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Archive for the ‘Letters to Woody’ Category

All of us — smokers, unbelievers and Muslims, coming together in the winter of our hardship  to celebrate the awesome sight of 2 million people sniffling and burbling in subfreezing temperatures, even our magazine cover partied! The self-conscious hipsters are right — too much joy will be used as proof we’ve turned Hussein X  Superfly into a personal savior, but he covered that yesterday and it bears repeating: This isn’t about him, it’s about us, we the people.

Commie lyrics included!

I was a little loopy but half-heard a woman on the mall explain what good government is and is not: it’s not an implacable force impinging on people or faceless source of indiscriminate largesse, but a partnership between the governing and the governed; both have a duty to listen to and be influenced by the other. I haven’t seen that yet, have lived through eight presidents and have never seen anything come close til now and don’t get me started on Clinton, if anything he was doubly revolting for being a Democrat, which made this my favorite jaw-dropping moment of  inaugural zen:

1obamaAs his first official action after being sworn in, President Barack Obama signed three documents Tuesday, including a proclamation declaring a day of national renewal and reconciliation.

“I’m a lefty. Get used to it,” Obama quipped as he signed his name.

Now, how deadpan self-revelation becomes wingnut baiting is quite the puzzler, but I anticipate people having BIG PROBLEMS with his offhand, unapologetic persona. Given shitloads of experience with such problems myself I am rather looking forward to these presidential conundrums.

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If any organism fails to fulfill its potentialities, it becomes sick. William James

Ω

The deleterious effect of evil, pernicious, stigmatizing labels is at the core of psychiatric survivor discourse™, so of course it makes me wonder why I don’t care about mine so much, like — what am I missing here, am I insufficiently outraged about a civil rights injustice?!
Borderline, Bi-polar, Schizophrenia, these official stamps of psychiatry will lead to life of ruin, they say, while saying not so much about the label that actually got them committed. Puzzling, but later for all that. The thread on BPD at the only blog that matters has me head in a spin.

I identify with borderlines, my life’s been filled with them, I have it in me, it’s a hellish disorder. I’ve only seen doctors in offices. In the room, every diagnosis came at a snail’s pace by reluctant treaters who always provided the caveat that what they do are “diagnostic IMPRESSIONS” — their best opinion, that others might not agree with, including me. Fair enough. Over many years 3 different diagnosticians gave me a Cluster B (Dramatic) Personality Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, all of them working independently without reading each others notes, and all of them placing an AXIS I diagnoses as the primary concern, whether major depression, bi-polar, PTSD, hysteria (conversion disorder) or some kind of schizophrenia. The docs I saw regularly who presumably knew me best were adamant that I do not have BPD, and I wanted that diagnosis, to feel closer to the people I love, and the musicians I relate to, all the luminous, sullen and delicate cutters.

I just last week sat down for the first time to read the opinion of the psychiatrist who evaluated me for the Social Security Administration. It’s been sitting here seven years and I’m aware that I have feelings about it before even reading it, the language is very sobering. I saw this SSA psychiatrist for 90 minutes and turns out he settled on “a long-standing and well-documented history of borderline personality disorder” with the following attached:

Dr. Aitcheson’s testimony is well-supported by the objective medical evidence, which establishes a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of behavior associated with oddities of thought, perception, speech and behavior, … extreme difficulty getting along with others…panic attacks, psychotic features, vegetative states, hypersomnia… emotional lability as well as intense and unstable interpersonal relationships and impulsive and damaging behavior. This symptomatology has resulted in marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, pace, and repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.

I’m supposed to be offended by that? It’s the truth. I guess I could be offended, but appears I have a rather full plate to be upset by something so removed. I mean, it seems removed; I have my life and I have these labels. Now I finally have one that makes me chestpuff, I’m in with the out crowd.

I don’t care. That’s the problem, I am perceived as falling short in the victim identity. But listen, schizoaffective disorder was real tough on me, due to all the research it requires, but okay fuckit, overall I have no personal issues with labeling, I’m not outraged by the iffy nosology in psychiatry because the iffiness has been established for me by psychiatrists throughout my treatment course. Now I’m getting shit at Furious Seasons because what happened to me just don’t sound right. It’s a competition, this shit right here.

