To my regular subscribers who come here for the art, let me assure you that, no, this Blog is not going to suddenly morph into a site about PTSD. If you want to unsubscribe that’s okay, but I am actually hoping that finding my ‘voice’ again will help to clear out some of the crap in my head enough to allow me to start creating art again.
Now that is out of the way, on to the incredibly awesome Mr. Bob Wagner. While we try to navigate the dashboard here in order to make him an author on this Blog because so far all the buttons I’ve pressed and invites I’ve sent have not turned him into an author here, I have chosen to post some of his incredible words for you now. This way you get a glimpse of what you are in for should you choose to stick around.
The following posts are written by Mr. Bob Wagner. They are two separate posts but I have decided to compress them into one post here, given that the second post was a follow up to his first one. Here he is, in all his glory:
“… Ok, I gotta get a bit ranty about some stuff. If you’re bored of my bitching feel free to jog on. I seriously won’t mind. This is more for my benefit so I don’t just verbally snap shit on somebody at work today. That said there’s some valuable information in what follows for people who don’t have a chronic mental illness like PTSD.
First things first; THERE IS NOTHING FUNNY, CUTE, CLEVER OR IN ANY FUCKING WAY AMUSING ABOUT MOCKING SOMEONE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS OR TRYING TO SET OFF THEIR TRIGGERS AS A FUCKING PRANK OK? If you make jokes about the way a person’s mental illness affects them you are **precisely** as funny as someone cracking AIDS jokes to someone dying of AIDS or someone going “Hey! Look what I can do!” and doing jumping jacks in front of someone bound to a wheelchair. Not only are you mocking someone with a severe medical condition which makes you an obnoxious ass you are, in the case of PTSD and many other trauma-induced conditions, making light of the trauma that they endured. Which makes you an insensitive cunt. Don’t. Fucking. Do it. K?
Next: People with mental illnesses are not, as a rule, dangerous. Yes, most of the mass shootings that made the news have involved mentally ill people. But most of those were people at the far end of the schizo-affective spectrum and were off their meds. Statistically they represent a tiny fraction of the mentally ill community. Most of us are too busy trying to handle our issues and make it through the day without falling apart to even consider harming anyone. So please, drop this crap about “Well what if you flip out and go psycho and start hurting people?” . Because THE FUCKING MATH LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE MOTHERFUCKING TWO PLUS TWO OF IT says that that’s almost certainly not gonna happen. You’ve probably got a better chance of being hit by lightning than being at ground zero for a violent outburst by a mentally ill person. So chill with that shit ok? All you’re doing is making things worse and most of us have already got just about all we can handle on our plates as it is.
Bullshit advice:If we want your fucking advice we’ll fucking ask for it ok? We don’t need to hear how we just need to be strong. Fun fact. I’m 43 years old. I’ve been fighting PTSD since I was TWELVE. I’m supposed to be dead at least four times now. Five if you count the results of that one beating the old man threw me when I went to the cops about his shit. I’m still here. And I’m fucking STAYING here. Strong is something I, and every other person like me, are every fucking day of our lives. No. I take that back. Stronger than you could possibly imagine is something we are every fucking day of our lives. Because we go all day every day with our **brains** trying to **murder us** . Ok? The organ that drives everything that makes us human is BROKEN and we get up and go through the day and we handle. Some of us better or worse than others. But NONE of us are weak.
