The poem below is the introduction to my third book, and my second book of poems, this time with art, which should be published in the spring of 2017 by Sundog Poetry and Green Writers Press, both Vermont publishers. Wowee!!! I am thrilled. Tamra Higgins of Sundog has generously said that she wants to make sure that I have an art show and reading at the time of the book launching. Moreover I believe that Sydney Lea, Vermont’s wonderful former poet laureate, who had agreed to write the forward for it when it was still going to be published by CKP will still do so for the new publishers. I feel especially blessed!!!
I am very much a novice watercolorist and these are two beginning paintings.
TO THE READER
who may be sitting as I am
in a green recliner with a cup of tea
staring out through the porch
to a darkened streetlamp outside the diner,
with a book in her lap, mine, I hope
the only one I feel I should have to mention
if I mention a book in a poem I write;
to the reader, the nitpicker, the one
who may be wondering why
on p. 47 there are two ands, one
right after another, and whose fault that is;
and to the reader, who may be tired
after a long ride home on the bus
after dark and a meal not worth mentioning
who picks up my book but finds his eyes
closing before he has opened the cover,
I say: Forgive me
I am only a writer sitting in a green recliner
with a cup of tea, I can’t explain
those two ands or the mysterious
streetlamp or warm the feet of a tired
reader in his bed. I can only put music on
and tell him stories to make movies
turn in his head, to let him wake
with the sudden understanding that poetry
may be all it takes to make a life—
well, my life at any rate, and maybe his,
and maybe the nitpicker’s and yours, too,
staring through the porch to the streetlamp
where what happens so mysteriously is poetry—
and the whole night is wrapped
in the words spoken by two strangers
meeting there, or not spoken, which is poetry too,
and all of us who listen are waiting
for the music of what is to happen.
Sorry. Sorry! mea culpa!!! i meant to introduce this post with this: “David” wrote me with the following essay about his experience,which I promised to post for him on my blog. It follows:
” I saw Lady Quixote’s story printed out at the Hearing Voices meeting in San Francisco.
“What struck me was how similar was the story she told to my story. When I was a small child I did self hypnosis as a hobby. Later as a young teen I met a senior citizen from the Unity Church who provided me a lot of books about new-age psychic topics. She talked with me about automatic writing and spirits. I did many of these things in hopes of becoming psychic.
“Through my high-school years I continued to be interested in these things but only when the college experience overwhelmed me did I become preoccupied with the voices in my head. I would look for guidance in things as simple as where to walk. Since walking to class was a prerequisite to attending class, if I was guided instead to walk in the woods, I failed at college.
“In addition, throughout my psychic explorations there were instances where there were definite connections between my mind and the rest of the world. Although the number of true experiences were far less frequent than the imagined ones, they reinforced my beliefs.
“After I returned to my parents’ home I had the typical delusional experience of believing that there was a direct connection between the universe and what I was thinking and hearing in my head. Unfortunately what I was hearing was based on what I thought abut myself and as I spiraled downward, I was told that I had to kill myself.
“After getting out of the hospital and the halfway house with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, I returned to my parents’ home. A few years went by with little change but I began to doubt the veracity of my voices and found that I could dismiss or ignore them. They eventually faded away into the benign parade of inner thoughts.
“The thing that struck me after thinking about Lady Quixote and me is that there are some states of mind called schizophrenia that would better be described as suggestibility. In the old days folks like us were seen as having been possessed by demons, and perhaps the exorcisms actually worked when the people believed strongly enough in prayer and calling on Jesus to drive the demons out.
“I think that it is a shame that this type of diagnosis has not been made by treaters because it would be helpful to folks to understand that they can be liberated from their troubles in a much more straightforward way, as Lady Quixote was.
“Because, like her, I had some actual experiences that could be classified as psychic, having a diagnosis that labeled my inner thoughts as strictly delusional confounded matters. The psychiatric community does not acknowledge that some of us have to deal with both real experiences and our overactive imaginations. They are trained in the practice of science, which is opposed to the various phenomena we call metaphysics.
“I am happy that my inexplicable experiences usually involve rather mild, not very intrusive thoughts, as opposed to noisy voices. I try to practice good mental hygiene to keep the inner critic mostly at bay and avoid overstressing myself. It has been about 40 years since I was troubled with my inner voices.
Patients placed in Seclusion or Restraints are to be debriefed afterwards. To see standards of care, see below this reprint article.
I moved to Brattleboro Vermont on February 4, 2015, leaving my home state of Connecticut where I’ve lived for nearly 60 years. l had to move because of the horrific psychiatric abuses I experienced in Connecticut hospitals and my fear that if ever I were hospitalized again I would be killed.
