Stay away from cults, Part 2

The following are illogical arguments:

“If you do not follow [____] (their guru), then the alternative is burning in hell forever.”

“If you do not follow [____] (their guru) then you will continue to suffer or be unhappy.”

“If you do not take what we are offering you, then you will never get anywhere in life.”

“If you do not get the program, the program will get to you.”

“If you do not pray for [___] (you name it) you will go to hell.”

“The Bible was written by God because it says so in the  Bible.” (This line will work for whatever the cult’s given text is.)

“Anyone who hasn’t read [insert name of cult’s text] isn’t very wise. These are the standards by which we judge others. All other education besides our specific teachings is meaningless.”

“You are a sinner, therefore, admit it, you need us.”

Ever notice you cannot engage in meaningful dialogue with cult members? They either try to convert you or they tell you they are super happy but you really wonder when you see that glazed over, drugged look in their eyes. They tend to not leave their cult. Know why? It would be far too scary for them. How could they turn their backs on what they believe in so passionately? I can only imagine it’s as painful as it was for me to walk out of the mental health system. You bet it was hard!

“If you do not follow our treatment plan, you’ll become unstable.” I’m waiting for that to happen. What the hell’s unstable, anyway? Pssst: It’s a meaningless scare tactic meant to keep you stuck in treatment and out of work forever. You don’t need to believe it.

Please, stay away from cults

You may think….

“But they’re so nice.”

Yes, they’re nice. They seem nice. Generous. Open. Caring. Or maybe even the ONLY ones that care. Please don’t fall for them. Even if they seem right now to be the only ones out there for you. Don’t grab onto that lifesaver because it doesn’t save. It takes.

“But being with them will do no harm.”

At first, it seems harmless. That’s how they operate. At first.  Little by little, they steal bits and bits more from you. “Won’t you try….” and you give a little more and a little more of yourself till suddenly, you are totally roped into it. Not all cult members shave everything or wear robes or paint themselves or run around saying stuff in Indian languages. Not all kidnap college students and keep them in secluded camps in the jungle. Not all keep underage girls in sex slavery and then do themselves in en masse via Kool Aid just cuz their leader said so.

“What they say seems so simple.”

Yes, they have their lines. They’ve learned these lines, practiced them since they are in the business of proselytizing. Some cults deny that they proselytize. They will say, “We don’t really do that.” But they do. Others will say, “Our religion is the only one. So why not do the right thing and spread the joy so there will be world peace?” Then, pass the basket.

Your donations into that basket will get higher and higher and you will be pressured to give more tan you can possibly give. You will give your soul. Someday, you will look back and see what a waste it has all been. Or, since looking back and seeing it all like that is probably far too painful, you’ll never ever see it like that and stay stuck in that damn cult forever, avoiding the truth, a life lost.

Prayer at 3am

Dear God,

I am an escapee from USA living below the equator
As many do
I know you do not exist and so, I feel stupid praying like this

But right now, I picked up my glass-lined coffee pot
The one I bought right away after moving to this beautiful country.
This pot slipped out of my hand
Because I was tired
And broke.

Dear God,
You promise so, so many things.
Or shall I say, people claiming to represent your Word, or rather, to speak for you, make so many damn promises. None came true. The Nortamericano dream is bullshit, as we all know. Better to laugh than to cry. I don’t think hard work nor karma nor recovery nor studying hard nor achieving inner peace nor yoga nor knowledge nor being saved by Jesus nor God nor anyone paid off. I’m standing here at 3am with no money and a my best coffee pot broken.

But know something? It’s a thing. Nothing more. I came here with almost nothing. What’s stuff?  It’s stuff. Crap that eventually falls apart and no amount of love will keep it around forever. I’ve learned to part with almost all of it. My coffee pot lived with me one year and I had a funeral for it. It went into a bag and in a few hours will go into the trash. Such is the life of stuff.

You learn these things. Stuff lives, stuff dies, and that happens faster than the seasons. Catch them while you can, they’ll only be on the shelves for so long.

In a flash, a thing flew out of my hand. I thought that a life can end in a flash, just like that. A person, adult or child, anywhere on this planet, right now, someone somebody loves, has stopped breathing, and that’s a tragedy.

How accurate is Wikipedia and should we rely on it?

