People are too various to be treated so lightly. I am too various to be trusted.
April 28, 2015 § 2 Comments
Title quote: James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.
A few years ago when I was still semi functional, at least capable enough to maintain employment, one of the ex-managers came across to me as a judgmental fuck. My own opinion of course, is incredibly judgmental, which is hypocritical and I only partly feel remorse. It was in regards to a statement he made about people who smoked or drank coffee. Actually, I think it was just about coffee drinkers, the tamest of all addictions, no? Close?
He said something about not being able to believe how people would be so stupid to do anything that could hurt you or kill you, blah blah. He was obviously more judgmental of anyone who smoked, who was an addict of any sort.
I wanted to give him a good run down of how ignorant and disgusting he was coming across. Myself, an addict of various sorts and having dealt with all of them at different points of my life, this moment of my life has left a very lasting impression on me. My own opinions on the subject of self-destructive impulses and addiction to any manor of its play out, are my own and completely esoteric, as to try not to offend or generalize my own feelings on the subject. Just for a disclaimer at the moment and before I continue.
I always felt…and still feel that anything addictive that is potentially deadly or, in short term, horrendous to one’s life and relationships, is not done because the subject is stupid or ignorant. I don’t believe that these people are every lacking in control either. I think this is the biggest aspect of stigmatization of mental illness in any context, including addiction. I think that anyone acting in a very self-destructive or addictive way is really, in essence to LIVE. I know this sounds counterintuitive but any of these habits or actions are really more to either improve themselves as they seem to others, to save themselves and become someone different and better than themselves. That, or else to escape from themselves and who they are. I think both of these inclinations toward self destruction are two sides of the same coin. I think they come from a similar place. I have the same opinion about any addictive behaviour, that it can manifest itself in all sorts of behaviours from alcoholism, an eating disorder, workaholism, uncontrolled rage and abuse, etc etc.
Weirdly, I include suicide and suicidal inclinations in this as well. I’ve had my bouts of attempts that have landed me in hospital, but more distressing for myself are the times I’ve kept myself from acting on the plans I’ve had for it, because then I have to live with all of the fucking horrific thoughts about myself and the world without acting, which I know would relieve it. Keeping yourself from suicide when you’re in one of those very deep places, wanting so badly to do it, wanting so badly to be out of your fucking head and your body, is one of the hardest things to go through. I can’t explain it fully to anyone who hasn’t been there, but it is sooo much more than just self control and intelligence of how “selfish it is,” which I don’t deny, but if anyone hasn’t been there, they really have no idea how fucking horrible your own thoughts are, that the only way out of it is to die. And, in a weird way, suicide is a way to live for other people….this is going to sound so fucking strange, but if life is killing you…you choose anything besides this living death to go on.
I’m jealous of the man with comments of such a benign substance as coffee (which, fuck off, science informs us there are about as many benefits as cons, but another topic and another argument), as an addictive ‘killer’ if you will that so many people indulge in. Because I bet he’s one of those people that will never know, and therefore, understand addiction and mental illness. He most likely thinks of these subjects as a matter of choice and an excuse for bad behaviour.
I want to be one of those people. Ideally I would want to be someone to never be vulnerable to the throes of addiction or mental illness, while still maintaining my ability to empathize with those who are, but given the choice, I think I would still like to be able to be healthy and happy without the constant barrage of thoughts making me think I need something, anything to be better, look better, no matter what the consequences to my health or wellbeing, or to just escape it all.
My heart and my lungs and my liver and brain* go out to anyone who’s addled the shit out of theirs trying to kill their feelings and change everything about themselves, to be anyone but themselves. This is a difficult issue to discuss, but an important one, very close to me, even though I’m still just in the baby steps of even believing I can recover and live my life as me, whatever that may entail.
*and all those other forgotten organs and tissues I did not mention. Shit carries through babies.