I feel guilty, however, just getting out without accomplishing something to stop what continues to happen in Connecticut psychiatric units and hospitals.
The experience of mechanical four-point restraints – leather cuffs that are tightened around the wrists and ankles to immobilize a patient to a bed – or being isolated by force in an often freezing seclusion cell is almost universally terrifying. Nevertheless, both cell and/or restraints are routinely employed to curb loudness and undesirable behaviors at the Hospital of Central Connecticut on Grand Street in New Britain. I know this because I was subjected to both seclusion and restraints multiple times in the spring of 2014, despite a diagnosis of chronic paranoid schizophrenia, as well as PTSD that was triggered by precisely this sort of thing.
Bizarrely, the hospital psychiatrist, Dr Michael E Balkunas, treating me at HOCC challenged my PTSD diagnosis. “Patient misperceives her treatment as traumatic,” he wrote in my chart. Well, maybe so, but I don’t know how I can be accused of misperceiving three entire days callously abandoned alone, tied to the four posts of a metal bedstead at U-Conn’s Dempsey Hospital (for trying to escape the locked unit) as anything but brutality, even if it was in the 1990s. I also think it is nearly by definition traumatic to be forced to defecate in one’s own clothing while tied to a bed which is what they did at Hartford Hospital’s Institute of Living in the winter of 2013. This was after I was told to lie down and place my own limbs in the leather cuffs (“as a consequence but not a punishment”) for walking away from the very same “Side Room” that I had just been assured was “not a seclusion room unless you call it a seclusion room.”
Again, maybe I misperceived being grabbed and held face-down and nearly suffocated numerous times by staff at Yale Psychiatric Hospital in August 2013, who injected 10-20 milligrams of Haldol, a known drug of torture. Maybe this was just kindliness that I misunderstood as traumatic, maybe it was merely a “psychotic misperception” on my part? Maybe, and maybe not.
Nevertheless, the fact remains that in the ED of New Britain’s HOCC, a security guard in May 2014, grabbed me by my left shoulder immediately after he was warned by the nurse that it was my left shoulder that had a rotator cuff tear.
My New Britain chart records that I was admitted to that hospital, and to the IOL and others with a detailed Psychiatric Advance Directive, the first page of which states that seclusion, four-point restraints and forced medication invariably result in regression to “primitive states and severe worsening of symptoms.” It also makes several concrete suggestions how better to deal with me when I am upset. Even though I spent many hours on this document, Psychiatric Advance Directives have no legal clout in Connecticut and doctors can and do ignore them freely.
Perhaps because of this, HOCC staff literally forced me (“escorted me”) to seclusion and/or restrained me again and again. They took to stripping me “for safety’s sake,” and even though I put up no resistance, they had the male guards spread-eagle my limbs while still naked and put restraint cuffs on without even covering me.
Is it any wonder that what resulted was someone who would wash her hair in her own urine, defecate on the floor of her room and smear feces on the wall? Yet Dr Balkunas, the director of W-1, the general psychiatry unit at HOCC claimed that my trauma was imaginary. Why? Because treatment cannot be traumatic. He simply never got the connection between my horrendous decompensation and his so-called “therapy.” Maybe he never appreciated that he was torturing me, like a person who ripped the wings off butterflies as a child. Someone like that would not have understood how those creatures suffer either.
These are the NURSING De-Briefing standards for after restraints and/or seclusion:
DEBRIEFING AFTER RESTRAINTS/SECLUSION
Standard: As soon as possible, following the release from seclusion or restraint, the nurse, the person and others as appropriate should participate in a debriefing.
Intent: A debriefing is done with persons who have been secluded or placed in restraints to:
Discuss and clarify any possible misperceptions the person may have concerning the incident.
Ascertain the person’s willingness to involve family or other caregivers in a debriefing to discuss and clarify their perceptions as well as identify additional alternatives or treatment plan modifications.
Support the person’s re-entry into the milieu.
Identify alternative interventions to reduce the potential for additional episodes.
Hear and record the person’s perspective on the episode.
Ascertain that the person’s rights and physical well-being were addressed during the episode and advise the person of processes to address perceived rights grievances.
Address any trauma that may have occurred as a result of the incident.
Modify the treatment plan as needed.
NONE of this was EVER done, ANYWHERE, in any hospital I have ever been in. Why? Because they all knew perfectly well what they had done to me and WHY…Not because I was dangerous to anyone, but as punishment…Naturally they did not want me to have a chance to tell anyone.
