Is there such thing as an honest employer?

Is there such thing as an honest employer? I am beginning to suspect that “honest” and “employer” are incongruous and cannot be found together. Ever. It’s like “mental” and “health.” A total impossibility.

Employers do not follow ethics. They have them, or claim to, but they don’t practice what they preach. I don’t think it’s even possible to be “fair” if what you really plan to do is to boss people around, hold power over them, and manipulate the heck out of them.

Now let’s take the very first step in hiring. The application. Do you see all the dirty stuff on your employer like he sees about you? Do you know your employer’s Social Security number? Did you ask him for his ID, too? Did you ask him if he has reliable transportation to get to work, if he has a sitter for his kids, if he can work holidays if necessary, if he has “health conditions” that could keep him from working…all those nasty questions you were asked. Did you give him an odd look and ask him if he might be pregnant?

Did you do a background check on your employer and did he file paperwork with you? What about his disability statement? Did you require him to file one because he says he needs reading glasses sometimes, or asked to take time off so he can see the dentist? Did you demand that your employer go to rehab because you suspect he might have dropped in on the local CVS and had…god forbid… a flu shot….or didn’t get one. And what does he keep in that locker of his?

Are you keeping tabs on his workouts? Or how many days he’s gone without one? Let’s keep on with those workplace pep talks!

Is there such thing as an ethical company? I have not seen one yet. Is every company out there as dishonest as I suspect? Is this the definition of “company”? DISHONEST, UNETHICAL, TREATS WORKERS LIKE SHIT…….

Now…looking back……When I was a kid, I worked for this place called The Bagel Deli. This place served bagel sandwiches and I ended up being the waitress. We had a guy in the back named Tom baking the bagels and a gal who made sandwiches. It was the three of us pretty much on the shift. I am trying to recall names here. I remember my friend Sean who came in. He was CUSTOMER. My friend. I remember my coworker who was the very first bulimic I ever met. She did not fit the stereotype. My first reaction was, “Why on earth would anyone ever do that?” She was a hippie type. I think also a vegetarian. The fact that she did that didn’t impress me one way or another and I sure didn’t think of it as a disease or anything she suffered from. Just a very weird thing to do. It was 1978.

All that was going okay. The personnel manager was underage and an illegal but I didn’t deal with her much, not at first. Her name was Sylvia. I think she ended up okay because she married David, the owner, anyway. Sylvia was only 15 and from El Savador. I never quite understood the mentality there. Then there was Deya, who came from England. I didn’t know her age but there was something  illegal about her, too. People said Deya looked like a model and she very well may not have been from England. She really looked striking. She was dating one of the other guys who owned the place. She also worked as a waitress and wasn’t very nice.

All kinds of people drifted in and out of there. Now that got strange. People came, talked to the owners, left. Came, talked to them, money was passed, and they left. Yes, you know exactly what I was thinking, as did anyone who had half a brain.

One day they got rid of me, got rid of me and a few others. They brought in some of their pals from El Salvador to work there instead. I had moved away so it didn’t matter much. My friend Sean said the Bagel Deli didn’t last much longer after I left.

Are there nothing but dishonest businesses out there? Is the definition of business “dishonest” and “unethical”?

I don’t know anymore. Are we supposed to put up with this and is this what working is supposed to be like? Do you just kiss ass to the boss and then, laugh once you get home and take off your work clothes and assume your normal role once again? Or is all of life a stage and do we not get to laugh until after it is all over? Why can we not laugh right now? I think we damn well should. Life itself is far too short. Take off your work mask and let’s get laughing. Belly up.


Another one ….immediately after mental health treatment

Folks will believe me or they won’t. I can point this out over and over but it’s useless because people think mh treatment actually heals. They don’t realize the supposed treatment might be the cause. It’s pointless to say anything sometimes. Sometimes better to wait till the rest of the world figures it out.

