Posts Tagged ‘mental health’
(Note: ce billet parle de violence, d'armes à feu et de tensions interethniques.)
Mardi dernier se déroulaient des élections provinciales québécoises. Pour la première fois, nous avons élu une femme comme Première Ministre, en la personne de Pauline Marois, chef du Parti Québécois. Mes idées ne sont pas toujours en accord avec le parti ou sa chef, mais je peux me réjouir en tant que féministe.
Le discours de victoire a cependant été entaché par un incident que ne saurais qualifier d'autre chose qu'horrible. Un homme armé a tenté de pénétrer à l'intérieur du Métropolis, où se trouvait l'assemblée du Parti Québécois. Il a tué une personne et en a blessé une autre. La victime, Denis Blanchette, technicien, est morte en essayant de l'empêcher d'entrer. Il aura droit à des funérailles nationales, ce qui ne le ramènera pas à la vie.
Suite à cet événement, la nation est sous le choc. Et comme nous sommes humains, nous tentons de comprendre. Il peut être tentant de tomber dans les extrêmes: d'un côté, y voir un geste purement politique; de l'autre, un «fou» sorti de nulle part. Je refuse de me limiter à l'une ou l'autre des explications.
L'acte a été commis par un individu. Une personne avec ses propres pensées, sa propre volonté. Il n'a pas été commandé par d'autres. Il serait à la fois faux et dangereux de pointer du doigt un groupe quelconque et de dire que c'est entièrement leur faute.
Certains ont blâmé les conservateurs (tant ceux au fédéral qu'au provincial), entre autre concernant le registre des armes à feu. Mais ils n'ont pas ordonné cette action et l'ont même condamnée (je ne m'étenderai pas ici à débattre de la valeur de leur condamnation).
D'autres ont blâmé les anglophones, ou encore les francophones, mais ni l'un ni l'autre de ces groupes ne constitue un monolithe idéologique, et la quasi-totalité d'entre eux ne voudrait certainement pas d'un assassinat en leur nom, même envers leurs adversaires politiques.
D'autres encore ont blâmé Pauline Marois elle-même, une idée si répugnante que je ne prendrai même pas la peine de la réfuter ici.
Serait-ce donc simplement un «fou»? Ça me dérange d'entendre cette explication toujours sortir quand quelqu'un commet un geste horrible. Je ne nie pas qu'il y ait clairement quelque chose qui cloche dans sa tête. Qu'il soit «fou», disons. C'est juste que ça m'attriste que les «fous» soient toujours ceux qui font des choses pareilles. Moi et mon amoureux avons tous les deux des problèmes de santé mentale. On ne nous voit pas dans les médias parce que la plupart de notre vie est, franchement, banale. Si les gens qui commettent de tels actes sont «fous», la plupart des fous ne sont pas dangereux ou violents.
Je pense qu'il est réducteur de croire que la folie serait la seule responsable. Cet homme n'est pas sorti du vide. Il ne s'est pas procuré une arme par la seule force de sa volonté. Il ne s'est pas retrouvé au Métropolis en cette soirée précise par simple hasard. Ce n'est pas non plus par hasard qu'il n'a pas été interrompu avant d'avoir déjà blessé une personne et d'en avoir tué une autre, deux personnes qui n'étaient en rien des agents de sécurité ou de police.
C'est vrai que c'est lui qui s'est procuré une arme, qui s'est rendu sur les lieux et qui a fait feu. Il est responsable de ses actes. Mais il n'est pas sorti du vide. Il fait partie d'une société, une société qui a des lois et des narratives spécifiques. Les dernières nourrissent l'esprit (certains aliments ne sont pas très nutritifs), les premières permettent ou empêchent des actes.
(P.S. Il n'est pas entièrement vrai de dire que nous ne nous retrouvons pas dans les médias, mais je ne veux pas détourner du sujet ici, et à moins de nous connaître déjà, notre présence y est plutôt anonyme.)
The past months have been rather...intense. If you've been following, then you should know I live in Montreal (That's in Quebec, that French-speaking province of Canada).
Up until recently, education tuition fees were frozen, meaning they were not increasing yearly as in most other places. Our government has decided to have none of that: let's thaw out those fees and boil them up, giving us a hike of over $1400 over 5/7 years. The numbers keep changing because they make tiny changes here and there in a one-fourth-assed attempt to make us happy (or to get a tiny brains confused by all the numbers, who knows?).
