Monday, May 11, 2009

There but for the grace of God go they

The "general public" is more violent, statistically, than the "diagnosed population." The "general public" likes few things better than to voyeuristically consume depictions and accounts of violence, to watch it in movies and hear about it in songs and through the grapevine. In AA, in the town where I attended, men were more willing to give up sex than violence. Sex was an addiction, they said, but violence was a commandment.

The public craves violence at all times -- but no one wants to have his passport lifted while crossing the square in Petersburg -- "you're kidding," I had said to her, an obese American on vacation with her thin husband (but she would not have known that I was a vacationer dx'd in the States). "I would kid about this?" she said as if wishing she could be sarcastic. The Russian police were searching for her passport. The couple had missed their plane.

Is crime "crime" because it's "insane"? Does bipolar mean "insane"? AA members define insanity as "doing the same thing over and over expecting different results." To them "partying" is insane, and they are in life-long recovery from it.

The teachers of cw fear campus shootings for the reason that gunmen sometimes write. I fear campus shootings as much as instructors do, but they may not fully realize that; they may think the gunman is my pharmaceutical cousin or crazy adopted half-brother. "Crazy is as crazy does," I simplify. Hired to be creative, the instructors' imaginations sometimes suffer: They may imagine that some (white) people are people, and some (white) people are less than people.

Just the other day, a Wesleyan feminist activist and student -- a beautiful young woman -- was gunned down at the bookstore where she worked by a man police say may have been targeting Jews. He was likely a stalker. It was in his notebook. "Sick," I said to my fiance, as he read the story to me over the telephone. "They're going to say he has bipolar, right?"

Besides "bipolar 1 atypical," I've alternatively been dx'd with temporal lobe epilepsy. I suggested that he begin to tell his sisters and ex-wife (offspring themselves of bipolar disorder and alcoholism) and doctor and doormen: "epilepsy" or "atypical." The DSM-IV says "atypical" means "rejection sensitivity" -- something I could prove I didn't have then -- another mystification or distortion, but perhaps it's better if it seems "atypical" means "non-violent." (They didn't test for GRK3. The gurk is not the gack and not the taint. Gurke means "cucumber.") Abe Lincoln had manic-depression. Mozart. Sir Isaac Newton.

The white women in the cw bureaucracy who feel more deserving of employment than I, who also fear campus gunmen, may not realize that many dx'd women have been crime victims. If this were Kenya, women caught in war would appeal to the U.N. for protection, but it's America. I was once in the Wesleyan woman's position: I had had a stalker before I was dx'd. Had the gunman "merely" raped or stalked or targeted her, she might have developed symptoms or broken down and been dx'd for insurance's sake. That is what psychiatry does. It "heals" while labeling people; its prognostications catch and mate people.

There once was a white woman in AA, who was staying at the domestic violence shelter because her boyfriend had beaten her out of a home. She was newly recovering from cocaine addiction and asked at the meeting whether there were a way to get a prescription for Xanax without getting a mental illness diagnosis. Heads turned to me. "There but for the grace of God go I," someone said as someone always did, not realizing that I, too, could say it then: "Diagnosis is worse than living at the domestic violence shelter, than drug addiction?" I wanted to say but didn't. I had been passed over in employment, despite affirmative action, but never forced out of a home.

Slogans I wrote to the sky after I left AA:

"If something ain't fixed, break it right."
"Would you steal the pepper o' an old man's soup?"
"Spoonbridge and Crab Apple."
"She'll be coming around the mountain when she comes."
"Thinking is thinking."

No comments: