What day is it? It’s Crisis Saturday! Yeah!

Today’s crisis: no modafinil. This medicine is my primary source of dopamine. I take 100 mg, three times per day. The tablets are 200 mg and scored to easily break in half. The best price is at Farmacias del Ahorro if I jump through some hoops. Options:

Box size Days of medicineCost in MXN pesos
74 2/3357
149 1/3687
2818 2/31343

My money and my loyalty reward credit:

  1. Cash: MXN$620
  2. PayPal: US$71.70 (~MXN$1350)
  3. Store credit: MXN$349

I have been fortunate for the last two and for the next few days that I am sleeping on a family’s floor. I can shower and do laundry. The wife’s sister-in-law plans to give me a haircut today. (For the homeless, a haircut is expensive but important. The more disheveled we appear, the more that people are afraid of us and treat us as third-class citizens or sub-human.) They have also fed me good food, which helps my nutrition and saves money.

If I buy the smallest box, I will have another modafinil crisis five days from now. If I buy the largest box, I will have less than MXN$1000, and that will create a different crisis. I am still without diazepam because I must prioritize it as #5 on my medicines list. If I could buy it, the cost would be MXN$339 for 20 days of medicine. In six days, I will need bupropion, which costs MXN$289 for five days of medicine. In eight days, I will need venlafaxine, which costs MXN$127 for 10 days of medicine. I have also been fortunate that three or four people have been extremely kind to me and given me all of the other medicines I take. Nevertheless, if I have less than MXN$1000, then in a few days, I will need to choose between buying medicine and buying food.

And as I have written before, these medicines are only enough for me to somewhat cope with my medical problems. Now that I know the biochemical problems, I can choose medicines based on their biochemical effects (instead of trial and error) and that will 1) be better for coping and 2) start me on the path to curing my medical conditions. But I cannot change my medicines unless I am in a safe place for a few weeks because the transition will be extremely difficult and will literally include physical pain. Furthermore, as with all transitions, I need money for the transition itself. Then I need two or three more weeks to find the right dosage levels and when I should take the pills. (For example, if I take venlafaxine without food, I will have stomach pain that puts me in the fetal position.)

I should tell you how I met all of the people who have helped me recently. The last time I begged in the street with a sign and a cup, it was humiliating and I received MXN$20 (~US$1) in three hours. I sat and repaired my backpack and pants during that time. I did not meet any of these people at that time.

Because of the humiliation and the futility, I have not begged in the street since then. When people see a homeless person, they usually assume he is a criminal or dangerous. I put a lot of effort into adjusting 1) my appearance, 2) my behavior, and 3) where I sit and sleep as much as I can adjust those things so that people are less threatened by my presence. (Sometimes, merely sitting in the wrong place will cause someone to call the police, call private security, or for them to confront me themselves. Every time that has happened I had to leave where I was sitting. Much more often, the place I am sleeping will cause a reaction and I will have to leave.)

In the last couple of weeks, despite my attempts to sit in places where I am “invisible” and despite trying to keep my actions low key so no one has a reason to pay attention to me, many people have seen me. I was not conscious of these things, but my body language, my facial expressions, and my demeanor clearly expressed to other people that I was (am) distraught. Many people have approached me and with deep concern, asked me (in Spanish), “Are you alright?”

After I talk to them a little, a few of those people respond the way most people online respond: they tell me that my situation is my fault and “all you have to do is…” Believe in God. Get a job. Ask some (magical) organization for help. Ask my family for help. (Ha!) Ask my government for help. Overcome my problems. They assume that I have not done whatever they are suggesting and they are sure I am homeless because I failed to do the right thing. Those people never help me. They think they have helped me because they think they gave me excellent advice (and a small wooden cross).

Most people are able to see that I am in a hole that I cannot escape without help. They always find some way to help me. Buy me a MXN$20 hot dog or give me their pocket change. A few of those people generously expend serious effort to understand my precise needs and which of those needs they can address. That is how I have been fortunate to have most medicines I use. It is also how I have been able to sleep inside for two days.

Let me summarize: the majority of the people who have helped me recently saw me when I was trying to be invisible and unremarkable, but they correctly interpreted my appearance to mean that I was (am) in extreme distress. 

How many times have you seen a homeless person in such distress that you approached him to learn if you could help him? I am grateful for the help they have generously given to me, but I am deeply ashamed that my life is such that my despair is obvious to total strangers from a different culture than mine.

If you can help me fix this crisis, support my recovery by periodically sending me a little money, or both, click here.

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