When you exist under clouds of stigma, it affects whether
others can see you as a potential 'True Love', and it might also
affect whether you could see yourself as ever deserving of 'love' at
all. It might be tricky to uncover or untangle how the stigma affects
others, and yourself.
It's one thing to avoid places in real life or online where people
constantly express prejudices, and another to find you can't escape
certain prejudices - anywhere. It's one thing to 'believe' in
yourself no matter what anyone thinks or says, to challenge all
negative input, and another to have to spend all your time doing
It's like I have to be constantly aware that my particular cooties
are catching. I might harm or bring down anyone I have contact with.
A person this 'unhealthy' and 'out of it' obviously couldn't be
trusted to help people or care for animals, and is probably making
them sick. If there's no realistic place to go for 'help', doesn't it
make sense that suicide seems like the only 'decent' or 'responsible'
thing to do?
When people are the victims of romance scams, perhaps it could be
seen that at least the scammer is out of their life once they've
wrangled enough cash, but GK has been stuck with me for years. Maybe
that's worse, and maybe that's the kind of thing people should be
worried about? To be fair to myself, I was honest about myself and
my situation very early in our correspondence, but I don't think he
really understood what it all meant. Should he be paying a price for
that for the rest of his life?
I think this is one of the significant issues when it comes to
'mental health' and unconscious, or implicit rather than explicit
beliefs about bias/prejudice and what stigma means:
-people who are depressed have negative or pessimistic thinking styles,
are too wrapped up in themselves to see that other people have problems
-depressed people are not just boring, they sap the life or fun out of everything
-depressed people aren't interested enough in life to be able to contribute anything interesting to a conversation
- their mental faculties have slowed to a halt, and they can't process complex conversations or ideas
-happiness is a skill that can be developed:
-you're weak, try harder, you need a kick in the pants, other people have it worse,
you have nothing to complain about, get a hobby, cultivate friendships and family ties, get some exercise, bounce back in an appropriate amount of time
-those with eating disorders are vain, shallow,
secretive, manipulative liars
-people who are paranoid are paranoid because they are liars
-no matter the obstacle, you can't keep people of quality down
-there's no point listening to anything a drunk says, whether drunk
or sober, the person will be muddled, and has generally bad vibes
- these people have no ability to face themselves or reality honestly, and don't
care about anyone but themselves.
-people who don't leave their residences are scared, pathetic little mice
These are just a few of the 'commonsense' ideas floating around in
the general public, and beyond. And while some people might not
consciously think they believe these statements, do their actions and
choices reflect this?
There's also the whole concept of money and if I actually 'deserve'
any. The way things are arranged here relates me trying to make an
effort to clarify the relationship: I am paid a 'salary', and in
return I pay 'rent'. But do I do enough to earn that salary? I can
list my various contributions over the years, but do I 'believe' in
them? Do I believe there's any way to make up for all the years? When
I 'buy' anything, whose money is it? Did I steal it? Am I just
shuffling around stolen funds? Should I have turned down the
inheritance from my grandfather? I didn't see him for years. The fact
that I actually wondered about it and thought maybe I should turn it
down I think shows what others in the family probably thought
themselves. I am aware enough to realize this.
How many hours have I put in total into my website? How many hours of
experience did it take? How much writing on a daily basis, again and
again, until I learn how to clarify what I want to say? Is it 'work'
if I don't get paid for it?
Australian society is based upon the principle of everyone having
a 'fair go'. This is one of the things that confuse the issues when
it comes to mental illness. Society itself reinforces the idea that
when people succeed, it's because they have worked hard, and deserve
to succeed. People's self-esteem is based in large part on this
'deserving'. Those who have less, those who take handouts or 'help'
haven't tried as hard, have no one else to blame but themselves,
are too pessimistic, have negative thinking styles, poor impulse
control. People in poorer parts of the world could either get out of
their situations if they tried, or are all part of some bigger plan.
Everything happens for a reason.
If you hear these messages often enough it becomes quite clear that
it either takes someone able to overlook reality to overcome them, or
that it takes a lot of energy on a daily basis to continue to accept
yourself. It also becomes quite clear that the people you are closest
to are also taking in these messages, and are affected by them, and
probably don't have as much personal stake in challenging them.
