisenhower warned Americans about.

Bipolar Explorer.......on foot

Day 12 on Lithium with one dose increase so far. I’m at home for the weekend to ‘suck it and see’ so to speak.

It’s gone well so far but I discovered that my hands are still too shaky to pluck my own eyebrows, drink with one hand or eat soup which doesn’t help with the torturous insatiable hunger. I’ve woken every morning for days with a headache and have leg cramps; I’m tired all the time and have barely moved from the sofa. I’ve kind of got used to being a bit of a wreck mentally but these physical impediments upset me.

And how is my mental health? Well, going to the local shop, five minutes walk away, makes my heart beat faster and my hands shake even more. I would prefer the safety and cover of driving to the shop but that is out of the question for the time being. (more on that later)

I’ve spent the weekend actively not navel-gazing, replacing thinking with trashy TV and so far it’s worked………..most of the time.

When I’ve allowed myself to think ahead to my future I’ve forced myself to consider the practicalities. I think I finally have my finances sorted, I’ve yet to work out just where to cut my cloth but I know I’m going to have to.

I’ve done some research into the driving question and I really don’t like what I’ve unearthed.

According to the DVLA website I have to inform them of my diagnosis but there is no information there that gives me a clue as to what will happen regarding my license, I guess each case is considered individually according to medical reports. I daresay even when I am well enough to drive the cost of insurance will be crippling anyway so I’ve slowly become resigned to the fact that this family will be without a car.

I know lots of families survive perfectly happily without a car but for my family, who are well used to having a car and living the kind of life that requires a car (my GP surgery is a 20 minute drive away) this will be a difficult change to get used to.

And that’s just the tip of the changes iceberg, in the interests of continued not navel gazing I will resist writing about my job or my hobbies for now.

I’m assured by everyone I speak to that I do have a future, it’ll just be different- well so far I don’t like the differences and I’m not sure I’ve gained much from them.

The United States of Punishment

Readers, this is something I have been wanting to comment on for a long time: a growing spirit of meanness, even sadism, in the thought, behavior and culture that I feel is becoming stronger and stronger in the United States. This country has a lot of problems right now, but it seems to me that there are not a lot of people interested in actually THINKING about what our problems are and trying to solve them TOGETHER. No. What many, and I fear most Americans want, is just to beat up on someone. You can see it in reality television shows and on that internet voyeur known as You Tube, where the great fun is to watch some misguided average Joe or Jane humiliated and ridiculed. You can see it in our obsession with celebrity, in the delight that so many take in seeing the famous brought low.

You can see it in our criminal "justice" system, where there is much more support for punishing the people locked away, even for very minor offenses, than for rehabilitating them so that they will have a snowball's chance in hell of living a normal, productive life when they get out of prison. Why rehabilitate them? Better to let them remain criminals so that we can enjoy locking them up again and again and feeling superior to "those people."

You can see it in the anti-immigrant, anti-Hispanic sentiment that seems to be growing in popularity. Look at that one more closely and you will find things like Hispanic people being beaten up and even killed, not in the Deep South, mind you, but on Long Island, just a few dozen miles from diversity central (NYC). You can see it in the popularity of police drama television shows, which give the people a steady dose of a very particular view of American society, in which there is no hope of improving society, only the adrenalin rush of hunting down criminals and locking them up. You can see the real-life ramifications of this media indoctrination in the way states like California have, for many years, been pumping much more money into prisons than schools. Did you know California used to have free university tuition? Not anymore, but plenty of free services for the thousands upon thousands in California prisons, a situation mirrored in states across the country. Priorities are clear! Why educate people when you can punish them? Is THIS the American dream? Most modern democratic countries have abolished the death penalty. Not here! It is a dear and cherished tradition!

You can see it in our national government's foreign policy spending priorities, in that the amount of money devoted to peaceful foreign projects is far dwarfed by what is spent on the military, not only our several ongoing wars that have ripped apart whole societies and left shattered cities, psyches and limbs in their wake that will take decades to heal, but also our "peaceful" military presence in so many countries around the world, which sends a clear message that we are ready to stomp on anyone who disagrees with us or fails to support our military objectives and corporate business interests. Remember that what kicked off both of our most recent wars was a desire to PUNISH: punish the Afghans for 9/11 (even though all or most of the terrorists were Saudis), punish Saddam and Iraq for anti-American weapon programs. Call it "war on terror," call it "nation-building," but I would argue that the root motive is punishment of dark-skinned, non-Christian, uncooperative foreigners.

