People who equate truth with fact are missing the point.

Sad About That

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.

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17 comments to Sad About That

  • I love your son’s insight and understanding. It’s beautiful.

    It makes me sick when I see the lack in the medical system (in Canada too!) for that helping hand. I don’t understand.

  • It really is heartbreaking and the cold shoulder from society makes it hurt even more.

  • That makes me sad too. It’s terrible that people go without. No government should allow its people to be without basic necessities and healthcare.

  • that makes me feel sad, too, carter.

    so fractured, such a huge issue, this whole healthcare business. the hospital i’ve worked at for 5 1/2 years is closing. it’s the only healthcare a lot of people in this teeny tiny used up town ever get. i’ve saved lives and birthed babies. i’ve given compassion and medicine and at least a few hours of peace to many people with not the right meds to make their “little guys” go away. and i’m left wondering how in the world they can do this? how can they turn their backs?

    • As long as healthcare is operated as business-for-profit, this is what it will look like. It will be unjust.

      I don’t blame the corporations (though I despise them in my bones), but the voters and lawmakers who continue to make it so.

  • What an amazing amount of empathy Carter showed. WOW! It’s hard for little kids to connect that way.

    And, it is sad when we treat other humans beings like they’re not important or disposable. Beyond sad, really.

  • What a lucky kid, to have you for a mom.

  • Carter is amazing to see and understand that situation.

    I have been broken into pieces over the dilemma of “acting like people are disposable”.

    My daughter recently has a new chiropractor that her dad took her to see. And she told her that there was no such thing as childhood mental illness (and bipolar disorder specifically.


    She told her all the medication I had given her over the years has damaged her body in terrible ways.


    sorry to come over here and whine

    that is all

    • I don’t know how to communicate speechless stammering with a keyboard.

      This shit happens all the time. I know that; it’s happened to ME. But still.

      Is your daughter OK? I mean, does she understand? Or is this leading her to question you and the choices you have made (even more than she already did, I’m sure; all our kids question us, whether they’re ill or not)?


  • Ripping my heart…had a weekend home visit with our teen son who is in residential psychiatric treatment. Seeing “the terrible understanding” in his eyes, hearing it in his voice…the most pain I have ever experienced.

    Thank you for being a voice for many.

  • Beautiful post as always! So sad that anyone would find any life disposable. ALL life is precious!

  • that is sad. terribly sad. our priorities boggle my mind sometimes.

    carter is impressively sensitive and empathetic. so sweet!

  • I’m bursting at the seams over Carter’s ability to empathize with another person with mental health challenges…and saddened over how many people are suffering greatly because of lack of access to the right kind of care. Over how many people are completely misunderstood because of the lack of information available about mental health issues. At A’s last psych appointment I was looking at all the brochures there with information on bipolar, schizophrenia, ADD, etc. I thought it was kind of ironic that they were readily available at the counseling center – where the only people likely to read them are people who are more than well aware of the particulars of these conditions. They need to be handing these out in the grocery stores, the libraries, the bus stops.

  • All the budget cuts that all states are making that are at the expense of people.


    but this? this makes me sad too, carter.

  • CDG

    oh, sweet, sad insightful boy…

    my heart hurts, which I know isn’t enough.

  • […] so for Carter. We do know that he has put together a few things (like the fact that among his medicines are some that are meant to make the “little guys”…), but he refuses to let us tell him more. His therapist says this anti-curiosity could be a result […]

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