My experience is that it's kind of a given that I'm seen as
defective, or 'loved' in spite of me being a dud. I'm not seen as
something alternative, but equal. And when it comes to long-term
relationships, it becomes evident that when I am communicating
one-on-one, the other person understands what I'm saying or seems to,
but that this doesn't hold up when the person is faced with peer
pressure: their family and friends, colleagues, and when it came to
my first long-term partner, even my family seemed to believe my ex
had dodged a bullet in getting rid of me.
And the thing is that I myself will see the 'greater good' argument,
and it seems sound. My ex was better off keeping my family and their
friends as part of his network, they had more in common, and I don't
really want to live. And, rather than try to pipe up about how I had
been honest with him, while he was not honest with me, and that they
had a mistaken idea about a lot of things.. it seemed kind of a bad
idea, against the greater good to possibly explain this and have them
think less of him. And when it comes to GK, again I have been here
too long living off his charity, he has more potential to create an
authentic network, and it makes more sense for him to keep the
possums - not only are they part of his support network, but someone
like me who is 'not healthy' can't possibly be good for anyone, human
The mentally ill or isolated need networks, connection, interaction,
but who wants to be around them? Isn't it better for everyone that
I remove myself? Aren't I an embarrassment to anyone I know, or to
any potential people I could know? How can I be explained? What do I
do? And it seems that the best I could do would be to remove some of
the embarrassment by removing my site from the internet. Then
everyone I know stands a better chance. I don't taint them.
A psychiatrist years ago seemed relieved when I expressed that I did
not want to have kids. When I moved to Australia, the immigration
lawyer looked at GK and told him that there are a lot of horrible
women out there who will marry a guy for a visa, and then take all
his money - and he said this right in my presence. At the wedding, a
friend of GK's did not speak up about any objections, but 'sent me a
message' by shaking my hand in such a way as to try to crush the
bones (I do not have a wimpy handshake, and I can tell the difference
between an accident and intent). And during the visa process,
although 'legally', supposedly my psychiatric history was not a
problem, in reality, it was a different story. I learned that I was
one of the world's 'troubled and dispossessed' that Australia did not
want to take on. The whole visa process was an extremely
disheartening experience in which I learned that the only way to get
into this country was to lie, lie, lie, because I was an undesirable.
And from there, there's all this worry about other people I might
affect/infect. If I confide in a doctor, does that put her at legal
risk, considering the lies I told to get a visa? If I participate in
public discussion groups, will my 'negativity' or 'alternative views'
bring down the morale of the group, and is it in everyone's best
interest that I leave? If I want to write a long email to someone
discussing my views in a detailed way, should I always be worried
that somehow I am imposing on that person?
Some issues are minor, but when they accumulate, when everywhere you
go there is bound to be an uncomfortable or awkward explanation as to
why I don't have the usual answers to things and when I don't want to
have readymade lies to make it all easier and to reaffirm to myself
that I am not accepted for me, but only if I can create an illusion..
It takes a lot of energy.
Why not put energy into getting training, a job, developing
interests, joining groups? Because all of these things require
contact with people where my background matters and frames the
development of the interaction. It affects how everything I
communicate is interpreted. And I know people are brainwashed to say
oh no, it must be your attitude, the way you are projecting what you
are saying. I look people in the eye and I enunciate clearly, but
they do not hear me. They do not see me. People can't seem to get out
of the headspace that life is fair or that if you will only master
certain techniques, there's no way you can 'fail'. They just haven't
factored in that in some circumstances, even if you do everything
'right', you can't get past the stigma.