You can see it in how every city and even very small towns in the USA always have military parades, which for some reason often feature police as well as soldiers, but nothing to honor artists, teachers, or people in non-punitive helping professions. It was a hard-fought battle in this country to establish Martin Luther King day as a national holiday, for the obvious reason that he was a man of peace, as well as an African-American, and in the view of many, THAT AIN'T AMERICAN!! Do you know which state held out for years on accepting the holiday? Same state (AZ) that is now set to implement a law that will give police carte blanche to harass and arrest Hispanics suspected of being illegal aliens. It is also the state with a cruel and humiliating prison system, in Maricopa County, that happens to be immensely popular with the general population, to the point where the head of this police state, Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who his fans call "America's Toughest Sheriff," has his own reality television show.

I can't wait until someone finally puts on a show that will televise live executions. "Live from Death Row," sure to be a big hit in the near future! Fun for the whole family, taking America back to the days when people would bring picnic lunches to watch hangings and lynchings. I am not joking about that last point: executions and lynchings were popular entertainments in the not-too-distant American past.

We just love Love LOVE to have someone to beat up on, someone to bomb, someone to throw into prison, someone to hate. And, final irony, some of those on the right-wing side of the political spectrum seem to be gearing up and gunning up to take up arms against our democratically-elected government--and they think of themselves as patriots. The obsession with guns, the fear that you will need to defend yourself in a John Wayne movie always showing in the little cinema in the back of your mind, where does that come from? I suspect it goes back to the culture of the American frontier, when "the west was won" by white Americans shooting and killing Native Americans and taking their land. A great victory, right? Or maybe it was the time not long past in the Jim Crow South when the white man could shoot blacks with impunity? Maybe there is a bit of guilty conscience, fear of payback from people no longer cringing in fear?

What is it that many right-wingers and conservatives shout nowadays? "TAKE OUR COUNTRY BACK!!!" Back to what, exactly? They never say...Perhaps the good old days of white supremacy, the KKK, lynching of blacks and gays? I for one have no doubt that there is an ugly racial undercurrent running through the so-called Tea Party movement. First a black man is elected president, and then sales of guns and ammo shoot through the roof. What is that about? And what was it that made Bush so popular for several years post-9/11? His promise to "punish the evil-doers." I wonder, will Obama now be tempted to attack Iran to bolster his own popularity?

I am afraid. I fear that this country is becoming an increasingly harsh and brutal police state. I fear that young people today are being raised in a culture which values and validates violence and aggression over all things, that sees compassion, compromise, gentleness and intelligence as disgusting, undesirable, effeminate qualities. A culture that believes the ONLY solution to social problems is to beat people down, shut them up, lock them up. A mindset that has no doubt that the ONLY solution to international conflicts is to use force to beat and bomb foreign people into submission to our will. A mentality that asserts that the ONLY way to be a man is to be a tough-as-nails, ain't never backin'-down, fist-fightin' gun-totin,' brute (A REAL MAN!!) Women too are encouraged to be more aggressive, more selfish, more mean, maybe pack a gun in the purse along with the lipstick. Now there's some great feminism for you! Real gender equality, all through the magic of gun ownership! And now, thanks to the Supreme Court, it is going to be easier and easier for every American to carry a gun wherever they want! Finally, we will all be SAFE. This is surely what the forefathers dreamed of when they set sail for America: a nation where guns will one day outnumber brains.

I don't believe that violence and aggression will make this world a better place. I think we are WAY off track and completely losing sight of the need for gentleness, calmness, compassion and civility. If it were not the fact that something deep in me resonates strongly with the gods and traditions of the European Pagan heritage, I would be very tempted to take up Buddhism. I greatly respect the Buddhist path of self-control, self-reflection and non-violence. I would like to believe they can also be found in Pagan tradition, but I know many disagree. In American Asatru, there are many who primarily relate to this tradition as a warrior path. I don't want to begrudge anyone the right to their own views and interpretations, particularly military veterans who have a need to validate their battlefield experiences, but I feel that there is just too much war-mongering going on, to the point where other priorities and possibilities are lost. I mean, come on! "Hail Thor, Hail War, Let's drink some beer then drink some more!" Wow, now THAT is really spiritual! Come on, please. Anyone who studies any Pagan tradition, whether Norse or Celtic or Slavic or what have you should realize that warrior machismo is not the only thing going on in these religions. There is so much about nature, about sensuality, about peace, about friendship, about art, about beauty. I fear that the warped priorities of modern American society are being read back into ancient Paganism, and then held up as Pagan virtues that all should honor and obey.

