Suicidal? Sheppard Pratt may be your cup of tea. 

Go there and come out stark raving mad?

Hm. 

Tough choice. 

Sheppard Pratt Asylum Is designed as a Critical CARE Psychiatric Stabilization facility for those who struggle with medical conditions such as Bipolar Disorder (like myself) or any other psychiatric “diagnosis.” It has an impressive and illustrious history as an innovative facility when it was first conceived and built in the mid-19th century – a refuge, with its concentration on humane treatment. 

However, reputation, to be sustained, must demonstrate consistency of those values and principles, rather than regression from them. 

Undoubtedly, Sheppard and Pratt are totally turning in their graves. 

The isolation we feel exhaustively, all by ourselves, ripens there. 

So there are parallels to the real world. Severe Depression, which is just a hop, skip and jump away from Death, actually spikes exponentially there. 

The Human Spirit is crushed, until we finally, breath by breath, disappear. This, my friend, is where you go to watch yourself become one of The Invisibles. 

Now when you are on the outside, you have some wiggle room. You may choose to remove yourself from the Kingdom of Ignorance, if only for a breath of fresh air, and focus on the brightness of the Human Spirit. 
We have choices. 

Smell the fragrance of a lovely flower. 

Meditate. 

Listen to music. 

Dance. 

There we have no choices. We are at the mercy of Stupidity, Ignorance and Fools, and we have nowhere to go, locked between two nightmares. 

There is this clearly defined and unshakeable and raw feeling that they do not care. 

Then again, if you wanna but haven’t yet experienced depersonalization, it’s available there. Think of it as a lean, introductory course on the subject. And since I am naturally an optimist, I feel compelled to plug the positive spin here. 

First, your empathy and understanding have grown for those who do experience such devastating psychological symptoms. 

Second – 

Who knows? 
This accidental slip, for example, allows you to drift into unknown territory altogether, as you wonder if you really did, in fact, erase your memory of an entire day of your existence, because someone is insisting you did – when you didn’t. 

Luckily, there are other patients there who know that you didn’t – just as you had thought. And they are now your salvation. 

But this additional drop of uncertainty and confusion has now bloomed in your head. 

Shit happens, right?

Be forewarned, however, any heroic attempt to battle the trolls and the slugs just makes you crazier. Totally not worth it. 

They follow whatever code they’ve culled and pinned to you from the Diagnostic Statistic Manual, and we all know how that keeps expanding with each new edition. 

But that’s exactly when the epiphany occurs …

I had never truly understood what I Am Not My Diagnosis meant until I realized that that is all you are there – a code. 

Yep. 

Hey!  Look at me. I’m still here.  

Sadly, they do not hear or see you.  You have disappeared. 

So when the object of hospitalization is to support and help you shed the nasty symptoms of Depression, and instead you are fighting to be seen and heard – those are the exact type of challenges we do not need. 

The salt on the wound is the absolute isolation from the actual world. This is the abyss. Isolation is not good. They keep preaching that. And then that’s exactly what they do. 

So what do you do?

Well, trying to pry open their eyes is futile. They get really, really pissed at you. And that makes them more sinister and deadly, while they sharpen their ignorance from unbelievable heights, as you are fighting for your sanity …

The plus?

You are too fucking busy to be worrying about Suicide. So in that sense they have met their goal. You have shifted from suicidal ideation to absolute self-preservation. Plus, Existentialism is the only dish on the menu. 

Yum. 

Reminds me of a poem by Stevie Smith. An attempt to communicate with those on shore, while being swallowed by the sea …

“Not waving. But drowning.”  

Breaking News From Baltimore You’ll Never Hear On The News

Even before the Riot here – actually ever since I’ve been here – Baltimore is heavily patrolled by Police Helicopters, both day and night. They circle round Charles Village where the Hopkins Campus is, which starts just a few blocks West and North of 25th Street.   And ever since the riots, well, like I said, Patrols are in the sky from morning through night, with spotlights for added viewing pleasure. 

Well, tonight I was sitting here reading and the helicopter light interrupted my concentration and I had to check and see what was going on. As soon as I established that it was the Patrol, I went back to doing what I had been doing – reading, listening to music from the cars below on a really, really humid night in Baltimore. 