Here’s a good article that I think is credible:

So the article states that in a search, many errors were found. I saw the figure 13%, that is, 13% of articles contain mistakes. What constitutes “mistakes” and exactly how huge were those errors? An error in date of birth is significant. A completely goofed chart of chemical composition is a big goof, or an incorrect drawing of the anatomy of a certain animal species.   Or to state that a person was murdered when in fact, the person drowned in a boating accident is also a big no-no. However, leaving a period off at the end of a sentence, also a boo-boo, isn’t such a big deal unless it confuses the reader into thinking, for an instant, that the wife might have eaten her dead husband’s body.

Interestingly enough, anyone can claim expertise and alter a Wikipedia article. So if you hate someone that much, go claim expertise and alter the article on that person.  Doing so isn’t a particularly original thing to do. You might as well forge checks for a living, or steal identities.

When I was a kid, we’d get together with neighbor kids and make annoyance calls. “Is your refrigerator running? Better go catch it!” It was funny, though, we usually called parents of other kids and imagined the expressions on their faces. Silly kids stuff. This was before the day of telemarketers, and no one ever got in any trouble for it. It always ended in good fun.  We got bored of the “annoyance calls” game and then ran outside and climbed trees for a while.


Those of us who have suffered psych abuse need to team up with veterans

This is my thinking. It seems like the psychiatric regime loves to deny that trauma exists. They’d rather call us permanently disordered than admit that we are possibly traumatized, and maybe we need to be listened to. The notion of “it’s temporary” scares the heck out of them. It challenges them. The very thought that we have the potential to be functioning, happy, productive human beings is contrary to their extremely low opinion of us. This is one big reason why they continue to abuse, or order their underlings to abuse.

So now what? I myself suffer trauma from abuse while inpatient and have suffered insomnia ever since. I am shocked, looking back, that Dr. P, who had known me 12 years, didn’t recognize the signs of trauma when it was darned obvious, and instead, mistook what was happening for mania. I myself didn’t know, since I had never been through something so extreme. Not only could I suddenly not sleep, but I became fixated on the abuse, which played itself over and over in my mind. I couldn’t get it out of my head, and still can’t. So she decided that was “paranoia,” which was dead wrong. Or her hospital was pressuring her to push that one on me. I suppose, since I have yet to get an apology, I’ll never find out. Frankly, since what happened after MGH almost killed me, it would really be nice to get at least an “I’m sorry” out of those that were just  plain uncaring assholes to me.

As psych survivors, we have a lot in common with veterans, who are also survivors. Many vets didn’t choose to go to war. They were coerced, or pressured by their families, or fulfilling a requirement, such as economic need, or drafted. In some countries, it is a requirement of all citizens. Many vets do not go to war but whether they do or not still are traumatized in other ways such as military sexual assault which is insanely common.  The very setup, the way servicemen and women are bossed around I find a turnoff, to tell you the truth, although some people thrive on that kind of thing. I do admire the idea of loyalty, friendship, and sharing. Then again, I never served, so my viewpoint is rather romanticized.

I have a bunch of friends who served in Vietnam. Most did end up with PTSD afterward. Many used alcohol to deal with it. Now that I have PTSD myself, I totally get that, and would be drinking right now if alcohol actually did anything for me.

Psych survivors also see many of their friends die way too young. We see others tortured. We see wrongful deaths. We see suffering that by all means, shouldn’t be happening. We see stuff and we know we can’t do a darned thing because we won’t be believed. We are lowly mental patients and whatever we say won’t even stand up in court and if we go to the cops we’ll get laughed at or sent to a hospital. And even if we can get out of their grasp, we know loneliness, because who will stand by us when everyone loves to deny it all happened?

The other Hanukkah story

So Hanukkah is the holiday of miracles. Briefly, when the Jews were trying to clean up the Temple, which had been wrecked, they needed oil to keep the lamp lit. Alas, they had only one drop of oil! What good would that do? However, that one drop of oil lasted an entire eight days!

The other Hanukkah story: A poor person can barely afford to heat his home. He keeps his lights off most of the time. One day, he is hunting around in his dark bathroom and cannot find toilet paper. Alas! But then, he finds a roll with only one square. What good would that do? However, that one square lasts an entire eight days!

Is that a miracle that will end up being celebrated and named a holiday called “Hanukkah,” that much of the world cannot pronounce, or will we just call that “gross”?

Your pick. But please, don’t let your kids flush the dreydl down the toilet. Teach them about recycling, and have a terrific eight nights.

