Thanks, I guess, for so eloquently illustrating my point about the dearth of fellow feeling in America today.

I don’t expect you to pay for my health care, this isn’t my point at all. FYI I’ve been paying for insurance I can seldom afford to use every single month since I’ve arrived in the U.S.

While this has covered some basics it won’t cover extensive therapy. However, medication is dirt cheap (thanks to my insurance) and I could just about afford to be drugged up to the eyeballs had I chosen to go down that route. I have not, for reasons I’ll undoubtedly explore here or elsewhere at a later date. Medication can work wonders for some people, but, unfortunately perhaps, I’m not among them. Also, medication requires ongoing medical support and a relationship of trust with one or several medical practitioners. When some practitioners are motivated by Big Pharma kickbacks, such a relationship can be difficult to establish in the first place.

Despite my reduced circumstances, I’m well aware that my having insurance is a privilege in this country. My argument is that good health — and by extension health care — is a basic human right. The rest of the world agrees. This means not leaving anyone behind, ever. I have no problem whatsoever paying into a system that ensures someone who can’t pay still gets the same level of care as I do. This is basic fucking human decency. On a more individualistic note this means that I, too, can get well whether I’m unable to pay or not. For a concrete example of this check out the UK’s National Health Service, the brainchild of Labour politician Aneurin Bevan. The NHS revolutionized British health.

Also, far from me the thought of demonizing suicide. To me, it is a personal choice. However, it seldom is a rational one. My point, again, is that by being open about mental health, we can save lives. If societal attitudes shift and mental health issues are not longer stigmatized, suicide will eventually lose its appeal as the only form of relief there is.

And nope, I do not use depression to shirk my responsibilities as a member of society. I do not hide behind my illness. I do not regard myself as a victim, and I believe that saying this is what folks with mental health issues do is very disingenuous. And stigmatizing. I’m sorry you don’t seem to be able to muster any compassion toward fellow humans in pain or toward the departed ones for whom suicide became the one and only option.

As for Anthony Bourdain, I find your comments churlish and horrid. Really. And yet, I’d strongly advise you to read his nonfiction and fiction work for a better idea of why it is so many of us around the world are feeling a very deep sense of loss for someone we had never met. Few people seem willing to admit they know fuck all and yet constantly try to educate themselves — and others — about what it means to be a human in the world. But he did.

Thanks for introducing me to Thomas Szasz though. I had never heard of him but it looks like I may benefit from reading some of his work.

FWIW I wrote the above with a heavy heart because, no matter how much evidence to the contrary is presented to me, I refuse to accept that, deep down, America might truly be as ruthless and unforgiving as it feels.


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