Puzzle can’t hear the mailman anymore

Puzzle doesn’t hear well anymore. She usually doesn’t hear the mailman. Even when he makes a lot of noise delivering something, like when he stuffs the mailbox with circulars, she can’t seem to hear it. My friend came yesterday and knocked while I was working and Puzzle did not even hear that. It was a lucky coincidence, since normally I ask that people do not come by while I am at work due to the possible barking noise. Puzzle was in the bedroom at the time, not near the door. Although my friend knocked a number of times, Puzzle ignored it altogether.

Calling Puzzle when we are outdoors is a challenge since she can’t hear me. I do not like to shout, especially during times when my neighbors might be asleep. I have tried clapping. Indoors, this definitely works okay. Outside, maybe…but maybe not.

My solution?  A whistle. Not a loud human type used for athletics. I use a doggie one. These are audible but they’re not loud and they do not hurt human ears. Many humans cannot hear these whistles. I can hear mine and I don’t mind the sound too much. Puzzle hears it, too. It calls her to attention briefly and then she looks at me at least. This is all I need.

Attention. Please look. I am calling you. She can then see I am clapping my hands or beckoning her toward me, or motioning that she should sit, or making a “no” statement. Don’t do that. Come over here instead of eating the neighbor’s lawn.

If your dog is losing his/her hearing, you can get one of these dog whistles on Amazon for about $5. I would not pay $30 for such a whistle, though I see some are that costly. Some you can actually play tunes on. If you want that, maybe you can pay more, but I just want Puzzle to hear okay.

Of course, there’s the other method: You want your dog to come? Open the fridge. It works every time. If that doesn’t work try the freezer.

What is CAPA?

This abbreviation, as I knew it in the past, usually stood for one or the other “performing arts center,” but now it seems to stand for a variety of antipsych organizations.

One is the Coalition Against Psychiatric Assault located in Canada. The other is a Christian antipsych organization. I don’t know what the letters stand for but it’s also CAPA, just the same letters. The ideology is not the same, so please do not confuse these organizations.

Maybe one or the other should have considered the possibility of confusion when naming their organization. I wonder which came first. I understand BB’s CAPA in Toronto has been around for ages and ages. What about the Christian CAPA? Does anyone know which one is older? You cannot claim rights to an acronym, actually, but common sense tells me maybe they should have thought of this. Or maybe they just wanted to be named the same thing as a lot of performing arts centers. Shall we all argue this one out? Or is all of life a stage and we but actors upon it?

Life just gets funnier and funnier, depending on how you look at it.

If “screen” is so bad for you, then why haven’t people died from watching TV for the past 70 years or so?

Aw, c’mon…they are suddenly noticing that “screen” is bad for you. Now I debate this, and have been for a while. Facebook, video games, passive movie-watching, yes, these things aren’t very healthy for you. Watching violent shows is not the best thing for your kids. You are better off playing real baseball than vegging on the couch with beer and screaming at the stars and telling them they’d better hit a homer or else. If you think having friends on Facebook is socializing, maybe you need to learn a thing or two.

But me sitting here writing is using my mind…Or I think so. How many people can actually do what I am doing now? How many? How many can rattle off text like this? Or would want to? How many could, or would, type words on a keyboard that mean something, on a daily basis, something that expresses their inner thoughts, or something that communicates to the world? How many would write down events that they see in their daily life, stuff that they saw or heard, write down events in a descriptive manner so that others will know, describe them on the page and let them play out like a movie before the reading audience?

How many would do this while incarcerated in a mental hospital, and then, squeal? They didn’t expect me to do it, did they?

Here I am. Alive. Alive. Alive. And still writing. Screen and all. As for the television, I am not wasting a minute in front of one of those things. There’s screen. And there’s screen. Take your pick.

More commentary on MIA reader survey on the commentary

Here is the post I am commenting on, again:

Results of the 2018 Mad in America Reader Survey

Now….shouldn’t people discuss stuff? Shouldn’t people be allowed to argue a little or disagree on stuff? Should we have a difference of opinion now and then? Should we hash this one out, and have a productive discussion? Shall we iron out a conflict, or maybe go back and forth a while? Isn’t that what life is about? Wouldn’t conversation be boring otherwise?

