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If I Were In a Support Group

Pieces of My Mind

by MISSY BEATTIE

My name’s Missy and I’m a piñata of anxieties. This is what I’d say if I were in a support group.

Yes, I’m thinking still of Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox. Over the weekend, I received an email from Hans at Angola 3 News. He’d read my article about Wallace and Woodfox. When I checked Tuesday’s email, I had another from him with photos from Wallace’s memorial and a link to this site. Among the images is a picture of a mural and banner on a bike path, a bike path just a few blocks from my apartment. Midmorning, I ran in place in front of the banner, staring at these words: “HERMAN WALLACE R.I.P. FREE ALBERT WOODFOX”.

Last week, I sat in my doctor’s office and told her about Wallace and Woodfox. Wallace’s words in the hours before he died, “I am free, I am free.” Told her Woodfox was allowed to say goodbye to Wallace, who was freed by a federal judge, but then Woodfox was returned to solitary confinement. Has been in solitary confinement for 41 years. In other words, tortured.

“You’re depressed,” she said. I thought of that bumper sticker: IF YOU’RE NOT OUTRAGED YOU’RE NOT PAYING ATTENTION”. That it should be altered, substituting DEPRESSED for OUTRAGED.

She wrote a referral for therapy, handed it to me, and when I looked at it, at “Reason”, I saw “Anxiety and PTSD”.

PTSD? Wouldn’t this be insulting to people who live daily with war, with the possibility/likelihood of a US drone attack, an affront to troops who see their buddies’ bloody body parts explode from an IED, offensive to children whose trust has been shattered by abuse? PTSD?

Last Sunday, I watched a video from the “Million Vet March on the Memorials”. Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch called for a nonviolent revolution.

I don’t disagree with this. Because if we even raise a fist in defiance of the corporatocracy, the militarized police will be pumping us with bullets. Imagine your car’s backfiring near the White House and think of Miriam Carey. Soon, the highlight of Obama’s week, the Tuesday Who’s-Going-to-Get-Droned Gala, could expand to Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday as he adds outraged and depressed domestic insurgents to his kill list.

But when Klayman demanded that Obama put down his Quran and the tea partiers cheered, I wanted to remind him that a person’s religion or lack thereof is supposed to be constitutionally protected. But then so is the right to privacy. According to Glenn Greenwald, we can expect new revelations about the NSA’s grasping reach, but it remains to be seen if the seriousness of any of the violations will matter to Americans who right now are riveted by the shutdown show.

Oh, my, I’m disturbed about so much. All that radiation leaking from Fukushima’s nuclear power plant, and as I write, a typhoon is roaring its way to Fukushima, the plant in its path.

I’m disturbed by the system, the government of the United States, owned by Big Greed. I’m disturbed by my own participation, paying taxes that fund war. I’m disturbed by war.

I’m disturbed that we’re not listening to the voice of our ecosystem.

I. Am. Disturbed. Disordered. But it’s not post. It’s plopped, smack dab in the during of stress. There’s a line under “the during”, but I’m not correcting.

Monday, I read that more than 6,000 people have been killed in attacks across Iraq this year. Early October, four US troops were killed in Afghanistan and someone wrote that this war is forgotten in the United States. No mention of Afghans. Is this compassion fatigue, outrage fatigue?

And there was that early October party for Dick Cheney. I think about our nanny “leadership” and former “leaders” who gather, partying, toasting and roasting, stuffing their pie holes and egos while amusing each other with waterboarding jokes. Yes, Cheney and friends are as funny as a Grandma Fletcherin’ funeral.

Tuesday, this arrived in my inbox—a YouTube of Congressman Chris Van Hollen’s attempt to extract an explanation for a resolution passed just prior to the shutdown. The resolution grants only Eric Cantor or his designee the right to call for the government to open.

It’s Tuesday night, and I’ve just returned from a yoga class, guided meditation and practical teaching in solving problems in daily life. I felt more agitated during the two breathing exercises than I did before I arrived, probably because the instructor mentioned having an awareness of all the terrible events throughout the world but training the mind to attain balance. He was so calm, I wanted to slap him and scream, “If you don’t have PTSD, you’re meditating too much.”

Wednesday, I’m submitting these pieces of my mind. And then I’m going to sit in a chair, here at home, and try to meditate. Because I don’t want to start drinking before 4:30 or 5:00.

Missy Beattie has written for National Public Radio and Nashville Life Magazine. She was an instructor of memoirs writing at Johns Hopkins’ Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Baltimore. Email: missybeat@gmail.com.