Public Comment

ON MENTAL WELLNESS: The Battle of Defending Ourselves from the Attacks of the Privileged

Jack Bragen
Saturday January 28, 2023 - 04:18:00 PM

When I left high school, I was saddened to discover that the group of sorry individuals who harassed, defamed, and bullied me in public school were still around, wanted more, and couldn't give it a rest. Much of the time, it seems as though bullies never relent, and often are quite tenacious. It isn't good enough that they humiliated me for years when I was in that prison system that we call public school; they needed more.

To this day it seems as though there are some who cannot handle the concept that I could become a success in life. To stop these boneheads from continuing to defame me and find other ways to disrupt my progress, at some point I will need to invent a deterrent. I'm thinking about it. Partly, I need a way of pinpointing the responsible individual(s). It seems as though many of the problems are delivered with anonymous methods. I won't be specific. You'll just have to take my word for it, or not. 

Those who can't handle it when someone else does well, are everywhere. And they don't easily give up. I became ill in my late teens in part because of the level and quantity of harassment I experienced. Looking back on it, it was humiliating, and it was constant. But it was not the worst thing that could happen to someone. 

Life got harder when I got older. I wanted to be successful in some sort of acceptable career. It didn't matter so much what it was. Writing is the profession I finally decided on. Time will tell whether I achieve my goals in this profession. 

But for anything I try, I am battling against someone or something. My symptom of delusions has a way of causing me to personalize everything. And I am only now developing a good system for understanding events. This will allow me to understand more of why so many people get offended, have been offended, and continue to be offended by the fact that I am alive and living among them. 

I went to the Nob Hill supermarket this morning to get some food and some flowers for my wife. Police, by coincidence, left the store at the same time I did. I wondered about it. Did someone at the store summon police because a mentally ill man was shopping there? Many people seem to know who I am and to report to their comrades that I was spotted in public, at a specific place and time. I've gotten phone calls of people asking me why I was at a particular place where I'd been spotted. It seems I am unpopular among many. And they seem to presume criminality. 

Not only am I fodder for sadistic people in positions of influence, but also my very existence is so offensive as to be a crime. I'm targeted among those who believe they are trying to protect the community from big bad wolves like me. 

Are people afraid of me? I look in the mirror and I don't get scared. When people see me, they don't seem to see an intelligent person. Something about how I'm coming across makes people incorrectly believe I'm a thug. The reality is that you cannot judge a book by its cover, and you should not try to judge a person by their physical appearance, by their mannerisms, and by their choices in clothing. 

I'm mentally ill. In years past I have wandered the streets in Martinez and Concord while in a psychotic state. Did people's interpretations of these events create a precedent? 

I shouldn't let it get to me, but it does. The fact of wanting to be a more successful writer is affected by all of this, because I don't know what individuals could be interfering by how much, or by what their methods might be. 

The privileged are uninformed about many things from which their money insulates them. They don't understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of the abuses that poor people go through. The U.S. Government harasses poor people who, to survive, must obtain medical and cash benefits. And in return for this, there are endless hoops to jump through, some of which border on harassment. The rich resent that their tax dollars pay for the bare necessities for poor people. But if you don't want your tax money spent on this, you must create a level playing field so that someone can succeed based on their work and not on any other criteria. 

People are discriminated against because they didn't go to college and learn to regurgitate college-type material. People are discriminated against because in their pasts, they made dumb mistakes that you won't let us forget about. People discriminate against us because we are not of their faith or lack thereof, and not wealthy. 

A person can educate oneself. It is done partly by asking questions. And it can be done by other means--observation and reasoning, or maybe studying a manual. You need not be Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, what-have-you, to behave according to some level of ethics--on the contrary. Some Christians seem to believe they can do whatever they want because they are "forgiven." I don't forgive you. But you are welcome to apologize. 


Jack Bragen is author of "Revising Behaviors that Don't Work," and lives in Martinez.