I feel protective and territorial about my newfound BPD label and don’t like how things are going over there. I am nobody’s victim and am sorry to say have always felt supported by my treaters, but do hang on to anger for the lobotomy and expect I always will. My gramma was the only one in that house who loved me, I saw what it did to her. Saw what psychiatrists did to my whole family, who, hang on a sec, unlike me were all involuntary patients. I guess today they’d be psychiatric survivors, since they were forced into asylums and treated against their will.

The difference between voluntary and involuntary patients is something. Seriously, cartoon king Szasz got one thing right.

Still, I am against the BPD dx for all the right reasons. People are negatively effected by that specific label in all kinds of specific ways and they don’t like it, and that should be reason enough to say it’s got to go. Period. But none of these DSM labels, invoked like mantras are what I look for when psychiatric survivors say they are sharing their feelings about what society thinks about them. The label they avoid is the one I’m most interested in hearing about  and what they do with it.

Yeah. What’s it like to be considered dangerous by the powers that be, and is it too late for me to get some of that juju?

The sole justification for involuntary commitment. You must be found to be a danger to self and or others. You might think that would make some impact on a person, an activist, a truthteller, but damned if I’m onto that discourse, in fact I’m seeing more like a taboo around meaningful discussion in the psychiatric survivors, but hey I’m borderline now, I get to stir shit up.

I realized something the other day, how the same thing happens when visiting a General Practitioner for the first time. The Physicians Assistant does the standard intake on medical history; surgeries, cancers, allergies, heart disease, mental health issues? “Yes,” I reply breezily, I’ve been treated for psychiatric conditions. “Any hospitalizations?” Why do they always look up and ask that? They do it every time, ask and look up, make eye contact and hold it.

Any hospitalizations for mental illness?

They are trying to gauge how much they need to be on guard in my presence. I guess we’re all doing that to some extent, but this makes it rather stark. I’ll remember next time to say “Nope, you’re safe!”

As am I, so far at least. I imagine that things could be different for me.

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Right, this is related to morning’s post about my ruling subject matter these days. Sarah Palin is deceitful in the worst way — because she wrecks it — with the transparent cornpone routine, and I say that as a born hogjaw who knows something about kitchen table folks, and honey, yr doin it rong. But I went for a walk after Thursday’s debate trying to feel something human and had to admit generous feelings since she said she fought to divest Alaska from putting money into Sudan. It was a stretch, but I figure she can’t be all bad and may have some potential as an average, normal principled citizen of the world. Turns out she was lying.

Record Refutes Palin’s Sudan Claim

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin claimed she fought to protest atrocities in Sudan by dropping assets tied to the country’s brutal regime from the state’s multi-billion-dollar investment fund, she claimed during Thursday’s vice presidential debate.

Not quite, according to a review of the public record – and according to the recollections of a legislator and others who pushed a measure to divest Alaskan holdings in Sudan-linked investments.

“The [Palin] administration killed our bill,” said Alaska state representative Les Gara, D-Anchorage. Gara and state Rep. Bob Lynn, R-Anchorage, co-sponsored a resolution early this year to force the Alaska Permanent Fund – a $40 billion investment fund, a portion of whose dividends are distributed annually to state residents – to divest millions of dollars in holdings tied to the Sudanese government. … Palin’s administration openly opposed the bill, and stated its opposition in a public hearing on the measure.

That’s what the city slickers know as a fact check, and they tend not to sound as good as the bald faced lie. Or maybe she was fudging, just fudging like folks do and no harm no foul, it’s only genocide and who really cares. They’re not exactly fine young cannibals you know, the Janjaweed.

Two things I can’t stand, being lied to and thought as a fool. Like there’s no public record and no media charged with vetting it? It took ABC a matter of hours to reveal the record. Governor Palin was not just not expressing the truth, the governor was expressing contempt for the electorate. She’s due for a ratfucking; the Sadly, No! crowd is already on it. Line ’em up, boys I’m in.

