Tag: mental health

The Big Lie about the mental healthcare system

The Big Lie about mental healthcare in general is that mental illness is an objective dysfunction in the patient. We know from research that most mental illness is a result of toxic, traumatic, and depraved experiences over time. You might be receiving mental healthcare not because you are broken or weak but because you are too sensitive to depravity and need to become less sensitive in order to continue to work and feed yourself and your family. Your sensitivity is not dysfunction per se, but a reasonable response to an unreasonable situation.

Increasing resiliency is noble in many respects, but it can also become pathological when administered by the same agents who are meting out the depravity. If the master knows that the toxic effects of depravity can be blunted with a pill, they are probably going to want you on that pill.

True mental health is a 2-factor equation where one of the variables is your holistic adaptability to stress. There is some basic, functional level of stress response. The other factor is the amount of horror and depravity you have to endure, like working a corporate job during a pandemic, with the feds invading your city, an insane and abusive President, friends attempting suicide, and more.

If you engage with the mental health system, it is not because you are weak. It is likely because you are too sensitive for this machine that we have created called inhumane capitalism. In a way, we are compelled to become more like machines in order to service them, which has terrifying implications.

Take care of yourself. Health is always messy. Sometimes you need the narcotic to dull the pain. But sometimes you need to feel the pain in order to change the stimulus so it stops hurting you.

We’re All Enrolled in The School of Life

I used to be a very “troubled” person. From the time I was 15 until about 36 years old, I had a consistent “mental health problem.” In January of 2016, I found my answer, and it was the culmination of a good deal of study, practice, and opening up. I found my peace, and I think that others can find that same peace, although it might require losing something to gain it.

My peace came by letting go of a “perfect life” or “perfect health.” I had to let go of my expectations and truly accept what was happening in my life.  I have not just “given up” if that’s what you are inferring. I am still striving for my goals, but when things don’t go as planned, it’s not really my fault, and I don’t beat myself up. The universe seems to be hard on purpose, and although I sometimes feel anxiety or anger, I am learning to have peace with this reality.

If you go to the gym, and you leave feeling sore, you don’t see that soreness as a failure. That was the whole point of going. Likewise, with your life, if you get beat up, that’s the point. This life is training or school for some higher place. We enter as little children, and through our struggle and adversity, we become spiritual adults. If you went to the gym and your trainer only put the tiniest weights on the machine, and you never broke a sweat, you’d want your money back. But when life makes us sweat, we cry that it’s totally unfair!

In modern society, we are obsessed with perfection, usually material perfection. We have created multi-billion dollar industries to give us the illusion of perfection on giant screens. But also, we seem to be constantly let down by that perfection. There is an everpresent juxtaposition of both the attempt at perfection and the revelation of human fallibility. It seems that the more “perfect” some person seems, the more jarring it is when they are revealed to be a human with flaws like everyone else.

I am not sure that everyone is capable of undergoing the spiritual evolution and rebirth that I did. To be honest, events in my life were so bad that I was forced to go deep and cut out parts of my psyche in a valiant attempt at regaining sanity. Being transgender confronted me with a ton of rejection, and so it was easy for me to cut out institutions and modes of thought that were outdated. They kicked me out, so I had to find new answers.

I could go through a “Top Ten Ways I Found Spiritual Fulfillment!!” clickbait style list, but I won’t here. The path that can be described is not the true path. Everyone has their own path for their own starting point on the giant spiral staircase of life. The one key that is utterly important is spiritual hunger. This is why Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” In other words, if you are hungry for spiritual philosophy, you will find your rebirth and see peace.

We all have to make basic assumptions about life and reality. Most of us in the Western world assume that life can be perfected here on Earth with enough technology and smart intellectuals telling us what to do. I’m not saying that technology and intellectuals are bad, but I do not assume that we can perfect this world. I believe that there is some chaotic constant that continually throws a wrench into whatever we’re doing so that we can be challenged. I see life, not as some playground for humanity but more of a boot camp for humanity before we graduate into the “real world” on the higher plane.

I am not exempt from this challenging force that I call the chaotic constant. Even though I have had certain experiences that have freed me from many of the anxieties and neuroses of my youth, I will continue to grow as long as I’m in this world. I’ve just found how to let go and be accepting of what happens. This required a LOT of training mostly in the form of meditation but also finding the right psychedelic medications. Meditation is the practice of ignoring your brain. You sit and your brain yells “Do What I Tell You!” and you ignore it. Slowly, that voice learns that you won’t be pushed around, and it calms down, but this takes time. Psychedelics show you perspectives that are hard to get in the everyday world so that you can check yourself.

May you find the small measure of peace that I have found in my heart. If you are interested in additional information in this respect, leave me a comment, and we can dialogue about it. I learn by teaching, so I would love to work with you.

