As a human race,
we have the technology to build manned space stations and to transfer terabytes of data to the other side of the world in seconds.
Yet we remain almost clueless about how to protect our own children from psychological trauma.
Trauma leads to more trauma and progresses like a pattern through individual life or through a larger part of society.
It takes forgiveness, mindfulness and vigilance to interrupt such chain of trauma.
There is also systemic trauma that comes from rolling with the punches: school, army, prison...
The Universe keeps some of us, traumatized people, alive so we can share our story. We hope that our story would steer the society away from the sources of trauma that injured us.
The sooner the society hears our story and responds to the feedback, the healthier it would be.
Our society has grown to be large and complicated: too large and too complicated.
Dear Mr O'Connor,
Last Spring I contacted you about my inability to afford rent in Frederick due to my condition. I also wrote about living with severe chronic pain in poverty.
Fortunately, my living situation has improved since, thanks to the generosity of the individuals who helped me stay in Frederick.
After I reached out to you, I was referred to the Community Action Agency and they tried to convince me to enlist into the Waystation housing program. As someone who spent a lot of time in a peer support center/mental health consumer advocacy organization, I have some sense of what that program is on the inside.
The Way Station has a number of programs that are helpful to someone who was recently discharged from a mental hospital. However, the housing program that they have is very predatory. Once bound to the program, a client finds it difficult to step out of this relationship in order to seek better options. Waystation housing is not cheaper than rent in Frederick while it offers less freedom and flexibility compared to a typical landlord-tenant agreement. For example, Waystation clients cannot choose their roommates.
Keeping people sedated with large doses of medication plays a considerable role in their business model, keeping anxiety, tensions and customer complaints to a minimum. Clients are strongly encouraged to take psychiatric medication in order to stay in the housing program. Do you believe that I must endure the side effects of psychiatric medication in order to keep a roof over my head?
Waystation becomes a legal representative and payee for individuals who obtained a disability status with their aid. This for-profit organization collects their SSI, leaving a small monthly allowance to the client. Clients who try to become their own representatives in order to gain more independence encounter roadblocks.
From multiple sources, I know that Waystation’s Mandala House had a black mold problem that remained unaddressed for several years. A distressed resident of this house, who suffered from chronic allergy, had shown me photographs of the mold on his phone.
My friend who had the pleasure of living at the Waystation’s housing program for several years described it as a “factory farm for disabled people”.
Welfare in Frederick.
To an executive in a high office, who receives a five or six digit salary, the welfare services of Frederick may appear as a solid safety net. Yet to someone with poor health, whose income is two or three orders of magnitude less than that of a director, the safety net resembles a loose patchwork of “poor people” services, offered by disconnected organizations. The services are difficult to navigate. People are channeled into programs that do not serve them and their restraint in transportation does not allow them to make truly free choices.
As I transitioned from being a severely traumatized adolescent into a young working poor student and then became a disabled adult, I wandered through the circles of hell that people who live on welfare have to endure. The limbo begins as one has to re-describe their condition of poverty in variation of its aspects according to various criteria on a multitude of forms, for different agencies. Staff is also not always polite and not free of judgement.
Many religious organizations impose a very judgemental admittance criteria for their programs that is devised from their subjective moral values. How many of those religious, government-subsidized organizations would write their admittance criteria to welcome an LGBTQ person, vs. trying to screen them out? How many of them harbor hostility to various minority communities? Has anyone done a study on that?
A way to look at Old Testament as at Hermann Rorschach ink blot test.
People with lower self-esteem tend to pay more attention to the violent, negative side of the Old Testament.
People with higher self-esteem perceive it as a story of struggle that sometimes comes with good morals,
by interpreting it less literally.
Michael Foster enjoys reading books on Christian psychiatry and has discovered some very powerful ideas in those books.