I learned some tricks 4 years back when my old boss was a strategist for the Howard Dean campaign. I was a reluctant student but my employer was serious about this ratfucking, he used actual whores, cameras and tequila, and those were good times. Obama’s TX headquarters is located eight floors above the office where I presently work. Coincindence? I don’t think so. I think it’s time to do my civic duty before the parade passes by, win one for the Gipper, dagnabbit.

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Revolution come and gone

Image originally uploaded at musicslut.

I just checked my blog stats and it appears yesterday’s reference to the old days led to a string of searches for robin plan + woxy.  I don’t know if they were looking for perspective from the lone embittered exile but WOXY has been dead to me for years with nothing to remember them by but one more boring example of everything wrong in America, where revolutions are fleeting and happen only by mistake before they are summarily — not actually quashed — that would be too honest — but reconstituted into some sort of sour owl shit you’re supposed to be grateful for living in because what we do is so awesome and revolutionary.  “Everything in the United States is coated with a fine layer of fraud,” Paul Fussell once wrote, there’s the overarching unifying reality principle right there, WOXY is NAMI, same shit, different shareholders.

I’m as fucking old as the last time this came up, when the liberal blogosphere campaigned to save WOXY.com. I’ll say this for future reference: Anyone who types a search as robin plan + woxy knows my history (which I see has been scrubbed from the party line), and that’s what I’m speaking to, WOXY terrafirma, I had no dealings with the still solvent WOXY dot com, so cherish it, I could give a shit, but any college hipster wants to lay into me for talking smack against the temple of indie rock will do me a favor to imagine life before the Internet.

May 4th 1984 I was hired as an open freak and til May 4th 1989 I held up my end of that arrangement, wasn’t me who changed the rules in the middle of the game but comes the day I’m expected to walk into the station and leave punk rock at the door? Take punk rock off like a jacket, put it on and take it off, straight from the rack, yah, that’s the genuine article, all right, tell me whatever became of Kajagoogoo? Guess they can’t all be gems.  Who in their right mind could make such ludicrous demands but the poseur so completely devoid of culture he sees no reason for you not to sellout your own.  It is to laugh We’re making some changes around this place, tweaking the format to be mainstream alternative. Tell me I didn’t hear that right, mainstream alternative, my ruling nightmare for 460 some days, mainstream alternative, and I’m a flawed plan, fuck your gutless incoherence, we mean it maaaan. It’s the lie of it. If we’re going tits up, own it, say that, it’s over, we have no more right to call WOXY an indie rock station than Rod McKuen has going by “poet”, doesn’t MATTER if the average person thinks Rod McKuen is the greatest American poet ever, we know that, right? That’s why we’re here, not to turn into the thing we hate, no, it’s a charade, don’t think our listeners won’t see through it!  Where they gonna go? So it’s like that, BAM I’m off Planet X, moved to middays, one vintage Pistols at the top of the hour, and Ever Fallen in Love is now the only song the Buzzcocks ever recorded, in rotation every 5 days on a 30 minute clock, one song from the Buzzcocks because your choices are threatening which means tested and found capable of making people feel. But hey, don’t touch that dial, we’re a cultural cattleprod the future of rock-n-roll, small enough to know the score and big enough to settle it! Sometimes the only recourse is to fuck shit up, to preserve it, take away the good thing go all out anti, make the contrast explicit. That’s a thin line, God knows I crossed it going in drunk, sarcasm spilling out over the airwaves, daring them to fire my ass and so I made them do it. Because it’s easier to be pushed away than walk out, you put in your time, it’s hard to let go.

