Hello. Autobiographical story today. I’ve avoided blogging about it a while, because I don’t consider my 99% story very interesting or inspiring. But fuck it, if there’s a time to throw it into the huddled masses of miserable people, now is as good as any.
For those of you that know me, you know that I’ve suffered from depression for more than a decade. I was first diagnosed with suicidal tendencies at age 12, but due to family neglect, I didn’t have access to healthcare until I was 18. The DSM-IV diagnosis code for my major depressive disorder is 296.33–severe, recurrent, without psychosis. I’ve been largely treatment-resistant to every kind of therapy.
College has been a financial and bureaucratic nightmare. Trying to attend school also impeded me from getting access to financial assistance for health care, since organizations tend to classify young adults in college as “minors” whether or not the parents are willing to help. Medical withdrawals from class have led to financial aid withdrawals, and I’ve been in more than enough bitter tuition disputes. Because my family’s has refused to provide their finance information for the last two years, FAFSAs arbitrary dependency age limits means I need to wait till I’m 24 to even qualify for aid.
I have worked full-time when I’ve managed to be stable. I have a vocational certification, but the job still pays near minimum wage. I had health insurance for the first time in 21 years, but my provider “list” had only one psychiatrist. I worked for a company that owns a benefit management subsidiary, and yet my health care plan was spotty to say the least.
Today, NJ Medicaid ceased to cover my medication. In March, the broken home I haven’t been able to afford to move out of is scheduled to foreclose. [May update: Lawsuits are slow,the bank is still working on it.]
I was talking to my friend one day—military guy with not much family of his own to speak of—about my difficulties with life. His reaction, which I did not expect, was one of vitriolic offense. He pretty much told me to stop self-pitying and deal with it. Later, I heard through the grapevines he was talking shit about me being “too negative.” He and his like-minded fellows at the 53% Tumblr really needs to watch Robert Sapolsky’s biology lecture on depression before judging a veritable genetic-nuerochemical condition.
I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. – James Baldwin
Yes, my family fucked me up. But I feel like if I were in an industrialized European country, rather than here, the state would have been more able to help me meet some of my basic needs, to help fulfill potential and to pursue happiness.
Two fundamental components of society, Education and Health Care, have costs that are spiraling out of control, exponentially faster than inflation. They won’t stop without intervention. They won’t stop until the people tell their leaders that they have problems that need to be addressed. They won’t stop until all the constituents are screaming for change.
Yes, Occupy Wall Street lacks direction, specific goals. It’s ill-defined because we are brimming with a slurry of so many problems that corruption cannot contain. Different people have seen different faces of these problems, but they’re all faces of the same country.
That’s why Occupy Wall Street is a beautiful thing. It’s beautiful because in this mess, we can still manage to form cohesion. The human mic, the viral signs, youtube videos as court evidence for police brutality cases—that’s ground zero for change. That’s why OWS is relevant. That’s why OWS gives me hope.
Tel-Aviv-based artist Know Hope