Emergency Sessions With Dr Velvet Thong

Urgent Matters of Concern, in Order of Priority:

1.  Australian Prison Camps
2.  My Own Private Woomera/Am I a Backstabbing Little Weasel?
3.  Non-Silence

Emergency Sessions With Dr Velvet Thong

Australian Prison Camps

As Okti takes a seat at the computer desk in Dr Velvet Thong's Underground Railroad Headquarters, she is shaking almost as much as Nicholas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas before he takes a drink.

Dr Velvet Thong: Are you going through withdrawal?

Okti: No, I think it's been about 5 days since I had a drink. The problem at present is a combination of TimTams and hot chocolate laced with a massive quantity of instant coffee. Or rage. You'll have to bear with me. I'm not sure how well I can type. Also, everything's a jumble and it will be difficult to sort it all out.

And after I do, it's fairly certain I'll imbibe a massive quantity of a beverage possessing inebriating properties.

OK. If you need to tune out the rest of what I say or listen and respond on autopilot, it's fine, but please pay attention to the first concern.

Dr Velvet Thong: I'm intrigued.

Okti: As you know, for a few years now I'd mostly only been going online once a month or so. We'd agreed it was best I try that out, even if it meant I wasn't keeping up with what's going on in the world. And although I had gotten to a place where I thought I was ready to let more in again, I found myself seriously derailed by communication with 'family and friends' (Don Quixote's), to the extent I've barely had a sober day since, after an extended period alcohol-free in which I felt better than I had in 3 decades.

Dr Velvet Thong: We can get back to that later.

Okti: One day Don Quixote mentioned a book written by text message from the Prison Camp on Manus Island.

It arrived yesterday, and I read it through in one go.

Dr Velvet Thong: Drum roll....

No Friend But The Mountains, by Behrouz Boochani.

Dr Velvet Thong: An excellent depiction of the politics and psychology of torture and control.

Okti: I wish that everybody in the world, not just in Australia, would read this book.

We continue to write books, create films and discuss the Holocaust, concentration camps, and the conditions imposed on Africans when abducted and broken down for the purposes of slavery (and how the fallout contributed to the American Civil War.) There are many other situations that have been as bad, but the Holocaust and slavery in the United States are the ones pretty much everyone knows about, and one of the reasons books and movies keep getting made is to make sure nothing like these atrocities ever happens again.

And guess what? Despite all that, Australia is responsible for similar human rights abuses when it comes to refugees. And Australia is quite cunning about it.

During my early years in Australia, I learned about the atrocities at Woomera and that there was already a history, but it seems like what happens is that if enough people draw attention to one prison camp, it gets closed down, and they just quietly set up another one. The public assume there is no further obligation, the problem has been addressed, but it hasn't.

After Woomera was closed down, there was still Nauru, and later Manus, and Australia's prison camps over the years have tried to enforce media blackouts and non-disclosure contracts with staff. It seems likely that after closing down the prison camps on Manus and setting up new ones there, if there's too much heat, they'll just select another setting to carry on as atrociously as before. They haven't learned their lesson. Politicians still campaign with Stop the Boats! slogans, and what's underneath that? The same beliefs and ideologies that led to Woomera, Nauru, Manus, etc.

And next time, maybe they'll crack down harder to make sure no one like Behrouz can ever leak such info again.

Even when it comes to publication of a book like this, after news articles, the support of journalists and many others, nothing really changes. Behrouz is still on Manus and can't leave the island, and although the old ones have been closed, there are new camps on Manus.

The camps are one thing, but the treatment of refugees arriving by boat before being sent to camps is also appalling.

Dr Velvet Thong: So, even if people don't do anything else, maybe before watching another movie about the Holocaust or Civil War, they should sit down and read this book?

Okti: Yes. And although it is good that people are willing to report on the conditions and treatment of refugees, this book explains not only the politics and psychology of border control, but also the psychology and motivation of breaking people down, such that even if they survive, they have no power, no voice, they distrust everyone, and might have trouble integrating into society even if society eventually accepts them.

Dr Velvet Thong: Not to mention that if Australia continues to get away with this, it serves as a warning to others who need to flee oppressive conditions in their homelands, something to scare the shit out of them and make them rethink whether it's really so bad at home. And maybe it 'inspires' others to try to get away with something similar in their neck of the woods.

Okti: I live in Peter Dutton's electorate. During the worst of the Manus crisis, he was The Minister of Immigration, which is just as ludricrous as Tony Abbott ever being Minister for Women or a special envoy for Indigenous Affairs, and just another reason the world should sneer at Australian politics.

It's also now a joke in popular culture that because Australia changes Prime Ministers so often, that when trying to ascertain if someone is suffering a brain injury or impairment, a mental illness or other disorienting condition, hospitals and emergency technicians no longer ask people to identify the Prime Minister, because even regular people on the street have trouble doing so.

In his recent campaign, Dutton was constantly bombarding everyone with leaflets. Somehow the Liberals (I still can't help rolling my eyes every time I see the name/misnomer of this party in print) have enough money to pay people to deliver them all, whereas parties like the Greens have to rely on volunteers, and even if their one pamphlet is excellent, and thoughtfully and coherently addresses many relevant issues in a succinct way (including humane treatment of refugees, while Labor are chickenshits who avoid saying anything at all), that pamphlet was no match for the bombardment of sensational propaganda that the Liberals inflicted on everyone, including that Peter Dutton had stopped the boats, and prevented pedophiles, rapists and criminals from entering Australia.

In addition, perhaps it was something of an intimidation tactic that on election day he went around visiting all the polling stations in his electorate.

As a side note, I think Australia might want to rethink their policy/tradition of having party volunteers sitting at polling stations handing out 'how to vote' info. When the Liberals (and Labor) have considerably more than anyone else, that's intimidation.

Peter Dutton wasn't voted in to be PM, and to me it seems that instead he's making an effort to control/piss on his territory as best he can. In the time I've lived here (almost 20 years), I've never seen a candidate for any party try so hard to make their presence known. I guess this is just speculation on my part, but this could possibly even extend to pulling a Rupert Murdoch on the local paper. I recall an article after the election which referred to a 'vicious' and unfair attack on Dutton, while craftily trying to shift attention away from Dutton to another dubious character on the scene. (A corrupt mayor whose name currently escapes me. -Sutherland.) Certainly this other guy is corrupt, but not at the same level.

Dr Velvet Thong: Australia is much more than laughable, and much more than pathetic or ignorant. I'm usually reluctant to use the word 'evil' in a serious way, but if the shoe fits..

Another example.. if you're not already aware of the story of the family separated and threatened with deportation by bureaucratic maggots (including Peter Dutton) who'd have trouble scrounging up an empathy cell between them, do a search on Priya and Nades.

Okti: So, to reiterate, if you're reading the transcripts of these therapy sessions out there, wherever you are, track down a copy of the book, and read it now:

No Friend But The Mountains, by Behrouz Boochani.

And if you're an Australian with voting privileges/obligations, stop fucking voting for these fucking Coalition jackholes!!!!!