I think it was this penetrating artist who said something like “I know the baggage is fascinating, but you can still put it down.” Today is the calmest and most forgiving I’ve felt toward 97X in like, ever, but still feels like it’s not finished. I read some threads today, this particular adieu spoke to me:

Greg Dulli, Afghan Whigs:

The (annual Modern Rock) 500, the 97Xposure (Local Band of the Year contest), the hands-on recruiting of fringe acts to come play to a musical scorched earth (southern Ohio), was an inspired display of gallantry. The inevitability of this happening to such a righteous wild card saddens and angers me. But the age of innocence is as fleeting as true love, and it was better to have 97X for as long as we did than to not have had it at all. So, viva WOXY. You messed me up good.

I found a couple more that made me feel like I was part of it, my friends and me started something not forgotten, though there is a certain peace in being forgotten, I’m not there yet.

Danny Crash Robin Plan Julie Maxwell Mr K Bakerman Phil Manning Todd Allen Janine these people and the rest of 97X built the music of our generation.

(((Thank you (((whoever))) you are.))) And Stephen Daedalus, above all he made it what it is today and the best it ever was. 1984, the crew he assembled, we all had the same vision, we all knew what we were doing and we wanted to make the same thing. How many times does that happen in a lifetime, all your collaborators reading from the same page, building on each others ideas, risking it all and trusting one another in the uncertainty? We thought we were untouchable, putting up with the station owner, the way you roll your eyes at the annoying kid brother who has to tag along though all he’ll do is get in the way and slow everyone down. A pest, an inconvenience, until he put us all into the cornfield. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.  Let it finish.

Now then, anyone want something to remember me by,

declare your independence, ha!

No, become the radio.

It’s 4 o’clock in the morning, somewhere the GERMS are playing in America.

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I have been consumed with feline diabetes the last few days, as I should, it’s complex as it gets and the knowledge base as demanding as that of informed mental health patients. Angelbait will need me to test her glucose 4 times a day, before and after I give her the shots, that means pricking her ear and getting the reading on a monitor. She will need prescription food and I have to figure out how to do things like get the insulin from the vet to my house in 100 degree heat without a car, the insulin has to be kept refrigerated. This home-based disease management will cost about 150 a month, the only way that will work is if I quit smoking. And I have to figure out how to do all this when the legislature is in session, and bills are passed at 2 AM, when I’m at the Capitol 18 hours a day.

Sometimes the glass is half empty. I just found an Austin blogger who accuses my vet of killing 2 pets.

He killed my cat.

I don’t know if she’s right or wrong and based on her post, neither can you. All I know is Angelbait is in this same man’s hands, at that clinic still, right now, and I feel powerless. Am I? What would you do? I don’t know where to go from here. I talk to the vet, he says all the same stuff to me he said to this blogger, I went and saw X play last night and stopped crying for the first time since Sunday, thinking it’s going to be a long hard road, but if I keep my shit together Angel will make it. I can’t sleep from the hundreds of rules to learn and remember, and I stayed up to research the vet and found that post and this 2006 reprimand by the Licensing Board for violating the “PROFESSIONAL STANDARD OF HUMANE TREATMENT, by failing to begin treatment for Sarcoptic mites, even with an initial negative skin scrape when confronted with symptoms of crusty ears, generalized itching, non-responsive treatment protocols, and a human rash. Disciplinary Action: Informal Reprimand.”

Should I see red flags? Are reprimands common with vets who have been practicing long? All I know is he examined the older cat Kamikaze twice and agreed to let me administer the shots at home and he gives me a break on the price. I asked him 2 years ago if the cortisone would shorten Kami’s lifespan and he said “probably, yes, it’s likely. But it’s either that or letting her suffer like this.” His candor appealed to me, the Animal Trustees non-profit recommends him for low-income pet owners, he is a nice man, and with Angelbait he will allow me to do home-based glucose monitoring. That is a big plus in his favor, according to the progressive feline diabetes community.

I would be remiss to leave out the impact these readings are having on me. I read that post and disciplinary action and went into conversion disorder for the first time since I wrote about standing up and falling down on troublewaits. I would like people who don’t believe in mental illness to see what conversion disorder looks like, you fucks, and deal with the fact that it was a certified psychiatrist what taught me how to deal with it. (“Talk to people, express yourself; hysteria is caused by over-control and stoicism, which is contraindicated due to your trauma history”.)

