Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Truth Hurts

For the past few days, my mind has been a whirl of shit, a creeping mania that has taken me through all the usual cycles including absurdly risky behaviour that resulted (of course) in a dangerous situation that the sane can only shake their heads in disbelief. It happens to us, you know, when existential need drives one off the edge of reasonable action into a nether-nether land of go, go, go, go, go until the need is satisfied.

For the past two days I have been as close to the edge as I ever want to be - it had been awhile since I felt FULLY suicidal, the kind of pain and hurt inside that makes you feel like you are simply dissolving, simply ceasing to be, so alone and lost and adrift that the Internet is a poor substitute for human contact. I broke free. I spoke my truth to a stranger, an AA rep right here in the middle of the tropics, and that glimmer of hope was the beginning of a crack in the darkness....

Soon after I discovered a fellow traveler who is also a patient, also struggling with the issue of finding 1st world drugs in a 3rd world Paradise. We went out as I shivered with my bottle of water, afraid to take any wrong turn that might lead to my heartbreak, and I spent most of today still shivering, desperate to leave this fantasy world, desperate to leap on a plane before the deep depressive obsession of loneliness and aloneness threatened to take me to the depths of hell.

Think I´m kidding? Think I´m being melodramatic? Guess again. The swirl and the swirl and the swirl and swirl continued all day as I struggled with a level of discomfort that I thought I´d left far behind...and tonight, there was a cut through to the clarity that I thought I´d never see again.

I´ve been skimping on meds. There, I said it. Before I left the states, I ordered a month´s worth and they gave me fifteen days of Lexapro. Why? I don´t know. I´ve been getting 15 20mgs pills for two years every month - just for shits and grins, Walgreen´s thought it would be a swell idea to give me 15 ***10mg*** tablets just before I got on a plane to Mexico. MOTHERFUCKERS. So instead of getting 10mg a day, I´ve been taking 5mg, or just skipping my doses altogether to make it last until Wednesday, when the new shipment arrives courtesy of a friend´s mother who happens to be flying into Puerto.

FUCK WALGREEN´S. Costco Pharmacy, here I come. I´ve heard they´re cheaper anyway, but that isn´t really the point now, is it? I just wanted to make it last...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Manic for Days in Mexico

I´m damn near episodic and I just caught on today. this is a letter i just wrote to my mom...

Having fun...sorta.

Listen, I wanted to call you tonight but the telephones to the states are shut down for the night. I´m manic, and I´ve probably been this way for three or four days. I´m a little frightened (more than a little) but toay I was suicidal and I introduced myself to the english-speaking AA group leader because I didn´t know who else to talk to. Then I met a fellow traveler who is also bipolar and we spent the evening talking meds and episodes.

I´m scared because it´s taken me this long just to figure this place out and I´m sorta wanting to come home. I don´t want my illness to beat me again, but frankly, this has all been much harder than I thought it would be. Where to stay, what to eat, how to find and buy food, taxis, busses, making new friends - all of it exciting, but totally taxing.

I wanted a rustic little cabin with a lock on the door and a place to cook. Instead, I have a condo with satellite tv, which should make me happy but leaves me feeling rather cold and alienated. It´s so hard to say here which comes first - do I think and feel the way I do because everything is so new, or because I´m chemically altered? And I hate that question, as I always hate that question, but here it is just so much more extreme.

Maybe I shouldn´t travel alone. That´s what I´ve been thinking. It´s been just so difficult to figure everything out, and tonight I had the first real and honest conversations I´ve had since I arrived. It was very gratifying, and made me realize that while I just fucking love the beach (and I really do) I just might be too sick to travel without help.

It´s really absurd, when you think about, that a person with a history of mental illness would fly alone to a foreign country with the intention to stay two months without ever having been to the destination and not speaking the language. It´s a fairly bold move - some might call it utterly crazy. Right now, it really feels that way.

My friend the bipolar speaks totally fluent Spanish - and today, he had the same problem finding his meds - lithium, Seroquel, Wellbutrin, neurontin - in any of the local pharmacias. He might take a bus to Oaxaca City before he runs out, or get his parents to drop-ship his ´scripts - of course, that´s risky, because this is Mexico and stolen packages are not uncommon.

I don´t know...I find Mexico to be a really quite silly place. The investments in basic infrastructure in minimal at best - Zicatela Beach has the best amenities because the gringos who run the beach have American and Canadian sensibilities about how things should be. I constantly hear weird horror stories about the Mexican people and what they do (and don´t do) to each other, the environment, and what have you.