Read the English Lyrics below first if you need to as this song is in Italian.
HUMAN BEINGS/ESSERI UMANI or go to this link: https://youtu.be/U-4OrzSBfm8
Thank you, TTMO’s Cortland Pfeffer, you are a man of true courage. I thank you for your blog and for everything you have done and are doing in the world and for people who are or were where I have been.
Just thought this, from allAfrica.com: Nigeria, should be publicized as proof positive that girls can do just as well as boys in math…and maybe better, when they are not discouraged or told they have “math anxiety”! Go for it, all you ten year old University-bound young girls!
allAfrica: African news and information for a global audience
Ten year old Esther Okade, one of UK’s youngest students from Nigeria, has been accepted to start her maths degree at the Open University. Esther, who enrolled three weeks ago, is already top of her class, scoring 100 per cent in a recent test.
Esther’s mother, Efe, said the process of applying to the university was ‘an interesting one because of her age.
she said “We even had to talk to the VC and after they interviewed her, they realised that this has been her idea from the beginning. From the age of seven Esther has wanted to go to university.
“But I was afraid it was too soon. She would say, ‘mum, when am I starting?’, and go on and on and on. Finally, after three years, she told me, ‘mum I think it is about time I started university now.”
Esther applied in August, and after a phone interview, an essay and a maths exam, she finally got the news in December that she had been accepted onto the course.
Though she watches cartoons and plays with barbie dolls, Esther’s aim is to get First Class honours degree in two years and start a PhD programme. She also intends to run her own bank.
I suggested Women on 20s add Lyda Conley, about whom this much is known:
Eliza Burton “Lyda” Conley (ca. 1869 – 1946) was an American lawyer of Native American and European descent, the first woman admitted to the Kansas bar. She was notable for her campaign to prevent the sale and development of the Huron Cemetery in Kansas City, now known as the Wyandot National Burying Ground. She challenged the government in court, and in 1909 she was the first Native American woman admitted to argue a case before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Barbara said she would add Lyda to the “Hall of Fame” once the campaign steadies, then I asked if I might post her response. She edited and said, “Yes.” So this was her response and I think it is important to read and understand where she, et al, were coming from in the original Women on 20s campaign to get a woman’s image on the 20 dollar bill:
Thank you so much for your blog post. I just wanted to take a moment to clarify some things so that our campaign is best understood.
Actually, we never said we were unable to find Native American or Latinas. And it wasn’t just two women that developed the “slate” With so many women to chose from, we needed a way to evaluate the over 100 possible candidates. We came up with a method that scored candidates on a scale of 1-10 based on two criteria. The first criteria was the candidates’ impact on society which was weighted more heavily than the second criteria , obstacles they had to overcome to achieve their goals or if they were a pioneer in their field. We had a “caucus” of approximately 100 historians and professionals weigh our candidates along these lines We did not arbitrarily select anyone specifically for their ethnicity, sexual orientation, preference or race. The only factor was that they be an American woman, which we realized in the process had to be deceased for at least two years. This is explained on the website page:http://www.womenon20s.org/the_process and a list of 15 runner ups can also be found there.
We certainly did want to have Latina and Native American Women on our slate.
Gloria Anzaldúa, died a few years ago, very beloved and influential feminist. Luisa Capetillo, a lesser known socialist Puerto Rican feminist from early 20th century. Cristina Mena was not quite a feminist, but early 20th century Mexican American woman writer. Other earlier figures include Jovita Idar and Maria Ruiz de Burton. All of these women were great, but none of them really met the base criteria. Had we had a criteria that said that we must have a Latina for just the reason she is a Latina, we would have jeopardized the entire campaign for what would be seen as tokenism. As a Cuban American woman, I did want a Latina badly to be on our list. For me, I am taking great pride in many Latinas that are leading the way and are still serving our nation and will surely be remembered for all their efforts to help create a more equal and fair nation, dozens including Sonia Sotomayer, Martha Cotera, Dolores Huerta and am so happy that they are leading the way today still.
As for Native Americans,Wilma Mankiller emerged from the dozens to the top 30. Her impact was huge to a smaller group, albeit a key constituency and one which this very campaign hopes to heal in some way with the removal of a person responsible for the death and suffering of tens of thousands, indeed an entire people. Sacagawea, also was named two years ago on the list to be considered, but did not make it through, not because she was on a coin, as that is but another form of tokenism , but because her impact was not as significant as the contributions of others.
