“What Do You Get When You Cross a Mentally Ill Loner with a Society Who Abandons Him ..?”

“You get what you fucking deserve”- Joker

When I hear this dialog in the movie Joker, it totally makes sense. I think about those who are mentally ill that can’t get the help they need. Then, when they snap and kill themselves or others, people question what could have been done to stop this person. Well, for starters, better mental health facilities with qualified staff would work.

From my personal experience, the VA comes to mind. You have staff there that has not dealt with or been trained to handle people with PTSD or mental illness. Of course you have a few psychologist or therapist that understand it, but even then you are pushed out into the civil sector with people who have no life experiences or can’t relate to the patient. All they have is a piece of paper or two hanging in a frame on the wall showing that they can write a thesis.

Around the later part of 2000, as Security Forces, I was in a foxhole with another SF member on our post. Like most SF members do when guarding something, you do “one up, one down” which basically means one person sleeps while the other stays awake. Of course this is frowned upon, but when you are working 12 hours shifts in the dark, it tends to happen. Anyways, one night it was my partners turn to stay up while I slept. Well, I woke up to something tapping the back of my head. When I opened my eyes, my partner was staring at me wide eyed. Then I hear “Airman Gonzales, you are fkn dead.” The staff sergeant took my loaded m16 and stuck it to the back of my head. That was the tapping that woke me up. My stupid mfkn partner fell asleep after me and could have gotten us killed. From that day forward, I do not like when people are behind me. Someone from my civilian job once came up behind me and flicked the back of my neck. Mind you I already told my coworkers not to come up behind me, yet this dumb shit thought it would be a good idea. Well, I turned around, made a fist and told him that if he ever did that again that I would fkn kill him. His smile didn’t last long when he noticed I wasn’t playing. Now of course I wasn’t really going to kill him, but I really would have jaw jacked him if I didn’t think before I acted.

The VA set me up with a therapist on the outside and it didn’t go so well. When the person says “well Robert, you know you should have probably stayed awake” it doesn’t sit well with me. No shit sherlock, I’m glad you studied a college text book to tell me that. This is why the VA needs to attract more healthcare veterans to work at the VA. You want to be able to talk to someone who possibly had the same or similar experiences as yourself.

At least the VA pays for my sessions. Honestly, I saw what they charged the VA and couldn’t believe it. How can someone who is mentally ill and homeless or living paycheck to paycheck be expected to pay these crazy amounts? Of course you may have health insurance, but you are only allotted so many times per year. You see someone for 12 sessions because that’s is all you are allowed, but a 13th session could have been the session that prevented you from killing yourself that night.

The system is not set up to help you, it is set up to help itself. When you are denied being seen by a mental health professional because you are homeless, have no insurance, no money, no means of payment, well …you get what you fucking deserve.

See you soon.

This last weekend has probably been one of the hardest times in my life.  My grandfather passed away about 2 days after being taken off of dialysis.  As the oldest grandchild, I think when it all happened, I was more worried about making sure my cousins and family were ok, rather then let my emotions get the best of me.  It was after all just a matter of time after they stopped dialysis.  Even though it was expected and you try to prepare yourself, it’s still heartbreaking.  I know some people lose them when they are young, but I’ve been blessed to have had mine through my adult years.  The first grandparent i lost was my mothers mom when i was about 19 or 20.  So now 18 years after losing my mothers mom,  I’ve lost my fathers dad. Seeing my dad at my grandpa’s bedside after he passed is an experience I do not ever want to feel again, only i know that I’ll have to go through it 4 more times.  My grandpa was awesome.  He talked shit, gave me the finger and told me he loved me all at the same time.  Today at work, I think the realization finally hit because I broke down.  I think about my dad the most. He was close to my grandpa like I am close to my dad.  He can no longer call him on the phone, or watch the Cubs or Blackhawks with him. That scares me the most. There will be a day that I wont be able to call my dad, celebrate a Hawks goal, or go golfing with him.  My grandpa hated going to the hospital for dialysis and for medical shit, so saying that I wish he was still here would be selfish on my part.  Death is inevitable and I understand that, just wish taking the lose would be easier.  Here is the picture slide show I did for the visitation.