And then I heard what sounded like a loudspeaker and again I was slightly jarred cause the message seemed so incongruous to what’s going in Baltimore right now and I wasn’t sure if I had heard correctly but then again it had been very clear.  

I’ve got to give lots of kudos to the officer in helicopter who once they had finished their security sweep and were heading out, said …
Buh, Bye!

A Rash of Random Photographs That For Some Reason I Haven’t Shared Here – Baltimore, April 2015 …

TODAY   

CAMERA OPERATOR, NORTH AND PENNSYLVANIA AVENUES, APRIL, 2015, BALTIMORE 

  

THOMAS ROBERTS, MSNBC JOURNALIST AND GAY ACTIVIST

  

STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHAT COLOR EYES I HAVE DURING TENSIONS IN BALTIMORE. NO one can ever accuse me of NOT being versatile, especially in times of crisis! 

Very difficult to photograph your eyes. 

    

CHESS MASTERS, PENNSYLVANIA AND NORTH AVENUES, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

SO MANY BLACK MEN HAVE HIT ON ME, EVER SINCE I MOVED TO BALTIMORE!  Gentlemen. Open about their intentions. No pussyfooting around. This guy wanted to take me to dinner. When I told my neighbor, Brent, who is an angry Black Man, he said to me, “Why not go have dinner with him?”  That is certainly more palatable than the guy who wanted to take me to a bar at 9:30 AM. LOVE IT!

  

NATIONAL GUARD MOVES DOWN PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, BALTIMORE, 2015

    

CORNER OF PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE. MAN WITH SIGN, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

MEDIA. PHOTOGRAPHERS CHECKING THEIR SMART PHONES, OUTSIDE BURNT CVS PHARMACY, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

MAN IN YELLOW TURBAN AND MOTORBIKE, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

MAN WHO RAMBLED INCOMPREHENSIBLY FOR TWO HOURS, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

THE GENERATION OF HOPE MAKES AN APPEARANCE 

  

TWO MEN LAUGHING, BALTIMORE, 2015

NATIONAL GUARD, DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE, 2015    

FROM INSIDE STARBUCKS DOOR ON “PRESIDENT STREET,” DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE, 2015

  

“FREE PEOPLE” STORE AND NATIONAL GUARD, CORNER SHOT, BY WHOLE FOODS, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

EVEN THE NATIONAL GUARD NEED WATER AND BEVERAGES DURING THOSE HOT, APRIL DAYS, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

NATIONAL GUARD ALERT, TUESDAY, APRIL, 2015, BALTIMORE, DOWNTOWN

  

PARALLEL PARKING, ARMY VEHICLE AND NATIONAL GUARD, DOWNTOWN BALTIMORE, 2015

  

THE NIGHT BEFORE THE NATIONAL GUARD APPEARED. BURNING CAR. CHARLES VILLAGE, BALTIMORE, 2015

  

GETTING THROUGH TO 911 REQUIRED PATIENCE THAT NIGHT. FIRST ATTEMPTS RENDERED A BUSY SIGNAL. SECOND ATTEMPT, YOU REACHED A RECORDING, IMPLORING YOU NOT TO HANG UP. ULTIMATELY, COORDINATION OF POLICE, FIRE DEPARTMENT AND HELICOPTER GUIDANCE COMMUNICATED LOCATION AND FIRE WAS PUT OUT. BUSY NIGHT FOR EMERGENCY OPERATIONS. THEY WERE STRETCHED TO THE MAX. (Sorry for all caps here. Didn’t realize it was gonna be that long.)

  

THE SHELL OF A CAR, BALTIMORE, 2015. 

 

(EVEN AS I POST THIS, POLICE HELICOPTERS CONTINUE TO PAYROL BALTIMORE. ONE JUST ROLLED BY, AND IT’S 2:15 PM.)