Every time I hear about Tsarnaev, I cry

I know what it’s like to be told, “You don’t have a soul.” That’s what the mental health system told me, again and again. I know what it’s like to be silenced and to be told, “Your voice doesn’t matter,” or to be told, “You are a sinner,” because that’s what I was told. And that was the “cure,” supposedly. I was told the only good thing that could be done for me was to lock me up. I was told I wasn’t good enough. I was told I was a waste. Human waste.

Worse, I was called a liar. I was called “not credible.” Imagine never being believed, no matter what you say. That’s called gaslighting. The MH system tears down people’s souls that way. They leave us to die, and they don’t care.

Yes, every single one of us had a soul, we had, and still have, real feelings, real abilities, real talents, and we are capable of meaningful relationships. If society keeps beating and beating and beating on a person, it makes it difficult if not impossible for that person to be reasonable. Do you really think Tsarnaev has been treated with any respect at all these past two years? No, I’m sure he’s been through living hell. Putting a person through hell won’t make a person any nicer.

Sure, I’d love it if we could get one or two of the diagnosers into court, and all line up and tell him just how much those diagnoses harmed us. We could tell him about the broken up families, about the divorces, about how our lives have been shortened by the drugs and harmed by the various treatments, about how we were denied careers, about how our reputations were ruined. ABOUT THE LOST YEARS. The taxpayer waste and insurance fraud. There are more than hundreds of victims, and more than three are dead. So do they get shamed and get the death penalty, too?

Still, after all that, every person has a soul. Tsarnaev will have a soul till the day he dies. And his death will be the responsibility of those that killed him, the fault of that hatred and scapegoating and blame that people choose to hold onto.

Does Tsarnaev have a soul? YES!

If you believe that humans have souls, then ALL humans have souls. ALL humans are worthy. I have never met one bad human. I have seen cruelty and unkindness but I have never seen one person who was inherently bad. I have seen bad ideas and concepts, and I have seen those bad ideas carried out, and I have seen people act out of fear or hatred, but I have yet to see one bad person. I have yet to see one person who had no value.

I wrote about my friend Roy, who was sentenced to life in prison because he killed someone. Roy saved my life back in 1984. After I tried suicide all my friends turned their backs on me. But Roy didn’t. In fact, he drew closer and made extra effort to see to it that I was okay. What if the state of Georgia had decided to kill him? They gave him a second chance, and I sure am glad.

I believe everyone deserves a second chance. I also believe that trauma and suffering should be validated and not dismissed as “nothing.” There are two types of problems. There are the real problems, and there are the inconveniences.

I had an inconvenience this morning. I put Puzzle’s breakfast on, and found out my hotplate doesn’t work anymore. I thought: I’m moving soon, so why should I replace this one? My next place has a stove.

But does the stove work? Last I heard, it doesn’t. It might get fixed, but that’s not something I can count on. You can never count on others. So maybe I should get a new hotplate. Or I can fire cook, but that means buying lots of wood. Thirty pesos of wood will only  last an hour or two, unless I buy a large quantity, which I’d have to have delivered unless I get someone to help me out. Getting a delivery means I deal with the entrance/landlady ordeal as always….which I am darned tired of.  So I decided to go out and find a cheap hotplate for under $1,000 pesos. I had seen them a while back.

But now, they didn’t have any. They had one for nearly $2,000 pesos, but not the el cheapos I had seen before. There are gas  models, also expensive, which I’d get if I weren’t moving. I have a tiny gas one that springs a leak every time I use it, so I gave up on it. I finally remembered I have another pot that would work for now so I am using that.

All that was an inconvenience and Puzzle has had a nice breakfast. Know what a real problem  is? Deep loneliness caused by psych abuse. Not having a single person who believes  in you due to abuse by the System. Know what else is a problem? If everyone around you assumes you’re nothing but a bunch of symptoms. Or if the first question they ask is, “How’s the depression?” Don’t you just want to spit on them when they ask that?

Racism is a problem. Hatred is a problem. Being seen as lacking a soul, which is what they do in the Mental Health System, is a problem.

I know first hand what it’s like to be treated like I am a


which are the exact words that medical personnel use to describe patients they consider a waste of their time. Yep, that’s what they told  me.

You don’t matter. You are nothing but financial commodity to them and if you die you are nothing but potential lawsuit. Yes, that was said to me, too.


Tsarnaev was 19 when he did what he did. What were  you doing when you were 19? Partying? Driving drunk? Working at McDonald’s? In college, wondering where life was at? I mean, how much did you really know? How many of us were at our full height and weight at 19? (I was, but my feet grew another size.)

