If you can't be nice to us then ignore us

There is a man in my SZ group who is pulling himself together rather quickly. Good for him. Like so many others, he has expressed an interest in becoming a therapist. Good for him again.

The guy and I were walking through the Green Lake park and some homeless people were begging some coins and trying to sell us an empty bottle. The guy from my group cussed them out. Then he shook his head and said… “I hate these losers. I should have kicked their ass”

As a person who has been homeless, has lived in a park, and has been beaten up by people who have come into the homeless camp for no other reason then to kick a beggar. This really did upset me.

I tried to tell him… If your going to go into the psychiatric field in any capacity, you will be coming across many many homeless. Where do you think a lot of the mentally ill end up? I told him… I used to be homeless. I used to be off meds, unstable, and living in a park.

Myself, other guys in the homeless camp, we were all mentally ill. A lot of the mentally ill end up homeless. Some were mentally ill first and did drugs second. Some were drug users who became mentally ill… it doesn’t matter if the chicken or the egg came first… we’re all in the same boat now. Some hide in the park because they are ashamed of themselves and don’t want to burden their families. Others are sure their family is out to kill them.

But every time some young punk would cuss me out for being homeless, yell at me to “Eff off, and get a job” try and kick me… that didn’t help my trust of anyone who tried to get me off the streets on stabilized on meds. How was I going to get a job? I couldn’t get a job until I got stabilized. I couldn’t get stabilized until I got off the street. I couldn’t get off the street if I was too afraid of everyone to do so.

Abusing homeless just makes us more scared, more distrusting and more unwilling to come out of our homeless situation and seek the help up. If we are treated as scum and untouchable… we will believe it and not come to anyone for help.

One old lady wandered into our park and she had Alzheimers. She got lost out of her care home and couldn’t remember how to get back. She would walk up to people as they passed begging for help to get home. Young punks would push her and yell at her to Eff Off. She wasn’t begging change… she was begging for direction. This is someone’s ill grandma who accidently got through a door she shouldn’t have gotten through. She was finally found by the cops. We took care of her while she was with us.

But having young punks cuss us out for asking a question didn’t make it any easier for us to get help. She probably could have been found by her family almost two weeks sooner if people would just listen to what we were saying about this old lady instead of just assuming we were all druggies begging change.

I’m in NO WAY saying you have to give all your coin away to a homeless man. But just a “Sorry dude, nothing on me.”

Or just ignore us… then the fear level starts to drop. Really… ignoring me is far easier to take then cussing me out.
Please… just walk on by.


Beautifully said J and right in so many ways.


I may not give directly to homeless people, i prefer to donate fairly regularly to a local homeless charity, but i would never harangue them.


Having been there… I don’t always give directly to homeless people either. There are a few guys who I know and I just don’t feel right passing them by. I try and get them plugged in… but then I hear the plug didn’t take.

There are shelters and food banks and other services that help a lot of homeless with food, job training, a warm bed and I feel my money is better spent there.

Seattle is very very good to it’s homeless. There are a LOT or resources here.


is a news paper that employs homeless and gives money to homeless shelters and homeless advocacy.


These guys really helped get me off the street and into some extra vocational training.

So I give my money to these places because I used these services when I was homeless.

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I’ve always been kind to the homeless. Because I know I could very easily end up that way myself. I miss one disability check and I’m out on the streets.

I used to live in the downtown area of my city. There was a Greyhound bus station that was very heavily populated with homeless men and women. I would come in contact with them every day on my walks.

Sometimes they just wanted a cigarette. Sometimes they needed a blanket. I was happy to help them. While I didn’t give them money, I would try to attend to their other, more immediate needs. They were always grateful, which made it feel so rewarding.

As for the guy in your group wanting to be a therapist, perhaps he needs some extensive experience in exercising compassion first. I’ve seen a lot of misguided people attempt to go into the helping professions for the wrong reasons. And he sounds like one of those people.

I truly hope what you said to him touches him somehow, and changes his outlook on the less fortunate.





Anthony, your patience and compassion warms my heart and puts some hope back in humanity for me.

I know that might sound sappy, but your patience and kindness really gives me hope. I bet you are an amazing nurse. I really hope you get back into the field some how. The nursing field needs more patient and kind people.

I WISH so much that new nurses or psych practitioners in any part of the field be required to take a patience and compassion evaluation. That is what separates the good from the ugly.

Being in the trenches… I’m sure you’ve seen a million things that both warms your heart and makes you cringe.

I wonder if there is compassion training in nursing?


Thanks so much, J. I really do love helping people and really miss it. I try to find little ways of helping strangers or friends, so that I never forget why I went into the medical field.

I really wish there was some formal sensitivity training in nursing and psych fields. Students are graded on their bedside manner while undergoing clinicals, but I feel that a lot of people graduate not truly knowing how to be compassionate or warm with their patients.

Everyone just assumes that people going into the helping professions are doing so because they are compassionate and patient. But that’s not the case. Sometimes I cringe when I see someone who’s in it for the money, or in it to prove something to themselves.

It’s shouldn’t be about that. And those people make lousy (and dangerous) nurses and therapists.




or people who say i wont give them money theyll spend it on drugs cue falling over drunk.

I was homeless for a period of time. I was going to class, but living in my car.

Today there were two homeless guys at the crawfish boil. One was dancing to the music. They both left before we started eating.

That guy sounds awful. It’s a shame that you had to see it.

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For all of us who made it off the street while fighting this illness… pat yourselves on the back for me.

Getting off the street is a hard thing to do, and we made it.