If you can't be arsed to change your vote for any other reason, think of it this way: you are part of the evil and corruption, and will be part of an ugly moment in history that will probably be memorialized in books and movies for centuries to come.

Dr Velvet Thong: But don't vote Labor, either. They can't be trusted. A few party members, including Albanese, have spoken up for Priya and Nades, but otherwise, Labor are a bunch of wimps when it comes to the prison camps and refugees.

All we are saying, is give the Greens a chance. How much worse could they be?

The public should not feel for one instant that because the prison camps on Manus associated with the time Behrouz Boochani spent there have closed down that everything is fine now and we can all relax, the situation has been resolved. The government can't be trusted.

They'll just wait until the heat dies down, and start all over, or, they're already doing things just as bad or worse, making sure refugees have no power or voice, cutting out the media, using whatever tactics they have to to ensure they aren't caught again. At least not right away. And they'll probably always have backup plans and long-range plans.

No one has had to answer for their crimes. No one is being punished for the human rights abuses.

The Australian public should not allow themselves to become complacent. I'm kicking myself that I didn't manage to read the book and post something before the most recent election, an election in which the 'stop the boats' mentality was fully exploited. If the parties are vague on this issue at the next election, if they don't take a stand on it, they can't be trusted. Don't allow Australia to continue to participate in such shocking and barbaric human rights abuses. If it happens in some remote place in Australia, or if it happens offshore, it's still really happening. Part of the strategy for getting away with it involves the understanding that if it's too far away, people won't think the situation is relevant to them, or that they can do anything about it.

In the past, people were outraged when they learned what was happening in Woomera, but somehow the Australian system does not allow for dealing with this type of Emergency Situation. But why not? I mean, apparently it's OK to get rid of a PM on a moment's notice if it's considered urgent enough, and fascists can impose their fascism on the Indigenous population when there's an Emergency Situation.

Okti: Dr Velvet Thong, er, I'm not sure how to say this, but you sound kind of naive about the way things work. Coming from you, that sort of surprises me.

Dr Velvet Thong: This situation is completely insane.

Okti: I completely agree.

After a shot of a map of Australia, accompanied by 5 minutes of sustained, canned (sitcom) laughter, and then a chorus of screams of despair, anguish and RAGE, the scene fades to black.

My Own Private Woomera/Am I A Backstabbing Little Weasel?

Okti holds 8 separate keyboards in her 8 tentacles, and starts bashing a selection of Australians over the head with them.

Dr Velvet Thong: OK, so let's do what you do best now. Let's make this all about you.

Okti: Ha, very funny. Today I want to move on to a new family skeleton dance party, this time involving Don Quixote's family. I need to try to resolve what I can, for myself.

I was completely engaged in No Friend But The Mountains, and while in large part I felt distress for what others were going through and had gone through, and rage regarding what Australia was getting away with, and would continue to get away with, in part it also felt closer to a depiction of my psychological and emotional landscape and struggle, the intensity and horror of it all, than I've been able to express myself, or help others to understand. I hope that doesn't come across as offensive or outrageously self-important.

My illness is that I have incarcerated myself in my own private prison camp, while those around me go about their daily lives, thinking I should be smart enough, and self-determined enough, to get myself out. That's what they would do, in my position (but they wouldn't be in my position in the first place).

If I try to communicate, what I'm saying doesn't register, because I have no power, no status, no authority, no credentials, no academic rigour, and it all looks like vanity, self-indulgence, or the ramblings of an incoherent drunkard, or it's like I'm a stroke victim with locked in syndrome, and when I try to communicate people just assume my brain is gorked and there's no one home.

If I finally have a chance to talk to people after a period of many years, or even decades, if they use language that seems to dismiss or belittle me, or 'kindly' condescend to me, I don't have a lot of patience, and I snap. Then, they feel justified in their original judgments of me, and it seems like an impossible situation which can never be resolved. I can see all the steps necessary for resolution, I can see that in many cases it might be necessary to completely challenge people's world views, and I can see far enough ahead that even if I were to do everything with the patience of a saint, in the end I still might not 'change hearts and minds', because some outside Authority would be needed to give validity to my rational arguments, and in some cases, to accept what I'm saying might cause others to experience a crisis of identity that would not be easily resolved.

When I was reading Behrouz's book, it occurred to me that I had somehow internalized the techniques used on refugees to the extent that I have been holding myself prisoner in an internalized prison camp for most of my life, that some of what mental illness is could relate to this, and that somehow in my life I have come into contact with the kinds of drives and sense of entitlement that result in the abuse and exploitation of other human beings, the kinds of treatment and/or circumstances that break people down and cause them to give up hope, even when they start out 'strong'.

There are so many ways in which I relate, but for now I'll try to start here:

Don Quixote had recently commented that during the two decades he's known me he's been aware of my patterns and has tried to pin them down, understand them, and figure out how to predict when I'm going to be able to have a long period without alcohol, coffee, bulimia, etc, and he said that he just couldn't figure it out. Before I met him, I'd been keeping track in notebooks for many years, and I couldn't figure it out. [Black Mirror: Bandersnatch?] Before I had access to a computer in my early 30s, I used to do all my writing by hand, and over the years I had stacks and stacks of dollar store notebooks and loose paper and whatever else I could find to write on, stacks as tall as me, that instead of deleting with a keystroke, I had to burn or otherwise destroy. I tried again and again to write out my thoughts, tell my story, figure things out. The patterns, and the psychology of it.

In reading about the ways in which the schedules of the refugees were constantly messed with, the amounts of food changing for no discernible reason, availability of addictive products (cigarettes) similarly unpredictably supplied, power turned off whenever, availability of toilet facilities shockingly inadequate, it seems like the tactics were employed to keep refugees confused and off their game, unable to understand or predict, and somehow I've managed to internally impose a similar kind of confusion on myself. It could relate to something unintentional - the chaos in my family, which when it came to The Bumble included a lot of chaos in relation to food and addictive substances - somehow did a similar kind of number on my head, and I internalized it, and because it was an unconscious process I couldn't adequately challenge it. I kept trying to do it with willpower, but willpower would never have been enough to deal with the kind of power The Bumble had over my life. But why when I was free of him did I persist in perpetuating the same patterns?

Dr Velvet Thong: You weren't free of him. He was still there in your head, and maybe it was already there, when you were still 'plastic', it wasn't challenged and it was set then. An earlier form of it, a timebomb.

People who learn how to manipulate people such that they are rendered powerless, isolated, distrustful of all around them, with no belief in their rights, even to existence, perhaps learn in part through observing what causes people to break, even when they start out 'strong'.

If you consciously inflict the kinds of conditions The Bumble unconsciously inflicted on others, you can break them down. The Bumble himself likely had a lot of hidden sadistic and domination impulses, but consciously, he needed to see himself as a hero, and not as someone who would behave sadistically. He had to surround himself with those who would mirror back a self-image he could relate to. People he could control.

Okti: If you disrupt people's stability and security when it comes to their basic needs, there's a domino effect?

