Today I recognize why folks treating forced mask mandates and forced isolation mandates as a huge victory for humanity hurts so deeply.

Peers are killing themselves because the forced isolation – at home and in public – is bringing forth suicidal actions only triggered by isolation. Spend any time with peers and you’ll learn just how quickly suicidal symptòms manifest in isolation. If you’re a peer, there’s no need for explanation.

And peers who live with the everyday challenge of addiction are falling to their demon because of forced isolation. Peers who had held addiction in check until being forced to be alone, they are using again and overdoses are always the fatal risk.

Get this straight: Forced masks are every bit as isolating as forced “shelter in place.” Half a face is like walking amongst mannequins. Peers tell me they’re lonelier in public than at home. Peers continue to plead for understanding from humans deafened by the rhetorical braying of “Just wear your damned mask!”

So when someone says “I went to the store and am so happy everyone is required to wear a mask, or no entry!”, and they treat this Big Win like a celebtation, I hurt. In every way.

This Celebration of Righteous Delivery is an unintentiional celebration of peer deaths, peer addiction, and peer overdoses.

Too many suicides, too many overdoses, too much avoidable pain and loss.

So celebrate forced isolation and social distancing, robbing the peers most at risk from the human connection they need most to stay alive and healthy. Celebrate forced isolation behind a dehumanizing mask. This is a Big Win for sure. Everyone wins.

We do what we can at STS and still can’t do enough. Zoom groups are good, but they are not the same human connection living and sharing space with those who get you.

We had our second longtime support group member kill themselves since social isolation and social distancing was forced upon us. This peer came to group every week to stay alive. This resonates very deeply. On October 14, 2010, I went to peer support group and was able to live week to week so I wouldn’t isolate, so I wouldn’t kill myself. I did this for two months. And I’m alive because group was there when I needed people. That we closed our in person groups, and that I did nothing to find a way to keep our groups going… my emotions right now are too chaotic to explain. It’s tough not feeling shame and responsibility.

So you know, my Dad came all the way from California and kept me safe from myself awaiting non-essential eye surgery. In the real world, my surgery would have happened in days, not six weeks.

I was at home alone, blind, unable to hike or run daily (endorphins are critical to my mental wellness), friends hesitant to visit… my Dad is 80 years old and loves me so much he drove 800 miles from the Pacific Coast of SoCal because by plane to New Mexico he would be forced to quarantine for two weeks.

My Dad is 80 years old. Incredibly high risk of C19 infection and death. And he came anyway.

Because someone (my Dad) wouldn’t allow forced mandates to kill his son. Because he values me, unlike these politicians who care not about anything real.

My Dad drove 800 miles because he knows isolation depression leads to suicide for me.

My nine friends who have died by their own hand didn’t have a dad like my Dad. They were truly isolated and alone.

It’s not trendy or fashionable to acknowledge this fatal harm to peers. How do you come to terms when – like small local businesses – you are deemed non-essential? Because that’s what this is. Non-essential humans. Acceptable sacrifice. Only we were never asked if we wanted to sacrifice our health and our lives. How is this allowed to happen? Where is the humanity?

Get this straight: People die because of COVID-19 and never get infected with the virus. Be in touch with your humanity and realize there’s more than one way to perish from C19.

Be in touch with your humanity and realize there’s more than one way to suffer from forced social isolation.

Forced mask mandates kill.

I hurt today, made all the worse by finally understanding why I hurt.


Dedicated to Amanda Jenson who wore me down and now I’m a writer.