We don’t need to hear that we just need to get over it. Think we haven’t tried that, pooky? We don’t need to be told we need to just take a pill or go on disability. In the first case you’re not a fucking doctor so shut up with that shit. Most **actual mental health care providers** say that medication is effective only for a few mental illnesses and even those ones have side affects almost as bad or worse than the illness itself. For instance suicidal thoughts as a side effect of taking anti-depressants. Ummmm what? In the second what you’re really saying is we need to conform to your ignorant-ass idea of what a mentally ill person is supposed to be. We’re supposed to fit into the nice neat little box of a dysfunctional emotional cripple who can’t handle the real world and needs their ass wiped for them . Sorry Charlie but you can fuck right off with that shit. Because that isn’t about us. That’s about you. See, mental illness is scary to people. It isn’t like a bad appendix that you can just fix with a scalpel and some anesthetic. Your brain breaks and once it’s broke fixing it is difficult at best. And people see mentally ill people walking around doing all the stuff that non-mentally ill people do and it SCARES THEM because in us they seem themselves. If we’re out there holding down a job and paying our bills and doing all the other stuff everyone else does then we are them in different clothes. And THAT means that THEY could become US. And it’s perfectly natural to have the piss scared right outta you at the prospect of that. So you want us to fit the image of the shambling zombie in pj’s coloring in a psych’ ward doped off our asses on meds because then you can look at us and say “Couldn’t happen to me. *I”M* not like that.” . Sorry, doesn’t work that way. One traumatic experience too many, one little imbalance of the body’s chemical mix and guess what? You. Are. ME. And your bullshit fear is not my problem.
My problem is making it through the day without falling apart, hurting myself or doing something that disconcerts someone so badly that they decide they can’t be around me anymore. MY problem is making it from alarm clock to bed time without crumbling under the weight of all the hell rolling around inside my skull. All the fear, all the pain, all the inner frustration that comes with trying to function in a world that is hard enough when you aren’t sick and gets a million times harder when you are. When you can’t form words. When you have panic attacks over seemingly insignificant stimuli. When you want to hurt yourself. When you brain shows you things that aren’t there. When something as simple as a friendly touch makes you flinch and want to lash out in self defense. When you find yourself sobbing in the break room at work because shit is SO FUCKING HARD and you have no choice but to suck it up and get back in the fight because your family needs the money you earn and YOU need to feel like an adult rather than an invalid but what you really want to do is go home, get UNDER the bed and not come out. That’s my problem. How you handle your fear and incomprehension of a medical condition I never asked for and sure as SHIT do not enjoy having is for you to deal with. Not me.
I could go on for another hour but I just saw the time. I gotta get ready for work when I am seriously in no condition to function today. I gotta put on my uniform, go in and pretend like I’m one of you. It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna be a shit sandwich hold the bread. But I’m gonna do it. Because that is what I and millions like me do every fucking day. It’s who we are and how we roll. I don’t want pity. I don’t want you to completely re-work your life for me. I don’t want a medal for not falling apart. I just want the same basic consideration you’d give somebody walking around with fucking cancer or AIDS ok?…”.
“… Ok, one other thing I wanted to talk about in yesterday’s rant about mental illness. What people who aren’t mentally ill don’t realize unless they are VERY self aware is that when a person is known to be mentally ill – and this often includes by the people closest to them like friends, family and SO’s – **every fucking thing they say and do** gets judged on the basis of that knowledge. And usually not in a good way.
Got weird hobbies and a mental disorder “Oh you’re just into that stuff because you’re not right in the head.”. No dickhead I’m into that stuff because it’s cool and the stuff you’re into bores the piss outta me. Now fuck off. Batman is on.
Got a differing opinion on a controversial topic? “That’s just your condition talking. If you were sane you’d see it my way.” This actually kinda pisses me off because of how condescending and paternalistic it is. Basically treating a thinking adult like a simpleminded child incapable of reaching a rational conclusion about a subject just because their brain is a mite mis-wired. Newsflash folks MENTALLY ILL IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH MENTALLY CHALLENGED. Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean you’re developmentally delayed. K?
Alternate lifestyler? Say, BDSM or LGBT or poly or the like? And you’re on the spectrum. “Oh you’re just that way because of your condition. Sane people don’t go in for that sort of thing.”. Yeah sure. Then explain the MILLIONS of people who aren’t on the spectrum who are even deeper into it than I am. You condescending prat.