Dr Velvet Thong: Yes, and in your case, there's another factor. Sibling rivalry can be healthy up to a certain extent. Competition among siblings can allow children to develop their abilities within a contained environment before having to become independent of their families and find their place in the world. The competition that occurs within families can help people to form individual identities.

In capitalist societies, sometimes this goes awry in particular ways. Instead of learning how to be loyal to a team, or to value different contributions to a team, sometimes family members are competitive with each other in ways that result in them feeling distrustful of each other, and therefore everyone in the world.

Okti: But even when it's 'unhealthy', there are certain levels of unhealthy, right? I mean, many families are probably technically dysfunctional in this way, but somehow the members go on and make it through life, even if they're miserable.

Dr Velvet Thong: In many such families, competition is such an extreme influence, even when it's unconscious, that it can be a serious problem when the other members of a family can't identify when one member is genuinely (mentally) ill and can't help themselves.

Okti: So they make the jokes, and they give kicks in the pants, the usual tactics to heighten or reawaken a competitive response. And when the person just sits there like a lump, they start to get angry, and then they start to feel disgust, they start to feel ashamed of the family member, and then distancing occurs.

Dr Velvet Thong: And judgment. And from that point, the self-esteem and identities of the other members of the family begin to be built (unconsciously) on the perceived failure and inferiority of the one who can't compete.

Okti: What it feels like to a mentally ill person whose family doesn't really believe in mental illness is that the price of social inclusion is that they constantly concede 'You win, I lose. I am weak, I am not as smart as I thought I was. You deserve success, love and happiness, I don't. I haven't earned it. '

And if the person tries to find some area all their own, some way to again have more equal status in the group, the others will band together to hold on to the self-esteem and identity that has been formed from the unconscious assessment: 'I win, you lose, this extends to everything important, valuable and substantive in life.'

Dr Velvet Thong: Some people might think that's bullshit, but I don't. I think it's possible, though, that you will have to learn how to articulate it better.

I do think this is one of the consequences of living in an uber-competitive capitalist society. It's one of the effects on the family and family relating, which extends to all relating in society. Even people who aren't fans of capitalism, and who are up on most social and political causes might not catch this.

Okti: Ah, in a way it's like capitalism has ugly effects on human psyches and the psychological environment, maybe in parallel to or in concert with how industrialization 'changed the world', physically and psychologically, how it affected physical health and the ways in which human beings relate to each other? Are you also thinking of the concept of self-determination?

Dr Velvet Thong: Yes, which in a capitalist society can't help but have a capitalist slant, relating to 'success'.

Okti: I will try to think it through.

What were Don Quixote's family supposed to think the explanation was regarding a 34 year old, apparently able-bodied woman who had no career and needed to marry someone from another country to save her from homelessness?

OK, they probably didn't know about the homelessness part, but based on what I learned of Don Quixote's philosophies and thinking, what I gathered about family philosophies and thinking, combined with all the spoken, typed and written exchanges between us over the years, my conclusion is:

Idiocy. Lack of self-respect. Lack of self-determination. Poor life choices. Eating too often at McDonald's. General shallow and superficial character. Lack of literacy and rational thinking skills.

When I think of their original comments to me, this makes sense.

Don Quixote himself was embarrassed of me and my situation, but this was unconscious and overridden by his loneliness and need to have someone in his life. It was less pronounced when we were alone, unless we discussed certain topics in depth and I'd call him on some of his prejudice and snobbery, but I'd definitely say that when we were around his family, his embarrassment of me was more pronounced, and I felt it.

I realize that after our recent email conversations, and considering various things I've put online, including this, it will probably seem to them that from the start I was grumbling and resentful, but back then, I was mostly stressed by all the perceived judgment, and I was trying to be understanding about it, putting myself in their positions.

I hold off on forming conclusions, often for many years, until it seems to me it would be a bizarre form of denial not to see what all the accumulated data are pointing to.

In person, perhaps I was later perceived as a wolf in sheep's clothing, but not intentionally. In person, I am genuinely self-conscious, about my appearance and about my 'situation'. I also communicate best one-on-one, not in group settings, and it takes time for me to express my complex views on any topic. I need to feel I can trust someone, and I need to feel the person is listening, and not starting with preconceived ideas or prejudices, although for most of my life I made allowances for a boatload of preconception and prejudice, and was often able to elevate the collective understanding despite starting with a handicap even Phar Lap couldn't have managed.

If I looked or photographed like a prophet or an intellectual, it might add weight to my words, or trigger unconscious associations that prepare people to accept a certain kind of message. My appearance doesn't match my mind, and this is something I have struggled with throughout my life.

Maybe in some ways my writing makes me seem 'fierce', and that's one of the reasons I like electronic communication. In my earlier communications with people, in the types of communication others consider more personal and intimate, I wasn't getting the idea people were picking up on this aspect of my personality. It bothered me that people weren't getting it, and it seemed likely it was because my manner is 'soft' or 'kind' in person and when factored in with my appearance and my 'situation', anything else was overlooked or negated.

In person, I open myself to communication with fewer assumptions and preconceptions than most people, and my assessment is fewer assumptions and preconceptions than anyone I've met in Australia.

Dr Velvet Thong: I can't resist.. [singing] You deserve a break today..

Okti: How quickly am I supposed to use completely forgiving language and tones if I've felt my entire life has been dismissed as the result of idiocy and poor choices, especially if when someone gives me an apology, acknowledgement or validation they have to preface it with a little lecture that totally invalidates the validation?

It's one thing to try to explain that you're not really into the online stuff, but another to use language that totally disdains it. And if you're 'not into it', and there's someone you know who lives in isolation and has no other way of having contact with the world, when you make these comments, it seems like you are reinforcing the message that this is a person not worth knowing, but what the hey, you'll give it a go, although you really don't expect anything substantial to come of it/her.

I also want people to consider the idea that if I were to just considerately concede that it's all good now, that there was nothing ever to forgive, that the misunderstandings in communication were the fault of all parties involved (and maybe mostly mine, for not speaking up, even though I've had a website for 19 years), I might in a sense be letting rich people with 'good lawyers' get away with things their poorer counterparts (including me) wouldn't be able to.

I think I'd like an acknowledgement that the website counted for nothing because of various prejudices:

1. Mental illness. (There's no such thing. A woman should be responsible for her own self-determination. A person has a right to decide if her quality of life is acceptable to her, but leave us out of it. Otherwise, you are an inconsiderate person, inflicting your baggage on others.)

2. Electronic communication is inferior, and incapable of transmitting emotional content of substance. (Behrouz Boochani's book was transmitted by text message from a prison camp. How dare I compare my silly life and problems to his?) Most of what is transmitted online is absolute braindead garbage, and only McPeople with McLives and McRelationships participate in that crap.

3. Women who wear makeup, and silly costumes and silly shoes aren't truly creative and aren't truly intelligent, or they'd see through all that crap, and know that only what's on the inside matters. (Or, the way I in particular approach it isn't truly creative.) [Some concessions had been made by one family member in this area over time, but my website has never been described as possessing any creativity. It's always been avoided as if it's something embarrassing or icky, and I've been diplomatically steered toward concentrating on possum material, which receives support.] When it comes to aesthetics, they're only important when it comes to things like architecture or gardens, and maybe in choosing patterns for fast drying Japanese cotton towels or artisanal soaps. Only humans are afflicted by the sin of vanity which applies only to personal appearance, and their choices in what they surround themselves with do not in any way reflect vanity, status, or personal beliefs.