I have the added problem that it's not authentic for me to say that I
want to live or build a network or have a career. Or 'give back' - in
the sense that Australians like to repeat. That is part of how I
define my depression. Being on the outside of life observing for so
long, life looks empty, careers look empty, relationships look empty,
ideas about responsibility and owing look empty. On my website, I
have tried to lay the groundwork to explain this. I have tried to
point out what I need to talk about, what acknowledgments I need,
what needs to be addressed if there's even a chance I can get past
all this or move to some other level. Medication is not going to do
it. There is something at the very core or foundation that must be
I don't expect it to be addressed, but I would like to find someone
who understands or can see what I'm saying. Someone who doesn't think
it's nothing, and who can see why I can't move on. And then I think
I would find it easier to deal with all the other messages listed
Everything a person says is filtered through others' perception of
that person's standing and place in society. You need to constantly
provide 'passports' or 'visas' to show you have a right to an opinion -
or at least it affects the weight your opinion is given. If you're
an 'overweight' woman over 40, you can expect that if you try to have
a discussion about ageism, sexism, or weight, many people will
dismiss your right to have an opinion, and will say 'you're just ugly
and bitter, go away', while all the women who aren't 'old' or
'overweight' will pipe in with 'I'm not old or overweight' before
voicing their opinion. If you try to discuss mental health issues,
and stigma, people will often try to dismiss what you say, or won't
take it seriously. They think you're whining, that you have a sense
of entitlement, they think you're out of touch with how the world
works, or that 'everybody hurts sometimes', and just fucking get on
with it. I have had the experience many times in life when people
have either said outright regarding me 'look at her life, look at
this person, consider what a fuckup she is before thinking about what
she is saying, because obviously such a person couldn't have anything
worthwhile to say', or they have basically not said much, but I've
received the impression they don't factor in or integrate what I
say, because they don't respect me or think I have authority.
Or, sometimes well-meaning people sort of condescendingly say
something like 'you are so insightful to understand why vital,
intelligent people wouldn't get much out of interaction with you'.
Obviously I am paraphrasing/interpreting, not quoting.
My particular intelligence is a combination of linguistic,
interpersonal and intrapersonal, with pattern spotting ability. When
I was younger, it was thought by many that I wasn't 'really'
intelligent, I just had an ability to memorize. However, the thing
is that I was able to group information in complex systems, with
many paths to groups of information. When I communicate with people
who have different kinds of intelligence, I adapt my communication.
When it comes to those with a more predominantly logical mathematical
type of intelligence, I try to use my various skills to translate
it all into terms and concepts they will understand. Sometimes even
people who self-identify as logical or rational aren't aware that
some of their computations or assessments about life, people, fair
goes, etc, are affected by unexamined or unconscious bias. It can
be difficult to get through many layers of assumptions, which all
have to be challenged, in order to help them see that there is some
'logic' in what I am saying.
For example, science is about measurement and proof. But many of the
assumptions people have about other people can't possible entail
accurate measurement or proof - at least not at present. They are
based on our currently limited ideas about how the human brain and
psyche function. Many people who know that in science sample size is
important will nonetheless say 'I made it through this or that, I
know this other person who made it through this or that, and is now a
multimillionaire', or they will vaguely say 'some people really want
to succeed and they do'. But we really haven't pinned down how many
people with certain circumstances, or combinations of circumstances,
'make it', and how many don't, partly because it would be extremely
difficult to measure. We keep insisting on moral ideals about how
human beings 'should' be able to function, ideas that might not be
realistic at all.
When I do my own 'analysis' of how to begin to explain certain issues
to individuals, it can take some time to 'set the stage' or lay a
foundation to help them understand where I am coming from - and
sometimes where I'm going with something isn't immediately evident,
but a person's eyes start to glaze over before I can get to the next
steps. I can often see when people have tuned out from the start
'this isn't relevant to me', but sometimes I persist until a certain
limit or wall is reached. This seems to happen inevitably, with
everyone. Even those who seem to understand momentarily will not have
the motivation to deal with practical application of the ideas, and
will usually fall back into their usual patterns and ways of seeing
things. In other words, over time, the moments of understanding are
'lost' as peer pressure begins to erode my 'points'. Inevitably it
seems to me not to come down to 'logic', but to personal comfort
levels and the human pattern of getting stuck in one's ways, and
feeling reassured by having the support of many as opposed to being
challenged to accept unfamiliar concepts from someone without
There are so many issues in the world that it makes sense to
prioritize what you are willing to devote your time and energy to,
but when it comes to mental health issues, unfortunately it can seem
like families and friends don't care enough to 'learn something new'.
This calls into question what 'love' is. If a person tries to
challenge the unconscious prejudice and how it manifests, but is
continually told either outright or in more subtle ways, or with
silence, that no one cares, doesn't it make sense that the person
might lose motivation for dealing with the world at all? If you've
had more than a small 'sample size' of experience, and it seems that
even 'open-minded', 'compassionate', 'well-informed',
'environmentally aware', 'nice' people who are well-liked only
express a kind of superficial acceptance, but still seem to exhibit
unconscious prejudice, how easy is it to feel connected to people?
