Jack Bragen
Friday May 19, 2017 - 08:27:00 AM

I once had a therapist who couldn't stomach the fact that I am an author. He was overtly sarcastic and obnoxious, and was in the wrong business. He questioned me about my shirt, since it was a nice looking shirt.  

A disabled person is looked upon with suspicion if he or she does not appear sufficiently poor. 

The "system" of laws that regulate psychiatric consumers and other disabled people is set up to keep us down. If you get ambitious, it attracts attention.  

There is a lot of opposition. If you are not doing what you are expected to do (and this could include drinking beer all day and gossiping with your buddies, or perhaps being babysat by the mental health treatment system--spending your break time commiserating and bumming cigarettes off whoever can afford them) and if, instead, you are trying to "be successful," it seems that people, companies, and government agencies come out of the woodwork to sabotage you. 

While this may not be an actual conspiracy, it doesn't matter. It is not smooth sailing if you'd like to work in spite of a psychiatric disability. Some may resent you, while others may produce problems. Perhaps people don't do this intentionally--it could be simply be that, for some of us, there is a lot of Karma to be paid off.  

We aren't necessarily being singled out.  

However, there are a lot of mentally ill people who can't manage sustained success. Often, someone does well for a while and then relapses. There are others who seem to disappear, whether this means moving elsewhere, dying, or otherwise not being heard from. 

On the other hand, anyone will have hard things happen in life. This could mean a death in the family, losing a job, a car accident, or an illness of oneself or of a family member. It isn't always a matter of being targeted.  

For someone with a psychiatric illness, it is a measure of recovery how well we can bounce back from difficulties without having a relapse of acute mental illness. If life was always easy, there would be no challenge, and it would take away from the validity and the value of living. 

So, are we being denied the right to exist? Not completely. Things are set up to be difficult. If we try to go back to work, it jeopardizes our benefits, such as Medicare. If we don't try to go back to work, the primary niche provided is that of outpatient institutionalization. If we want independence, and/or if we want to be successful at something, there are numerous pitfalls.  

Even when our government isn't getting in the way of us living a productive life, sometimes criminals come out of the woodwork, become assaultive, or otherwise interfere with our lives. Those who can't make an honest living and who make a living off of crime are often envious and hateful of people who are succeeding in life through work.  

If someone is trying to victimize us, we have the option of calling the cops. We should never let a person intimidate us to the point where we fear retaliation for calling the cops on them, and where we become human doormats. 

When criminals realize you are not afraid of them, they don't know how to deal with it. Some may go ballistic, while others may back off. You don't always know what you're getting. However, that is the reason why we have police forces.  

Innovative people may know how to create their own niche. The niches provided aren't any good, so we must create our own from the resources available. This could mean self-employment. Or it could mean going out and obtaining part-time employment. I suggest going without getting the help of the mental health treatment system to do that. The mental health treatment system, when they try to work with an employer to get you accommodated, will only create additional problems. At least, that has been my experience. 

We have the right to exist, and we have the right to pursue happiness. We should assert that right, and we should not allow the government, the mental health treatment system, or criminals, to stop us from doing that.