4. You can't trust or take seriously a person with no career, no academic credentials, or academic rigour.

I'd also like to say that it hurt my feelings that people who cared about the world around them, and were aware of many important Issues, seemed to dismiss me as not having as much relevance as others who had truly suffered.

Through the years, on my own initiative, I have approached people through email I found intelligent. I was hoping they could see something in my situation I couldn't see. I found mostly judgment, and I found this disheartening, but I did learn how to identify and form arguments against the prejudices I discovered.

Tyler had described my family as 'apathetic'. At the time I didn't think it was true, and I argued on their behalf. While I still think it's a lot more complex than that, I think in essence, he was right.

I think DQ's family could grasp that suicide is up to an individual, and they had no quarrel with someone deciding to end their life if they felt their quality of life wasn't high enough. They didn't have any wish to force me to see things differently, and they would have found it insulting (to a person) to try to point out the value of life to them. They accepted that people knew their own minds and could make their own choices.

And so one thing I need to make clear is that I was not years later saying 'You apathetic monsters, how could you ignore my talk of suicide without at least trying to intervene?' It wasn't about that. It was about a perceived judgment and dismissal of my entire life, my perception, my insight, my emotional and psychological experience, as well as my real life experience, and all of my efforts.

Here I want to interject that one member of Don Quixote's family has said that I come across as thinking deeply about things, and this person seems to be trying to absorb and understand unfamiliar material. It does matter, it is signficant to me. I hope it can be understood that just as she needs time to feel she fully understands my message, I can't immediately get past all the years I've felt misunderstood, especially since as things stand, the jury's not out and in the end when she feels she understands enough, she might not accept or relate to my message. I do want it to be clear that it is necessary for me that we both have the freedom to make up our own minds.

In the family email communication a couple of months ago, I, the person with no standing or status in the world, a person who receives no feedback but judgment or silence which in most cases is judgment, a person who doesn't even receive the validation of a paycheque (and if you've been without one for most of your life, you know what the lack of that validation means, a validation others take for granted), had to try to deal with long unresolved issues in a situation where I was outnumbered. If the transcripts are reviewed, I think it will be evident that I more than held my own. I made some mistakes, but I thought maybe it was a success, that understanding had reached a new level in this group, or at least wasn't still stuck in limbo, but afterward, I wondered if there would have been a need for one family member to psychologically exert power and status, to in a sense, put me back in my proper place. In other words, to invalidate my rational explanations and arguments by discrediting my character. I am inconsiderate. I'm not careful enough with the feelings of others. I am intolerant of the beliefs of others. Maybe it's no wonder I'm so isolated? Perhaps I did not seem like a grownup, willing to face the consequences of opening that can of worms. Once the process had begun, to say 'oh, I'm ill, I can't handle this'.

Don Quixote has a habit of always explaining my behaviour in ways that focus on me as someone broken and traumatized, and this is something that bothers me. Years ago, in my family of origin, I didn't like the approach to gift giving or holidays, and I stated that I didn't think we knew each other well enough to buy each other gifts. With all the moves over the years, combined with an experience in which I had almost no possessions, and didn't even have a bed to sleep on, I decided that from here on in, I wanted to try to make a choice about what items I would have in my life. When I thought back to all the gifts I had received over the years, I didn't feel sentimental about any of them. In my family, I had been dependable in buying gifts and giving feedback, I also wrote letters and sent postcards to family and friends quite a lot, but I eventually rebelled against this in part because it seemed to reinforce a kind of fascism that demanded I always seem upbeat, and not mention the reality of my life (even to try to give enough info that someone could recognize I needed help), to only communicate about the kinds of things that seem acceptable or 'interesting' enough for something as 'real' and 'substantial' as letters, and because females were usually expected to give more feedback, and because the whole process of exchanging gifts, even if it's not for holidays or any specified occasion, does incur unconscious obligation, which is mostly perceived by females (except Beany, who I tried to influence in a different direction).

I consented to a wedding and reception (for a political marriage of convenience) that I didn't want, for Don Quixote and his family and friends. There was no one at that wedding who actually liked and respected me. I was completely outnumbered. I asked him to tell everyone 'no gifts, no photos'. Only a couple of people were able to respect this request. I had no control. I find it stressful to have my photo taken, yes, but I think it's also valid to say that the usual gifts and photos represent a conventional mindset that I wanted to avoid. I didn't want to get locked in to social obligations and a whole way of living, thinking and being that I didn't accept. I see it as a kind of fascism.

And so after the wedding, to take back control, I asked Don Quixote if we could take our own photos. And if I was a little 'creative' or camp with it, that was my way of dealing with it all, turning a negative into a positive, but I think for the people he knew, it became another superficial snowball that demonstrated my vanity and airheadishness.

In this particular case (the email family reunion I mentioned above - Don Quixote mostly stayed out of it), I was stressed, and I had just fallen off the wagon after an extensive period on, and it was scaring me, but my rational assessment of the situation was that it could not be comprehensively or authentically resolved without massive effort, and a lot of time. I didn't think that was in the best interest of any of the participants.

I can't say I'm sorry for any harsh tones I used. I still feel they were warranted, considering the history and the circumstances, in order to try to break through that 'impenetrable wall of politeness and propriety'. Relatively peaceful rationality on my website, (before Family Skeleton Dance Party!), hadn't been enough.

I've often said that in any situation, I feel like I'm taking in so much information that it is impossible for me to process and respond on the spot. This is less true in email, but even with email, there are things I figure out a while later, and sometimes years later. I sincerely wanted to come to some kind of amicable solution with all parties, I wanted to allow for all of us to make mistakes and be forgiven, but it did feel that some things could not be authentically resolved.

In the time since that email communication, and factoring in another altercation of more minor magnitude that occurred just after with different participants, I have gone over in my mind all of the communication, and I have cross-referenced it with everything I can remember about our interactions over the years. The conclusions I eventually reached or could not force from my conscious awareness make sense to me. I have written it all up in the last few days, and I have been debating with myself whether it would be helpful for others dealing with mental illness, either themselves or through someone they know, to know these details. I think I understand very well why people have to put disclaimers on films regarding the 'fictious' or coincidental nature of any resemblance to real persons.

I don't want my need to understand and to find relief and happiness, or my need to try to offer comfort, support or understanding to others who are isolated by mental illness, to destroy the peace of mind of others, and I don't want to start some kind of ego war. But in my mind, I can see all the arguments, I can see all my 'crimes', I can see many, many steps ahead, and I do have responses to all of it. I'd prefer not to go that route.

If I have to, I will. I'm no longer a rebel without a cause.

It is not cowardly of me to address all of this from this platform I have of necessity created for myself. There's a bigger picture here that extends beyond the interpersonal communications referred to above. I am trying to reach out to others who have more of a feel for the material, and, until there is some way to address the very real status imbalance, it makes more sense for me to communicate from a position of strength.

