On our way home from his therapy appointment today, Carter and I stopped at a red light at the bottom of a freeway off-ramp. Since freeway on-and-off-ramps are popular spots for panhandling, neither of us was surprised to see a young man there. His jacket and pants were grime encrusted; his face and hands were dark from sun and dirt. Most notably, he was carrying on an animated conversation with someone no one could see but him.
Carter watched him silently for a moment, then said, “He’s talking to his little guys, I think.” Little guys is what Carter calls all of his visual creature-like hallucinations.
“Yes, I think so.”
Carter grew quiet again, watching the man and twisting his hair around one of his fingers. “He must not have the right kind of medicine to make the little guys go away,” and he paused, frowning, before he whispered, “I feel sad about that.”
I imagine that the young man’s mom feels sad about that, too.
I wonder if the young man’s mom (or dad, brother, aunt, teacher, or friend) felt rage roiling in her chest when she read yet another news article today about massive mental health budget cuts in almost every US state.
I wish the lawmakers who are gutting state mental health budgets could have seen my son today. I wish they could have seen the terrible understanding dawn on his face.
There are no disposable people. We just act as if there are.