Well, I for one am NOT going to play along with this. I worship the sky, the earth, the trees, the ancestors, and I don't need guns or weapons or fantasies of violence to feel right with MY Paganism. I do NOT accept narrow definitions of "tribe" that would cause me to turn away from my brothers and sisters of all races and ethnic backgrounds. I do NOT see the military punishment of foreign populations and disruption of their societies as honorable or worth emulating. I believe that there are more pleasant and productive forms of travel than military invasion. My Paganism is wide and loving and embracing, not narrow and hateful and punishing. I want to see a Paganism that teaches peace and co-existence, not a glorification of war and aggression. Those things have their time and place, I don't doubt, but that place is not everywhere and the time should not be everyday and every minute.

What kind of world do YOU want to live in?

It Is All Doom and Gloom

A whole blog-free week later and where am I?

Still in hospital, still not stable, still stigmatising myself.

The first two probably come as no surprise to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of mental illness and their treatment but I reckon the third one almost comes as a surprise, even to me….almost.

Last weekend I went home and when I came back to the hospital on Monday I was depressed. I’d been depressed all weekend actually, was depressed even before I got through my own front door on Friday but I hid it well.

I spent the weekend doing what people do- cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, shopping and crying (though I probably did more crying than most people this weekend). My stubbornness and determination to prove ‘I could do it’ was the only thing that stopped me retreating back to the hospital on Saturday.

So I stayed at home all weekend and proved I could do ‘it’ and it turned out to be a refusal to accept that I am ill and will need and deserve time to recover properly. It is giving myself a hard time because things I used to do easily are a lot more difficult now. It is a refusal to ask for and accept help, it was exhausting.

Truthfully, I don’t know how I did my life before, being exposed to one small part of it this weekend left me in a mess.

So the Lithium isn’t doing it’s job- yet, I will stay where I am and cross my fingers and if I go home this weekend I will take my metaphorical crutches and wheelchair so everyone, including me, knows not to expect too much.

A Joke.....

What did one psychiatrist say to the other psychiatrist?

The punchline?

Absolutely nothing.

It’s a crap punchline so you can imagine how I felt today when I saw my consultant to discover the care plan drawn up by my other psychiatrist last week hadn’t been passed on to him.

A breakdown in communication was to blame and it clearly wasn’t my fault but I had to pay the price (a quiet cry on my bed in the ward and an hour or so of feeling anguished and angry until I sorted myself out).

I’d like to be able to report this breakdown in communication as though it were something rare or unexpected but sadly its not, this kind of thing happens all the time on psychiatric wards.

To go back to the infamous car crash analogy, on a medical ward, doctors do rounds every morning. You get to give an update on your health and are given an update on your condition, treatment and progress.

On the psychiatric ward (in my limited experience) you may get to see a doctor once a week. (You can request to see a doctor any time but you’d need a good reason). This allows you all week to build up the experience in the hope it will provide you with some answers to at least some of the questions you’ve spent many an empty hour coming up with.

The consultation often fails to live up to your expectations. So I shouldn’t have been surprised today and I suppose I wasn’t, just upset.

The breakdown in communication has since been sorted and tonight I will start taking Lithium as planned last week. I am ever hopeful that this will prove to be the magic bullet and I my moods will be stabilised soon.

I discovered today (thank you Wikipedia) that Lithium Carbonate is also used in fireworks as it ‘imparts a deep red to flames’. In my current state of mind that property really appeals!

Some Modest Proposals

Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels" once sardonically suggested in an essay entitled "A Modest Proposal" that the best solution to the proliferation of poor people in Britain was to give them a useful role in the British economy as a food source; that is, to eat them. Since in America, we are in the middle of the most severe economic recession since the 1930s, with our "deficit hawk" politicians in Washington refusing to extend the unemployment benefits that have been a lifeline to millions of unemployed workers, we need to think seriously, as Swift did, about how we want to deal with the reality that there are an increasing number of very poor people in our society. The simplest solution is just to kill them. This approach has the great virtue of being in tune with the American value of pure rugged individualism and the lofty Social Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest. If these people are unable to find jobs and take care of their own financial futures, if they have failed in the great America free market of competition, why should they be allowed to go on living? They are just taking up space that could be better used to provide luxury housing and retail outlets for those Americans who ARE good people and have proven this by becoming fabulously wealthy.