In hearing some of the comments DQ has made about my family, I think it's quite possible the image he had conveyed to his family is that they are a bunch of illiterate white trash jockhead idiots with McLives and McRelationships (except for Boo). I've tried calling him on this and calling him on his unconscious snobbery and prejudice, to no avail. His language choices continue to reflect this unconscious snobbery. And I think it's because the prejudice goes deep, so deep that until someone with more status, authority and respect than me says it, his patterns in relation to this aren't going to change. Hint, hint, Sister Quixote.

When we were growing up, my siblings and I were very well-behaved, polite, 'nice' children, and we did well in school. We usually stood out from other children, and many adults remarked upon this.

This might be something else I have in common with refugees. Some people argue that they should go back to where they came from, or that because they come from horrible places or circumstances, they themselves are worthless, and we don't want that trash fouling up our country.

Most of the time, I think I was fine just having very minimal contact with DQ's family. I think I have to repeat it, because I take it as a given, but people who live feeling they want to die and who can't see their life going on for a month or year can't approach relationships in the same ways as other people. You can say 'don't burn bridges, because you never know', but that doesn't take into account how it feels to live in a state that is unbearable, and that you want to end.

(While living also with the awareness of judgment: If that's how you feel, don't whine about it, don't inflict it on us. Self-determination! It's not that hard to kill yourself. Idiot! Weak!)

As with my family, I accepted that maybe the truth was that I am an idiot and that I am weak. Should I feel bad about it if I've tried my best to change myself and can't? Doesn't it make more sense for me to accept myself and try to find those who might think I have something to offer? Maybe all of us would be happier? It's been easier for me having as little contact as possible, but at a certain point, something changed.

In 2008, I travelled around the world on my own. I encountered many different people, and many stressful situations, but I felt the most judged and uncomfortable at the end of that trip when DQ and I met up with his family in Melbourne. I didn't think it was fair to blame it on them, but I knew at that point that I didn't really want to have any more contact with them. The problem was that I still didn't want to cause DQ to lose the support of his family, and I didn't know how to prevent it if I allowed myself to be selfish enough to speak for myself. I wasn't sure I wouldn't inadvertently make his life worse.

His two only friends had stopped inviting him places because of awkwardness associated with me, even though I wouldn't have felt offended by them inviting him without me, and I wanted him to keep his friendships. This relates to mental illness and stigma, and it also relates to the rigidity of social convention/beliefs. If you're part of a couple, it's considered rude not to invite both people, and it's considered an outright insult if only one person accepts an invitation.

I am not totally sure about the timing, it could have been a year or two, but sometime after my trip around the world in 2008 another package arrived. It was another package that DQ wouldn't have even looked into very much, and would have put in a corner without taking things out of packaging and then just piled more and more objects in front of it, forgetting he'd received it in the first place, and I felt an obligation to give feedback, but this time I took it as an opportunity to speak up for myself.

My most important agenda was to try to find a way to stop having to tiptoe around my website and my personal condition. It's incredible how much groundwork must be laid because there's so much stigma and misunderstanding around the topic of mental illness.

They had sent 4 books, and while DQ glanced at 1 of them, he didn't read the rest so I felt obligated to read them all.

Commenting on one book, I said that I agreed it was important to care about where one's food comes from, and to try to have some sense of where the things you buy come from, but that it's also important to question where all one's memes, ideas, philosophies, etc, come from.

From there, I said that the plot of one of the books completely depended upon the reader to blindly accept prejudice and stigma in relation to mental illness, prejudice and stigma from centuries past, in the present, for the purposes of light entertainment.

I also stated, perhaps not in so many words, that the writer did more name dropping than actual writing, and omitted one significant reference that could have challenged the prejudice and stigma, but then he wouldn't have had an excuse to write his lameass book.

No, seriously, back then I tried to have a genuine discussion, I behaved nicely, and I think it went well, and I think in the end, DQ's sister started to have a bit more of an inkling that I wasn't quite as illiterate as they had thought on account of me never writing handwritten letters.

But they are a couple who think individually and reply individually, and her husband probably didn't see this discussion.

At a certain point, he sent us a CD, which I don't think DQ ever bothered to listen to himself. I commented in detail, and was trying to prepare him for something that tied into what I thought the CD was trying to say: maybe we aren't really learning anything, maybe we don't have to do things the way we think we should, maybe we can try another approach. I didn't like the song which best represented this concept, but I liked the rest of the CD. From there, I could have gone on to connect some dots. I had been programmed to communicate with people in certain ways, including letter writing. I had been programmed to approach family photo taking in conventional ways, I had been programmed to use the best possible grammar, and when communicating or writing, like him, to do it in a somewhat formulaic way: insert light opening here, something complimentary here, smile, then maybe you have broken the ice well enough to broach something that irritates you. If you've followed the formula correctly, the person should not feel threatened, and will see how reasonable you're being. I think for most of my life, I've managed to do it in far less condescending (or superior) ways, but perhaps that's not for me to say, and it's unlikely any of us, including me, can ever really see ourselves. The point is, I could have eventually said, 'I think my website is for you as that song (the one I don't like) is for me.'

Do people really want authentic feedback, the kind that would help them to understand how you think and who you are? Or is it necessary to have a variety of structural, superficial relationships to create a safety network or net in life?

The kind of space and non-interference my family of origin gave is very similar to the kind this family gives. And I just don't want to have to explain to people all over that the whole structure feels wrong to me.

Is reading my site something others would have to force themselves to do, something like taking cod liver oil? I really don't want to inflict that on anyone. I'd rather say: go, be at peace, find your people. I'll keep trying to find mine.

Part of the sense of peace I'd had earlier this year was in feeling I had finally managed to express 'enough' about my past and personal situation, and Don Quixote's family were saying no, I hadn't. Or maybe I had, one member just needed time to sort it out, and that's fair, but I think it's also fair for me to say that I've waited long enough, good luck with your personal development, can I please be excused from waiting with baited* breath? If I manage to kill myself before, I wish you all the best, have a good life, etc.

[*Originally a Freudian slip I didn't catch? I've decided to leave it in as a nod to Nymphomaniac.]

But since I had contact with Don Quixote's family and his friends, I felt myself back in the old headspace, all peace was gone, and it was as bad or worse than it had ever been. I recalled that this used to happen after visiting my family, too. Even when it seemed like some members were saying 'kind' things, the overall visceral assessment of the situation was that I was absolutely worthless, and that the 19 years I've put into trying to get someone to understand have counted for nothing, or not enough. I haven't done a good enough job, I have to go back to the drawing board. Again. After trying to leave things on as good a note as possible, after I'd had some time to process, it felt like a negation of everything I'd ever thought, felt, or experienced. A negation of my existence and value.

Only this time, I could see that it might be possible I could put conscious effort into addressing why I was feeling this way. I had to stand up to everyone. I had to express more. I had to make a choice to let others follow their own path, and to trust my own. I could see it, but it's another thing to get back to a place of peace, and I've struggled long nights since, trying to get back. I think right now, I had to break the silence, that it's part of the process, and while it would be nice if we could all just silently understand and appreciate each other from a distance, that's not my truth.