When I was a kid there was this thing called the Six Day War. The Six Day War dragged on and on much longer than six days because it was suppertime discussion for years. What else do you think we discussed at dinner? Dad sat at one place, Mom at another, and I sat between the two boys to keep them from jabbing at each other. I used to braid the tablecloth ends when I was bored. That happened often, since the Six Day War was not my favorite topic. Now I braid my hair. See….I had good practice all those years of childhood and you all’s can thank the Six Day War.

So? I owe my braid to wars and conflicts. I owe my beautiful hair to the fact that we all do not all agree. Let’s cross a few Red Seas or jump out of a few castles. Hey, Rapunzel…….She used that to escape, remember? Think twice when you want to agree, since maybe you want to grow some braids, too.

So logical I think all shrinks will diagnose me perfectly sane for that one.

People should out their shrinks, but….

People should out their shrinks. By all means, name the names so others will be forewarned. Did you see Monica’s post this morning? I applaud her #metoo effort, but I don’t think it was wise to post his picture. Doesn’t she realize she can’t post his pic? Doing so is violating copyright law. Unless she took the picture herself, which I doubt. She should take it down before she gets sued.

Actually, who owns the copyright, anyway? Maybe a photographer does, or the studio, or newspaper or website where it was originally published.

You have to be careful. I would rather link to an article than paste any of it in. It’s a fine line, but it means the difference between what is legal and what isn’t.

The problem with depression screening tests and “scales” in general

I am commenting here on the MIA article,

I do know people get deeply depressed but I hesitate to call it depression except to recall that it used to have a double meaning. The first, and more common meaning, years ago, was a deep sadness or despair. The second meaning, which has risen in popularity recently, is that depression is some kind of disease. I see a problem here since the meanings have a common ground, so a listener or reader might easily assume one or the other, while the speaker/writer may very well have meant something different.

“I’ve been depressed lately.” What does this mean? Does it mean you feel like shit, have no motivation, and have an underlying feeling of the senselessness in life? Does it mean you have grown to hate humanity because of the number of times you have been harmed by others? Or that you are at a dead end?

Or…let’s see…maybe it means…”I have a disease with a bunch of symptoms I need to report to my ‘treatment team’ right away.”

You pick.

I love Red Squirrel’s commentary on the article in regards to “scales.” Here I want to ask any teachers out there: How do you measure student performance if your administration demands that you use a grading system?

My opinion is that lack of grading improves the quality of education. I am not sure where I can find “studies” that support this claim, but those of you out there who have been students in both graded and ungraded situations might shed some light here.

How do students get graded? Looking back on my college years, I can recall my instructors had various responses to the administrative requirement to assign grades. A multiple choice test is easier to grade than a test containing open-ended questions or an essay type of test. One instructor said it took a very long time to design a test that would challenge us in the way she wanted. The test she eventually gave us involved answering a simple question that had several possible answers and then explaining the rationale for our answers in a few paragraphs. Instructors know that a cut-and-dry multiple choice test is very easy to grade. Such tests can be graded by computer even! Experienced teachers know that this is the easy way out! Students, too, can more readily cheat on such tests.

How depressed are you? Shall we take a multiple choice or true/false test to determine such a thing? Now this makes it easy to scale a person’s mood (and, perhaps, in these doc’s eyes, worthiness) on a scale of one to ten or whatever scales they want to use. Just give the suckers a form periodically, hand them a #2 pencil, then, scan the form and get a printout. It’s called scientific assessment. Really?

Doing it that way saves money, since to do it in a more accurate way takes real human beings to sit down with these despicable “clients,” spend time with them and be in close proximity as well. This might be objectionable to many of the staff, so maybe such assessment should be done  in a more sanitary, cheap, and efficient manner.

Of course, if you end up in the patient role, you may spend hours and hours in an office with someone called a therapist…years and years…and then, wonder where the rest of life went off to.

You pick.