To close, think about what you expect out of your life. Is it a realistic expectation? How does it make you feel if you think about not getting what you expect out of life? Does it trouble you? If you can handle “failing” in this life, you might just lose that persistent anxiety that walks around with you. If we love what we get instead of get angry about what we don’t get, we might live lives of gratitude instead of resentment, peace instead of self-loathing.

Me Too

I haven’t really felt like posting this meme, because I didn’t grow up being socialized around cisgender women, so I suppose I have felt slightly alienated from it, but my experience with toxic masculinity is probably even more severe than most.

I grew up looking like a “normal” male child, and yet my psychology and emotional makeup were far closer to that of the average young girl. I was sensitive, loved art and music especially, always tried to dress expressively, and had many other qualities that didn’t fit in with the increasingly narrow definitions of masculinity indicative of late-stage patriarchy. And then of course I was attracted to the same gender, but that didn’t come until I started puberty, and by that time  masculinity had scarred my back repeatedly with its whiplashes.

Unlike the girls in the other lines, I was undercover: embedded amongst the enemy. From the first grade, I was bullied for being different. I didn’t really understand why I was bullied and singled out until much later, but now I see it. I was a girl that couldn’t retreat into a group of other girls. I was alone and chained to the boys, and they knew it. Men in America are conditioned to hate and deride femininity wherever they see it. Of course not all men follow these orders, but enough do to create deep scars in anyone who dares to be born with a feminine or yin psychological composition.

I’ve never been sexually assaulted even though there were predators in the gay male community too who took advantage of my fragile state when I was underage and crossed boundaries. But I was psychologically assaulted for my gender, and this did plenty of damage. It took me until I was 30 to finally say enough is enough and throw those bullies and demons out of my consciousness and resurrect that girl that I had hidden deep in the recesses of my consciousness around the age of 6. I still have lots and lots of rehabilitation to do because of the foul aggressions of “modern” American masculinity, but I’m on the track.

The reason that transgender women are targeted and attacked at a sickeningly high level is because men are fighting a proxy battle in the wider war against women in general. People like me have dared to say that transitioning to live as a woman is not a “downgrade” as they would have everyone believe. Soldiers often treat traitors worse than they treat the enemy, and I am proudly both. This primitive charade needs to end, and rest assured that it is ending. Women have made enormous advances economically and politically in the last one hundred years, and the momentum is not slowing. I just pray to the goddess that we can join hands as one peaceful people soon and respect all gender manifestations as beautiful and divine.

A Few Words

God gave you a left hand and a right hand. On one side there are things that happen to you and you’re the victim or receptive or yin. On the other side, you are the actor, the thinker, the yang. You can’t reduce it to one. It’s both, well at least both. I’m not that smart enough to know how many hands reality has. But you can’t say that you’re a total victim, and you can’t say that you’re a total egotistical controller. We’re all both in varying degrees. So can we please meet in the center? Can we have a mosh pit of love and understanding. I know that some people are “unrelatable” but people change. I used to be a frothing right winger. I grew up. Let’s all stop being total know-it-alls that are completely convinced that the other side is wrong. Certainty is poison. There is no certainty in a complicated system of oppositional actors. Humility, Please?!
By the way, WTF is wrong with you Donald Trump. I’m talking to you as one of those horrible trannies that you want to cleanse out of the military. (BTW, only we can say tranny. Don’t fucking say it if you’re not a tranny.) Grow the fuck up motherfucker! Simmer down my brother. You’re not fucking Christ. Lord. The amount of intellectual certainty in this budding Aquarian Age is just too much. Yeah, we kind of know things because of science, but science is wrong every day.
OK I feel better. It’s such a fucking disaster. Center. Breath. Ground. Know that you’re a dumb ass ape. Life is work.
I’m drunk, but hey, I can write a few words.

The Technology Revolution is Changing the Cultural World. Can We Adapt and Meet the Challenge?

I have a theory that there is a basic demographic upheaval going on inside the dominant narrative in Western culture. For centuries, the power structures like the church leaders and politicians have successfully been able to exclude certain members of the populace because they were easy to control. These members include the disabled, LGBT, POC, “mentally ill,” and other easily controlled minority groups. They were controllable because of their difficult circumstances in life and because of aggressive ideological hegemony.

And yet, the communications and technology revolution that started in the 1960’s conjunct the invention of the electronic transistor led to a proliferation of communication amplification devices. These devices like telephones, radios, cell phones, and computers enabled the average person to have a greater amplitude to their voice, ie. they were louder.

What this did was dissolve the borders of communication that existed prior to the advent of this revolution. Within a single generation, the demographic makeup changed in a statistically significant and demonstrable way leading to social upheaval. In reality, those who had been pushed to the edge of the social communications spectrum gained the unique ability to voice their opinions on the level of the traditional majority groups.