Dr Velvet Thong: So what does all this resentment on your part mean?

Okti: That I need to take care myself not to judge how anyone comes to an understanding my site?

Dr Velvet Thong: Well yes, but dig deeper.

Okti: I might not just be incompatible with DQ's family and friends, I might ultimately be incompatible with Don Quixote, too. I'm deeply unhappy, and my resentment relates to feeling like there's no way out of this situation, no real options, no real solutions.

I've wrestled a lot with this over the years. Are the people who are homeless or in desperate situations just more conscientious and moral than me? When they believe something, do they, instead of inflicting all of this stress and complication on others, just remove themselves, go off into the wilderness?

Is it a sign of mental health to recognize that you wouldn't be able to survive out there or make new friends, and so it's better to try to appreciate what you've got, even when some problems and conflicts will never be resolved?

All the times I've been in psych wards, it's been because I was homeless. Each time, I needed a place to stay after, but no one in my family offered to help me look for a place. I guess that's one practical form of help they could have offered. I wouldn't have wanted them to offer to let me stay with them, it would have been too uncomfortable for me, but help finding a place that was private and self-contained would have been helpful.

And if I ever manage to leave Don Quixote, help finding a place to stay would be a kind of practical help people could offer. I have no trouble finding holiday places, but when it comes to something more permanent, it's like I don't have enough connections. When I visited Melbourne various times, I always felt a lot more independent. There were so many things I could do, and figure out how to do for myself, except I couldn't figure out how to find a place to live. I'd need something private and self-contained, but perhaps also more informal than usual rentals, because I'd have trouble coping with the Australian regulation of having my place inspected every 6 months. This is one of the major issues for me. That intrusion and regimentation would disturb my personal rhythm and sense of security, and the time I lived on my own in a flat in Brisbane for 6 months, I had felt that a couple of times, when I was out of the flat, someone might have gone into it. That's one of the reasons I didn't try to renew, why I ended up back here.

Dr Velvet Thong: Do you think it's possible Don Quixote's family members now understand a lot more than they did before, but because of the awkwardness, and out of respect for your wishes or illness, they don't want to intrude on you with their 'understanding'?

Okti: Yes, possibly. I don't know if what's understood now is that kind of eureka phenomenon where suddenly it's all understood in a flash, or if it's the type of thing where some has been grasped, and it will take time for the rest. And again, all of this relates to how poor and pathetic human communication and understanding are in relation to things like scientific advancements.

Speaking of which, I often find myself wondering if we are attempting to use computers to solve some of the world's problems in relation to hunger, disease, allocation of resources, like maybe they could be programmed to connect dots and make a plan for us stupid humans.

Dr Velvet Thong: That would seem like a logical thing to do, but let's get back to the topic at hand and try to wind this up for today. [looks at clock, and tries to stifle a yawn]

Okti: What if my problem was not simply that I wasn't smart enough to colonize my own brain for personal gain, it was that I didn't want to be part of the system of colonization that affects all aspects of human life?

What if my inability to fit into any group relates to this? What if my inability to sustain relationships relates to not fitting into the groups others I come into contact with fit into?

Dr Velvet Thong: We've discussed this before. Sometimes it does take a village, or a person needs a community, and we have come up with many different ways to try to help you find one, and in spite of many valiant efforts, we keep striking out. We have both concluded, many times, that without 'enough' validation for what you've expressed, you're never going to trust anyone or stop scrapping with people, and at this point, maybe nothing could ever be enough.

And what's more, even if you do ever get the kind of acknowledgment that would help, I seriously doubt you will ever be comfortable just hanging with people.

I think you've expressed your situation well at this point, but my opinion is just one opinion. There's one other thing I want to say to you today.

In Behrouz's book, there is something mentioned about how refugees are expected to handle an unreasonable burden of logic and proof in the circumstances against the power of authority and might, interlocking systems and ideologies that are extremely difficult to challenge, a situation which is not balanced or fair from the start.

Okti: In Australian society, if you are married, you automatically have a certain validity. Academic and vocational credentials also confer an automatic validity, in the right circles. Belonging to groups, religions, clubs, hobby groups, support groups.. any of these things, or a combination, add to one's standing in life, or feeling of connection to society.

To attain these credentials or forms of validity, there are usually criteria (I'm actually considering leaving my original typo 'critieria' in because I find it funny, and relevant) you have to meet. I've been depressed enough that I didn't have the personal stability or genuine interest to pursue any of these things, but there is more to it. There is usually some rule, regulation or deal breaker I consciously take a stand against, and I think underneath that, I might be challenging or rebelling about something sick or evil in society. So it's not simply a case of me being mentally ill.

I could have had the protection of marriage, and the automatic validity it presents, but I went through the difficulty of making a point of getting a divorce. Why would I purposely make life harder for myself if it wasn't for a reason I believed in?

I could have been part of certain groups, possum-related, but my approach to possums wasn't 'natural' enough. I give DQ some of my possum photos and videos, but I make it clear that his possum sites are his sites, and they're all quite natural, and nature people-friendly.

It's like there is something in my beliefs, something countercultural, that affects any possible way I have of connecting to Australian society, but also counterculture groups.

It could be that I feel the judgments of the world to the extent that I have been shamed into stigmatizing and ostracizing myself, but there might be more to it. It could be that underneath it all, I can't accept the system, or any system, and so I will never be able to connect to society or life.

There's something else I need to bring up today.

While reading No Friend But The Mountains, I used the letter stating my permanent resident visa had been approved as a bookmark. I reread it, and saw something I hadn't noticed before, and it is another source of stress. The thing says that upon the granting of this visa, if I leave the country I am permitted reentry for a period of 5 years (the letter was sent in 2003). When I travelled in 2008, I came in under the line. I had a different passport to the one I came to Australia with, and I hadn't had it stamped for the visa. I was lucky that I arrived very early to the check in (at Bangkok airport to return to Australia) and a young woman went to the trouble of making some phonecalls for me, and so I was allowed back in to Australia after my flight. It seems to me that if I ever want to leave the country again, I will have to have contact with the Department of Immigration again (It is now called The Department of Home Affairs, and was previously The Department of Immigration and Border Protection, and when I applied for a visa it was called The Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. There have been other name changes, and part of what this means is that it's difficult to choose a name to cover up all the evil going on. It's just one more abominable aspect of Australian politics and points to unaddressed racism), and I admit I'm a bit worried that because I left it so long it will be as complicated as it was to get my passport in 2015. What is the possible reason for the 5 year stipulation? I guess they figure if you don't get off your ass and get your citizenship, you're fair game, and if they can catch you off your guard and keep you out, they damn well will, or they'll make things hard for you.

How can I apply to be a citizen of a country with such atrocious policies and human rights abuses? But aside from that, I don't like the idea of borders and countries anyway. How much choice does anyone really get?

Dr Velvet Thong: Do you worry there might also be consequences in regards to your statements about politicians, particularly about Peter Dutton?

