Being Alive is Not the Same as Having a Life

A bedraggled and filthy young man is confused and
responding to hallucinations on Market Street.

He loudly threatens those around him until he
collapses in an intersection.

The police arrive.

An officer asks him to sit on the curb.

The young man is so distracted by his hallucinations
the officer has to help him find the curb.

The officer asks him if he is going to hurt himself or
anyone else and the young man distractedly says no.

The police drive off and the young man rolls back
into the intersection.

He suffers the lie that mental illness is a choice that
doesn’t affect judgment, and those who have it
deserve to suffer.

Where have I seen this kind of willful ignorance before?

Oh, that’s right! Gays…

50 years ago, the people of the United States universally
believed homosexuality was a mental illness and homosexuals
deserved shame and incarceration.

When asked why someone would “choose” to be homosexual
in such a punitive culture the response of many prominent
psychiatrists at the time was “masochism.”

Their reasoning was that only a masochist would “choose” to be homosexual in a world that hates them.

Therefore, the homosexual derived masochistic pleasure from the reactions of others to the choice of his “disgusting” sickness.

Jump forward fifty years and now we have a society that mindlessly tortures people with Schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses.

Being alive is not the same as having a life.

To have a life one must have a brain that can reason
and the ability to use it to survive.

Assertion: Life is unfair

Rebuttal: That’s why we make civilization

 

Meme found o0n Twitter regarding mental illness
1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2017

Who Profits from Child Abuse?

Warning: potentially triggering.

Anger is a powerful and potentially cleansing emotion.

Or it can make one feel so speechless with self loathing that
you can only express your rage and shame with para-suicidal
behaviors.

Anger wants to know why and sometimes the truth is too terrible.

The rape of a child is a moral offense so grave that it corrupts everyone involved, including the child, who must distort his perceptions of reality to normalize the assault on his soul.

The sight of institutional child abuse incites the enraged sense of injustice that lodges in my heart as an adult survivor of abuse.

Imagine trying to comprehend the enablers of your abuse with a
toddler’s mind.

This is from Think Progress:

“Robert H. Richards IV does not work. He doesn’t have to. The great-grandson of Irénée du Pont, the chemical magnate who provided much of the financial backing to a failed effort to defeat Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the 1930s, Richards lives off a trust fund in a 5,800 square foot mansion he bought for $1.8 million. When he is not staying in his mansion, he might be found in his beach home “in the exclusive North Shores neighborhood near Rehoboth Beach.”

Richards is also a child rapist.

In 2005, Richards started sexually abusing his three year-old daughter.

“The abuse ended two years later when the girl told her grandmother that she didn’t want “my daddy touching me anymore.”

When Richards’ former wife confronted him about this abuse, Richards admitted to doing so but claimed “it was an accident and he would never do it again.”

And yet, Robert Richards, who raped his own child and then told her not to tell anyone so that it could be “our little secret,” will likely not spend a day in prison.

….the maximum sentence for fourth-degree rape is 15 years in prison, the prosecution recommended that Richards only receive probation. And Judge Jan, in her sentencing order, said Richards “will not fare well” if he is sentenced to prison.”

We can expect nothing better from a legal system that favors property over life and human rights.

We slather a media confection over the merciless stone of GOP
economic feudalism and accept it as Democracy.

Even a daughter of privilege cannot escape her status as property.

Imagine that you are three feet tall and weigh 25 pounds.

Imagine that a huge man who weighs 200 pounds penetrates
your body.

You have no words to describe it.

You don’t even know what you are.

Your brain decides that it is dying and  instinctively dissociates.

This is how Dissociative Identity Disorder happens.

Gender is not the issue.

When an adult male rapes a child of three the child’s brain interprets
the pain of penetration as a deathblow.

How could no one have known?

How many people were in on the “little secret” and did nothing?

How does one understand that the damage done to your body and psyche was preventable?

And if this can happen to a child of privilege, what’s happening happening to children in homeless’ shelters?

Who profits from their abuse?

Photograph of an advertisement for the San Francisco Food Bank at the Haight and Fillmore muni stop in San Francisco
Who profits from Childhood hunger?

 

RG 2014-2017

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I do not Agree to the proposition that I am Worthless

This was one of my first posts, written in September 2014
to Sonoma County Supervisor, Shirlee Zane.

Supervisor Zane held a hearing that month to examine
the inadequacies of Kaiser’s Mental Health Services

I submitted this letter to her as my testimony.

I am reposing it as a response to the GOP’s renewed
assault
on the Affordable Care Act

 

To: Supervisor Shirlee Zane
Supervisor District 3
Sonoma, CA

Dear Supervisor Zane,

Thank you for considering  my story for your listening session to hear public comment about parity and mental healthcare.