Express a negative emotion? TAKE COVER !!! HE’S GONNA GO POSTAL!! Seriously, you ever wanna see a group of otherwise rational human beings shit themselves and react like a bunch of gerbils with a cougar suddenly dropped in their midst just be a mentally ill person expressing anger or sadness. And I don’t mean in some dramatic and inappropriate way like punching a wall or throwing shit or yelling. I mean something simple like someone does something to cross your boundaries and you tell them “I’m gonna have to ask you not to do that again. It kinda irritates me.”. Nagasaki on a Ritz cracker ladies and gents . Shit, I got verbally counseled at a past job because I had a rage flash, calmly walked out into the back service hallways and dealt with my anger by doing PUSHUPS. PUSHUPS PEOPLE! FUCKING PUSHUPS! Out of view of any customers and in a place where it wouldn’t inconvenience my co-workers and I got frikin counseled for it. The boss told me “It scared people because they thought you were gonna go off and start hitting people [ummmm no I’m doing this so I **don’t** do that] so you can’t do that any more.”, and when I asked him what would happen if one of the non-afflicted staff did the SAME EXACT THING I got told -and I’m quoting here- “Well that’s different. They’re normal.”. Are you FUCKING SHITTING ME?!?!?!?!
And as a final example, weapons. Gods forbid you should be found out to be both mentally ill AND a weapons enthusiast. People find out you’re sick AND you like knives or guns the automatic assumption is that you WILL at some point loose it and go Sandy Hook all over the place. Perfect example. I’ve got a co-worker at my current job. Great guy. Friendly, funny, amazing asset to the company. Bit of a stoner but hey, I’m all about legalizing it. Also a gun enthusiast. We’ve had some pretty cool talks about handguns and I’ve never thought anything of it because it’s just two guys having a chat and he’s had similar conversations with other co-workers. THEN one day it gets learned that I sleep with a loaded pistol on my night stand. You’d have thought I walked in wearing my mom’s severed head as a hat. I had one co-worker whose business it was precisely NONE OF start grilling me about about whether or not I keep weapons in my bag. Ummmm no and none of your business if I do, asshat. People started whispering and it got back to me that the revelation that I own guns -owned and kept in my home mind you which is half an hour away from my job, not carried around on my person. Kept locked up in my HOME- made people nervous. Meanwhile the FUCKING NARCOTICS USER, the guy who told me to my FACE that he was still high from the night before on Black Friday tells the boss he wants the day of the company Christmas party off so he can take a concealed carry class and nobody bats an eye. When I asked the boss about it he said “Well you’ve got this thing. How do we know you’re not gonna just go crazy and start shooting everybody. I wouldn’t want to be around you if you had a gun.” “I see. But you’d be ok hanging out with [Nigel] if he had one even though he’s usually on the pipe.”. “Well that’s different. He’s not crazy and doesn’t freak out over bullshit.” . Understand folks. I am QUOTING. VERBATIM. I’m not coloring it, I am saying word for word what one of my SUPERVISORS said to my **face** . Imagine having cancer and that was how people responded. Or AIDS . Or you were an amputee. Or in a wheelchair. And I’m not talking about some kid here either. We’re are talking about a grown man with kids my age entrusted with the running of a million dollar a year business.
Now, after thirty years I’ve just gotten used to this. It still bugs me but I’ve come to the conclusion that some shit you just have to limit how pissed off you’re gonna get. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t speak up. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t say “Hey! Are you fuckers even AWARE you’re doing this shit and have you the slightest clue how it’s affecting us?” .
Bottom line, please, when you see yourself reacting to a mentally ill person ask yourself “How would I react to that exact same thing if I didn’t know they were sick?”. Odds are you’ll find yourself facing a pretty consistent double standard and that doesn’t help one bit. It’s one more example of how we’re ostracized and made to feel “wrong” for having a medical condition we’d just as soon be without. And that only exacerbates what is already a pretty trying existence just walking around with this in our head. We’re not scary. We’re not dangerous. We’re not simpletons. We’re human being with a sickness and all we want is to get through our life as best we can. Same as any of you. We just have an extra hurdle or five to clear in the process. PLEASE don’t add to our burden with your bias. Thanks…”.
By Mr. B. Wagner.