The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry

Posted: 12 May 2014
Updated: 12 December 2017

Two myths busted: embassy and hospital solutions

The embassy will help you: Myth busted

I went to the embassy today: they cannot help me. The woman, who knew nearly nothing about me and after speaking to me for less than five minutes, said, “If I were you, I would have gone to Europe first, not Egypt.”

Wow. I’m surprised when people who know me and have some familiarity with my life decide to pronounce, “Hunter you should have …”, but this woman had no idea yet she was confident I was wrong.

She made some other statement that follows the formula, “Hunter, the solution was/is for you to do [something],” and her statement was equally ignorant of my circumstances, but I cannot remember it right now. If I remember, maybe I will update this.

The hospital will help you: Myth busted

I went back to the hospital today. This is the best psychiatric hospital in Egypt: they work with the WHO, they advertise their amazing, and free services, and they really are the most well-funded psychiatric hospital in Egypt and possibly anywhere except South Africa.

The last time I was there, they explicitly told me they could help me with:

On their website, they tout their inpatient services (the patient lives at the hospital). Through private channels, I was assured that I could get inpatient services there. Considering that my mental illness has lead to homelessness, I’m exactly the type of patient that needs inpatient services.

Today, I spoke with the doctor. No inpatient services: 100% absolute impossibility. No free Effexor or therapy. No prescriptions for, and certainly not free, Xanax or laprazolam (or any other benzodiazepine). He gave me a new medicine, for free, which is good, but it’s a tricyclic and besides all of the normal problems that come with tricyclics, I’ve never tried a tricyclic before.

His major advice: get a job because he doesn’t have the money or resources to help me. I asked him, “Where will I sleep?” He said, “This is Egypt. We don’t have the resources to help you.” Unlike the woman at the embassy, he knew my situation; he knows that I am disabled, but he explicitly said that he couldn’t do anything else.

I somewhat wish I had busted these myths sooner

I’ve lost friends and support from people because they were confident that one of the two actions above would magically solve my problems. I knew the limitations, so I did not waste what little energy and strength I have on those solutions.

After I left the hospital today, I wondered if I had tried the above things sooner, and proved that they would fail, if I would now have more support. I mean, I tell people that most Egyptians mistake me for an Egyptian until they speak to me: and most people do not believe me. I live my life; I know what is happening in my life. I know that people ask me for directions and then are shocked when I answer them in broken Arabic or English and gestures. Why do I have to prove this to anyone? Of all of the things to disbelieve about my life, why do people not accept the simple claim that Egyptians believe I look Egyptian?

Since most people do not believe that simple claim, it is not surprising that most people do not believe most of my other claims, such as the hospital here is a waste of time and the embassy is a waste of time.

What if, however, instead of saying that those things were a waste of time, I had acted and wasted my time? If I had wasted my time and proved they were a waste, would more people believe me about more things? Would more people have been willing to support me? Would I have been able to avoid my current crisis?

I do not like the idea that the best path to getting support from others might have been to purposely waste my time, to purposely hurt my situation, so that I would gain the trust of other people. That seems really screwed up to me.

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