Okti: Do you mean do I wonder if he or someone else has the power to make up some excuse to come in here and confiscate computers, or put us under surveillance, since we live in his electorate and have both made public comments dissing him? Or that some reason could be found to deport me, like I had committed a crime in Australia? Or something along those lines?

It would be traumatizing for me, and so I guess I have to think carefully, but I am not sure there is any way to soften my message and still live with myself. Something has to be said.

I suppose if I'm still alive, wherever I am I can still write. I can write about whatever befalls me. Or, I guess my suicide could make a really good political statement, especially if there's a new manifesto to go with it.

Dr Velvet Thong: Why are you a backstabbing little weasel?

Okti: There are some people from a few years ago who might also think I'm a weasel, but today I'm mainly concentrating on recent experiences.

Regarding some of the past ones, and things I posted online, in 2016, I contacted various people regarding Velvet and the Memetrain, especially those I thought were most likely to be affected, before posting that entry publicly. Some replied back and said sure fine no problem, but two didn't, and I sent repeated messages and explanations, and said also that in the future I would still be open to changing or discussing anything they thought might help, if they decided to write.

It wasn't my intent to harm anyone or 'pay anyone back', and when I was actually in correspondence with people, I had absolutely no intention of writing an e-book about my experiences. It was just a creative imperative that forced itself upon me some time after all correspondences had ended. I couldn't stop my mind from connecting dots. I genuinely wanted to try to pin down some of the reasons communication ultimately doesn't work with me and others, and I also wanted to try to point out some of the problems in the mental health system and how it affects the expectations of the mentally ill, especially in that it encourages men in particular to have unrealistic expectations in relationships (without giving them any practical guidance), and fosters hope in men at the expense or destruction of women's hope. When women do not meet (unrealistic) expectations, some men can get very angry, and they can express it in scary ways, and/or in indirect or passive-aggressive ways. That said, many of the men I encountered had suffered greatly in their lives, and I did not want to inflict additional pain or trauma.

Back to the Present: I might be perceived as a weasel because there are some things I keep going over and over and I get that the person in question would think the 'right' thing to do is to speak directly with him, and I don't want to. Many people I've known might be shocked to hear this, because I am known for direct confrontation, and never backing down.

As I said earlier, there is also a status issue. A lot of the people I've talked to online have been living with mental illness, don't have Environmentally Important jobs, (often they don't have jobs at all) or standing in the community, and don't have the Humanitarian Credential of having volunteered in Cambodia. They're more (genuinely) humble.

The first time I tried in-depth communication, I was told that what I had written was 'interesting', let's keep in touch, etc, and it was of course a brushoff, a dismissal. He wasn't even remotely interested in what I had to say, and I understood very well that he only had a limited amount of time he was willing to dole out to me and my ilk. but he wanted to be polite, he wanted to be kind and he wanted to preserve family relations. He already knew as much about me as he cared to know.

He wanted to be thought of as a good person, as long as that didn't entail actually having to get to know me.

If you know someone is in a hurry, on a demanding timetable/schedule, has more Important things to do, if you have received the message loud and clear that your particular brand of fluffiness is not something he has time for, and you know that if you open a can of worms you will need much more time to explain than he is willing to invest, because you understand your own process, it doesn't make sense to open that can.

And I didn't sit and stew. I did successfully put it out of my mind, most of the time. I chalked it up to incompatibility, and that we had different paths in life, and that I had a better chance of maintaining a sense of peace if our paths didn't cross. They didn't cross often (we hadn't seen each other in 11 years, I hadn't said a word in email for a long time), and then, unfortunately, when I tried to give him the light and superficial communication he had made it clear he wanted, I stuffed up, and I realize my tone was a bit critical, that I hadn't totally pulled off the 'light' and friendly message I was going for. He was critical in his rejoinder, and it all snowballed from there.

He can complain now that if I had many speculations regarding how he perceived me, instead of speculating I could have just asked him directly, but those many years ago, I was building up to that, and his dismissal made me realize it would have been a pointless exercise. And, in focusing that way, he manages to avoid conceding to what extent my 'speculations' had actually been accurate.

Dr Velvet Thong: Accept the consequences of standing up for yourself.

If you need to find a way to write it all and put it out there, then do it, get on with it, and accept the guilt, accept that you are a backstabbing little weasel.

DQ has accepted your need to express. He has accepted the negative things you have conveyed about him, and he has said not to censor yourself. Maybe it's partly about the bigger picture, others out there who might get something out of these expressions and details, and maybe it's about an understanding or acceptance of the need to write and express, a kind of intellectual acceptance of an imperative to search for truth, no matter how slippery or elusive, or how much pressure there is to conform to more considerate social norms.

Maybe he hopes through your words you will make a fool of yourself, and people will feel sympathy for what he has to put up with.

There's a chance that he might really accept you, no matter how much of a disaster or a monster you are.

If you post this, there won't be any confusion about who you are, and his family will have the information they need to make informed decisions for themselves, not decisions based on a sense of obligation or social pressure. You're making it a lot easier for them to distance themselves from you, if they want to. It could be argued that that's considerate.

Okti: Will I be perceived as someone who is ill, someone malevolent, or a free thinker? Some combination of these? Will they have concern for their family member (DQ)? DQ and I have no one to consult. I wanted him to be able to consult them, but I'm not sure anything could come of it if they didn't really understand the complex and seemingly insoluble situation we are in here. We don't know how to help ourselves out of it. We can't think our way out of it, and I seem incapable of doing the 'honorable' and rational thing, which would be to make it better for everyone by killing myself.

Drinking myself to death might take some years yet.

Dr Velvet Thong: I think you've also managed to convey something else about your situation that's different, something that other people take for granted in their lives. You can't really trust any person indefinitely. Even if you've known someone for 20 years, you expect that one day you're going to find out they'll be glad to be rid of you, or that they never really liked you. And it's highly unlikely this will ever change, and somehow, if you continue to live, you have to navigate a life on these terms, without expectations of trust or enduring love or friendship.

And still try to find peace with it and with yourself.

Okti: Another thing I want to get down relates to my lack of family and traditions. One of the ways that people find meaning in life is to keep parts of their culture and memories alive. They remember a place, a home, and think about returning home, but if I went back to Canada, where would I even stay? I'd find myself an interesting place to stay, in the ways I have when travelling, but I don't even know what places to visit. The idea of visiting siblings just seems impossible. I've changed, something's crossed over in me, I can't go back. If I try to think of who or where to visit, it just seems like there's nothing clear to do or try. And likewise, it's difficult for me to imagine ever getting together with DQ's family again.

In No Friend But The Mountains, it was said that when people are stuck in a prison camp, there's not much to do except to keep going over your memories, and I could relate to that. For some people, there are good memories to hold onto or to exaggerate, or maybe they can see things they couldn't before and appreciate some things they didn't before. I struggle to find authentic happiness in my memories, or a feeling of belonging, which makes it difficult to even imagine building new relationships or memories. It seems the only hope is to find others who are disconnected from their pasts and memories and traditions, who can't interpret their pasts in happy ways.