How many kids are sent off to foreign soil to fight in the Armed Forces at 18? Don’t you think 18 is way too young? Why send children? “It’ll make a man out of you.” Huh? They’re kids. They’re not even adults, especially not the males.

I can’t say any kid should be told they don’t have a soul. Gimme a break.

Know what? I know a lot of people who were harmed by mental health “care,” outright killed, or had their lives ruined. These healthcare personnel have NO REMORSE. They are backed by the courts, and victims are suffering today and can’t get lawyers. When a victim, or multiple victims die, no one even thinks of punishing those responsible. Only in rare instances is there even an investigation, and we have to fight for it. In fact, usually, it takes some violent, extreme and obvious situation to get the ball rolling. Dan Markingson, for instance.

MH care isn’t care. It’s a bad idea. I hope someday labeling is a thing of the past.

Instead, MH care kills, and yes, people die, and continue to suffer harms just as devastating as what Tsarvaev caused. Who is paying attention? It’s about time we did, and about time we stopped scapegoating.

Two topics

I’m torn between two topics. 1) Joking around about diagnosis. 2) Joking around about upbringing.

I’ll start with #2.

You walk into your first shrink appointment. You have filled out the questionnaire. You know where you fill out your stats about what you are suffering from and your history. Most doctors completely ignore these forms. You wonder if this shrink will do the same. She does.

However, she asks, “What is your religious background?” Of course, that was on the form, but you don’t want to point out to her that maybe this is a waste of appointment time, so you give her the usual response. “I was raised Jewish,” you say.

“Oh, so that’s your problem!”

Trust me, I heard this so, so many times. Yeah, after a while I started to laugh whenever I heard those lines.

Did wearing a Kippah cause a man brain damage? I don’t see any studies on it. Maybe we need to do some. Healthy Jewish men wanted……..And to see if hormones are a factor, we need healthy women as well. Never mind that, let’s see if the Kippah affects fetal growth and whether it causes birth defects, send the report to the FDA and then have it banned.

Ask your rabbi about….No, that will be replaced by Ask your doctor. Torah study will become a disease.  People will go to AA after celebrating Passover since they “relapsed.” If your last name is Stein you are doomed. You will have to take medication for the rest of your life. And never speak to your parents again. They caused it.

Now here’s my joke about diagnosis. And permanence. However it is that they think of you, it’s for life. So I called a few former providers. For the heck of it. I knew most wouldn’t call me back. One real nice one did. I was so touched. However, she refuses to see me as anything but bipolar. So at first I had her sympathy, obviously. Then, bit by bit, I could hear it in her voice. I could hear her thinking, “Julie ran off overseas in a manic episode.” I feel so sorry for those shrinks that are not even capable of seeing beyond diagnosis. Diagnosis is so harmful.

So she gave me the following  line: “If you find your thoughts racing, go to an emergency room or to a therapist. I’m sure you will get help there.”

Wow. Can you believe that? I have, indeed, had racing thoughts. Once. From abrupt withdrawal off Thorazine in 1984. That was the one and only time. I was  never manic, but once, I was close to it, again, drug induced. That was  in 1986, not long before I met Joe. I asked the doctor, “Was that mania?” and  he said, “No, you weren’t really manic. Hypomania. You didn’t lose touch with reality.” I remember cracking jokes and  talking too fast. That was about it. After that the crash was somewhat unpleasant since I was given way too much Thorazine.

I told this former therapist that I hadn’t called her for help. I told her that now, I’m in the business of helping people get away from mental health “care,” not to get more of it. Guess that was a total turnoff for her. Although, really, I’m bummed over the whole experience. I mean, why didn’t she tell me how brave I am to come here all by myself? Why didn’t she tell me how fantastic it is that I turned my life around? Why didn’t she say how sorry she was that Joe died? Why didn’t she say how happy she was that I earned my degrees? Oh well, I guess by that time, she only saw me as a bunch of symptoms. Very sad.

PS: She tried to get out of me at some point my exact location. I know not to give that out. I told her rather vaguely, “An hour or hour and a half by bus outside of the capital city by bus depending on whether or not its tourist season.” I also know that people can’t be found here, nor tracked via cell phone nor IP address. We all know people who have called ambulances having heart attacks and then gotten a call from the drivers stating, “We can’t find you.” Or they run out of gas and send a horse and buggy or bicycle courier instead. The next day. After the holiday.  You call a workman and wait, only to find they went to the right address, wrong town. That’s why we fix stuff ourselves here, stay healthy, and take care of each other.