Changes to the MIA site and my commentary

MIA was a haven for me for many years and likely all that will come crashing to an end with the new policies that are starting up.

The main policy I seriously object to is the initiation of a “like” system for comments. This means some comments will be “liked” a lot, and others, sadly, won’t get any or will get very few. The liked comments will then get more visibility while the unliked ones will be almost invisible to viewers.

Apparently, MIA admins were stupid enough to compare themselves to the New York Times. The New York Times does have an elitist “like” system in place for their comments. The NYT claims they got more comments once the “like” system was put in place.

Does this necessarily mean anything? Anyone here actually read the Times? Have you ever commented at a major paper only to see your comment totally disappear in an instant, or get swallowed up and buried? Do you feel you have a voice in the NYT, or any chances of getting a Letter to the Editor published there? Considering we’re competing against New Yorkers who have tons more money and prestige than we do…I doubt any readers here have even bothered trying. I haven’t.

The Patch papers, though of lesser journalistic quality, are free to access for anyone. The Patch isn’t elitist like the big papers. Anyone can post a letter to the editor there and your likelihood of getting published is very high. They do have good circulation. I have been meaning to write one (recommended to me by a little birdie friend…) but have not done so yet.

MIA cannot be compared to either of these papers. MIA is actually a community because many of us know each other.  That I know of, NYT commenters are not a community and don’t know each other (except the very super rich who, apparently, schmooze together a lot).

MIA isn’t the same as Facebook because Facebook isn’t an online magazine, though some pages are like magazines because they post articles and links to interesting stories. Facebook does require a login, as does MIA. It is supposed to be merely a vessel for communication, and supposedly FB itself doesn’t take a stance on any issues. Supposedly…or shall I say, they pretend this is the case.

MIA does take a stance. The person that started the site is a prize-winning journalist named Robert Whitaker. Whitaker is a science journalist who took interest in us mental cases a while back and has written some excellent books. I would highly recommend Anatomy of an Epidemic to any of my readers and to their families also. This book alone has changed so many people’s lives! (I know a few who are scared to read Anatomy because they don’t want to let go of their delusions….). I believe MIA, or, rather,, has been in existence for six years and i have been a part of this community for the past five years.

I certainly have nothing against the community itself. I have met many fine people through MIA, many of whom have become friends of mine. I have learned a lot and shared much.

I feel much safer on MIA than on Facebook, and that’s because on Facebook, trolls come in out of nowhere, generally friends of friends, even well-meaning ones, and they bash anything you say. I have friended people assuming the relationship might be fruitful, only to have them condemn me over and over on there. I don’t think it’s appropriate to do that to some near-stranger whose situation you don’t fully understand…it’s just cruel and illogical. However, this regularly happens, as we well know.

There are trolls on MIA, people who come on there just to demean survivors and claim we’re all a bunch of sickos off our drugs. These types of comments are usually met with so much adversity that any troll eventually leaves. It isn’t even worth it to argue with trolls, nor is it even worth it to spend any time worrying (or complaining) about trolls. Many online sites, including here, have had trolls, spam, and unwanted advertising. It isn’t a big deal unless you’re overrun with them.

Specifically, it’s the “likes” system that MIA is starting up that I object to. I will not likely comment there very much anymore, knowing my comment, whatever I put there, will be upvoted or downvoted…either way, I don’t want this.

I would like to propose a  hiatus from commenting on MIA due to the “likes” system. We will essentially stop commenting the site until they end the policy. However, I am encouraging people to comment on MIA posts in their own blogs and pages. You can then put a link to your commentary right on the MIA site.  Now if it is your own site, they cannot take down your commentary. They cannot edit it, and they cannot ban you from your own site! You run the site…so? This way, we can say what we want on our own terms.

We can also post on MIA, “I would like to comment but I don’t want to be liked or disliked, so I am refraining from saying anything.” Then, if you have a link to your own site where you are commenting, add that link to your comment content that you post on MIA. Do keep writing and speaking out….or even do more of it….it doesn’t have to be right on the MIA site (as this blog, which has been ongoing since 2005, illustrates very well!).