We can have just so many women on our list. If you find a glaring omission, please let me know
We are hoping that all this dialog can insure that we are equal sisters, in every wayl. This is not a beauty competition, nor any competition at all. We are also hoping that we can have a place on our site as a Hall of Fame for all sisters.
Yes, many are left out, because we have just so many we can nominate. Thank you
Barbara Ortiz Howard
Stay in touch and get out the vote so that at least we can have our voice heard !
Globe-trotting rocker Rachid Taha has been flying back and forth between Paris and New York, making his eighth album with Bowie’s old producer Mark Plati. Bonjour is an album full of sparky guitars and positive vibes, the fruit of a spontaneous collaboration with Louise Attaque frontman Gaëtan Roussel. Taha, who plays L’Olympia in Paris on 10 November, talks to RFI Musique about the genesis of his new album and his thoughts on the government’s immigration policies.
RFI Musique: Why such a simple, naïve album title like Bonjour? Rachid Taha: I called my album Bonjour – “hello” – because people have more or less stopped going round saying “hello” to one another. Even when they do say “hello”, it’s a purely functional greeting, it rarely comes from the heart. People in France are always rushing up to kiss one another on the cheek, but it’s a purely formal gesture that lacks any real depth or generosity. What I’m trying to do is reinstate “bonjour” to its rightful status, make the exchange of “hellos” a gesture full of warmth and human kindness. I want “hellos” to last and to mean something, like when you say “hello” in Africa and you take the time to talk about what’s going on in the village, what’s happening with friends and people you’ve loved who’ve disappeared, what’s going on with the kids…
How did you come up with the idea of working with Gaëtan Roussel? I was having a few drinks in a bar in Ménilmontant! And I got to thinking about the song Bonjour. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I asked Gaëtan if he’d write a French version of the song while I wrote one in Arabic. At the end of the day, I preferred his version so we kept that and I added my lyrics. Everything happened so smoothly that I thought “OK, maybe we should take this collaboration a bit further now?” It was a question of feeling really, the right vibe passed between us and that’s how Gaëtan ended up acting as a sort of producer on the album.
Do you think Gaëtan Roussel added a new edge to your sound? Yes, he did and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to work with him in the first place. I spent many years collaborating with Steve Hillage and then I felt the need to change tack and move on to something different. I loved the work Gaëtan did for Alain Bashung and that’s basically what I wanted from him. I was looking to him to inject a breath of fresh air, a lightness of touch, a bit of a country vibe. I wanted Bonjour to sound a bit like the sort of folk album made by Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley or Ry Cooder. I’m a big Ry Cooder fan!
You recorded part of your new album in New York with Mark Plati who took care of mixing and arrangements. What did he add to your sound? Mark’s worked with a lot of people over the years like David Bowie, Alain Bashung and Les Rita Mitsouko… I’d say he introduced a bit of an urban rock feel on certain tracks. It was thanks to Gaëtan that we ended up in the studio with Mark and it was a brilliant experience. I’m really into the idea of travelling and exchanging ideas with people. I believe you have to reach out and look elsewhere if you want to vary your sound. I’m not into the idea of putting out the same album over and over again. Music’s like food in that respect – I’d never dream of eating the same thing every day. I don’t want to make myself sick or turn anyone else’s stomach by churning out the same old thing time after time!
On This is an Arabian Song, you and Bruno Maman sing “N’oublie jamais”(Never forget.) Never forget what? Never forget the world’s problems. Never forget wars, genocide, poverty, misery, never forget the past… I’m not into the idea of nostalgia but I think it’s important to take responsibility for the world. You have to take responsibility for your behaviour towards others. And you have to be aware of the past. It’s only by reaching down to your roots that you can stand tall like a tree.
Where do you stand on the current debate about French national identity launched by the French immigration minister Eric Besson? It takes me back 25 years, back to the time I recorded Douce France… The thing is the young generation are much more tolerant now than they were in the eighties. Everyone’s got Moroccan, Algerian, Portuguese and Senegalese friends these days. Why does a minister like Besson have to go round stoking up old hatreds if he isn’t trying to win National Front votes before the next election? Funnily enough it was Besson who revived the idea of DNA testing to crack down on immigration. That man is not living in the real world or he wouldn’t come up with such hypocritical solutions. And to think he was once a Socialist!
Rachid Taha Bonjour (Barclay) 2009 In concert at L’Olympia, Paris, 10 November 2009.
1. CLOSE YOUR MOUTH AND BREATHE THROUGH YOUR NOSE.
This will make you realize you CAN breathe just fine and immediately stop the panic.
