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Travis Lujan


I want to scream, take this mask of “Blissful Hindu Cow” off and smash someone’s face into a wall. Good morning! Welcome to med-line! Because waking up next to a toilet isn’t bad enough, I get the luxury of being subjected to blatant disregard of my personal needs as well as wholesale disrespect from my peers. 

I don’t take my mental health meds anymore; not because they do not work, not because I do not need them; I do not take them because to do so requires putting myself in a toxic situation that exasperates the need for the medication.

Uroboros, a snake eating its own tail. Self-fulfilling prophecies, an endless cycle of mental trauma. Wake up, get called late. Rush to stand in a line. Get cut in line by someone who thinks they are better than you. Entertain thoughts of ADA equipment-assisted violence. Then be forced to choose: work or meds?

Always work. I am treated as a human being at work. There are no lines at work. No one pretending to be injured so they are first to chow at work. I don’t want to scream anymore, it’s like being free again. Work release, if you will. But it is because it is a skilled job. I had to prove my worth to get eight hours of reprieve four days a week.

I gave up a toxic relationship between myself and the med-line so I could feel human 32 hours a week. Because med-line is only one example of how every other hour is spent in prison.

Wake up, get herded like cattle, talked to like children, abused by the abused, go to bed. Rinse and repeat. My medication was supposed to help me process overwhelming emotions and situations, instead it facilitated a constant bombardment of unmanageable situations. The idea of hosting my own impromptu “thunderdome” with an old man who smacked me with his cane as he ran past became a meditative state. Giving him a reason to need medical treatment became my mental moment of zen. That is not healthy. 

My concerns fell on deaf ears. Excuses fell out of staff’s mouths like coins out of a slot machine: covid, other staff not doing their job, lack of staff, etc. Never any ownership, never initiative. 

So I took my own, I won’t die if I don’t take my psych meds, but someone else will if I have to wait in that line. Insanity is repeatedly doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I am not going to feed into the insanity. 

Painting by Gwynne Duncan 

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