When Things Aren’t As They Are

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This is more of a mental health post, but it does start off with other subject matter.

I’d heard today that Donald Trump and some of his attorneys were fined about $1,000,000. A short version of what happened can be found here in this video. The gist is that a Federal judge down in Florida issued the fines after defendants requested sanctions. This is a big deal, not only because it comes from a judge, but also because the judge went into detailing how the former president is basically abusing the court system to make money.

As soon as I’d heard about it, I realized my parents had given to the Republican Party a decade ago. This means they’re on Republican donor lists. I didn’t know whether they might also be on Trump’s lists as well. So, not wanting them to be blindsided by requests from the president for cash, I told them about it. Their response: this probably isn’t real.

Why this is, in fact, real.

To have a judge outline a pattern of abuse and potential fraud is unheard of in this kind of situation. As per the Legal Eagle video linked above, most lawyers know when they can’t win – even some of the dumbest ones. What this means in practice is that most lawyers – even some of the dumbest ones – will quit before another lawyer can ask for sanctions. And, even if a lawyer won’t quit, that lawyer still gets a three week notice letter to think it over. I cannot stress this enough: even some of the dumbest lawyers will retract a blatantly unwinnable case.

And no, I’m not talking about cases that are just borderline or the lawyer doesn’t like. I’m referring to cases that, in a legal context, simply do not exist. Think of a case like a ham sandwich. You’re asking a judge to say it’s a ham sandwich. If you don’t have any ham in that sandwich, you’re not going to ask someone else to say there is.

In the full 46-page order granting sanctions, Judge Middlebrooks went into detail how Donald Trump has been abusing courts. But the judge here did something extra. He also went into the implications of why the case was bad for the U.S. justice system, the public, and anyone depending upon the integrity of courts. All of the facts supporting Judge Middlebrooks’ assertions are outlined in the order, which you can read for yourself here (link obtained from this AP news article). I cannot stress enough that what Judge Middlebrooks puts forward in his order happened, some of it even happening on camera.

Why this is a big deal for me.

People who are familiar with me know that I am diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Specifically, I have persistent thoughts which either drive me to panic about things, or, drive me to believe in very negative and untrue things about myself. I live with a constant struggle of having to remind myself that worrying isn’t productive, and that maybe I should be near the people around me despite feeling like I’m unwanted or not needed.

So, I mention this to say that I have no shortage of instances where I believe things that haven’t been true in the past. Maybe I didn’t go to a family function because I believed my presence wasn’t necessary or desired. Or maybe I got worked up about something so badly that I started shaking, unable to control my thoughts. Because of all of these things, I don’t need people telling me things that aren’t true.

I think that’s why it upsets me so much. People around me have this tendency to minimize reality. Perhaps they mean well. Most often, it comes across as patronizing. I know some of that is because of my faulty brain chemistry. But some of it also is because of people just acting without considering those actions. And it only gets magnified when I can point to why I’m right to be worried or saddened or concerned.

The anger is also more than just anger, I think.

After taking some time to cool off and write this, I discovered that my anger serves an additional function. It keeps me distracted from other things going on in the moment. The most profound of which is my overwhelming disappointment.

The people who taught me that I can’t believe everything I’m told on TV are, in fact, believing everything they’re told on TV. They’d rather insinuate that I’m a liar, stupid, or just crazy than deal with a potential hazard. More than this, I’m disappointed that some of their friends might be in danger of losing money, and my parents might not warn them about the danger.

To be fair, they probably don’t want to have happen to them what they did to me. Still, it’s small consolation that strangers are going to be giving money to someone who is just asking for it under false pretenses. I suppose this is where my anxiety is at its most dangerous: situations where there is real tragedy occurring, and having no ability to stop it.

I don’t despise my parents or begrudge them for their views. I am well aware that we do not see the world the same way. Even when they remind me of how little they think of my ideas. Often, what is mocked is what is also least understood.

But I’m not always able to handle it. And so, I write my thoughts out here, in the hopes that the sunlight of reason might poke through the clouds of depression and anxiety.