2. WHILE BREATHING THROUGH YOUR NOSE, gently try to push the food item back up into your mouth, or swallow it if you can.
I figured this out while living alone. I would panic when I felt myself choking. It works like a miracle, because it is usually a spasm in the upper throat, near your mouth, and not a closed off pharynx that causes coking sensationss. You just have to understand that you CAN still breathe through your nose and that will end the panic. Once the panicky feelings are over, everything is easier to deal with and you can usually spit out the food or even find a way to swallow it. But at least you realize that you are notimminently going to die, which is a good thing to know.
Hope this advice helps someone. If it does, I would love some feedback. I have offered it to friends, and they have loved it, found it useful too, so I know it works.
I want to reblog this brilliant post by Anne C. Woodlen and then i will add my own editorial comments if i can in a later post or edit. In the meantime, i think it speaks for itself and says just about what i would want to tell a lot of young people newly diagnosed with bpd or did or add or even bipolar disorder and getting on disability, preparing for a life “in the system” – it sucks and it isn’t worth it unless you are floridly psychotic. And even then, don’t believe what they tell you about antipsychotic drugs. There ain’t no such medication, only sedatives that may or may not quiet things down temporarily. The only way out is through, if you can do it with a wise and caring guide and community. Don’t get stuck as i am, on multiple antipsychotic drugs, addicted to them so that getting off them only means you get more psychotic than ever. Psychosis need not be a lifelong problem, but it certainly will be if you keep taking high doses of the drugs and never explore other options.
My name is Dustin and I live in Michigan. When I was seventeen years old my mother put me in a psychiatric hospital called Forest View. The abuse I felt violated me to the core! I felt like I was being raped having to submit to all the rules, the bullying and the emotional abuse. To have your dignity removed when you are an innocent patient and just want genuine, kind, gentle care, and get unprofessional jerks who you can tell are fake and just care about getting paid is a horrible experience. If anything it only caused me more traumas with the trauma that I already had. I am now twenty-two years old and live on disability while also living my life as a hermit because now I am afraid of people due to the awful treatment I endured. I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder by a REAL…
As my time here comes to an end, I will miss it and my neighbors terribly., I don’t know what I will do without them, and Lydia my wonderful companion. Returning to Connecticut with its horrible hospitals and indifferent treatment just feels like a disaster waiting to happen. I want to move to Vermont but I don’t know how I can make that happen. I have felt amongst friends everywhere here, but isolated completely for years in CT, despite my lovely dear friends there, I wish I could bring them all up to VT with me!
These huge 3-inch to 5-inch moths are not endangered but you have to find them after midnight in or near the woods, before the birds eat their bodies in the early hours of the morning. If you can preserve them for another nighttime, you may rescue these mouthless, non-eating creatures for their prime task, which is mating. The males live to breed and will mate and mate again, but the female, once she has mated, will go on to lay eggs anywhere she can until she is eaten or simply dies at the end of summer. When you rescue a single male you can almost hear the noise made by the rasping bristling antennae as it searches for the scent of the female, which is the one that gives off pheromones of desire for the male, then waits for a mate to come calling on her.
Steffie rescued these two from her house’s outer walls. And I photographed them inside the bucket where they were safe, we thought, until one got scared or attracted by the scent of a female and flew off (despite it being the middle of the morning when they are almost always inert.) The other survived over the day and was revived the next night in order to go out and to find a mate.
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
“Desiderata” defined means things wanted or needed. A partial version of the poem hangs on the wall of the place where I will be staying for a while and while the piece is well-known, and indeed I have seen it before, the painted version here caught my eye and moved me. For some reason, however, I suspected that this particular version was a quotation only in part, so I looked up the entire poem. What I found struck me to tears.
Well, let me explain.
There are important lines that are missing in the poem on the wall here (important to me):
“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
Also this stanza is followed by the critical word, “Therefore…be at peace with God…” whereas on the wall, the “therefore” has been taken out. But what a difference it makes to keep it in.
The important thing to me in reading the poem in its entirety is that I do not feel I have a right to be here, do not feel I am in any sense “a child of the universe.” I feel instead that I have ruined the universe, and that if I had not been born the world would have been better off by far. That is one critical thing.
The other salient point the poet makes, which made me weep, was his belief, stated well before anyone thought about global warming, but presumably he would have said the same thing even so, if he truly had the courage of his convictions that “no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.”
