Broken

This post was first written and posted in November of 2014.

I was battling with the Kaiser Mental Health System and
struggling to understand what I needed to heal.

I got what I needed. Many people don’t.

 

1.
I’m in a strange frame of mind over this struggle with my health care provider.
It frightens me and the fear spills out everywhere.
I know that I have to file a grievance but the conflict over it is painful.
I look for someone or something else to blame; something not caused by a corrupt health care system that forces its patients to file grievances to get the treatment they need.
I keep thinking that I have survived this far because the part of my brain that isn’t damaged functions very well.
I have a mental health background that includes an understanding of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
I wonder how someone without this background and insight would manage an illness as confusing and destructive as Dissociative identity Disorder under the same circumstances.
The most insidious aspect of corruption is the way it insinuates itself into every day life.
It’s like a malignant spirit.
We feel sickness but we normalize it; especially, if the negative consequences seem incidental, petty or better, don’t seem to apply to us.
What happens to the mind of a man who sees the pain caused by our political and social corruption everywhere he looks?
Do other people see it too?
Does it make them feel crazy too?
And the corruption is arrogant.
It presumes weakness.
It presumes apathy.
It knows that people prefer to do nothing;
especially over things that seem small.
Like making us sign a form and mail it back to opt out of corporate data sharing.
Corruption corrupts everything, one small thing at a time.
It is insidious as it breaks our spirits and poisons our bodies.
But who am I?
I’m one of God’s nobodies.
I don’t do much of anything really,
I read, I write, I like to take pictures.
My passion in life is social justice and to that end I am still a bit of an activist.
I love the field of psychiatry though I don’t have a degree.
I have worked in that field as a paraprofessional and my greatest joy was to see people discover their humanity: the emotional insight of being worthy.
That feeling is important to people.
It is the food of the soul.
2.
When we speak of the spirit of the times, we speak of the passions of the people.
Like this picture that I found at the internet archives:


Freedom of Worship

As I understand the history of World War Two, the average person in the United States believed that he or she was fighting to preserve a way of life based on respect for independent thought and speech,  religious differences, basic economic security, and freedom from war.
In his January 1941 State of the Union Address President Franklin D. Roosevelt enumerated four essential freedoms for which we as a Nation stand and for which we will fight.
“The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.
The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.
The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings, which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.
The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.”
The inescapable fact is that in 1941 the nation went to war with human evil as it was expressed in Germany by the Nazis.
Two very different versions of civilization had emerged after World War 1 and they had to clash.
U.S propaganda focused on human rights:

Before The Idea of Government was Demonized

German  propaganda focused on fear:

Antisemitic propaganda

The first poster presents freedom from want and a degree of economic security as a measure of freedom.
The second poster focuses on freedom from reason.
It is the freedom to blame, scapegoat, steal, and murder.
It is a world without negative consequences for the “right” people.
It is a world in which the state can legalize murder and use assembly line technology as the weapon of choice.
It is a world of people who believe that what they pretend they don’t know makes them innocent.
3.
What is faith?
I ask myself this as I contemplate the grievance I have to file to get the treatment I need to make this pain go away.
Why don’t my treatment providers care that I’m in pain.
Why haven’t they studied this disorder and acted on its seriousness?
Why don’t they care that I must live in fear of myself as I use every skill I have to survive the increased fragmentation that is essential to getting well but is dangerous because of  the resistance and anger by some of my alternates?
Why do I have to do something as negative as file a grievance?
What am I “grieving”?
Maybe I’m grieving the time that I’m losing to my illness as I contemplate filing a grievance.
In the cynical version of history Roosevelt lied; cynics look at that generation of people and point to the racism, the homophobia, and they are right.
The people who followed a president into a war based on the premise of  the preservation of essential human rights were flawed.
But they tried.
Hope is what gave birth to the Civil Rights Movement.
The idea that we as a Nation of people will talk to each other and listen, and the idea we will use our economic system and government to realize a vision in which each of us benefits from the creative wonder of the human mind.
Good and evil is always right where we stand.
We cannot defeat evil but we can regulate it and be alert to its seductive power.
I suppose that what I cannot understand is why I feel as if I’m living in a world that refuses to even try.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2014 All Rights Reserved

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‘Holiday’ for Sandy

 

I’ve spent the week quietly grieving the death of
a treasured sister I didn’t know.