I plan to stop commenting there as soon as they start the new system.

What do you guys think of this? I know many of you read and don’t comment there. I’d like to know opinions from both commenters and those that do not comment. Do you really want to be part of a Facebook-like popularity contest? Let me know and let me know what you think of my proposed temporary solution.


Historic moment, but a bit of a disappointment

Today I visited my local Social Security office.  There were two reasons for my visit. One was because my online account with them was locked and I needed to get back in there. They had no clue what happened and didn’t know what caused the lockout. They unlocked it after I provided my information and showed them ID.

Now that was the easy part. I have already called their national number and told them I was working. I was hoping to report my earnings online, but as an independent contractor you can’t do that online. I just found out. I will be headed back to the same office to bring in my paperwork at some point.

The other reason I showed up there was the complex part. I had been told by their customer service people at that 800 number that I could get my records from Social Security, that is, my disability file, if I showed up in person. This wasn’t so easy.

First, they claimed they had destroyed all my records because they were paper only. I pointed out that I had a redetermination in 2007, did they not have this? They claimed, at this point, that since I was determined to be permanently disabled, there was no reason to keep my paperwork. There was no question, they said. Really?

I stood there smiling and healthy-looking. Others came in with physical ailments that were obviously a hindrance. People had had strokes, etc. What is wrong with this picture?

I said, “Well you must have something on me, right? You must at least have a code number or some such thing.”

Each time I had a question, the person left, consulted with someone, then, came back. Don’t you hate that? I do!

Then they told me to sit and wait to be called again. I did so. I sent off a text or two and a few emails. They could see here I am capable of using a cellular telephone, of walking, talking, communicating.

Then what? I got called in and it turned out that this person was the manager of this site. The top brass. She seemed young to be in that position…well….good for her for getting the advancement. We spoke for a while.

They claimed, at first, that they had nothing on me, but I kept on pressing the issue. I continued to persist. Yes, they do. She said, “I should tell you it will cost you money to get these records.”

Was that going to stop me? I wonder if she was hoping it would. I shrugged and said, “Okay.” I think she was a bit surprised…and now what was she going to do? The kid with the braid wants her papers….eh?

I clarified many times that I had no guardian and did not live in a facility. I illustrated that I am aware of the year I was put on, the doctor that did it, and the docs that never questioned and just continued the disability.

I also told her I was working and had called the 800 number to tell them.

I cannot believe the question I got next.  “You had a representative payee for a time, didn’t you?”

This was the exact wording of her question. As I see it, she worded it that way hoping for me to confess. I have never had a representative payee! I clarified again.

Was this supposed to stop me? I hinted about an attorney…which by the way, I recommend to anyone whether you have one or not. She asked me who it was, and I was able to say, “He is out of state and you don’t know him.” Then, I added, “Most of the local ones help you get on disability, and they’ll even help people who want to cheat the system.” She agreed. Now I was getting somewhere.

She handed me a paper and told me to come back with it filled out. Had I known how easy it was to fill out the paperwork, I would have done it right there and handed it to them.

She then said, “So you want to work now, is that it?” Um….I told her I had a job already. She asked how long. I told her. Did I perceive some surprise here?

She continued to tell me I could work while on disability. Say what? Do I want to earn so little that I also am “disabled”? I clarified again. No, I am working now. I have a job.

Then she said, “You can earn up to around 800 dollars a month, you know.” I think she was expecting me to say how great that was that I could keep my benefits, that are not benefits actually. I told her I was earning much more than that. She didn’t expect this.

I left with the paper I need to fill out, thanked them, and acted cheerful. I felt cheerful, in fact.

I see the form and have looked it over. I am not sure if you can get this form online or not. This isn’t a complex form if you are getting your own records. I will need to submit this somehow and pay whatever fee they charge me. I want to see what they come up with. I think they have all the paperwork, in fact, and I doubt it has been destroyed at all. I think they know how hard it will be to dig it up, and that’s the real issue. I’m waiting.