Content Warnings: Mental Illness, The Failure of Social Services, Poverty, The Failure of US “Democracy,” Child Abuse, Murder, Paranoia, Doomy Thoughts. But I’m OK, don’t worry.
People get overwhelmed, look at the whole of everything that’s wrong in the world, or just their lives in particular, and feel hopeless. Generally, I think that’s depression or some other problem messing with you. Life can be made bearable or have OK moments for almost anyone. But I have to admit, sometimes in life there are problems with no solutions.
That’s the kind of shit I deal with at work sometimes. I got somebody on the phone with paranoia, wanting help in protecting herself from imagined oppressors. What the fuck is the recommended wisdom for helping people with paranoid delusions? Do you humor them and act like you’re taking it seriously, but not facilitate any actual pursuit of their claims? Do you tell them gently that they’re imagining things? Tell them sternly?
Any action you take will only result in more paranoia, more delusion. The best case scenario is that they get distracted and forget they talked to you in the first place, but unfortunately a lot of paranoid people have excellent (if warped) memories.
Sometimes at work* I have to tell people that they have no income, have a massive new debt, and are facing months of travail for a mere chance of setting things right. Basically, “If you don’t have family to lean on, welcome to your new home eating rats in the underpass. Or go back to work even though you’re disabled and stay doing that until it kills you.”
Technically, this is a problem with a solution: Overthrow of the US government, or at least a progressive rout of the whole system. But that magical probably-not-happening future does nothing for people fucked to death by the laws and policies of the here and now.
I wrote my senator about the need for progressive reform and her underlings sent a form response with clear tells that the message was skimmed at best, not really read for understanding. That senator is literally the perfect person to write about the issue, sitting on a committee deciding the relevant laws. Too bad, so sad.
Mutual aid is probably the only way the masses will survive late capitalism, but we’ve been systemically divided. I don’t know the rotating cast of neighbors in my apartment complex and they don’t know me. We have every reason in the world to regard each other as potential thieves and creeps. We’re all busting our humps at work too much to do the emotional labor of establishing a community. Instead we’re fighting over parking spaces, as the jacked up rent has the number of tenants per unit exceeding capacity. There have been a few murders and attempted murders in my little apartment complex, and it’s not even considered one of the bad ones in my city.
One of those murders may have been the solution to a problem – a child stabbing a (possibly) predatory adult in the household many times. But you know what happens to that kid next, and it looks like less of a solution in the end. As common as child abuse is, most likely it was the motive, but I did open the article talking about paranoid delusions, and the murdered person may have been innocent. Who can say? As the meme says, the world is a fuck.
The idea that things can always get worse looks more true every year, with a natural end point for that in human extinction. With a complex enough system there are thousands of ways for things to go wrong and very very few ways for them to go right.
But, you know, keep taking care of yourselves and each other, and maybe this will look less dire on the other side.
And in the meantime, if somebody can eviscerate Matt Walsh and use his entrails to hang JKR from the parapet of her castle, please do. The sun will come out tomorrow, haha.
*This is the best job I ever had, in terms of recompense and security, and my only hope of clearing the traps of poverty in what’s left of my life, so changing jobs is not an option at the moment. How’s your line, lately?