Dr Velvet Thong: How does this relate to your statement that you are consciously restructuring your memories and memory systems?

Okti: I can't reinterpret my memories in happy ways, but what I can see is the seed of awareness, and I can see it sprouting, growing, and mutating through the tangle of memories and years. I can see the strength, determination and resilience of the plant, and the beauty, even the wonder, of the process, without denying the darkness, pain and horror.


Everywhere in Peter Dutton's electorate, spelled out in empty wine bottles, on the ground, in the sky, in the polling booths, in Coles and Woolies and Bunnings, in the state forest and home gardens, in the public parks and nuclear war-proof toilets:

To post, or not to post...

Dr Velvet Thong: After you've written all of this out, it's still an option not to post. We can keep all of this between you and me.

Okti: I need to at least say something about the book. I am glad Behrouz told his story. I want to thank him (and all those who helped in publication) and demonstrate support. The best thing is not to delay, but to get something up as soon as I can. It feels like I've been writing non-stop for two days.

When it comes to silence and non-silence I have a serious conflict. It seems that my best chance for a feeling of peace is to have no contact with people, but sometimes my need for 'authenticity' is a bitch, and while I can try and try to get to some kind of resolution in my head, if I'm not able to resolve it authentically, I end up punishing myself.

For more than two months, I've been completely out of control with drinking, and it's alarming (eg, in a 40 day period, I think I was drunk 30 days). It's not just that I've drunk more days in a row than ever before, it's that I'm consistently drinking at least 2 bottles of wine at a time, and most of the time it's more like 2.5, and a few times it's been 3 in one day. In addtion to that, although I've stopped now, I was also taking a lot of OTC medication. (Paracetamol, ibuprofen and anti-nausea tablets, and some old paracetamol with codeine that is no longer sold.) I managed to stop everything, including caffeine, for about 10 days at one point, but then more online communication sent me spiralling down again, as did receiving a package in the mail, which I didn't even examine. However, I think that last issue has now been resolved, and the responsibility for future packages will be solely Don Quixote's, so I think that's a positive step.

Dr Velvet Thong: I understand, and I get that if you're in a drinking phase people are less likely to take what you say seriously. Not only do you have no academic credentials, but you're a drunk. And you're old and everyone knows old women's brains are about as impressive as their dried up old cunts.

Okti: And that when people exist in isolation for long periods of time, that's one more thing that causes the brain to atrophy.

Dr Velvet Thong: FWIW, it doesn't seem to me that your brain has atrophied any more than the brains of those with full lives you've been in email contact with.

And if it has, then compared to them, you probably started out a bloody genius.

Okti: If I stay mostly silent, and then once in a while make a few conciliatory comments, over time, I will grate on people's nerves and egos less, and it might be more peaceful for all of us.

Dr Velvet Thong: In the name of compromise and harmonious human interaction, you could make a choice.

Okti: While to some it might seem perfectly natural that a person would want to stay away from computers, I need to clarify my reasons for needing to do so. It's not because I think computers are inherently bad, or that all that can be found online is mostly static or noise, or is artificial or shallow. I don't look down on computers at all.

It's a dilemma for me, because computers and email are pretty much the only chance I have of connecting with the world. I don't have a phone, no one ever visits the house, and I don't leave the house. I spend most of my time in my room, and I don't watch actual tv, so I'm not watching news, either, and I'm not connected to anything in the world outside my room. If I sign online once a month, part of what I do is to maybe catch up a bit by watching programs on SBS (this is a simplification of a complicated pattern, and earlier this year I had started trying to be open to more, and for a while was checking email every day). I spend a short time each day with possums, but most of the day, I am trying to get through the day (technically I'm mostly awake through the night rather than day) in my room without going insane. Drinking both helps and hinders that.

For a long time now, the only people who have contacted me with regards to my site are those who try to play games with me, and as a result, if anyone were to send a genuine message now, my first response would be suspicion. What angle are they trying now? I don't know if hackers have deleted genuine emails from my account. They (alleged hackers) don't ever delete certain ones, like from Boo. Also, I have through the years contacted so many different people on my own initiative that I no longer know who else to try contacting. I'm not sure there's any possibility of a good result.

The biggest problem for me is that every time I go on a computer, to me it feels like enduring a rape. Writing is very natural to me, and it also helps me to sort out my mind and centre myself, but I don't want to give the Terrible Two anything 'special'. If I do any writing, I want it to be something I give the world, not something only they can have. My process requires that I go through a lot of what's in my mind to find chains of association that help me clarify what I want to say, so they do get a lot that others don't before I edit, but I have to put up with that, and be content knowing that at this point, most of that is already known to them. Sure, I can appear reasonable (I can always choose words to show I'm aware of what 'reality' is likely to be) to people who snicker at my 'delusions', but the reality is that I believe I am being watched when I am on the computer. If I want to write anything, I have to fight through the feeling that I am not only being watched, I am being watched by those who do not have my best interests in mind, and who are aware that to me this situation feels like a rape, and they don't care. It's part of what they find amusing/entertaining.

And I write Terrible Two, but I still don't really know the identities. It could be a whole dark web community impersonating them, in some kind of twisted dark web reality program. Yes, I know how insane that sounds. But if you want an explanation that makes a kind of sense regarding motivation, there is something in Family Skeleton Dance Party! that addresses it. I'm thinking that Don Quixote comes across as a logical and skeptical kind of person, an upstanding atheist to boot, and I think even he's not completely sure I'm deluded.

The only chance I have of connecting to the world is online, but the problem is that I no longer enjoy email. That doesn't mean I think I'd enjoy any other kind of interaction more.

Other than that, I can only wait again for my patterns to shift into some kind of unpredicatable alignment, such that I'm able to escape out into the world again for a brief moment, before locking myself back in again.

In order to cope with how much I don't enjoy email, even though I've until recent years been compelled to present logical, coherent or creative arguments and explanations to the bitter end, I am compelled to reward myself by drinking after I click send. Once I'm in the cycle, it escalates until I find a way to extricate myself from email permanently so I can get back to drinking, and then trying to stop drinking again.


Dr Velvet Thong: I'm not sure I'm following you. Isn't the goal that everyone comes to understand better over time, and that you not rub their noses in it? That you accept that progress has been made, and you try not to set it all back by dwelling on all the past incidents which illustrate your points? That you accept that human beings make mistakes, and want to make up for them, and that it's easier when you don't make them feel so attacked that the human response is to defend themselves against an unrelenting, rigid judgment?

Okti: In theory, yes, and I also don't believe in the whole eye for an eye thing, but I guess I'm not sure sometimes that people understand the extent to which I've felt judged, and tried to absorb it so as not to escalate situations and turn them into nightmares that can never be resolved.

And that with the strain of trying to do too much for too long, I finally cracked.

I need to forgive myself for needing to say what I've said. I can only hope others can understand and forgive.

I don't expect them to.

I've reached a point of no return, in more than one way, whatever the consequences.

Dr Velvet Thong: Anything else, or is that it for now?

Okti: Out of everything over the years, what I wish I had kept is Okti.

I was born to know you and to name you

->exile on meme st: a diary