TO the contrary, it feels to me completely tragic that the world should be ending in our geologic time, that we should be living in the end days, not something that was meant to be or unfolding as it should. ( I say “end times” without any religious intention to those words, only the sense that we have brought about the end of the living world upon ourselves by over-consumption and massively pig-headed over-population.) Of course, the “universe” is much bigger than humanity or even generally speaking the living blue planet called earth, but as a human living on it I have no other way to feel or see but from my puny human perspective. To lose Life on earth, all or most of it at any rate, to global warming feels utterly devastating. Who or what gave humans the right to destroy what might have been the tiniest fraction of a chance at existence, life itself, to throw it all away through the over-consumption of fossil fuel (in the brief span of 2 centuries) and making too many babies, and eating too many cows?
It sickens me that I am so much at fault, that I ought not to have existed at all, that much of this could have been avoided by my never having been born. But it also sickens me that as a species, humans have collectively, since my birth, ignored all the consequences of our “eating the earth” and now we have no earth for our children’s children to inherit…
Vis a vis another line in the poem, I cannot “be gentle” with myself. I do not deserve gentleness! That way disaster lies!
“With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.” Maybe… But the world is fast losing its beauty and sometimes i think it is only beautiful to those wealthy enough to be able to willfully blind themselves to all the ugliness and injustice around them: blinding themselves to the dying oceans and all the starving homeless people…to name just two out of many.
Nevertheless, the poem is still a miracle of inspiration and remains so after nearly a century. Though not really new to me, it newly struck a chord, though I am sure that people in the know would call it an “old chestnut” of a poem, nearly hackneyed and familiar as that other O.C., “Invictus”by William Ernest Henley, though I suggest Desiderata has always been far better written than Henley’s “chest-beater” of a poem (for all that it is a favorite of many thousands..).
30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself. From Bucket list Publications by Marcandangnel…words to live by. I loved these and while i rarely reblog someone else’s page or simply link to them. These 30 sugggestions were so simple and cogent i simply had to. Way to go marc and angel!
more later but for now i am on the train home from north carolina ans trying to write more on my. november novel. TTFN. Love you all!
“High-quality visual arts projects (submitted in digital format), poetry, creative nonfiction, comics,short fiction, book reviews, essays, creative dream recordings, etc. by January 14, 2014. Not all submissions will be accepted, but I encourage everyone to submit his/her work.
This is a great opportunity to showcase your creative work – and, once the journal is completed, you’ll have the opportunity to see it in published format and to purchase a copy of the magazine (likely for around $15, but I’ll know for sure as it gets closer to publication).
Email submissions or questions to email@example.com by January 15, 2014.”
Why not submit your best art/ writing samples if you happen do work on the subject of dreaming or dreams? Or try to do something for the journal now. It can’t hurt, and you have a chance at publication online, and maybe even in hard copy!
More to come but for now I just wanted to report that I am doing great. There are clear reasons for this, and they are not what you may think or wish to think. But though it is true that “it is what it is,” whatever is now, needn’t be the same thing tomorrow. Yeah, I know, that’s completely cryptic, but I cannot say any more right now.
I will only say that things are much better today than last week, and a thousand times better than the week before. Which is what matters. That things are looking up and that I am looking up and outward at the world, not curled up, shriveled up and looking only inward.
And now for something really different. Cartoons that tell you about my life these days.
Hope you can make out the text okay…It is a little difficult,. granted. But I tried to photograph the pages clearly as possible.
Gargantua is the name of a book, and a character in the book. In it someone says, Appetite comes with eating. It helps me to think about that when I find i cannot find a way to put food enough in my mouth to keep going…I need to eat on schedule if only to keep my strength up.
Meanwhile I am not in a good state at all. Bill wanted to talk about an email I sent him saying as much as the above, but I am much too shaky to be able to deal with it. I just cannot use him to talk TO alone…I have friends with whom we have shared equally all along, and so I do not feel a burden now when I am in trouble. But Bill has ceased talking about himself a long while ago, and I am to blame for letting him withdraw. I felt slighted but felt that perhaps he was reserved and saved his intimate moments for his girlfriend…But no more. I cannot be using HIM as a pair of ears and feel that he shares nothing back. THen I feel guilty and a selfish user! That isn’t fair to me let alone to him…It won’t happen. It won’t be. Not any longer. Hear that, Bill? YOU are an important part of our friendship, as a person,. and if you don’t want to be a person, I do not want a NON-person as a friend.
Enough. I feel like I am going to die. And now even the doc doesn’t want to suggest that I take even a sliver of Abilify now that I am off it…So I am really up a creek..Up a creek because I dunno how long I can tolerate this. I smell rot rising inside me, smell it for real., Like my body is rotting from within…Where is it coming from? I brush my teeth several times a day (unusual for me!) but still the rot smell persists!