HOW IT ALL BEGAN …  

Bunny Rabbits And The Church Across The Street From Me

It’s Easter on a busy street.
Cars come and go, blaring music, or not.
But one would ever know there is a church across the street from me.
Attached to the other buildings on the block, it’s radically different architecture, blends in with its neighbors.
The Artist and his dog live next to the church in a building just like it (except for colors, shape and height.)
It’s a busy spot on the street.
The lights go on at night
When gatherings occur
And feelings of love and God are shared.
A warm spot for the soul.
But today!
Today is Easter.
The industrial strength restaurant diner door lists hours of service and other stuff.
The door is swung open.
People, coming and going.
Matriarchs and angelic children
Pure of heart and soul – appear.
But they are slow.
And late.
They are always late.
Never on time.
The building could be a bloc from Mondrian …
But anyway.
The only reason I know today is Easter is because a sales person from Nordstrom’s accidentally mentioned it.
“Good thing you came today” she said. We’re closed tomorrow.”
“You are?
Why?”
“It’s Easter.”
“Oh.
Bunny rabbits.
Stuff like that.
Okay.
Thanks, again!”

The Difference Between The Crazy Ones And The Normal One

WordPress is determined to introduce new ways of solving problems because of their dinosaur physique.
They squeeze the solutions out of their users.
SO …
And this post keeps popping up as having failed to post.
So at this point, I have no idea how many of these are out there.
But it sure is lots of fun!

_______________________
So I have no idea whatsoever where this fits in this fomenting imaginary monster …
At some point I recall saying something about patterns emerging, but beyond that, I haven’t got the foggiest as to what’s going on here.
It all began with a tiny accident. Lately, I see pieces that had posted showing the post failed. I didn’t want a double-post, and I didn’t know what to do with it, other than edit what lay ahead of me and publish it.
As for today (space for confessional here) the sky is chronically gray with occasional intense thunderstorms. And it is on this day – today – my marriage ended, according to court filings. (Appropriate forecast there.)
I made it!
Yay…………
________________
One may often wonder about that …
How do you explain it?
To demonstrate an accurate version of it.
What general perceptions exist about the Crazies? Stereotypes?
Well lots of those exist.
They’re really popular.
Dynamite stuff.

Last Night In My Neighborhood Around Midnight Baltimore

Earlier, friends had texted me, concerned about my safety. But when I responded casually that everything was just fine where I was at, they breathed better.
I just went about my usual business of getting lost on my way to my doctor’s appointment and ending up in Bay View (or something like that) of the Hopkins Physicians campus when in fact I should have reached my destination in 5 minutes instead of 30 – that’s when I began to suspect something was wrong.
Quick calls to the doctor’s office, explaining what had happened, they rescheduled my appointment in 45 minutes, and said, that should be enough time for me to get there.
The doctor was a woman slightly older than myself and with a stern appearance. We didn’t mention my confused state of mind and went straight to my lungs.
“It hurts when I breathe,” I told her.
“Are you a smoker?”
“Of course, I am!”
That’s when she seemed to soften, and we got along really well after that.
“And when are you gonna come back?” She said.
“Um. If I don’t feel better in a week.”
“Good,” she said.
“And, you’re gonna call when?”
“As soon as I feel worse (if)”
“Very good.”
And she sent me off to the next stop on my destination, the Pharmacy, which should have my prescriptions ready by the time I got there, since they were faxed during my office visit.
So.
That didn’t happen.
We had Lothario working that day and what I later learned was a new pharmacist.
It was her first day.
Lothario is the most annoying Pharmacy Tech ever. It takes him 50 words to say what he could’ve of said in 2. He loves the limelight.
Every time I have to deal with him, the only thing I wanna tell him is: Shut the fuck up! Just get my fucking prescription.
And now he’s grown a beard. And he actually looks quite handsome. He has very fair skin and a pink tone to his face, and his hair could be a shade attributed to an ancient deity, like Apollo, so he does have some charm.
And he’s got blue eyes.
(Need I say more?)
But he is the most annoying fuck in the world!
2 people is pretty low staffing anyway. But to subject a new pharmacist to a theatrical performer on her first day of the job is plain cruel.
At one point, standing behind the Conductor’s stand, but elevated, and next to the sweet but sheepish pharmacist, he addressed the audience, in his sweet Baritone Tenor:

I want to let everyone know we have everything under control. We’re on top of it. We’re checking you off, as I speak …