This did lead to large-scale democratization of culture at large, but disturbances like this have had radical consequences for the median state of the social entity. Without those voices of dissent, the majority group that was homogeneously white, straight, and Christian (on average) has not had to field questions that might challenge the dominant narrative. They probably have become weak and poorly skilled at defending their position, as it was not really a needed skill for so long.

However, we exist at a great axis point in civilization, as our standards of living have vaulted quickly into uncharted realms of comfort and convenience. There have been sages who have predicted that this as some great “Aquarian Age,” but you needn’t be a believer in a metaphysical shift to understand that our lives are radically different than our forebears.

Because, as the previously disenfranchised gain prominence and power because of the electrification and amplification of their collective signals, you will probably see increased tension and friction within society. There will be waves, back and forth, within the social system as the collective equilibrates to a new stasis.

I think that at this point, all the average person can do is continue on forward with his or her positions. These forces of radical change are far greater than most if not all of the small pieces within the large, institutional changes. We are forging a new post-structural path. We are loosing ourselves from the once steel bonds to basic needs like food and water. Now freer and not determined by the lower-level desires of security, we must create a new Earth of will-power and play. But this will be treacherous.

We are taking flight. We are moving skyward and jumping to new orbits of possibility. But our tail is snapping back into us. We must consider the whole of humanity outside of our present definition. The past is rapidly snapping into the present to fire us into the future. Can we hold our wits together so that we might sail into the sky as a people?

We shall see.

Seek truth, embrace sacrifice, gain real power, and be able to resist with real strength.

America is vomitous. Decadence has turned our beacon on a hill into a pit of desperation and despair. But the world at large is just as loathsome, if you don’t want to be some felating Yes-man to the “acceptable” notions of the moneyed aristocracy. The state of humanity in power in 2017 is just plain wretched. Occasionally I have the urge to a throw up just thinking about the state of our media and leadership. I’ve been repeating these themes for a long time, but people silence minorities who want to speak up and say something, well until it’s too late.

Here parades a sad cavalcade of bullies who need to be laughed at vociferously, but true and meaningful laughter comes from real power, and most Americans have had their power deviously stolen from them. So where does real power come from? It comes from going on a journey of the soul and confronting your fears deep inside yourself. Often this kind of growth comes from ordeals which most people either do not want to face or are not forced to face. Plus, there is spiritual knowledge that the powers that be have scrubbed from our literature through the generations in order to keep the people weak and think that the journey is pointless.

Robert Anton Wilson is someone that I highly respect. However, he was not just some two-bit political word slinger. He looked for esoteric knowledge and pursued it to the point of being laughed at himself. He took the words of Crowley, Leary, and Korzybski et al. and put them to work within the crucible of the human heart. Unless you are willing to pursue these verboten techniques and are willing to break laws in order to achieve them, you will not get anything in life except a gaggle of fake Internet points from other members of the insubstantial class.

Social media has turned so many people into dress up queens who put on metaphorical Instagram filters and think that they’ve done something important. Real power, the power that flows within you, comes through deep sacrifice, and sacrifice is a word that has been crumpled up and thrown into the trash. Honestly, for myself, I’m not sure if I really was that brave with my sacrifice. I grew up with a “wrong” gender and a “wrong” sexuality for an ostensibly male American. I was deeply shamed for most of my youth. I was ostracized from straight and gay communities alike. For some reason, I was born different, and my road has been very difficult. Finally, because I decided to live a life that was no choice to me, custody of my two beautiful baby boys was taken from me with the assistance of a conservative judge and the State of California. This was my forced sacrifice, and I had to go deep within myself to try and find peace in a world that was unfairness exemplified.

On that journey, I found something that others said was not real. I found the power of psychedelic substances that shone a light within my consciousness and illuminated my inner psychology to such a degree that I was able to quickly grasp what was real and what was not. I found the power of meditation and inner control. I found the power of a seemingly intelligent universe that sought to guide me forward. I found the power of internal rejuvenation. I found redemption.

The path for everyone is different, so it cannot be prescribed in a blog post. But the journey is the reward. Somehow I’m OK with my trials in this lifetime. I’m a rather despised member of our society in general, but I can smile from within my heart and have peace at times. Great and fortuitous forces have come to my aid when my realities were especially bleak. I have no assurance that I will survive my existential journey with any kind of “reward,” but onward I go, foolish and more free every day.

Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

America makes you crazy, so you gotta give yourself a break. I’m trying to work on getting over a lot of my instilled fear of groups and friends. I spent so long being incognito, desperately trying to be this “perfect male” so that people wouldn’t know who I really was. It takes a lot of deprogramming to undo that kind of thing, and you have to be careful about it and not just go at your history with a flamethrower. Truly remaking yourself, healing your mental health, is the subtle and daring work of a shaman or artist more than a “good patient” or whatever the authorities advocate to heal. I think that mostly I need to have an unerring devotion to the notion that I am fallible and be ready to cut those wrong assumptions about myself at the root when I find them. I rather enjoy being humble and accepting my own flaws. But it takes a lot of work, and I have to be able to accept when someone else says something true about me that I don’t want to hear. It takes practice, and each time gets easier.

I have a lot of anxiety. It comes and goes, but it has been my most loyal companion of my 37 trips around the sun. The anxiety is rooted in fear, a fear of rejection and loss of security. I’ve had people I thought cared about me suddenly turn and shun me so many times in my life that I’ve developed a serious inferiority and instability complex. Having my kids taken away was the nuclear bomb that severed me from my history. I was so broken that I was forced to start over and try anything to not want to kill myself on the daily. But I haven’t been like that for almost 2 years now because I learned to laugh at the total insanity of my situation and my behaviors. A good laugh can cure just about anything. I have my secret and unorthodox means for arriving at these salvations, and I wish I could be more open, but we live in paranoid times, so the prudential people must follow the ancient Chinese proverb in “hiding their light and biding their time.”

Life is still just as much of a challenge as when I was at my lowest. It might be even harder because I was ignoring so many things back then that I have to address now, but I just have a different perspective. I think something Buddhist or Christian or whatever stuck down in my heart, and I internalized the truth that pain is a constant in life, and yet in spite of pain, we can still have joy. It’s easy to pigeon-hole folks like myself as overly emotional social justice warrior millennial whiners, but I just have to say that some of us have a lot of shit to dig out of. Growing up trans or queer or radically in the minority is heavy, heavy stuff. There are some people who are just addicted to the victim attention for sure, but most of us misfits are just trying to get better, do better, be better, etc.

I do have great news to share though! My cat of 12 years, Snow, is recovering incredibly well from Hepatic Lipidosis which is a fairly common liver disease for house cats. I’ve had to feed her through a tube twice a day for over two weeks now, and it’s been a challenge, but my little Snowbie is doing great and returning to her cranky and loving self. Our vet is also using traditional Chinese herbal medicine to assist in her recovery, and she looks better than she’s been in a long time. My heart is so joyful over it. I am so completely blessed that my partner was able to pay for the expensive surgery too.

It’s such a strange time for America and for transgender people and everybody. There is a funny Chinese aphorism that one tells to someone they don’t particularly like: “may you be born in interesting times.” Well these sure are some interesting times. My life has been nothing if not interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to figure out with this Sisyphean exercise, but I’m gonna figure out whatever I can. I’m gonna play this video game until I see the final credits! 

The tragedy and hope of confronting suicide and mental health

I grew up listening to Chris Cornell’s music as most other 90’s teenagers did. He was able to easily evince a feeling of sensitive yet aggressive angst with operatic bravura. This ability most likely came from his own struggles with mental health and personal darkness.

I understand what it’s like to be artistic and depressive. I’ve been suicidal for long periods of my life. I’m not suicidal now and haven’t been since January of 2016 when I sort of figured out how to exist in my darkness. It’s work. Daily work. Artists and sensitives have to deal with their environment, and America as a country is very dark. America tries to wear this ridiculous, happy mask to try and convince the world that it’s “so happy!!!” However us sensitives get to swim in the darkness, seeing the realness that others might be able to ignore.

There is relief of mental health troubles, but overcoming these struggles requires the best in us. I’ve found ancient Zen and Taoist concepts of letting go, nothingness, and peace to help me cope. I’ve also found solace in the passion and suffering of Jesus although I’m definitely not a mainstream Christian by any measure. I also use modern mental health techniques like dialectical behavioral therapy to address my anxieties and extreme emotions. I try and use a holistic and whole body approach to tackling mental health concerns, and I believe I’ve found a modicum of success in this respect.

I don’t really blame people for committing suicide because it’s a tough row to hoe, but I definitely think it is a tragic error that tends to amplify your suffering onto other people. I’ve come to see suicide as “self murder,” and I believe that murder is not really helpful in most if not all circumstances. Through this re-framing of concept, I’ve been able to take the romanticism out of my old obsessions with suicide. Mental health concerns challenge us to radically confront ourselves, and this is often a most precipitous mountain to scale.

But I want to say that there are other climbers on this mountain willing to help you if you reach out for help, which is my final point: always reach out for help. If you humble yourself and say “I just can’t figure out how to live,” most likely someone will be there to help you, and often this act of letting go can free us from the notion that we have to fix everything ourselves.