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27 May 2014

Heads Up: Deleted Loquacious post As dedicated refreshers of AskMe may have noticed, this post from loquacious asking for help was deleted. Some of us may remember that a couple of years ago he was stranded in hospital and MeFites bailed him out. He is self-reporting as having burned a lot of bridges, but it sounds like he's genuinely in trouble.

He's in Seattle. Is there anyone local who can reach out to him?
I'll poke KathrynT.
posted by Madamina 27 May | 15:39
Sorry to hear he is going through a rough patch!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 27 May | 17:49
This is awful. I wish I was in a position to offer something more than good thoughts.
posted by arse_hat 27 May | 18:00
Poor guy :-(. He seemed to be doing so well after that episode a couple of years ago, too.
posted by dg 28 May | 05:24
Oh, the poor man. To have sufficient self-awareness to know what's gone wrong but lacking the ability or the resources to do anything about it. How awful, how absolutely horrible for him.
posted by Senyar 28 May | 06:06
I'm in Maine, but I can email support. Wish I could do more.
posted by theora55 28 May | 09:21
I chatted with Loquacious a bit over email. What Loq really, really wants and needs is mental health care. It sounds like what would be super useful is an advocate to maybe help make calls/get info/cut through red tape/list next steps. Is this something that can be helped even a little bit from a distance?

I wish I could, but I'm just not able to help in that way. I hope that somebody else can.

(Hi, by the way.)
posted by Moira 28 May | 13:06
God I wouldn't wish homelessness on anyone.

He does seem a handful though. Someone who is in danger of homelessness shouldn't 'lash out' at friends.
posted by jouke 29 May | 11:45
Uh, PTSD and other issues can make you do strange things. I don't think "should" necessarily comes into the equation when you're terrified and alone.

I contacted him as well, and I ran into some of the same issues: when I tried to offer him some kind words, saying that he could get through it, he said, "Well, you wouldn't necessarily get this without my telling you this, but saying something like that is actually kind of a trigger for my feelings of being alone/abandonment." So... tough to know how to help.

I agree that having an advocate is what he needs, but there's not really much most of us can offer in that way. I hope he finds the ability to get closer to at least a temporary reprieve.
posted by Madamina 29 May | 11:55
Good for him that you feel that way.

But personally I don't agree: mental health problems are not an excuse to treat other people badly.
Nor is it productive to use your mental problems as an intricate rulebook that other people should live by.
posted by jouke 29 May | 12:12
"mental health problems are not an excuse to treat other people badly" is like "two broken legs are not an excuse for not getting out on the court and playing basketball." The tools needed to achieve the desired outcome, playing nice or playing basketball are busted.
posted by arse_hat 29 May | 15:56
Agreed. People in a bad state really have little control over their own interactions - we can think they should do otherwise, but often, they are already doing about the best they can do.
posted by Miko 29 May | 17:22
Hi. Hey, my account still works. Sorry for lashing out at you, Madamina.

For the record, the trigger in this situation is being told variations of "you're smart, you'll figure it out" or in this case it was something like "I'm sure you'll still keep putting one foot in front of the other." and it's been a major sore point and theme in my journey trying to find stability and treatment, because even social workers have said it to me even while I was begging for help negotiating the bureaucracy of mental help with obvious track history that this hasn't been the case, so I keep slipping through the cracks as someone who is obviously dysfunctional yet high functioning, relatively speaking.

And I don't think I was actually a jerk or a dick in reply, I was just saying "hey, this hurts, here's why, and how."

So, please understand there's a long history of being told this and that it hurts. The two broken legs and basketball analogy is apt. I recently more or less flamed out of what was a dream job where I was let go with the same exact words of "you're smart, you'll figure it out." and the timing was bad, and one more straw on that particular back.

When I posted that deleted AskMe it was after two months of trying to re-engage services, the stress of not paying my rent and it was/is a last ditch plea for some kind of emotional and functional advocacy after trying to help myself and getting passed around the system.

It's unseemly and uncouth and I knew it would like be deleted but it seemed like a better option than laying in bed wishing that I wouldn't wake up or ignoring reality or just waiting until eviction so I'd have an excuse to walk to the nearest bridge and jumping off.

I'm frankly more sick of my own shit than anyone else is. I don't want a pity party. If I didn't know that people cared about me and that I'd leave a smoking hole in the continuum I probably wouldn't be here having this conversation. I simply wouldn't be here.

It actually kind of sucks that I am ostensibly so intelligent, or literate, or high functioning. It has repeatedly gotten in the way of finding help or services, even as it has also preserved me. Yeah, I could be worse. I could be schizophrenic, or paraplegic, but I also shouldn't be anywhere near this fucked up and dysfunctional at all. I have a lot of talent and gifts to share to make the world a better place and it has been tearing me to pieces for years and years that I haven't used them more, if only to be able to support myself.

It has made my life mainly a painful, living daily nightmare racked with guilt and regret for lashing out at friends and perfectly well-intentioned strangers.

My ability to write so well through the mediation of being online has likely hurt me. It doesn't reflect my reality. It doesn't reflect my extremely pressured speech and anxiety and mannerisms of who I am in reality. It doesn't reflect how brittle I've been. It doesn't reflect that my apartment is in shambles, that my clothes are all on the floor, that half of my bed is buried in (thankfully dry) trash and random bits of tech and crap.

Yeah, I know objectively I can change these things, but I still can't seem to get over the triggers involved with doing chores stemming from over a decade of severe childhood abuse. I don't talk about this online much at all, in fact this may be a first time, but I should.

I spent much of my childhood in a windowless box built into the garage as my "bedroom" that is smaller than my current closet here in my apartment. I was isolated there by my step dad not for housing but for abuse. It fucked with my sleep, my psyche, my spirit. I was a victim of not just beatings and sexual abuse, but extreme psychological abuse including stress positions, toilet-related abuse, and having every attempt at doing something I enjoyed destroyed or taken away. I would do things like make and paint models, and he would destroy them. I worked and saved up to buy my own computer and he actually sabotaged it by opening it and cutting the circuit board traces in such a way that I never did figure out why it broke, at a young age where I fixed my own electronics. I would still go to him and ask how to do things or learn things only to be actively told I could never do those things because I was stupid.

I ran away from home just before I was 17 after finally snapping and fighting back. I didn't beat the shit out of him but I could have, and maybe should have.

I've spent most of my adult life homeless and on the run from myself ever since.

It's taken me over two decades to realize and acknowledge the things that happened to me were actually pretty bad even on the scale of bad things. I was basically tortured on a scale that would be considered a war crime if I was a soldier at war.

It's a fucking miracle I'm alive and as well adjusted and as generally nice and encouraging and supportive of other people as I am. I'm thankful for this, that I've had the strength to not fight or hit other people, the wisdom and dumb luck not to have been a parent, that I've had the capacity to realize that the cycle of abuse that he was perpetuating stops with me.

None of this makes me lashing out acceptable, but all I said was "hey, this hurts. Here is why."

I'll actually paste my reply in the next comment. I'm on a phone, so I don't want to lose this comment.
posted by loquacious 29 May | 19:54
"I've tried doing a little at a time. Doing cleaning and chores is an major childhood abuse PTSD trigger. I'm also exhausted to the point of hallucinating and psychosis.

I'm not so sure about putting one foot in front of the other any more. You and others wouldn't know or understand it but the "you're smart/tough, you'll figure it out" answer I keep getting (even from professionals) is basically hurtful/harmful to me, because it's historically not true, and my smartness and whatever has made it difficult to find treatment, and it triggers my abandonment issues.

Lame and pitiful, yes, but I've kind of lost the will to do much of anything."

posted by loquacious 29 May | 19:55
And to be clear, I'm not trying to make you feel bad, Madamina. Or you, jouke, or anyone. I just feel bad in general and I want it to stop. I don't feel very loveable or functional.
posted by loquacious 29 May | 20:37
No, no, I didn't feel bad. A little stung by the "how was I supposed to know?" bit, but that lasted all of five seconds.

You're obviously in a tough place, and without explaining ev-err-y-thiiiiing it's impossible for people to know. But that's true for all of us.

I'm pregnant (stop me if you've heard this one!), and it's all new and scary to me. I've been hermiting for a long time, and I really only trust my husband right now, which is tough because this is when I really need to build my support up and get things together. I have a history of going off the rails with big life changes. Does that make a difference to how I approach those situations? I'd like to think so, but no.

So it's not remotely like your situation, but at the same time I truly understand this feeling of not wanting to feel or simply BE "this way" anymore, wanting to just hibernate until SOMETHING happens one way or another, and generally dealing/t dealing with my own history that has gotten me to that point.

I get THAT much, at least, and I don't wish it on anyone. But I am really glad to see you're still here and are functioning enough to explain this to people. That's more than a lot of people can do.
posted by Madamina 30 May | 00:12
Cat question || The theme for this week's Photo Friday is Among the Crowd.