End of the World as We Knew It

so it’s been a fairly awful week. Perhaps one day I will write about it in full grisly detail but not today, not here. Let’s just say I have now been involved withe the professional mental health world on a much more intimate level than I ever wanted. And I have met with lawyers and doctors and cops and social workers and EMTs and bankers and financial managers in suits, thus using up a couple of my hard won small allotment of PTO on a heart rending, scary, most thoroughly horrible family crisis. Everybody is, basically and as far as I know right now, ok. But things have changed and change, as we know, is scary. Fucking terrifying actually particularly if you have anxiety anyway and know that you have permanently and irrevocably pissed off – albeit necessarily for everyone’s continued health & well being – someone much scarier than you will ever be.

Is that vague enough? Whee! Vaguebooking! 

What all this has reminded me of, though, was my unhappy yearlong encounter with the criminal justice system. That system, as I believe I have mentioned elsewhere on this blog, is fucked and I do mean truly, deeply and probably irrevocably fucked.  Well, mental health, as best I can tell, is just as bad. It’s a terrible piecemeal patchwork that doesn’t make any sense. You cannot have somebody involuntarily committed unless they are an actual threat to themselves or others. And by threat I think they basically have to be wearing a hockey mask, holding a chainsaw in one hand and a three page sworn affidavit naming the people they’re going to eviscerate  in the other. If they don’t go quite this far but agree to treatment, then they can go into the hospital. Can they then get out again? Who knows! Due to HIPPAA, they may or may not contact anyone or let anyone contact them.  And they can change their mind on that one as well, because even though they are not judged able to make some decisions, like healthcare powers of attorney & living will stuff – the kind of thing you might want in the hospital you know – while in there they can make others, like who gets to know what’s going on medically and logistically with them, no problem.  It is a big old mess. 

The social workers shrug and say oh well! The banks shrug and say oh yeah fraud but oh well – like when my debit card number was stolen some years ago and we found the culprits Facebook page, address and phone number. Look, I said to the cops. Oh well! That’s in California, can’t do a thing. But man let a poor teenager mouth off to a cop or buy a blunt wrap and watch the hammer of the law descend. Watch the traffic fines as they mount  up and up forever on the poor. Watch all the rehab facilities go private and cost thousands to get into and watch Medicaid not pay for Alzheimer’s care. Watch the working poor call around to friends trying to score antibiotics and never quite make enough money to get stable let alone ahead.

Why? Because everything is broken in this country. It is like the sort of stable world I grew up in in the 70s and 80s, which was not perfect, mind you, but at least contained some sort of systems that more or less worked, is gone now. I don’t know if this is because there are just so many people now and stuff doesn’t scale up well or – as I suspect, years and years of goddamn crazed greed head right wing free market capitalist agents of evil have been chipping away and chipping away at the infrastructure that kept civilization together and it is now about to collapse. They want no schools, these people, no schools, no hospitals, no libraries, no museums, no roads, no fire fighters and no police, just standing armies of thugs ready to herd the poor to their deep fryers. Welcome to the new feudalism. We’re almost there. And it sucks.

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