I am not a praying person, but I know many of you are. I am in such deep shit. I will be going to art therapy today, perhaps that will bring some relief. in the meantime, if you feel prayer can help, pray for me…?
Thank you , all of you, for hanging in with me. I am NOT a quitter, I am not a quitter!
I spent more than three weeks at Yale’s psychiatric hospital in August being tortured, if not by seclusion and mechanical restraints (my PAD restricted the use of those and at least at Yale they listened) then being held down by armed security guards (only their guns removed) and injected innumerable times with a multi-injection cocktail of drugs: Haldol 10mg, Ativan 2mg, and Benadryl 50mg, despite my objections that I have a paradoxical reaction to the last one. They said I could not refuse because I would have side effects to the Haldol without it. Understand this please: They deliberately injected me with a large enough dose of Haldol (without any basis to know I needed any more than the usual 5mg or even 2mg) as to knowingly cause side effects, side effects they knew in advance would be so distressing as to not allow me to refuse medication for them before they even happened!
What sort of dastardly drug is this that it hurts as much as it “helps”? Ah, yes, let me remind you, lest you have forgotten, that Haldol is the medication political dissidents in the 1970s were given in the Soviet Union to subdue them after they were diagnosed conveniently with “sluggish schizophrenia,” an illness “everyone” in the West “knew” didn’t exist except in the Soviet political playbook, designed solely for the dissidents. The American Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike objected then vehemently to Soviet treatment measures, calling Haldol injections the dissidents were given nothing less than “torture.” None of the members of congress ever mentioned the widespread use of Haldol in American mental hospitals, though, for that wasn’t torture, was it? “Those people” – American “schizophrenics” need Haldol, they were told by establishment psychiatry, “they aren’t like you or me and don’t feel the same way when they take it…”
Now, I ask you, how can a drug torture one group of human beings but be a decent and humane treatment for another group? Answer: It cannot. Haldol IS torture, pure and simple, for nearly everyone who takes it. Just ask people! You cannot label one group tortured by a drug and the other “humanely treated” who endure the exact same effects. In truth the only group of humans who like Haldol are hospital personnel, who no doubt appreciate the fact that it in fact it does subdue patients into docility…usually. This means they have less work to do and thus they consider it an effective “treatment.” (Alas, in my case, I confess I was more likely to respond to forcible Haldol injections by stripping naked, defecating on the floor and smearing feces on the wall as by becoming more pliant or compliant. Why they managed not to see the resultant worsening of my symptoms and do something about it I do not know but they persisted in “treating me” and made things worse and worse…Indeed, I screamed more each day than not, for most of the three weeks-plus that I was at Yale New Haven Psychiatric Hospital this past August. So how good a “treatment” was Haldol? Aside from causing me exquisite mental and physical torture, I mean? In point of fact, despite megadoses, no injection made me more compliant, made me into a “nicer,” better patient, and easier to handle. The Haldol, even when probated and regularly forced upon me, didn’t work to their purposes…I was an impossible patient for most of the three-plus weeks I was there, Haldol notwithstanding. So what was the point? And why couldn’t ANYONE see that they were making things worse?
However, that is over with, and what I want now is to tell you that things are going to change, and change radically. I may not have your support in all of it, or any of it, perhaps, but I an attaching the video below as a link because the book it is related to was deeply influential both on what I wanted and did not get at Yale, and on what and why I am doing what I am doing now. The book, as I have mentioned before is Anatomy of an Epidemic, and the video gives a good hour long summary of it. It is a good place to start if you have difficulty reading a whole book on the subject or simply would like an idea of what you are getting into.
But first of all, the video doesn’t tell you this, “Mad In America” does — Robert Whitaker’s earlier book on the treatment abuses of the mentally ill in America — the foxes are guarding the chicken house. What I mean by this is: the Big doctors, by and large the influential ones who affect how our doctors treat us, are in cahoots with the Big Pharma drug companies in developing and promoting drugs that never worked and basically never had a chance to “work” because they were pushed into production and sales before any real research was done.
Maybe you don’t know this but listen: Thorazine was never a real “anti-psychotic” drug. It was a tranquilizer, a major tranquilizer. That’s what they used to more honestly call it. It calmed and tranquilized patients so they were more amenable to hospital treatment or the lack thereof. This was good for all, because the fact that patients were quieter meant that the nurses and aides got to show their kinder, nicer, nursier nursing sides to these “sick” patients, and the “drugged up” patients stopped fighting and finally appreciated being taken care of. It seemed a better situation for all, all ‘round, at least in the big state hospitals where megadoses of Thorazine were routinely handed out to “chill” patient populations into complacency. Less violent/resistant patients meant that the nursing staff could act a bit more like their job descriptors.