And, thank you for your advocacy for people with serious life threatening mental illnesses.

For many of us the Behavioral Health System simply does not work.

To some of us it looks as if it does not want to.

In 2009, I was diagnosed with a severe dissociative disorder.

I see a psychotherapist twice a week and I realize that this is an achievement and yet I want to state that this should be the norm.

The idea that I should be grateful for receiving the only treatment
known to work for this illness is absurd and places me in a beggarly role.

My problem is that my illness now requires a more intensive structure as I begin to face the emotional reality of the abuse that caused it and the damage that I did to my life in my ignorance.

Treatment is painful and frightening.

My illness seems to affect that part of the brain that governs autonomic reactions.

The trauma response is instinctive and bypasses reason.

My “behaviors” are symptoms of “trigger” responses to memories
so painful my brain repeatedly banishes them from consciousness.

This means that parts of my psyche are subconsciously locked in moments of fear, pain, and dread.

They are locked in moments of abuse

I felt desperate when I met with my psychiatrist today.

I am overwhelmed by emotional pain and often feel trapped
and hopeless.

When I leave my house, I have panic attacks in which I
freeze  in traffic.

Yesterday I was nearly hit by a car.

I am constantly in a state of anxiety and the toll on my physical health and my relationships is terrible.

There were very real and commonsense reasons that psychiatry
once offered patients extended hospital stays.

Families are not trained therapists.

If anything, the families of patients need education and support.

I have discussed the idea of intensive case management with
my primary therapist.

I asked my prescribing psychiatrist, whom I see once every three months, for either a consulting psychotherapist experienced in  dissociative disorders or an intensive case manager who can train the staff and co-ordinate  my treatment when I need a critical intervention.

My psychiatrist told me that there are “financial constraints” and advised me to make the request as a grievance.

Why do I have to do battle to receive the recommended treatment for someone with a verified dissociative disorder?

There are no “real” financial constraints; certainly not in a nation will give the wealthy Dick Cheney a free heart transplant.

The recommended treatment as outlined by the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation is this:

  1. Intensive psychotherapy.
  2. Access to a hospital or residential setting to ease the stress on my family and hasten the course of treatment.

  3. Intensive and specialized trauma-focused work on symptom management and skill building.

  4. And a treatment team that co-ordinates care.

I am only asking for those components that are essential for the
successful treatment of a life threatening illness.

When Mental Health became Behavioral Health, the focus shifted from Psychiatry to Substance Abuse.

This is why almost all Behavioral Systems look for any sign of substance use in a psychiatric patient’s history.

Substance use is automatically tagged on as a secondary diagnosis even if one only uses marijuana and only uses it occasionally

Strict Substance Abuse disorders respond well to behavioral interventions and supportive group therapy.

That’s why A.A. has an estimated membership of 1,867,212 people.

Patients with psychiatric disorders can use behavioral tools to help them tolerate distress but behavioral tools alone will not resolve the illness.

A physiologically traumatized brain cannot “fake it ’till it makes it’.

From ABC News 2012:

“About 11.4 million adult Americans suffered from severe mental illness in the past year and 8.7 million adults contemplated serious thoughts of suicide.”

This country has everything it needs to give us access to quality healthcare.

What stands in our way are misery merchants and their lust
for power and money.

These misery merchants arrogantly expect the American people
to accept  the premise that we deserve death by exclusion.

I won’t accept it.

I do not agree  to the proposition that I am worthless.

Save the ACA meme found online
Save the ACA – Calls and Faxes work best.

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I have the Right to have a Right to have the Right

I like to think of myself as a compassionate man but compassion
is difficult when one considers the damage people do on purpose.

How do we find compassion for people who, riven with envy, lie without hesitation, damage reputations, and steal the hard work of other people?

How do we find compassion for people who abuse their power, who insinuate themselves into the lives of others to control them and who take without giving back?

How does one forgive years of abuse from an alcoholic parent?

How does one forgive a friend who plays mind games designed to make you doubt yourself, who projects their failings onto you and who malignantly smears you to your friends and colleagues.

Trust is essential to effective communication and to the work of forging a working social contract.

Here is a brief list of behaviors I consider unforgivable:

Slander; especially hurtful gossip; when you maliciously smear the reputations of decent people you lose the right to respect and compassion.

Users; these are people who treat the generosity and resources of other people as if they are their due.

Emotional Abuse: it is unforgivable to target the weaknesses of
others for abuse.

