I have been mentally stable for weeks now. It is a welcomed relief to not have to fear having mini breakdowns everyday or risk having major setbacks because of relatively minor problems. I may have given my readers the idea that taking medications and going to regular counseling sessions are enough to stabilize the mentally ill. If only it were so.
Many, if not most, mentally ill people are worse off than I am. A significant percentage of homeless people are untreated mentally ill people. Just today I read an article about a homeless lady from Oregon who recently died from hypothermia. She was homeless because she fell two months behind on her rent at a low income housing complex. No one informed her family members she was being evicted or having mental health problems. This lady, like me, had schizophrenia. Like me, she had been a model resident in her complex for several years before the mental health problems came back. I sometimes find myself afraid that something similar could happen to me. I have some setbacks, I get in trouble in my complex, I get evicted, and no one bothers to inform anyone who could help me out. I have also seen statistics that one fourth of people killed by police officers are mentally ill people having psychotic breakdowns.
This is one of the reasons I am paranoid about cops. I appreciate that they have a brutal and often thankless job but I am still afraid of them. Some may say “If you’re not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about.” If only that were true. I have had plenty of experience of authority figures, coworkers, peers, and even my own parents just telling me off over things I wasn’t guilty of. I used to get yelled out for being too sad and even too happy. It was like I was supposed to have the emotions of a pile of garden tools. I’m not unemotional. I have strong feelings and opinions, especially when I don’t share them. I have enough white noise and hallucinations going on in my mind even on good days that getting in my face and yelling at me doesn’t calm me down or motivate me. If anything I want to severely hurt anyone who raises their voice to me. The Marine drill instructor, alpha male jock, kick ass and take names approach does not work on me. It never has and it never will. It only makes me more angry.
I am scared of people who yell and scream a lot. I am scared of people who love violence. I am scared of people who think violence and war will solve all problems. I am terrified of stupid people in large groups. One of the reasons I hate socializing is that I don’t like being vulnerable or dealing with the unknown. I have to admit that somedays I don’t want to leave my apartment simply because I am afraid of people in general.
I am not really a misanthrope. I genuinely love intelligent conversations that are calm and non argumentative. I have yet to have an intelligent conversation with a dog or a house plant. And I imagine it will be a long time before a computer can be a worthy substitute for human conversation. I don’t hate people, I just can’t stand it when they do stupid and cruel things. Now I know that people are no more cruel and stupid then they were in past generations. If anything they were probably dumber and less compassionate before mass media and universal education. I just hear about stupid and cruel actions more just because I am more connected than past generations. Years ago, for me to hear about a homeless mentally ill person dying of hypothermia, it would have had to happen in my hometown. But as it is we are more connected now than ever. That isn’t going to change. If anything we are going to get even more connected and involved in the lives of complete strangers living all over the world in the coming years. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I am convinced that one of the reasons people will fight with others is because we can’t see where the other person is coming from. I think it was a lack of open communication and intermingling that lead to peoples and nations in past ages to fight wars against each other. Personally I would rather do business with a foreigner or have dinner with him than fight him in a war. In all honesty, people have far more in common then they know. It’s this fear of the unknown that keeps peoples apart. It is my hope that in coming generations these barriers will continue to be broken down through mass communications and trade. It’s kind of tough to go to war against a country when you are doing a lot of business with a potential foe. Perhaps in future generations they can say that it was the internet and international trade that led to the end of massive wars. I may be a dreamer but I am definitely not the only one who can see a better future than what we have even now in January 2017.