Furthermore, the extermination of the poor could be televised as a--naturally--"Pay Per View" program, to raise money for some worthy cause like medical research into the health problems caused by excessive wealth, in which super-wealthy Wall Street executives, oil company CEOs, multi-millionaire baseball and basketball players, pop music stars, and other examples of God-given success, are allowed to execute poor people in a manner of their choosing. Market survey research has proven that this kind of programming would be far more popular with the majority of Americans, including those who are sliding into poverty but prefer to think of themselves as "middle class," than programming that explores the actual circumstances of poor people.

Who needs the poor? Let them die. This would be somewhat embarrassing for our nation, it is true, but certainly far less shameful than forcing our government to go into debt to provide financial assistance to these worthless individuals. Given the choice between adding to the national debt by helping the jobless and simply exterminating them in a cost-effective manner, the choice is clear. It is the duty of every red-blooded, patriotic American to either become rich, or kill the poor.


The above is my attempt at satirical humor. My more serious thoughts on this subject are that we should absolutely take care of those who are losing jobs and falling into poverty in our society. I disagree with the way that this issue is being framed by most politicians and media pundits. According to them, the only way we can provide aid to the jobless and poor is by the government going deep into debt and driving up the deficit. There is another way to go. When a government budget faces a shortfall, the crucial choice is between cutting services and raising revenues. We have heard plenty of voices saying we must tighten our belts, we must cut back government programs, and so forth. I think we should consider the other possibility, of increasing revenues by raising taxes.

I know that the very phrase "raise taxes" is enough to mobilize a hundred million conservative Americans into an angry, frothing frenzy, but I persist in calling for this, because I think it is the only way forward without decimating services that are widely needed across this country. Let me add as an aside that not only are unemployment benefits on the chopping block, but many other government services from education to fire departments to you-name-it. Check out your local news to see how this is unfolding in your state or local community, as it is becoming nearly universal across the USA, with very few exceptions. I would also like to point out that there is a huge amount of research showing that from about 1980 onwards, with the Reagan tax cuts, the decline of labor unions, and other factors, the wealthiest 5% of Americans have seen an exponential growth in their income and assets, while the vast majority of Americans have seen their level of income and assets dwindle and diminish, while their level of debt has been rising dramatically and continuously. That is to say, there has been growing income inequality for decades. Since we now face a crisis that is hitting the most vulnerable members of our human community with brutal force, isn't it time for those wealthy Americans to give something back, to sacrifice a small amount of their vast wealth, to help those who are on the edge of despair and homelessness? It is time for the greedy to face the needy. We should move quickly to institute income tax increases on the top 5%. THEY CAN AFFORD IT. If we are unable to face this issue, then my joking proposal in the first half of this entry will prove to not be a silly joke, but a grimly accurate prophecy. Have we really become a "winner-take-all" country where the lucky few get to live lives of immense luxury, while millions scrape and struggle? That is pretty much the same as letting the rich kill the poor. It just not as direct and dramatic as what I mention above.

Though this blog entry is primarily one about American politics, it does also connect to one of my main concerns about American Paganism. I have detected--and please correct me if I am wrong--that among American Asatru believers, there is a general right-wing, conservative, or libertarian political orientation, that is totally opposed to the kind of tax policy I mention above. These are people who largely, in my experience, like to fancy themselves modern-day, Viking heroes, tough, independent, and not needing no help from nobody, least of all Big Government. Here is why I think their viewpoint is wrong, and here I must ask forgiveness of my readers for repeating a point I have made repeatedly in the early days of this blog. If we look to the homeland of the Vikings, to Scandinavia, we find that these societies have continued to evolve from medieval times onwards to embrace large, effective government, generous social programs including substantial jobless benefits, and progressive tax policies that require the well-to-do to pay high levels of tax to take care of the rest of society. The results have been spectacular: a healthy, well-educated population, much less of a gap between rich and poor, much less crime, and still, a very successful, thriving business sector, from Nokia to Ikea and beyond. It can be done, and the modern-day Vikings show how.

