The Barbarism of Bedlam


The Barbarism of Bedlam

“San Luis Obispo County, CA — Terrifying video of an in-custody death has recently been released confirming police officers tortured a man for days in a restraint chair and then laughed as he spent his final moments alive suffering in agony in his jail cell.”

I didn’t post the video because it was so graphic and horrifying. The photos alone capture and reflect the abject cruelty carried out by alleged human beings whose job it is to “protect and serve.”

How do people become so devoid of compassion that they can take sadistic pleasure in inflicting suffering upon a vulnerable human being?

Rhetorical question. The further I advance in years, and, hopefully, accumulated wisdom, the less surprised I am by the unspeakable things that we humans do to one another.

As I grow older, more experienced, more spiritual, and less self-centered, the less I fear dying.

But as a person with a serious mental illness, Bipolar Disorder, it is terrifying to think that I could be swept into a nightmare scenario with barbarians behind badges.

In a society that warehouses hundreds of thousands of mentally ill persons in jails and prisons, untold numbers of us are abused, tortured or killed, by other inmates or poorly trained or conscienceless staff members. And just being in jail or prison causes a deterioration of mental health. Incarceration is hell for a person with mental illness.

Despite having Bipolar Disorder, despite having traversed many stormy seas the in my 51 years, despite having had many harrowing experiences, and despite three different rock bottoms, I am blessed. Not only to be alive with 8 years of quality one-day-at-a-time stability. But also to have effective coping skills, medications, a strong support network, good therapy, and a spiritual foundation that keep the mania and impulsivity that could easily leave me vulnerable to sadists at bay.

Fortunate as I am, I still have to work a rigorous regimen to stay stable and spiritually fit. Part of what motivates me is fear of becoming highly vulnerable in a society that hasn’t shed the Barbarism of Bedlam.

Prayers for all of my less fortunate brothers and sisters in mental illness.

(Andrew Holland’s death was on 22 January 2017. He had Schizophrenia. God rest his soul).

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