Month: September 2023

Conspiracy theorists and mental health peers share a strong similarity.

Conspiracy theorists are upset that their views are dismissed and they thesmelves are marginalized. I say this is an excellent dynamic and I’ll tell you why, as a mental health peer advocate.

When I first started this peer advocacy thing – ten years ago – and began attending community behavioral health meetings in New Mexico, I was continuously “complimented” by others for “being so articulate… for a peer.” Yes, this is incredibly ignorant, biased, discriminatory, and just plain mean, and I could have gotten upset and demanded peers be treated with professional and basic human respect.

But I didn’t.

Why? Because as long as these minimizing well-wishers underestimate peers, we can get through all sorts of necessary change with little bureaucratic pushback. Being seen as intellectually deficient and less capable is a stigma worth capitalizing upon. So I did and I encourage fellow peer advocates to do the same.

The point is:

Now, my conspiracy theorist friends, a number of your ideas seem absolutely whack to me, but that’s a good thing. I take you seriously AND I think you’re nuts (at times). Folks like me are primed to accept your conclusions when we’re shown otherwise and logical proof. And to let you in on an observation, theorists friends. You’re more right that wrong, it just takes most of us longer to catch up.

So being tagged as a conspiracy theorist is a gift, not an insult. Let it ride. And, you can perpetuate their self-constructed myth even further with primely chosen words. For example:

Mental health community stakeholder: “Steve, you’re so articulate FOR A PEER.”

Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t know what half of those words mean.”

Just know going in, invariably the gift is rescinded when they figure you out. This gift to peers hasn’t been available to me for years. In fact, I’m seen as “too functional,” and because of this, mental health colleagues either didn’t recognize or simply ignored that I was falling into a seriously dangerous suicidal episode by volunteering to help the Albuquerque Police Department. But that’s a different tale for another time.

For now, always keep this chestnut cliche firm to the chest, ready at mind, and primed at the fore: Self-care, self-care, self-care! And this is a great number of articles for another time.

And again, let them underestimate you. It’s a great way to get things done with little resistance.

Modern parable: Flattery always gets you somewhere.

You ever have that one someone on Facebook, that one someone you know only as text and don’t recall how they got on your friends list, that one someone who posts a cute comment and smiley reaction to your photos and words almost every time you share any ol’ thing on your profile, and that one someone guaranteed to give you big hearts on your stories? And then you check out their profile to learn a little more about them, see what they like, check out a few pictures. And then you start wondering:

“I wonder what they’re really like? What are they really like in person? What things do they do? What thoughts do they carry with them through the day? What dreams do they dream? Should I? Do I take the chance? Should I . . .

“Should I just block them?”

And then I block them.

Gawd, how I despise Facebook stalkers. Creepy. Ew. Ick. Blech.

If a parable is to be had here, it’s that social media is a great place to practice setting emotional and mental health boundaries. Grimm Bros, eat your heart out.

Reprinted with kind permission of Steve’s Thoughtcrimes.

After an intrusive pat down by TSA any mammal can fly

A very many years ago at STS Game Night, whilst playing Trivial Pursuit, the question asked was, “What is the only mammal besides bats that can fly?” We’re taught only bats can fly because they propel themselves by flapping their wings, and mammals like a flying squirrel merely glide.

The question was mine to answer and I conceded to, “Weird question, no idea, here’s the die, let’s move on.”

This dude named Dan (who had not one wedge in the contest) proclaimed, “Duh! It’s humans. That question was soooooooo easy. I can’t believe you didn’t get it. Duh!”

A human doesn’t flap its arms and achieve flight. Push enough friends off the Huntington Beach Pier (friends who aren’t the most graceful or successful swimmers) and you learn this. A human can ride in a plane, and a plane is propelled with a mechanism producing thrust, and this thrust allows the plane to take flight, and this human is now considered “a mammal that can fly.”

Okay, then.

So my response was, “As soon as you put a dog or a hamster or a giraffe or a wallaby or a manatee in a plane, and the plane is propelled with a mechanism producing thrust, and the plane lifts off into flight, these are now ‘mammals that can fly’ by your standard. So there are many mammals that can fly other than bats. Shall we play Semantics Pursuit?”

Dan didn’t get any wedges that evening.

Reprinted with kind permission from Steve’s Thoughtcrimes.

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