(While the pharmacist stared dumbly ahead. And the 20 or so people either waiting to get their prescriptions filled for the past hour or those to check-in with their prescriptions so they could get them filled.)
After an hour and forty-five, I began to lose my patience.
I said to him:
“It’s been more than 15 minutes, you know -”
And he invoked the Doctrine of Uncertainty.
“Things change,” he said.
“We cannot predict that.
Things have changed,” he said.
“No kidding!” I said.
There were 4 chairs against the wall, all of them filled. And a cluster of people idling around the “Drop-off” Counter. And then those standing around those who were sitting, waiting for a chair to vacate.
By this point, the Pharmacist was completely dazed. They said my prescription was ready. And when I checked it, I said: “Where’s the expectorant?” And she said to me: “That one. That one is the expectorant.” And I said to her: “No it isn’t. That’s an inhaler. There should be three prescriptions filled, but you have only filled two. Where is the other one?”
Well, they could only check that information on the “Drop-off” computer, not the cash register one. And Lothario was standing there and he would have to do it, and I said:
Are you kidding? The only thing he likes to do is talk

And then she said to me once they had tracked the problem (“The prescription had been put on hold.” she said. “Why?” She didn’t know why.) that Lothario would mix the formula. And I said:
What? You’re gonna let him mix the formula?”
At that point, I said.
“I really need to get out of here. Just give me what’s ready.”
When I finally made it home three blocks away I settled at my perch in the middle of 3 windows facing 25th Street my picture window and began to observe the street – my street – the one that had brought me pleasure and satisfaction and an opportunity to think – that’s when I read the text from George. He expressed concern. And I said everything was quiet up here. No problem. And that made him feel better.
But as I began to settle in for the night, I noticed traffic patterns had shifted. 25th Street was quieter than usual. 25th was a street that attracted traffic 24 hours. And here it was, 8pm, and it was quiet. Plus, another odd occurrence was that 25th street was the route to Union General by the Hopkins Charles Village campus. The usual pattern is ambulances go down 25th to pick up emergency patients and come up back 25th to get them to Union Memorial.
But tonight there were no ambulances going down 25th. Instead there were emergency vehicles going in both directions. Some were doubled up. One Police SUV sped by with another one right behind it. Same with fire trucks. Speeding in opposite directions.
I hadn’t followed what had happened that day since I don’t have a television. So at that point I began to assemble the information I had in some coherent fashion.
3:07 PM TUESDAY, April 28, 2015
The first ambulance just rolled through on its way to Union Memorial.
It has begun.
Is it gonna be a long night?
Hard to say.
The city is under military control now. The Humvees will –
Second alarm.
Very close to first.
People are staying off of the streets –
For the most part. And traffic is brisk. Busy people rush to meet the 10 PM curfew.

I sat on the bed and looked at the text. Everything is fine here. Quiet.
11:00 PM
A HORN STARTS TO BLARES
At first it sounded like some sort of traffic jam up the street. Like someone was sitting on their horn in traffic. At least that’s what it sounded like from my window. I couldn’t see that far up 25th.
After 20 minutes I decided it was time to call 911. I dialed and I got a busy signal. Fuck! (Noodles!) I dialed again. Got through to a recording imploring people not to hang up. I got through. All I could do was explain what I was experiencing and give my location.
I went downstairs to see if my initial impression was correct.
I was totally wrong.
25th was eerily quiet. Nothing. I told this to the dispatcher. I apologized for not being more helpful. She said it was okay. If I heard it, the police would hear it too. That helped.
I went upstairs and for some reason went to the kitchen. We have a small window that faces the cross street here. I looked out the window and saw a fire. A car? Probably. I ran outside and to the car. A car had in fact been set on fire and was blazing. People were standing around chattering.
Did anybody call 911? I asked.
Nobody had a phone to put a call through to 911. That’ll tell you something about the level of poverty here.
The second attempt to call 911 while I was running down the steps resulted in another busy signal.
Fuck, (Noodles) I said.
And I hung up.
This time I could not afford to hang up. I had to get through. Services were needed.
Yes. It’s a car, I shouted into the phone. It’s burning. It’s in flames. Everywhere, I told the dispatcher.
In the meantime, fire trucks were rushing up and down 25th obviously on their way to another urgent report of fire in the city. Police cars too.
After we had waited for about 5 minutes, we saw a fire truck making a right onto 25th street, and we thought that was our truck, and we tried to wave it down but that too sped by. Finally the helicopter appeared, and helped pinpoint the location. Cops and fire fighters were at the scene putting the fire out.
Then it was over.
Except someone would discover that their car had been burned for no reason at all.
(Two more sections to add here.)

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