I believe that the most important thing in religion is to waken in ourselves our "higher mind," our greatest potential. I believe that the gods of any and all traditions represent the human attempt to symbolize and personify many different peoples' glimpses of that higher mind that speaks to us to beckon us to a higher level of awareness. In the Norse tradition, I see that higher mind symbolized and personified by Odin. I think modern-day Scandinavia is, in a certain sense, still listening to Odin and tapping into that higher awareness, and using that to create some of the most pleasant and equitable societies in the world. I wish America could do the same.

I regret deeply that my Asatru brothers and sisters in the USA seem to be only devoted to looking backwards, to trying to create some kind of fossilized version of tenth-century Viking heroism, combined with a particular brand of modern-day American "rugged individualism" wrapped up with love of the military and dislike of government. I think Odin has moved on, and they should too!

PS. We could also take money out of the military budget to pay for human needs in the USA, but I guess that is simply impossible. The military is sacred.

Day 5- Working Title

Day 5 of my hospital stay and I’m still here, toughing it out. I’ve spent most of the week quite high. With the help of friends I've come up with numerous titles for my book and a rather innovative way to raise money using a giraffe but am now balanced on that knife edge some of you will know so well.

I’m tired and feel ‘flat’ but I’ve no idea what happens next. The previous pattern dictates I will fall into a deep depressive slump some day soon but I am ever-hopeful that the slight tweak in medication I’ve had so far will prevent that this time.

The days here are so long, weekends here are particularly long; nothing exciting happens during the week but it seems nothing at all happens at weekends, even the usual daily routines are more fluid and relaxed- even if the patients aren’t.

I’m free to come and go (in between medication times) so I have been out most days, either for a walk in the grounds with visitors or for cups of tea in nearby supermarket cafes. I went home yesterday to spend some time with my family. All of these normal things leave me exhausted and quite glad to get back to my hospital bed for a bit of respite.

I’m lucky to have had lots of visitors and lots of messages of support via Twitter and my blog. This has all kept me going which is just as well as my lovely friend decided to bugger off to Cornwall for three weeks the Thursday before I was admitted!

I believe before she went she issued instructions to all my other friends and last night on the phone to her there was talk of a ‘ZoĆ«’s support network party’ when I am better so all my lovely friends can meet in person as opposed to communicating via text with each other, about me. That’s something to look forward to.

Am I Tough Enough?

Day 2 of my hospital stay and new drug regime and I don’t feel any different (which I expected) I am neither horribly depressed nor happy today.

I don’t feel like I need to be in hospital, not being at one end of the bipolar spectrum or the other and am very close to asking to be discharged (again).

I realised today that these are the tough bits; the easy bits are when I’m so low I’m begging for help and any drug that I think will bring me some relief. Or I’m so high that others decide I need to be somewhere safe.

This period is the true test of how hard I am willing to fight to get better.

I want to be stable and I know that’s going to take a drug change, I also know that hospital is the safest place for that drug change to take place but it’s not the best place in terms of support (massive understatement).

The days are so long in here and punctuated by others dramas, emotions often hang heavy in the air, there is always an atmosphere of some sort and it is rarely one conducive to healing.

I don’t do drama but I do soak up all the emotions around me like some sort of sponge for dysfunction. I’m often left feeling fraught and miserable by the actions of others and I’m fraught and miserable enough thanks to my own emotions.

So I’ve talked myself out of requesting to be discharged for now. To go back to that car crash analogy- I daresay if I was not quite healed from the accident I’d find the hospital a strange and stressful place to be as I recovered, but I wouldn’t think twice about leaving before I was ready.

I do of course reserve the right to change my mind completely by dinner time (or teatime as they insist on calling it here)

Desperate measures In Pursuit of Stability

So I am back on the psychiatric ward. A lot of it remains the same but there are some differences too. I’m not as manic as I was the last time so it feels like a calmer place.

I am here to get my medication sorted out in an attempt to escape from the major depressive episodes that have blighted my life these past few weeks. I have no idea how long this will take but I’m desperate and will give anything a try in pursuit of stability.

The internet connection is still so poor as to be almost non-existent and the tea situation is as bad as it ever was (none at all first thing this morning due to technical issues) but I can tolerate it for a while if it means I can get stable enough to recover.