My website has been online now since 2001. With only one exception in
all these years, no one in my family, no friends have tried to
discuss anything with me, or even expressed what they might be angry
about or disagree with, or what I might have wrong in a factual
sense. It's like I am being told either 'no one cares', 'you're being
overly dramatic', or 'what you have said isn't worth justifying with
a response'. Meanwhile, in public again and again we see the same
messages: if you are feeling depressed, tell someone you trust, call
a distress centre or talk to your GP.
What more can I actually do? The world has looked away from me,
and/or is saying: Just fucking do it. (Kill yourself
Somehow that doesn't feel like 'love'. It's one thing when people
have a philosophy that 'suicide is a valid solution to life's
problems' or that it is at least open to discussion, but when those
people can see that distress is ongoing, how can they ignore it? I
can't ignore a possum with an infection that might kill it in a slow
and painful way. I love possums. I do not think any human beings
Do people wonder if I have been ignored because I 'deserve' it? That
I'm a horrible liar, a drama queen, someone who abused everyone in
the family, took tons of their money, got drunk and destroyed their
property, that these things happened time and again, and people
eventually gave up on me? It's really not the case. It's the case
that because of their preexisting beliefs, no one knew what to say,
and they mostly ignored me. I did not have people calling me
persistently, or suggesting I go to therapy, or expressing sadness
that I was not going out or engaging with life - people have
basically handled it with a 'none of my business' kind of attitude,
and left me to my own devices. My repeated attempts to discuss the
situation in a meaningful and open way were repeatedly brushed
off. And I know in writing that that the kneejerk reaction is: 'You
must have done it poorly. There is something you are not seeing about
your attitude.' And honestly, I have scoured my conscience and
memory, and no, I really do not think it's all or mainly my
deficiency or poor approach that resulted in this. I think it relates
more to society's unconscious and unarticulated prejudices, which
have been reflected in my family members and friends. Just like most
people have trouble in discussing the reality of death and might
even have a phobia of discussing it, or can't really believe in the
reality of their own deaths, I think when it comes to mental health,
many people have a similar aversion to talking or thinking about
It is perhaps odd or unlucky that I have never encountered a family
member or friend who was at all interested in psychology. Er.. well
I have perhaps encountered a few individuals who were interested in
psychology inasmuch as it ultimately represented how stupid human
beings were, how predictable, and how because of this it was possible
to either experiment/play with them, or scam them. And perhaps one
individual who had a moderate interest - but egocentric interest
Am I objective? No one can be totally objective, but I think compared
to most people I have had contact with, I am pretty objective, or at
least fair, and it is I suppose disappointing to me that more people
don't recognize it. I think that is one area in which it is not
'grandiose' for me to feel disappointed in the lack of recognition I
Is the picture at the top of the page 'fluffy'? Does it set the tone
for how the text will be interpreted? If you had to explain to
someone some of the ideas I have expressed to another person,
wouldn't certain questions come into it: who is she? what does she
do? she's not a writer, not an artist? ah, she's the partner of that
Game of Thrones/Possum TV blogger? no? etc. And the more categories
people try to fit me in that I don't fit, eventually, I am dismissed.
It's like when years ago GK was asked about my ability to
communicate, he replied that I was a good speller. I expressed later
that it hurt my feelings, but he still was not able to come up with
anything further, and it seems that others I knew secretly understood
why: they didn't believe there was anything 'special' about my
ability to communicate. They either didn't see it, or, possibly my
lack of credentials prevented them from seeing it.
Is she in therapy? Is she taking her meds? Is she a Szasz diciple?
She sounds like a self-involved internet crazy. You can't let
everything you see on the internet affect you. What? Interesting
ideas about stigma? Sounds kind of vague, and there are a lot of
people saying clearer things, people who are actually therapists or
Seriously, how could anyone describe or introduce me? The default
settings would lead to derogatory/dismissive categorization. But
maybe because I am now in a position to see it, I see that maybe I
like that I am difficult to categorize objectively. I see the
categorization process, and I understand the foundation of it.
To what extent does unconscious or internalized stigma affect what
a person thinks they want in life?