Contraindicated: he was recommending I let myself fall apart, validating my craziness as the way things are supposed to be, bless you Dr. Oppressor. I’m calling him up inside my heart and going over the protocols for these times. He said you will probably have falling down spells for the rest of your life when overwhelmed by emotion and you will get through them because you have so far. I asked how I can *share* like a human being when my speech goes garbly and I drop for no apparent reason, how can I talk when I can’t form words. He put his thumb and forefinger together with a fraction of space between them and said “This is how much understanding you’ll find out there. But it’s either try or suffer in silence, and silence is why it’s happening.” He said at first the speech and falling down will be TEH SUCK, but “once you start talking everything smooths out.” I’m not telling you this to stick up for him, but to share my disdain with the antipsychiatry dickstains who feel welcomed here for some incomprehensible reason.

I have not followed my old shrink’s advice, am reclusive, have no one I am close to, the only person I talked to about Angelbait said I should prepare myself to put her down. Well-meaning betrayal stings less, but that friend is off my helplist. That’s how he escaped his certain fate, as luck would have it. I need help, some support or perspective.

UPDATE: I called the licensing board. My vet has 2 reprimands, one informal the other formal, only 2% of vets get reprimands of any kind. 98% do not get one. Angelbait is undergoing intensive regulation treatment, I asked the licensing board rep if moving her in the middle of the process would kill her. He couldn’t say. All my questions are unanswerable, I guess but they are warranted aren’t they. Should I call a philosopher?

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What are the odds of that?

My cat almost died this weekend. I blame myself because it’s my fault. She is at the vet undergoing diagnostic tests but that’s just a formality, she almost certainly has advanced diabetes. I won’t go there yet. This post is about life in the digital age, the building bricks of our modern revolution. How this technology is creating the democratization of all that is designed to keep us unequal, ignorant, dependent and enslaved to the rules of hierarchy.

By now it should be apparent: I haven’t slept in 3 days, not since I decided I couldn’t keep treating Angelbait for what I wanted to believe were behavioral issues. I hit the Web Saturday morning to get business-like with her symptoms, read non-stop, and by Sunday morning knew I’d fucked up beyond belief. By midday she was in catastrophic decline and it seemed the only answer was to kill myself and take both these sick cats with me. I have little money, no car, no infrastructure, no plan beyond the moment, no long-term goals and strategies, I’ve learned to live without these things, they elude me, they’re out of reach. I can always, always, always kill myself. That’s what keeps me going.

I kept seeing this support board referenced in the websites I was reading. Cat owners from around the world coming together to proactively regulate their pet’s chronic disease. I visited it a few times, unable to make heads or tails of the science and medical knowledge aeons beyond me, while knowing if my cat is going to make it I’m going to have to be someone who talks just like that a week from today. In 8 years living daily on the toobz, this is the hardest post I ever wrote:

Please help, walking on hocks, I missed everything.

And just like that they took it off my shoulders with the spirit and focus of a 1940’s auto mechanic, totally on it. Step up to the plate. They gave me an assessment, the data-based directives and they gave me hope.

Within two hours there was a person from that support group in my trailer with ketone strips and a glucose meter. She took the time and went the distance to show a complete stranger how to gain control again. Think of the risk, the sense of mission that begins with a keystroke. We’re not in MYSPACE anymore, but ahead of the curve, or even back on track, in a climate of consumer-directed, informed choice based on common standards, clear purpose and unconditional positive regard. I got information, lists, a vocabulary and instant connection with a hundred new friends and teachers. I was splitting off, crossing over to “I don’t care what happens anymore and this isn’t even happening really”, then smart nice people just talked to me on the Internet and everything shifted and I began to re-assimilate stimuli. I didn’t follow but I knew what they were telling me was relevant information I could present the emergency vet and be taken seriously rather than dissolve in a puddle on the floor.