I have spent WAY too much money. I just hadn´t intended to be in a place where I wasn´t in control of basic expenditures. From where you are, it can´t make any sense, and it doesn´t, but it´s what has happened and I´m really sorry about it. I wanted a beach. I guess I wanted Mexico, but now I´m not so sure. It´s wild and raw and kinda scary, frankly.

Right now, stories are circulating about Dengue Flu. Google it. I ran into three Canadian tourists the other day whose friend got it and they were leaving the country. I thought they were being a bit alarmist but then last night on the southern coast in a town called Puerto Angel, I had a UK expat warn me about the issue. He´s staying, but he wanted to make sure I knew that people were pulling out of his town. Bizarre.

It´s just been So Much More than what I thought I was after, and the learning curve has been Way Too High. And yet, I just feel like I would feel defeated if I left. I just want to be safe and happy mostly, and right now, I´m not sure if I´ll really get that here.


Friday, January 06, 2006

Perhaps the Fight is On Again

I just sent off the packet to Cheif Lennen and I feel loads better. The whole process has made me feel so alienated, alone, and paranoid and I'm glad it's done with. Soon I can think about other things, but Not. Quite. Yet.

I wonder who else sees it the way I do - that the abuse of police power is a microcosm of the macrocosm of the abuse of power in general. I had a phone call about it this morning wherein I was able to articulate it all fairly well. An abusive power - like, say, the Bush Administration - sends a message to every wannabe fascist toting a gun that it's "okay" to bend the rules to serve out your own personal vendettas.

If that were the extent of it, it might be fine and dandy. But given the supposed agenda I came back with to New Mexico with, what it really means is that stringency at the top of the line means more abuse all the way down the food chain, strangling initiatives of all kinds that might shake up the power structure. This results in a landscape littered with "alternative press" variants that do little more than comment on arts&entertainment offerings, and perhaps a handful of "deep thinkers" that earn their fame and bread issuing pronoia-style pronouncements on "the future" - rather than any meaningful analysis of the true state of the body politic.

And why not? It's what people pay for...

When I came back to New Mexico, I carried with me notes, sketches and vague outlines for a book that might someday be called "Crazy in America." It would have been about my decade-long journey through the American Psychiatric system and the US Health Care System, which would culminate in my acquisition of what IU call "the SSI grant" (welfare for crazies.)

Repeated arrests - each of them trivial yet inextricably linked to my diagnoses - in a New Mexico where mental illness isn't even *seen* (much less recgonized) has without a doubt created within me a level of deep paranoia that I am only beginning to recognize, an antagonism willfully perpetuated by an atagonistic state in order, one assumes, to lead the "criminal" towards more crime.

My moral compass is a good deal stronger than that, however. Since I left the city of Santa Fe (officially known as "the Adobe Disneyland,") I haven't been arrested once. I *do* wonder - is that a coincidence?

If I could only describe to you the multiple levels of PURE, DEEP FEAR that I experienced at the hands of Officer Gardner Finney and the Santa Fe Police Department (not to mention the county jail, but that's a whole other issue) then you might actually believe me when I tell you that such tyranny went a long way towards pushing to find Lighter Topics to pursue. Make no mistake - writing about the systemic abuse of the sick at the hands of a system that would rather *create* inmates than *treat* patients** fosters levels of deep fear within me that can make any distraction seem Much More Interesting. Repeatedly seeing other people (who really ought to know better) fail to see the connection between diagnostic states and arrests leaves me so disheartened, not just for me but for the millions of patients who are far less articulate than I am.

( ** and this is not hyperbole - most street crazies know that a handy way for a diagnoses or medication check is simply to get arrested and thrown in jail for awhile)

The best upshot of this latest incident with Gardner Finney may be that it is precisely the swift kick in the ass I needed to remind me I can't just play pretend and abandon my original pursuit. The story of the metally ill and their treatment in the United States is hardly a dull plodding tale of abuses without hope. It is a story rich in metaphor and meaning, rich with variable perceptive states both bleak and kaledioscopic and everywhere in between. And like psychedelic research and the Human Potential Movement which harbored it, understanding a bit more about it and the system that fails to deal with it properly may lead to new frontiers of research, not just for patient's immediate health needs but also towards the dismantling of power structures designed to keep such revelations in check.