You might know that the currently leading party at the province level is the Parti Libéral du Québec, the Liberal Party of Quebec. Now, do not make the mistake of thinking that "liberal" here means what the likes of Fox News means when they say "liberal". Our Prime Minister Jean Charest, previously of the Conservative Party of Canada, has moved there by taking advantage of the existence of a thing called neoliberalism. Neoliberalism, meaning "new liberalism", is a doctrine that aims to make sure economy does not evolve past how it was around the end of the 19th century by defending the money-having elites in the name of their liberty to own everything and screw the rest of the world.
When everything started around February, I was, to be honest, not caring much. You see, Mario, my beloved partner, is bipolar, and entered a manic episode also in February, and then spent a few months in the hospital. It greatly affected me and, for a while, I cared about that much more than about any social crisis. He is much better now. He is out since late May and has gone back to work recently. I have, of course, devoted much time since then to following what is going on.
Much has been said on the topic, by the media, in the media and basically everywhere you can go in this city.
The arguments in favor of the hike are familiar. They remind us of how we, as a society, are convinced that the current capitalist economic system is a fatality composed of inevitable elements. Of course, fees are going up. The price of everything is going up! Bollocks.
Bollocks for two reasons. First, like I hinted at earlier, the economic system can (and, eventually, it will, unless humanity goes extinct very, very soon) change. Prices constantly going up are a component of this system. In a different system, it is possible that prices would still go up, but it is not necessary. A parenthesis on the subject. If the prices are going up, then there are two possibilities: either all prices are going up at the same rate (so, for example, if the yearly salary of a teacher goes up by 2%, then the price of four tomatoes of the same type should also go up by 2%); or different prices are going up at different rate (the way things currently are. For example, the teacher's salary could go up by 2% while the tomatoes go up by 150%). In the former case, one can wonder just what the point even is. If everything is going up at the same rate, we find ourselves in a Pinball Scoring situation. Maybe last year you earned $40,000 and this year you earned $200,000. Woah! You're so rich! Except you're not because everything quintupled. In the latter situation, what happens is that the price of some things go up much faster than others. Generally, in a place like Quebec, salaries (while salaries are an income to those receiving them, they have to constitute a cost for someone) have increased much less in the past couple of decades than the price of other things such as housing. What this means is that certain things that were normal back then have become more difficult to have today, while things that were a luxury at the time are pretty normal today. An example of the latter would be most electronics. Of course, when you are very rich, the changes in pricing are not very significant. You have the means to absorb the difference. Except there are people who don't. It might be that x years ago, a family of average size and average income was able to send all its children to university, and that a family in the same situation today is not.
End very long parenthesis.
The second bollocks-causing aspect is a very ideological one. There is an excellent video on the topic of hikes that was done by the IRIS (Institut de recherche et d'informations socio-économiques, which means Institute of Socioeconomic Research and Information). Sadly, the video is in French, but I will offer a paraphrase of one of their points. The current problems are caused by two different visions of higher education. In one vision, the one held by the current government, the purpose of universities is to make research. Be careful, this means a specific kind of research: the one that is financed and praised by companies, for example pharmaceutics, to find ways to make lots of money very quickly. It is a university that serves capitalist interests, including those of its attendees, who are investing (actual money, not only time) not necessarily in their personal interests or in their society, but in their future "wallet", like true entrepreneurs.
The other vision is the one I hold. It is certainly held by at least some of the students taking part in the protests, but I cannot speak for all of them. For us, university serves a more social purpose. While it can definitely help prepare you for a paying job, it is not its only role. Its role is instead to transmit society's knowledge, its history, its culture (in the sense given to the word by social sciences: all that a society makes and uses to make things - languages, customs, art, etc.). University is thus an investment made not only by individuals, but by society as a whole. We decide that it is important to have universities of quality to transmit our cultural baggage, to better society as a whole and/or so that future generations can see what a fabulous place this is.
A second parenthesis: it might sound very patriotic, but it is not xenophobic. After all, it can be part of one's culture to believe that other cultures are also awesome, and that neither is truly "better" than others, they are merely different for a variety of factors. Besides, when I say that we transmit our culture and knowledge, it does not mean exclusively local ones. For starters, no culture is a closed space. They all absorb elements of other cultures. Think of it as transferring the whole of human knowledge rather than as Patrioversity 101: Why Places That Ain't Can'da Are Horrible, Eh?
This has been going on for longer than I expected, so this will become a series.
[Note: throughout this post, like in future ones, I use "university" as synonymous with upper education. This is not quite accurate in Quebec, where Cégeps take in part of the "job" done by universities elsewhere. I am using university simply because it is simpler and shorter.]