Any intentional act or decision that results in the death of
a child.

Any intentional behavior that meets the definition of torture.

Blatant and intentional hypocrisy.

Any abuse of power that limits the resources and opportunities of
our children, our elderly and our disabled.

Any use of the Federal Government to empower racists.

Treason and collusion with treason.

How do we find compassion for the unforgivable?

Take away my family,
Take away the right to speak
Take away my point of view,
Take away my right to choose

(c) Rob Goldstein 2015-2017

 

 

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An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 4: This is going to be Psycho Drama

In this short clip Norse and I are completely relaxed and
in animated conversation.

Norse answers the question I posed at the close of part 3 by
reminding me of a discussion we had before I moved in.

“I said Rob, this is going to be Psycho Drama; not literature class’

My voice in section 4 of the Interview is younger and I detect
a Southern accent.

It’s Bobby’s voice.

It’s odd to hear an alternate’s voice.

It’s also odd  to read an account of an evening I spent
in 1987 with writer, Darell Yates-Rist .

Rist was traveling the United States to write Heartlands,
his book about being gay in America.

I agreed to give him a night tour of San Francisco.

Rist published Heartlands in 1992.

He describes the Cottage I shared with Norse on Albion Street.

Rist died from HIV in 1993.

Part four of the interview with Norse picks up where part three ended.

It’s brief and ends when Norse leaves to feed a parking meter.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 4.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 2.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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The Heart of the Question

“We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution. The heart of the question is whether all Americans are to be afforded equal rights and equal opportunities.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 1963 from quora.com

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Different Memories, Different Skills

“…Alters in DID have “their own identities, involving a center of initiative and experience, they have a characteristic self-representation, which may be different from how the patient is generally seen or perceived, have their own autobiographic memory, and distinguish what they understand to be their own actions and experiences from those done and experienced by other alters, and they have a sense of ownership of their own experiences, actions, and thoughts, and may lack a sense of ownership of and a sense of responsibility for the action, experiences, and thoughts of other alters.” NIH

“Uneven learning: the child (with DID) knows how to complete a particular assignment quite well one day, doesn’t know how to do it the next day and then later when it has not been re-taught can successfully complete the task.  Children might also be able to do math one day and the next day they might be totally unable to do the same math with no recollection that they have been able to do it the previous day.” NIH

digital portrait of a young male avatar who represents an alternate naned Bobby
Bobby’s digital self

Rob Goldstein is the alternate working on the interview with Harold Norse and he’s baffled: why does the Rob Goldstein on the tape refer to himself as illiterate?

Rob Goldstein can’t remember being illiterate just as he can’t remember
the interview.

We’ve (I) always thought Rob Goldstein lived with Harold Norse.

I am Matthew, sometimes called, the Host.

I was born in 1992.

I know most of the others and why they were born.

After Bobby came Bob.

Bob was a travel agent and later a Licensed Psychiatric Technician
at a Freudian based long-term facility in New Haven.

Bob had to grasp the complex psycho-dynamics that emerge between staff
and patients in long-term in-patient analyses and report these interactions
in his charting and at staff meetings.

We were in our thirties when we moved to San Francisco and became
Rob Goldstein.

Rob Goldstein was the first openly gay Assistant Director of Physical Education at the Central YMCA in San Francisco.

He was under incredible stress at work and had started having panic attacks when his friends began to sicken and die from AIDS.

As a result, Bobby often came out to run or go dancing.

Bobby also liked to go to the café and write.

Bobby met Harold Norse at the Cafe Flore one day in March of 1984.

A few days later Bobby met with Norse again and showed him some hastily
written poems.

In June they met for coffee and Norse told Bobby about his vacant room
and need for a roommate.

Norse also told him that he would teach him how to write.

So, who moved in with Harold Norse?  Who is the alternate on those tapes?

The only logical answer is Bobby.

Being a poet was Bobby’s dream but finding a parent was dearer.

31 is a bit old for a man to turn himself over to a mentor but not if he
has DID and can wipe out 15 years.

Bobby is always 16 and in the 1980’s he had none of Bob’s or Rob’s
memories or skills.

He was the a semi-illiterate boy named Bobby; the one who had to play
stupid even as he yearned to write poetry.

Norse met and saw a gifted and wounded 16-year-old and decided to
give him the permission that he so desperately needed.

The permission that ‘we’ so desperately needed.

An poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse
An early poem drafted in 1984 with notes from Harold Norse

Rob Goldstein (c) 2017

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An Interview with Harold Norse, Part Two: The Pain of Becoming Literate

I moved in with Norse in 1984 and spent my days writing and studying
film and literature.

