This is probably a stupid post and I am probably going to regret it. A lot of people have asked me for an explanation about why I have decided to leave the “movement.” Every body has been way past kind but several people talked about not seeing it coming and feeling blindsided. I have written this post 4 times and deleted it 3 times and maybe this will meet the cut I don’t know.
I felt like I owed no one any further explanation (and still feel that way) but one person asked me a different question, “What about yourself? Did you get it all said? Are you at peace?”
So here goes. If you actually see this then maybe there was more.
I am extremely sorry to leave but extremely glad I have. With the possible exception of fighting for health care reform in Tennessee I have never thrown my heart into something I cared about so much. I have never met so many people that I so admired so much and thought so highly of their intelligence and gifts.
After a lot of soul searching and debate I realized that something I hated had happened. I had lost my faith in our ability to survive ourselves. The turf battles seemed endless and unmovable. The easy cruelty we showed each other had almost got to the point it seemed natural and expected. I had a hard time picking one side against another and I never got the feeling that we could find one side.
In everything I say right now I hope I am wrong. I hope I am embarrassingly, stupidly wrong. I will be delighted to eat pounds and pounds of crow. But I fear I am not and cant get past the honesty.
I have no reason to be angry at anyone. On balance I was treated far better than I have seen many others be treated and believe it or not I am not trying to make anyone mad. Some things badly need to change in our culture and the mental health system in particular , some things badly need to be better. A difference needs to be made. And right now I just don’t see us being part of that difference. I don’t think that the movement as a movement, despite the immense gifts of many of the people in it, has a capacity for effective advocacy. We are much clearer about what we are against than what we are for. And I really have begun to doubt how effective that is as a long term strategy.Particularly after seeing the last Murphy vote in the House, despite again great effort from many people, I wonder if our movement is not irrelevant in Washington. I fear it is in most state legislatures.
After reading this I thought some people would wonder if I was a coward or quitter or taking the easy way out. Those who know me at all know I am neither a coward or quitter. And despite what anybody might think this is not the easy way out. It is like hitting your head on the wall time after time and finally stopping. Someone comes up and asks why have you stopped. “Are you afraid of the wall?” Slowly you answer, “No I just don’t want to anymore.”
Part of my reason is in a way selfish. Life for me right now is hard. I am beginning to believe I will always swim with the alligators. I have to do a much better job taking care of me and it is a tremendous sorrow to realize this is no longer taking care of me. I am far from indispensable, far from essential and I am confident someone else will carry my small load better than I ever did.
I have no great answers, no great advice. Things in the end are what we make of them and my prayer is in the capable hands of many this movement will make the difference it needs so bad to make.
I don’t know if this post is needed or not. It may just be beating a dead horse but maybe it was a horse I needed to beat. I don’t like anything I said and if you want to tell me I am wrong that is okay (you may hear me applauding in the background). If it helps you to understand I am glad. I think it has helped me. In the end the only real function this post may have is for me to talk to me. Please share it with others if you think it makes a difference. If not that is okay.
I wish all of you luck and great success. I hope it becomes all I hoped it would be and more.