It is no secret that I am an enemy of the state of statist power corruption. I had hoped that by keeping my head low and my body out of sight that the agents of the state would simply leave me alone. But the arrogance of the system is such that I need only show myself in public for the corruption to continue. You might have once counted on my silence - but not anymore. I stand marked no matter what I do - perhaps I can internalize that and use it to help me fight.

I make no promises - but it's on my list again.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Imagine a World Where Cops SOLVED Problems
And Didn't Create New Ones

Ever Wonder Why They're Called PIGS?

A year ago today, I was waiting to be arraigned on charges stemming from what I believe was a false/illegal arrest on the part of Santa Fe Police Department Officer Gardner Finney. The details of the case are voluminous and not worth re-iterating here - anyone who wants to know more can get in touch and I'll send you some .pdfs outlining the whole nasty business.

Suffice to say, I was arrested for the violation of a temporary restraining order, held in custody for five days, then released only when my family ponied up a $5000 CASH bond. To give you an idea of what an absurd amount that was for doing nothing more than writing e-mail (I'm not making this up) I'll have you know I was arrested in the previous year for domestic violence and my bond was just $500. $500 for hitting - $5000 for email. What a wonderful world - the pen truly is mightier than the sword!

I have on the table in front of me a packet of papers addressed to Santa Fe Chief of Police Beverly Lennen. It contains my personal history of the events in question, my dealings with Officer Gardner Finney before, during, and after the event in question, my mother's personal account, and a copy of the torts claim my attorney filed for illegal arrest and emotional distress that my attorney filed on January 19, 2005.

I have read interviews with Chief Lennen, soon to retire but a member of the SFPD for twenty-five years, and she is clear that she always wanted the force to not "be bogeymen," but to create a culture where the police could actually be trusted. Gardner Finney was not the first SFPD officer to violate that trust for me - that award goes to Officer Jeff Worth(less), aka "Thor," - so despite whatever claims to a kinder, gentler force, I'm not holding my breath that the Chief will respond to my queries in a timely a matter as I would like - or at all, for that matter. If this fails, I guess I'll just end up getting another civil rights attorney, or keep shaking the trees for the kind of CopWatch-style advocacy groups that I could take for granted in places in like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the other cities in which I've lived. Not here in New Mexico, though - I wonder if that has anything to do with my Total Lack of rapsheet before arriving back in 2003 and all the arrests (4) I've racheted up since.

Protection'n'Advocacy tried their level best to turn me down, (proving once again that services for the mentally ill can only help those smart enough to leap through hoops, defeating the purpose of the existence of such groups in the first place.) They said, "We don't get involved in criminal cases." Well, I reasoned, what is a wrongful arrest complaint? Is it a criminal case, because someone was arrested? Or is it a civil case, because someone is filing a complaint?

In other words, if you're arrested for a crime and it's a false arrest, is that a) a criminal case because the cop says you're a criminal? or b) is it a civil case, because the cop is a prejudiced dickhead using his badge to settle a score over the fact that no one likes him, a short-dicked shithead who needs to be, say, educated a bit about the IMMORALITY of his judgement calls?

Immorality - that was the toughest part of it for me. Gardner Finney shows up at my house, and tells me he wants to talk about "the situation with Kate." For a moment there, I think I can almost see the humanity in his eyes, and though he's dressed in uniform, I acquiesce to speak with him because he is a friend of Kate's and his demeanor is one of a person who wants to maybe referee a little, and maybe iron out a hasty peace.

Of course - I couldn't have been more mistaken - this is why romantics like me DON'T BECOME COPS - and you can bet I'll never mistake "the cop on the beat" for a member of the human race. All he wanted was an admission of guilt so he could stick me in a cell. What a wonderful world, huh?

"Okay," I said, and sat down.
"What going on with this?"
"Gardner - it's just e-mail. And she has a lawyer and I have a lawyer and this'll all get worked out."

A variation of that ended up in my "probable cause" statement that Finney used to gather a shotgun warrant at 2am as I lay in a jail cell that night. He never wanted to solve a problem (silly me) - he just wanted to trap me in his cop-little world of lies and deceit, where everyone's a perpetrator and it's all hard-boiled and shit, like on TV.

This, Pig, is why we call you Pig - because you just aren't a human being anymore. You lie for your arrest quotas or to settle your personal vendettas - do you really wonder why no sensible person likes or trusts you, at all?

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Happy New Year Thoughts
Will Blogs *Really* Replace the Mainstream Media?