Norse was drafting his memoirs.

We lived in a creative stew under the strain of the most devastating years
of the AIDS epidemic.

We both had good reason to think our lives would soon be over.

The pressure I placed on myself brought on the symptoms of florid DID.

My alternates were coming out and writing and Harold was responding
to them as ‘characters’.

A written critique of a collection of poems.
Norse gives me a rundown of what he liked or hated about a collection of poems I left for him one week in February 1985. He calls me ‘Bobby’ in the note and uses. ‘Bobby’s’ accent in the opening. Seems I also wrote a poem called ‘Jew-Boy’ that Norse thought was sick. I have no memory of ‘Jew-Boy’. One definitely had to be strong to ask Norse to critique one’s writing. What I loved about Norse was that I always knew I was getting the truth. He signs the note, ‘Your loving dementor’

In the 1992 interview, I describe the emotional pain of becoming
fully literate.

I asked Norse if that was difficult for him.

“Every day was difficult.” he said, “It was the most difficult period
of my life.”

“Why did you do it?”

“What a question! “ Norse laughed and paused, “I almost never
question that.”

“I think it’s a fascinating question.”

“It is,” Norse replied. “It is. It’s one of the few that’s ever
stopped me cold.”

Part two of the interview picks up where part one ends.

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part Two: The Pain of Becoming Literate

An Interview with Harold Norse, Part 1: The Art of Teaching

Photo of Rog Goldstein cropped from the original photo
by Nina Glaser taken May of 1985. I have no idea who
those other people are. I’m the guy in the middle.

Interview with Harold Norse (c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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An Interview With Harold Norse, Part One: The Art of Teaching

In 1992, I interviewed my friend and literary mentor, Harold Norse.

I moved in with Norse in July of 1984 and moved out in August of 1989 .

Scan of the Harold Norses Signature in my copy of Carnivous Saint
Norse signed my copy of Carnivorous Saint a few months after I moved in with him.

I spent two years in Los Angeles where I did some free-lance writing
for the gay press.

I moved back to San Francisco in the spring of 1992 and invited Norse
over to see my new digs in the Tenderloin.

Norse and I spontaneously decided to do an interview that turned into a
frank discussion of the work we did together as student and teacher.

Most people in San Francisco’s gay lit scene thought my relationship
with Harold Norse was sexual; it wasn’t.

We had a passion for each other, but it was not sexual.

In retrospect, we had an affair of the intellect.

There is a rhythm to the interview as Norse and I adjust to our relationship
as equals.

In this first section, we discuss who I was when we met and how Norse approached the task of being a teacher.

There is a moment of silence as Norse reads a short poem by someone
I was teaching.

I open this section of the interview by mentioning the power of his poems
Karma Circuit and Addio.

Scan of Addio from Karma Circuit, 1965, by Harold Norse
Addio by Harold Norse

When Norse and I mention ‘The Cottage’, we are discussing a two-bedroom cottage on Albion Street in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Photograph of Fall leaves on Albion Street
“Get the unconscious going without fear of criticism.” Harold Norse, 1992, on writing.

An interview with Harold Norse Part 1, Section 1, The Art of Teaching

Interview and photograph of Albion Street (c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved

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Nor a Bird More Pure

I soar above the red rooftops
of the City

above the steeples
of the
Mission Dolores Church

below the dusty ledges
of the
Transamerica Pyramid

there was never a sky more
blue

nor a bird more pure.

Image and text  (c) Rob Goldstein 2017

Dancing In The Dark

from yadadarcyyada – April is Autism Awareness Month

yadadarcyyada

https://yadadarcyyada.com/2017/04/21/dancing-in-the-dark/“Making your way
in the world today
takes everything you’ve got.
Taking a break from
all your worries,
sure would help a lot.
Wouldn’t you like
to get away?
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody
knows your name,
and they’re always
glad you came.
You wanna be
where you can see,
our troubles are all the same….
You wanna go where everybody knows your name.” (Cheers)

Yup, that’s blogging in a nutshell – bloggers from around the world gathering at a local establishment to share our joys, sorrows, fears, woes, hopes, wisdom, jokes, dreams, and hopes.
And I get it, blogging isn’t curing cancer.
Blogging won’t solve devastating problems: world hunger, disease, poverty, climate change, drought, unemployment/underemployment, etc.
Blogging probably won’t overcome the horrors of: war, terrorism, racism, prejudice, sexism, crime…

https://yadadarcyyada.com/2017/04/21/dancing-in-the-dark/It’s still not ok for WordPress to use bloggers as lab rats (it’s also not ok to use…

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