Stigma Fighters: Allie Burke – The Greatest Country in the World

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Stigma Fighters: Allie Burke – The Greatest Country in the World

The Greatest Country in the World, by Allie Burke

He knocks on our bedroom door with a feather for a fist before he opens it slowly, cautiously sticking his head in, like I’m sixteen years old and he’s my father. I want to laugh and say ‘I’m decent’, but I forgot how to do that. Sex with my husband is a distant dream that I don’t think I’ll ever get back.

I’m going to Nate’s, he says, and I mumble something or other, nodding for him to go away. He doesn’t even hesitate before he disappears. He doesn’t ask me if I’m okay. He knows I’m not, and has no idea what to do about it.

He probably won’t come home tonight. No call, no show. I stopped trying to find him after the like, third time. He doesn’t do it on purpose; he’s not a cheater. He’s a damn good man. He just gets fucked and passes out at one house or another, and I wake up to some ‘shit I’m sorry’ text. Can I blame him? Was this what he wanted of his thirties? A schizophrenic wife who doesn’t want anything to do with the universe? He didn’t even really want to marry me. I bet he’s wishing he went with his gut now. His life is probably worse than mine.

The glow of the television booms around the black hole we call a bedroom. I don’t even know what’s on anymore, and wouldn’t even if I tried to figure it out. I’ve been watching the idiot box from my bed for twelve hours. I can’t even remember the last time I got up to pee.

God dammit, did he leave again? I hate being alone.

The darkness creeps in, screaming the words I don’t understand. I cover my face with the blankets as if that is going to do anything. It hasn’t worked for twenty-one years, yet I still do it.

Insanity. Doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.

I don’t want to die. I haven’t done anything yet. Two romance novels and half of a third. A botched marriage. Debt up my ass. What the fuck is life?

But what am I supposed to do? I can’t live like this; this isn’t living. Psychotherapist to Psychosis Specialist to Board of Psychiatry to Mental Institution. Depression to Sleep Apnea to Schizoaffective to Paranoid Schizophrenia. I don’t really care. I just want them to fix it.

But they won’t. Ironic that it’s because they don’t really care either. That poor man passed away in his apartment. He was only two years younger than I am now. My uncle lost his job; my brother lost his shit; my mother lost her mind. She’s too crazy for even me. I guess that’s the point. We’re all too crazy for this world. They don’t want to deal with us. Why would they? Isn’t it easier to lock us up in white walls and let us live on the streets until we die of starvation or suicide or both? They make so much money off of the mentally ill. Do you know how many people in America have been on anti-depressants at one point in the last five years? Forty-eight percent. Half. Half of America. That’s one-hundred-fifty million people. I pay ten dollars a month for each anti-psychotic drug I take every day.

I hate math. You figure it out.

One-hundred-fifty million people suffering from suicidal thoughts at the hands of their own government, every single day. Don’t even get me started on the schizophrenics. They’ve got the whole world convinced that we’re all planning the next mass-murdering spree. Because there are two million of us born sociopaths at the same time.

Please, spare me.

Lack of education? My husband just left his suicidal wife by herself in a house full of guns. He’s a good man, I said, and I stand by that. He’s a smart one too. But it’s not his fault. The supposed greatest country in the world ranks seventeenth in intelligence. Not sure how we got that far when we still don’t know the difference between psychotic and psychopathic. Safer to lock them all up. At least our government isn’t still executing us. Well, not all of us.

The voices have stopped. Now would be a good time to go. Peacefully. You’d feel better about that, right? Or does it matter? Life would be so much easier with me gone.

That .45 is hella clean though. I’d hate to get blood on it.


Allie Burke did survive, with no assistance from the Department of Health and Human Services, or any doctors or therapists. Though the mental health programs that the United States Government has in place did not step in for her, she refused to give up.

She went on to become a Bestselling Author, Project Manager, and today serves as the acting VP of Operations at Stigma Fighters.

She has Paranoid Schizophrenia.


  1. jess.⚓ February 21, 2015 at 5:09 am - Reply

    Allie. As always, you’re incredible ease with words and the beauty in which you weave them captivates me.

    The points you make made my heart ache because of their truth.

    I’m so glad you survived, and I’m so honored to call you a friend of mine. <3

    Thank you.

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 7:34 am - Reply

      You are amazing Jessica and I am so happy to have you in my life. Thank you.

  2. Dane John Cobain February 21, 2015 at 6:03 am - Reply

    Jesus fucking Christ. Words should not be allowed to be this powerful.

    • Stigma Fighters February 21, 2015 at 6:13 am - Reply

      These are powerful words and our VP is an amazing human being.

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

      Thank you!

  3. Stephanie Ortez February 21, 2015 at 6:26 am - Reply

    Wow! your words are very fucking honest and powerful. Looking forward to read your books!

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Thank you so very much, Stephanie! I hope you enjoy them.

  4. ccassara February 21, 2015 at 7:30 am - Reply

    You’ve given me an honest window into the world my BFF’s 35year old son lives in. You write so beautifully. I am heartbroken for you but see so much strength in this post.

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 7:36 am - Reply

      Thank you. It makes me so happy to be able to create awareness for something that people need to see more into. My best wishes and healing thoughts to your friend’s son.

  5. Trauma Dad February 21, 2015 at 8:48 am - Reply

    I truly appreciate the truth of this piece. Maybe it’s just the simple curiosity in me, or maybe the part that knows it’s wise to study the lives of others in order to grow compassion.

    This was so well written, and it made me sad to read about somebody I think so highly of experiencing such difficulty. But it’s a good sad. It’s the kind of sad that says “remember your friends, and be there for them”. It’s a sadness that reminds me to be less socially passive, and to actively seek signs of distress and respond.

    Even good people ignore people in need. Sometimes the only thing between loving another and ignoring another is noticing that other person. Introspection is important, but an examined life (how our actions or inactions impact the world around us) requires more of us.

    I never want you to be in pain, but I’m so glad you shared this. 🙂

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 9:13 am - Reply

      You are an amazing, beautiful human being, Byron. I’m so happy to have you in my life. Thank you so much.

  6. Old School/New School Mom February 21, 2015 at 8:54 am - Reply

    This was so raw and real. I could feel everything you were experiencing as you wrote it. I know that feeling of wanting to hide under your covers so that your brain doesn’t get you. Allie, you are so honest and true to yourself. This is going to help so many people.

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 9:12 am - Reply

      Thank you so much, Sarah. xoxo

  7. Mary Rowen February 21, 2015 at 10:50 am - Reply

    Allie, you are just plain amazing. Your courage and skill with words combine in such a powerful way. You are absolutely changing the world and the way people view mental illness.

    • Allie Burke February 21, 2015 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      Thank you for always being so supportive, Mary. xoxo

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