I am always concerned that my depression could affect not only
people, but possums. In my life there are many examples of how I
'tried to do the right thing' by giving others a chance, when I felt
I had none - it makes more sense to make decisions in favour of the
'greater good', rather than try to bring everyone down. To what
extent is this rational thinking, and to what extent is it based on
internalized prejudice or misunderstanding?
The messages are mixed. I think it's valid to say that through my
experiences I learned more about 'how things work', such that
marriage and kids didn't seem like good options for me, or things
I wanted, but isn't it also the case that all the messages I have
taken in say that I haven't 'earned' the right, or that the 'decent'
thing to do would be to opt out of such things voluntarily, for the
I forget if I have anything about this on my site, I know I've
written about it before, but what about the memes which say 'you
have to work on yourself' and get to a certain place before you are
'ready' for the kind of relationship that has 'substance'. What if
I've never reached the 'place' where I feel happy in just being on
my own? Does that mean I should 'do the right thing' and avoid all
relationships, or gracefully accept that I should abstain? Perhaps
that I should have abstained all my life? What could a depressed
person possibly have to offer except a chance for two people to
wallow in negativity?
Then we get back to: human beings need social interaction, and they
need human touch. Does this mean that as long as it's not sexual,
it's ok? Why? Is it that people think there's a logical process,
where if you hang out with people you have asexual relationships
with, and get hugs and support, and get a job, and get some hobbies,
and work out and eat as well as you can, and give up drinking or
drugs, and 'give back', start giving (nonsexual) hugs to others, and
volunteer in one way or another to help those less fortunate, does
it mean that now you are a 'real' person, and you 'deserve' to have
a 'rewarding' relationship? Are there people who 'get everything
right' and still can't find a satisfying relationship? I'm thinking
yes. And I suppose they scour their consciences for what they are
doing wrong, or what they're not seeing, and they remain humble and
patient, even if this means until they die alone and unfucked and
unfuckable right through old age.
Many people can speak openly if approached in the street, or on a tv
discussion show, or at dinner or at school, but what if you don't
ever feel you can speak openly? What if you're not consciously aware
of how many layers of 'undeserving' or 'inappropriate' you have to
get through to see why you think your observations are either so
'wrong' or 'self-indulgent' they shouldn't be inflicted on the world?
If I'm 'myself', there isn't really any chance that I could be seen
as 'significant other' material. Or so it seems, although I have been
trying to at least leave the possibility open. In my previous long-
term relationships, although I spit out the potentially scary things
very fast, without sugarcoating them, I realize now that the people
involved didn't really know what they were getting into. I know
better now, and I have to admit it really doesn't make sense to even
try, if all I can do is warn people, they don't worry about it, and
then slowly over time instead of ending things directly, they feel
too overwhelmed to do anything except wait for me to die, or for
someone to save them.
And eventually peer pressure will convince them it was tragic they
were stuck with me so long, and whatever happens to me, I'm a
grownup, I've got it coming, don't worry about me. And for the most
part, I will think that while this sucks for me, it's probably the
best outcome for everyone else.
You can respect other people's work or accomplishments, but writers,
artists, etc, whose work you like are likely to find you pathetic.
My solution was to try to find those who might understand what it's
like to deal with these kinds of prejudices on a daily basis, and
didn't really want to dwell on them, but sort of cut all that away,
and I guess the thinking is that people for whom status is
irrelevant can actually 'see' each other more easily, and appreciate
what others miss when you don't have the right 'passports'.
But to fit into the existing world, on its terms.. that's where the
'professionals' come in. If you get a prescription, it means you're
'trying'. If you see a therapist, even if you bullshit through the
whole process, lie or tell them what they want to hear or don't have
a clue what you really believe, you're 'trying', you're showing a
good attitude. And once you can successfully repeat 2 + 2 = 5, you
will be all good to look after kids and animals, meet The One,
The last diagnosis I'd had, at the time we all attended family
therapy, was a general: depression, bulimia and anxiety. It wasn't
something real to them. And because family therapy is about the
family as a system, and that signs of distress in one individual do
not signify that that one is weaker, but that the family as a system
has problems that need to be addressed, we each had our turn to
speak. I don't think anyone could hear what I was saying, and in the
end, I think they were left with the opposite idea: that I was weak
and choosing my situation. When as a result of these sessions I was
accepted to receive disability benefits, I don't think it was real
to them. I kept thinking that I probably didn't deserve it, and I
hoped I'd be dead soon anyway.