At the end of the day I was able to rent a car, cry in public, snap back at the humiliating ER vet who seethed observations at me “This is advanced diabetes. Neuropathy doesn’t happen until they’re in late stage. This had to have taken at least six months.” Is there a question there? Not really, because that would mean talking to me, which to him would be slumming. No question, but the accusation, demand hanging in the air. It’s not like I was hysterical enough. What do you want me to say? I do not ignore my pets, I did not understand what was happening to her and was treating what I thought were behavioral issues. There is no way I could have talked back to him like that, no way I could have left my house or even know what’s going on without the help from the people at the FDMB message board. They are all about talking back to the veterinarian, which is going to be a whole new medical authority for me to resolve my shit against.

This pro-social use of the Internet comes as a revelation, that things get done here, and maybe I’m the only one who’s finally noticing that but I don’t know. It seems so much like words on a screen, disembodied, we are in chairs typing. It is a lot to overcome. There are risks to take and trust to assume. Right. Well. No wonder the Web looks like so much shit. It’s hard to be open and receptive, harder all the time. All intent is missing because it’s so random, how many tabs are open in your browser right now? Where are you going, where have you been, and when the computer crashes, you lose all the open websites and have to start all over from scratch, then you know, right? Where was I? Was there a pattern? And I am acclimated to this? I don’t know what I’m talking about but right now I have six tabs open, and yesterday one of them saved my cat’s life. There are visionaries. I want to tag along. Nothing stops anyone, this climate we create is the true great equalizer, open, everyday at our fingertips, clay to make of what we will. People out there will bow my head.

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The story of my life

Fifty, that’s me, the “silly season has begun.” Senator Obambi just left downtown Austin after healing a crowd of 20,000 and I’m walking around with a cheese-eating grin, I can’t believe our good fortune, I’m so proud of my political party no matter how it turns out we can’t go wrong. I can’t believe how long we’ve been waiting for this, I can’t believe I was even born. February 23rd 1958, delivered by the hands of a stern woman doctor, a fact I still savor because it makes up for something, though she barely spoke a word of English, that’s how it should be in this great melting pot America, land of my birth.

Growing up I never thought I’d make it to half this age and what they say is true, if I’d had known I was going to live this long I woulda taken better care of myself, it’s like taking the piss out of fakegod, fuck you I’m still here, and you’re still debated! Heavenly father put the weight on me, a weight that follows accumulated history, the cranky gravitas feels better knowing ya earned it, even as all those youthful anticipations morph into the dread of experience, put there by the undeniable store of knowledge, five decades and counting. Next up is religion, I suppose, going spiritual, completion, the reckoning, important plans, please see that my grave is kept clean, just a poor wayfarin stranger, travelin through this world below, no sickness no toil nor danger in that bright land to which I go…

Til then I aim to use it all up, learn Photoshop, make a rueful toast to roads not taken, pick a year, look back, shit, what was I thinking. It goes on. Funny story here, found at psychotherapy.net makes me almost giddy about the career-path smashup-college dropout if I had to do it all over agains and lifelong loser whatnot. Yes, a celebration, of sorts:

Psychology
By Tom Greening © 2006

As I came into consciousness there was a war where millions died, and even when frail peace broke out life’s anguish left me horrified.
I worked in mental hospitals, construction jobs and factories; I traveled where the war had been and contemplated tragedies. Perplexed by what I’d seen of life, appalled by so much misery, I sought to understand the cause and thought I’d try psychology. I hoped I’d find some people there who cared about the human soul, but learned instead it was our job to do “prediction and control.” And sure enough, some governments have found psychologists can aid in customizing torture skills, a job for which they’re amply paid. Not all psychology, thank God, is used for purposes so cruel, but much of what it’s all about is tailored to a basic rule: Whatever does in fact exist exists in some precise amount, and so our task is to devise precision tools with which to count. Away with fuzzy-minded thought, away with sloppy sentiment– Pure science is the one true faith; the goal of life is measurement. Do I belong in such a field? Can such a field put up with me? When questions such as these grow grim for refuge I try poetry.

^^^actual page from psychology textbook^^^

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