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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Rantings of a "Nut Case" Ex-Activist

I have thought about writing this post for a long time. Maybe I shouldn't write it tonight, but I have tried to give myself proper perspective before voicing this opinion.

I make no apologies for suffering with mental illness for over three decades now, so I freely admit I live my life fighting occasional bouts of deep depression and OCD. I take medication for my problems, and, I believe, the vast majority of the time, I am well. In revealing my disease, I know most readers understand I am guilty of repetition. I do so here again because it pertains to the subject of my blog today.

In addition to living with mental illness, I also understand I have displayed inappropriate behavior at some very inopportune times. I don't blame this on my disability -- I do rash things I shouldn't do at times that I later regret. Believe me, I wish I was so-called "normal" without the defects I possess. If I could, I would change; however, I, like Popeye, "am what I am." The blog today is about living with the stigma of never being able to be considered sane.

It has come to my attention that some close friends have told others in conversations and in group settings that I am a destructive "nut case." I confess to the honesty in that ad hominem attack, and I really don't mind what another individual may think of my total character. Some of the things I do disqualify me from ever winning "Mr. Congeniality," and I know I am brash and vocal to a fault. Many people who don't like me honestly consider me crazy, and I am not upset about their candid evaluation of my mental state.

I am very disturbed by those whom I have helped telling many others that I am a worthless "nut case." They have used me (with my consent) to further causes and to create awareness. I did these things because I wanted to do them, and I did these things because I believed I was right to stand up for certain causes. In fact, at times, I put myself in harm's way because few others were willing to press issues. As long as I was going "with the program," others befriended me and supported me.

Lately, I have disagreed with some pursuits that local leaders have followed. I don't want to mention the people or the actions, for this would only precipitate further problems. Let me just admit I pride myself on speaking my mind in open forums and having the freedom to dissent when necessary. I try not to infringe on the work that others do. Still, I feel merely expressing my views is not being disloyal to causes I support.

I have "dropped out" of groups that I no longer respect for my own good and for the good of others. Even after doing significant work for some and pledging my support, I feel if my association creates more harm than good, I must quit my allegiance and allow time to heal old wounds.

When people I have worked with and worked for stoop to defaming me, I get upset. When they demean me and try to influence others to dislike me or to ignore me, I get especially agitated. Being known as a "nut case" is stigmatization that is disconcerting; however, using me as a member of a group, then encouraging others to devalue my best efforts and my character really burns my ass.

I have learned that others want a willing subject for enterprises UNTIL that subject no longer follows blindly. I can assure you that everyone I have stood beside has made mistakes, has occasionally failed, and has certainly upon more than one occasion acted like a "nut case." I realize everyone has to pay for their own sins, so I am not on a mission to discredit any other individual. Still, I do find it truly amazing that some people now consider themselves better than me while judging my past behaviors as unworthy.

And, before you tell me about my own habit of complaining, I know... I do write this blog in editorial mode, and I am guilty of complaining about lots of things. Nevertheless, I feel I do refrain from mounting a campaign to belittle a human being because of their disability. I consider this vicious and unwarranted behavior. I cannot stop such future ventures from happening, and I don't plan to rebel against them with anything but my vague words today. Yet, I can express my displeasure in my own personal blog.

All I can say is that it really hurts me that others I once loved insist upon using open assemblies to paint me as a worthless, crazy person. I may be. And, that is a judgment I can live with. But, preaching the worthlessness of my being to the congregation is too much. I am shocked to hear that my efforts mean nothing to these hypocritical judges. Are kid gloves hiding some dirty hands?

Amid headlines, awards, recognition, and being granted the "halo effect," some folks consider too much of themselves. No so-called heroes can stand alone and expect to exalt themselves without giving credit to those who have helped their cause. Coming from the trenches, they should know better, but money, celebrity, and power can create cancers in the most unusual places. The truth of my statement sets me free. I am unencumbered by forces that demand I promote senseless, blind allegiance.

I believe good things are inherent "good things." Valiant efforts to promote good things in good ways still exist. What pisses me off is seeing others use "hatchet boys" and "loud voices" when they need them, then watching these leaders abuse those same folks when they act like themselves and protest an organization's half-baked ideas or disapprove of a concept.

When you serve your time on "point," you expect a few enemy bullets to whiz by your head, and you pray one does not have your name on it, but you never expect to be fragged from behind by your own command. Just call me a "nut case." I may be considered a dead man walking, but what the hell do I know, anyway?

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