When I received disability or welfare, I never
had a sense of
entitlement. In fact the shame and sense of not deserving actually
paralyzed or debilitated me further. But if you look at this, if a
person never makes it to the stage of 'giving back', what should be
done with them? Is it kinder to abandon them to homelessness, or
something along those lines?
I have recently read online that many women first become homeless at
age 34, and that was the age I was when I made the decision to
accept GK's offer that he marry me to give me a visa. I think at
present I am in a precarious situation, not many steps removed from
I don't have friends, contacts, in Australia. My passport expired
in 2009, and ID is needed to do many things, like rent a place,
travel, take courses. I don't actually want to try to have a life.
I don't actually want to go through the process of getting ID or
forcing myself to do anything.
And yet I can see that if things go on as they are, it could lead to
a similar situation as in the past. And I think that most people
would believe that if I became homeless it is what I 'deserve', or
that maybe it's for the greater good, such that GK can be free of
me. And I can sort of see that with the support of a social group,
he might come to see it that way, too. I have never tried to prevent
him from seeing it - I've even pointed it out.
I guess what I'm saying is that the situation sucks. Getting a visa
was meant to be a bandaid type of solution, not a real one. I can
sort of feel the world ganging up on me, saying quit whining, life
is tough, karma's a bitch, and I realize that the most dignified
thing is to probably go away quietly.
I'm not faking. And I do not believe I brought my isolation on
myself, or that I 'deserve' it.
When someone sees a homeless or mentally ill person, do they imagine
that person having consciousness or sentience that is similar to
their own? Or do they think of that person as 'not all there'?
What I'm pointing out here is the peer pressure issue. No one in
these loops sees what I express as 'valid', or valid beyond an
individual interaction with them - I am just not explainable or
acceptable for 'the real world'. It is not crazy for me to notice
this. It is not crazy for me to see that something similar to what
happened with my ex (and my family, before that) could again happen
I am embarrassing. My prickly issues aren't valid, or aren't
'reasonably' presented. This is not my view. I am trying to hold on
to the validity of my experience in the face of all this. It's not
easy for me, but it's probably harder for those who have peer
support not to. I can see my position.
I think this very much relates to stigma. I had to write it out, I
had to explore the chain of thought.
Do homeless people in a sense play a kind of quiet game because it
is expected of them, or because no one can or is willing to hear
If I called Lifeline, I'd probably be asked if I could talk to a
doctor for a referral. But I know enough about psychological
infrastructure that it doesn't seem very likely the existing
mental health outlets will help me, and it's not because I have a
bad attitude. For 'help' to help, a person needs something strong
enough for 'help' to adhere to.
I haven't ever had family members or friends who were interested in
people think, feel and behave as they do. As for those who
seemed to have picked up a little about psychology, their focus would
tend to be kind of lopsided - psychology for them was mainly about
how stupid humans were, and how easy it was to manipulate them. I
came to see this as the Flat Earth view of psychology. So, I would
encounter relationships in which people had a Flat Earth view, no
interest, or only passing interest, and in one case predominantly
egocentric interest, in psychology. I would feel like I needed to
find others to talk to. Everyone I knew was in effect saying that my
concerns and interests didn't interest them, and as a consequence, I
felt like I was boring and vapid.
This relates to how in recent years, I think the people most likely
to engage in conversations with me have been scammers or sadists.
They put in more effort, because there is something they hope to get
out of it? Whereas no one else can even pretend? But while ultimately
these interactions are frustrating and futile, at times they are sort
of interesting. It's not true that no one puts in effort - two people
put in much more effort than most non-scammers or non-sadists. But
while intellectually I appreciate some things, it's like I'm so far
out there now that nothing truly connects, and it all takes so much
energy either to 'do no harm', or what I mean is not get mad at how
much energy it takes to translate for people who don't understand the
effects of stigma or that it affects how they perceive anything I
communicate, so I have
to try extra hard.
..Which is how I know that it is a bad thing to complain to the
extent I have here. I know it will look like blablabla. Expressing
anger or anything impatient or with a judgmental tone disqualifies
everything I say. So does repetition. Right?
->exile on meme st: a diary