Hello there people and folkses! I'm going to update you in bullet points 'cause I want to do bullet points, so nah.
- Babysitting is suspended for the moment due to the next two points.
- Been fucking sick this week. It started with a little innocent-looking cold, then I started having a big throat ache and I threw up a lot. I hadn't thrown up in years, and I was fucking glad I hadn't because it's unpleasant, and it hits pretty damn straight into the almost-O of OCD for me (I don't have actual OCD, but I have "Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified", which includes tendencies towards OCD-like thingies). Vomit is huge trigger for me and, and let's just say I'm avoiding certain spots of the floor even after cleaning them. Yeah...I must admit something though: having it happen to me might actually have reduced the trigger-ness of it, as while it was in no way pleasant, it wasn't the End of the World.
- My sister and all the family were also sick recently. Last week it was a cold/flu thing, and this week both my niece and my brother-in-law got an indigestion (is that a word in English?) because of a cantaloup. I knew those fruits were evil. That and the fact that my sister was finishing school this week has quite changed their needs.
- I was doing phone calls for volunteering earlier this week, but then with my sickness I couldn't keep it up. It will have to wait next week, which pretty much guarantees that I won't be able to start actual work before next year.
- Next Sunday is totally Mario and I's second anniversary together!!!11!!1! 'Tis awesome and he's awesome and we're awesome and I'm actually super excited!
- My sister gets her cat shaven around twice per year. He has long hair and, because he's overweight, he has a particularly hard time cleaning himself properly, so he gets horrible knots and tangledthingies. I don't mind him getting shaven, but I pity him because those who do it perfume the poor thing. It's like replacing his ID card with a different one! My cat keeps sniffing him, wondering who the fuck is that cat who keeps acting and being treated like Tao, but can't possibly be Tao, because he smells so weird.
Quite a few things have changed in the past few months. I suppose it's those things that have made me regain interest in blogging.
First, I am far, far less interested in personal blogs than I used to be. I still read a few such blogs, like Jem's, but I'm not interested in starting to read new ones. This will surely reflect itself on the contents of this very blog. I will continue posting about my life, but it will not be the sole focus of this blog. As a side note, there will be no apologies from me for not blogging for x amount of time. I should hope none of you relies on my blog to continue a satisfying life.
Second, I have moved in with my sister. I used to live with her a few years ago. Things were quite different back then and I feel much better about myself now. I also have the pleasure of living with my cat again. I can also move about whenever I want and there are no rules against drinking alcohol or respecting a curfew. Of course, I still apply my usual respect for others by not yelling around the flat while my not-quite-3-year-old niece is sleeping.
Third, the aforementioned sister is pregnant. It's been less than two months now.
Fourth, in much sadder news, my godmother has passed away. She had had cancer a few years ago. It was gone, but then she went to Brazil and, upon returning, she felt great pain in her back. Turns out her cancer was back. She passed away in January. Naturally, it greatly saddens me. She was a wonderful person and I enjoyed visiting her. I spent a week or so with her every summer for a few years. I wish I could call her sometimes.
Fifth, I have been in a relationship for a bit over a year and a half now, since December 2009. He's a man named Mario. I met him while living in the house of crazies. We are not living together yet. I don't know if we ever will. We love each other, of course, but my own problems coupled with the fact that he is bipolar can cause occasional difficulties. We seldom argue, that's not the problem. It's his manic episodes that make any relationship difficult. I will probably speak more on the matter in a later post.
Sixth, I have spent a lot of time lately reading a lot of different blogs on lots of topics. Some are your regular thing-to-read-online like digg, others still are oriented towards science or social progress. I'll surely put up a list of blogs I enjoy eventually. Yes, that's two things I promised, but I really do have the intention of keeping up with this blog here. It's possible that there will be weeks during which I don't post at all, just like there could be multiple unrelated posts in a single day. It all depends on many factors.
First of all, everyone seems to be asking me "what bookmarks" whenever I refer to the delicious bookmarks. So, tell me, when you scroll down to the footer, can you see my latest delicious links? That's really all I'm referring to.
Anyway, on with the show.
I moved back into Montreal in August of last year (that would be 2009). I have briefly mentioned it before, but I still haven't gotten around to writing a post-moving entry.
The house in question is a nice, clean one. It's pretty large, being able to accommodate nine residents (all bedrooms are currently taken).