It’s not a good place to be but then neither is my head at the moment.

I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself

In between periods of ‘distress’ which I am supposed to deal with using a combination of mindfulness techniques and if required benzodiazepines, periods of sleep (usually resulting from the benzodiazepines) and periods of writing I have rather a large number of periods where I just have nothing to do.

Everything I had has gone- no job, no Labour party activity, no community group membership, and no social life (that’s not really new!)

I am not ready to get any of these things back, so what do I do with all this time?

At the moment I fill it with housework the odd trip to the gym, spending money I haven’t got, more housework and when I can face going out- walking, but it’s never enough.

There is too much time in my day that just hangs around waiting to be filled and it tends to get filled with unhelpful thoughts and worries, questions that no-one can answer and then I end up back in distress and the whole boring cycle starts again.

I have tried a number of hobbies to occupy me but my inability to concentrate and my constant yearning just to have my old life back before all of this happened means, nothing measures up.

Today I cut my finger open whilst cleaning a yoghurt pot, it is the single most interesting thing that’s happened to me in days but it hurt too much to make it a regular feature.

I do have my violin lesson to look forward to and I am, but it just feels like another strategy to help me fight this illness, something for my mind and hands to do, not necessarily something to derive pleasure form.

I suppose I need to make it different, make it something to look forward to.

I did have a visit from another lovely friend today, I’m trying hard not to let our conversation become a catalyst for a session of beating myself up over all the things I should be doing if I was well.

So I’ll go and put a fresh plaster on my wounded finger. Just be grateful that she visited, we chatted, ate cake, talked about our favourite overnware and I didn't have another 2 hours of nothing to try and fill myself.


I haven’t drawn a picture or picked up a paintbrush in weeks, I can no longer juggle three balls for any length of time and I can’t remember the last time I had a ‘great idea’. The furniture in my house has been in the same place for weeks, I never filled that “perfect summer shoe” void, never bought an iPad and the staff at Ikea must be missing me.

Even blogging is an effort.

They’ have won. I am dull and boring and just sit, doing nothing waiting to get better.

I said in a previous post it worried me that I was surrounded by a ‘team’ of medical professionals who only knew me when I was ill, didn’t know who the real me was, and there was a real risk I’d end up being medicated into someone I’m not.

Seriously, I don’t do anything anymore, I have no passion for anything and I can’t get excited by anything either. If this is stability ‘they’ can keep it.

I say this as today has been a good day by recent standards- no weeping or wailing, no desire to end it all, no hiding in my bedroom with the blinds shut, I even went out without worrying about it very much. I cooked, I cleaned, I dozed on the sofa- I existed.

Yes it’s better than the depths of despair but its not living, it’s existing and I think I deserve better than that.

I don’t even listen to music anymore (bit of a waste of the three iPods I bought during my last manic episode) I just drift about from one mundane task to the next in silence.

Perhaps this is progress? I don’t feel like it is, I’m almost glad I’ve had all my usual internal battles with my own disordered thinking to keep the interest levels up a bit.

Perhaps though this is the calm before the storm? I was hyper-active today and did over-spend.

Please let it be anything other than how I’m going to spend the rest of my life.

Mmmm Pie

Just a quick blog to say, I don’t have much to say! I have had a hard day, full of mental unhealthiness and queries met with unacceptable (to me) answers form my team.

Again, I’ve had enough, I want to be better and I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I would do anything to feel better or at least have some idea of when I can expect to start feeling better. I’m usually in bed by now but delaying as I can’t bear the thought of going to sleep only to wake up to the same crap tomorrow.

On the advice of my fantastic (though today again, frustratingly unarmed with a magic wand) CPN I have made a list of my current stressors- there are 10 of them that I can think of and it’s no wonder I’m having a bad day really. I rated them all out of 100 (even somewhat geekily made a pie-chart) and not one of them scores under 40/100.

The problem is what do I do now? I want to hand the list (and the pie-chart if they think it will help) over to someone else and say “here this is what’s wrong, fix it” but I can’t.

Some of the stresses will fix themselves over time but some of them will take some effort from me and the big one “how long will it take me to get better? (90/100)” cannot be answered until it’s happened.

So I’m having an angry day, a stressful, angry, horrible day.