I worried we’d died before resolving the pain that
made us run from each other.

I don’t know how to manage my illness and the pain of this grief.

So tomorrow, I begin intensive outpatient treatment at Kaiser.

I’ll blog about the experience as my concentration returns.

To my friends on WordPress and other social media, thank you for
your words of support: I treasure them.

To Sandy’s loved ones on Facebook, In Richmond Virginia
and elsewhere I offer this slide show made from the handful of
selfies and faded snapshots gathered from her collection.

I will revise this video as I find higher resolution photos.

I set it to ‘Holiday’ by the Bee Gees.

It was one of her favorite songs.

Sandra Sarah Goldstein – Dunaway;

I miss you.

 

Robert Oliver Goldstein, January 29, 2017

Robert Oliver Goldstein, January 29, 2017

“Holiday” by the Bee Gees

Dissociative Identity Disorder: Platitudes and Blame

An Apology

My alternates write and post while I think I’m asleep.

This still causes a sense of remorse and shame.
I try to comfort myself by saying, most people don’t care.

But I care.

Why?
Fear.
Of what?
Fear of bigots who do cruel things to people with mental illnesses
and justify their cruelty with cheap platitudes.

They’re everywhere including the Behavioral Health System at Kaiser.

One of my alternates responds to the implied blame in certain
platitudes with rage:
“This hurts me more than it does you”
“If they stayed in their place this wouldn’t happen.”
“People should be with their own kind.

“If you tried harder you could work!”

“All you have to do is change how you think!”

The corpses of people tortured into their graves while
their tormentors shamed them with cheap platitudes
litter the World’s graveyards.
Arbeit macht frei
“Work Makes Free” was the wisdom at the gates of Auschwitz
What triggered me this time?
Last Thursday I arrived at Kaiser Facility to begin a 12 Week
course: Managing the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder.
I had called on Monday to verify the schedule at the request of
my therapist.
When I checked in the receptionist said I was not scheduled to begin
the course until January of next year.
I felt the angry one surface:
“That’s stupid!” He said. “That’s like having a broken leg  and being told to come back in six months to have it set. Who do I talk to?”
The receptionist left a message with the therapist who runs the schedule and got me
into the group.
Switching that fast is always a big deal.
It is a visceral defense mechanism automatically activated as part of the flight or fight response.
In my case, the response is fight.
But a result of being chronically “activated” is that I have a low threshold for panic attacks.
When I reached the waiting room, I could hear my heart pounding.
I sat down and other patients began to arrive for the 4pm group.
One woman was using them as an inducement to leaving her home.
She only left her house to come to Kaiser.
At 4:30PM, there were five of us waiting for the group to start.
Someone went up to reception and discovered that the group was cancelled.
No one on the staff had bothered to tell the five patients who had arrived early
and were anxiously waiting for the group to begin,
Kaiser cancelled an important treatment group because the group leader
was sick and the Kaiser Department of Behavioral Health is so understaffed
there was no one to take her place.
This was the trigger that resulted in lost time this weekend.
It is my job to manage my illness and I take responsibility when I screw up.
I’m not saying that Kaiser is responsible for my behavior during a trigger response.
I am always responsible for what I say and do.
And I am working toward the day when my emotions will stop having minds of their own.
To do that I will need a treatment provider that wants to treat serious mental illness
and that cares enough about its patients to offer a fully staffed department of
psychiatry.
Art by Rob Goldstein
Kaiser Defense Mechanisms

(C) Rob Goldstein 2014

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Modern American Psychiatry

Art by Rob Goldstein
Modern American Psychiatry

Joni Mitchell live at Wells Fargo Theater, Los Angeles
Community Audio