It's been a bit of time since my last post. Three days before Xmas, in fact, but there was just so much else to do for all of that. I got some cool stuff - most notably a small tripod and a card-reader for my trip to Mexico. I'll be gone for six weeks but I may get inspired to write something about being crazy, which a friend was kind enough to remind me was my One True Area of Expertise. He gets hypermedia - I get hyper. Some deal.

Appropos of nada: Last night, I flipped out for the first time in months. It had been building, but I thought I had things under control. And I guess I did, because really, it didn't feel "out of control." It was more like a controlled rage, one I stepped into in order to let off some steam, feel the adrenaline coursing, to get a handle on the jillion thoughts that tend to accompany these things.

I beat my DVD player to death. Just picked it up by its power cord and flailed it on the ground. It was really really satisfying, ultimately, because I bought the thing eighteen months ago from a woman who used to be a friend but just stabbed me in the back and dumped my friendship like it meant nothing to her. Now the player is in the dumpster, along with another memory of her, just one less thing that reminds me of what a Rude Fucking Cunt she was. Maybe I'll post a picture later...

There. That's better.

Onto news: Right before I stopped for the holiday-time, I was thinking a lot about the situation about Rigoberto Alpizar, in particular, the subject of the post for December 13th, wherein I "revealed" that the story was Absolutely Dead in the mainstream media - and thus, out of the blogosphere as well. The world moved on THAT FAST from a man shot down in cold blood on the tarmac of a Miami airport by a bunch of lame fed-pigs - all because they were smart enough to flood the media with tales of his "unpredictable" behaviour brought on by bipolar disorder.

And I had to think about the reality of this "media hobby." As a blogger, I'm really just an armchair commentator wherein I surf the Internet looking for links to link to and comment on. Or maybe I get to write about "My own weird life," or whatever. But when it comes to "breaking news" - if the mainstream press stops writing about the story, there's nothing to link to. Thus, interest in the story just *fucking* disappears. Poof. Overnight. And maybe there's a trickle of blogposts and then - Poof. No one cares. Who's Angelina Jolie fucking this week?

In the case of the Rigoberto Alpizar story, despite my utter lack of editorial credentials at the moment and my zero-based budget, I *do* know enough about what to do next and I *did* make a call to the Miami-Dade police department, wherein I was told that "all legitimate inquiries into the investigation" should be sent via company letterhead to XYZ-PDQ dickheaded spokesperson, blah-blah. I asked how I would go about being placed on whatever electronic press release mailing list they have down there and was told pretty much the same thing.

Am I going to follow up? No. Probably not. Maybe. Maybe in a few months I'll run across my own dumb blog post and go, "Hey, whatever happened to that...?" And I'll make another call. But the point is that most bloggers wouldn't even go that far. It's not because they're lame and dumb and boring - it's because the blogosphere relies on SPEED and FREQUENT POSTS even more than a daily newspaper. They need fresh churn on fresh stories or they'll DIE A FAST DEATH. If you don't believe me - check out the Number One blog on the Internet - those guys are great, but they're hardly doing more than checking their email for press releases from PR slacks with goofy products or weird ideas to pitch to them. Not a lot of investigation going on there. and that's hardly a replacement for mainstream news, no matter how slanted and sucky it is.

Though I've been thinking about this sad state of the "blog-revolution" for weeks, I was inspired to sit down and punch it out by my friend Mark Pesce's HyperPeople presentation, which I was watched/listened to last night on my new favorite form of web-crack - Google Video. ("GOOGLE IT!!!" - snicker.)

I'm linking to it because it's a pretty great and interesting way of summing up a lot of what's happening on the web these days - but the bit about the blogosphere is a little bit hard for me to swallow, a little bit too "Internet revolution, circa 1994," - because like a lot of the empty promises about how an Information Revolution was going to change the world as we know it, it fails to take into account that FREE MEDIA doesn't necessarily mean GOOD MEDIA. If boing-boing is any indication, it just means a lot more clutter and trivia (like this blog, for example) and a lot fewer answers about What the Fuck is Really Going On.

ps: Just remember, if you still don't believe me - Plamegate was not daily news (and it's almost played out by now too) until Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald brought an indictment against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby - an event that ALL the mainstream news outlets covered in full technicolor glory. A lot of the post facto revelations that hit the news since then had been floating around the blogosphere for over two years, including (especially) the news that the "intelligence" was bogus. Remember the 10 Downing Street Memo? And no one cared - really cared - until they heard it on CNN.

Comments? (yes, I want them.)

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