While living here isn't like living in your own apartment, it also is not at all like an asylum. We are free to come and go and we don't follow a strict schedule. There are however rules to follow, which were implemented for the good functioning of the house (and sometimes for the good of its special residents). For example, there is a curfew at midnight, after which we are expected to remain in our bedrooms. We can pee and things like that, of course, but no eating, listening to TV, etc. This can be a bit of a pain for someone like me, who's sleeping pattern is very unstable. On the other hand, that might help me keep a day schedule. Note the use of might, as it's nearing 2:00am right now.
On weekends, the curfew is extended to a lovely 1:00am. If you intend to go out and return home later, you must warn the counselor(s), so as not to find yourself sought for by the police.
We are allowed to rent movies for free on Fridays and Saturdays. Because we have different illnesses with different triggers, we are however limited to General movies (that's the rating for Everyone). Not even 13+, unless the counselor who is there at the time is kind enough to allow us to. No violence, no eroticism, not even sci-fi and fantasy (again, to be decided by the counselor). This is quite a bummer, as I personally get quickly tired of watching Disney movies.
I have a PlayStation 2 and a GameCube, but we are only allowed to play on the TV in the living room between 9 and 11am, and provided nobody wants to watch something. Fortunately for me, a fellow resident lets me use the TV in his bedroom. TV shows being watched are typically on Teletoon (a cartoon network), with no regards to the "erm, that's a profoundly stupid show aimed at mindless kids" factor.
That said, it's not actually such a pain to live here. It's true that sometimes some of us get a bit annoyed.I hate being woken up early (OK, I admit it, it was past noon, but I had gotten to bed past 7am) to "help develop my autonomy" by going to the fruit shop, when I have already lived in an apartment and never had problems buying food. Well, I had monetary problems, but those were from not having a big income, not from buying tons of popcorn.
As for the other residents, I generally have no problems with them. Some are extremely quiet, others more outgoing, but no one is violent or anything, and the very annoying one is gone.
Oh, and the biggest, most enormous downside, in my opinion, is the fact that I can't bring the furry one. That's horrible!
I am here. And God, do I hate this layout. I have a new one ready, but I couldn't get it online before this weekend.
So, where have I been? Well, just here, turning my computer on once in a while and playing Hearts.
I have returned to Montreal in August. I live in a residence for people with mental health problems. There are eight of us (nine when the other girl comes back from the hospital).
Once I got a table to put my computer on, I called a company to get an internet connection. They required a prepayment, so I did that, and faxed a confirmation. Then I waited. And waited. In the past month, I spoke with three or four different people from the company, had my order canceled a couple of times, was given two different appointments that were both canceled for various reasons, etc.
Their system just can't accept that multiple people living at the same address could want separate internet connections.
I finally got a connection with a different company, activated today. The guy worked around the system, so that, while the bill will be sent to my home address, it is written that I live next door.
I was bloody relieved when I turned my computer on and was signed in to MSN. AT LAST! Needless to say I am pissed at the other company and will obviously ask to get my prepayment back.
In the meantime, I have a new boyfriend. He is one of the residents here. I don't feel very well, rather depressed. And the web has gone on without me. I have many things to catch up on.
A couple of days ago, I was in the car with my mom, and the radio was playing. I can unfortunately not tell which station it was, I'd venture to say it was Espace Musique, but don't quote me on that. Anyway, they were giving a short interview to someone in regards to the possibility that the European market would open itself to transgenic food from North America, for example corn. The man said Europe is not very keen on buying transgenic food because it wants to protect its own market. I can't comment on that, I'm not in Europe. He however went on to add that "there is no scientific difference between transgenic food and non-transgenic food". If I had been eating anything that moment, it would certainly have flown out of my mouth faster than light.
Is this man completely stupid? He has just killed whatever credibility he might have had: the idea behind transgenic food is that is has been modified using science. I wonder if this should be taken into a larger context, where conservatism tends to see science as that Other thing, the thing that doesn't really concern us because it's all theories and calculations and stuff that doesn't apply to Us. What does science have to do with our food, anyway?
As for the good news, they have nothing to do with European economics. I am moving back out of my parents' home around mid-August. I will be living in a home for speshol peepel. I'm not quite sure what the correct expression would be in English, but basically it is a home under supervision by counselors. Up to 9 people can live there at any given time.
I will be paying a pension. It is more expensive than a regular renting would be for one person, but it includes food, electricity, furniture, etc. Meals are prepared by the counselors, although we are welcome to help. We must all contribute to the maintenance of the home (cleaning, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, etc.).
My goal is to increase my autonomy. For example, I haven't washed a bath in years, simply because I am unable to. I know how, obviously, but I have a complete blocking due to ewness. The kind that makes me scrub my hands until they get infected.
Oh, and the place I'll be living is in a nice area of Montreal.