But now, suddenly, because someone was calling Thorazine an “anti-psychotic” drug as a marketing ploy, as if it treated the actual psychosis itself, they began to believe that it did something “anti-psychotic,” which in fact it never did. Not really. Not if you asked anyone who was treated with it. It never really helped anyone’s core symptoms. It just dulled you so profoundly you didn’t give a damn, or worse, it made you so mad with akathisia that you forgot how crazy the voices could make you feel, because you were literally wild with internal restlessness and other “antipsychotic” side effects and you had to pace all day or rock in your chair or do other “really crazy-looking shit” the doctors told you was just a part of your illness. Once Thorazine was thought of as a treatment drug, rather than as a behavioral modification drug, it changed the game altogether. It changed everyone’s thinking about schizophrenia (and by extension all mental illnesses) in a way that seems to have altered the course of American history itself. Certainly it changed American psycho-active drug-manufacturing for good, though I can only wonder at those involved with the actual design of drugs and how they can do what they do, surely being aware on some level that what they do has no foundation in science whatsoever. Let alone in honest research…
What am I talking about? Well, if Thorazine, which was originally used for anesthesia, was really just a behavioral modification drug, really, honestly and truly, and did not, if truth be told, treat or remediate any so-called schizophrenia symptom, then what the hell was all this dopamine hypothesis and research all about in the first and the last place? Because any supposed honest research started with Thorazine’s mode of action on the neuron’s dopamine 2 receptors. Supposedly, said those brilliant researchers, looking to explain how chlorpromazine/Thorazine “treated” schizophrenia symptoms so effectively, the drug works by blocking D2 receptors on the post synaptic neuron (Don’t worry if you don’t know what I am talking about…just keep reading).
The point is, Thorazine and dopamine have been inextricably linked for and to the next four decades of schizophrenia research, and all subsequent drug development stemmed from that link. Once that connection had been made, ridiculous and wrong as it was (schizophrenia and dopamine being related, or even correlated, simply was never shown), the stage was set for the “revolution” in brain illness research that has brought us such travesties as “bipolar infants” as young as 2 years old, and the H-Bomb-mushrooming of ADHD cases that threaten themselves to cluster-bomb into more bipolar disability cases than the country can conceive enough SSDI for…And thence to such further travesties as doctors using a brutally potent “atypical” “antipsychotic” (which is in truth no more “antipsychotic” in action than thorazine) like Zyprexa for “off-label” uses like anxiety disorders. Why? For fear of using benzodiazepines, perhaps, but just as often in conjunction with those drugs from hell. Drugs like Ativan and Xanax and Klonopin that are prescribed for people with “major mental illnesses” and the walking wounded as well, both like water, prescriptions that cause devastation in their wake and much more anxiety than they resolve.
It seems to me that for every MD who knows never to prescribe a benzo for anything but occasional use and refuses to, there are 40 who say, “take this three times a day and don’t call me unless you have problems”…expecting no calls.
But I am side-tracked a bit. Or have never quite gotten to my subject, which as you know is me, my own “illness” and my own future. I do not know frankly what was done to me in the past vis a vis these drugs, that is, what was caused by what. As my good friend Josephine says everyone now says, It is what it is and you can’t change it…So I am me, with whatever I am or have. But at the same time, i cannot continue to accept the premise that medications are the only and best way to treat me.
After all, I take meds every day and you all know that I have ended up in brutalizing hospitals regularly, quite despite this. I was hospitalized just this past August, in fact and this past winter too…So what good has been my taking meds, including 2, not just one but two atypical antipsychotic drugs, if they do not work to keep me out of the hospital? Not much, I venture to say. Not much…
Well, but…If they have enabled me to do art and write poetry (when I did that) then they were very good drugs for me indeed. For that is my fear: That I can only do art or write, even if just in my journal, when I take these medications. If so, those would be two very good reasons for me to feel it necessary to keep taking them. I cannot live without something worthwhile to do, and I have no family, no children, no purpose, no career, nothing else but art and writing to live for…
That said, what is the proof that my medications are what make me ME? That they make me write and do art? Essentially and absolutely? None at all. And there is much suspicion that the meds can do harm both in the short and long-term. Nothing at all is known about what happens when people take these drugs for decades. I am not sure I want or need to be that particular guinea pig. Now, “Dr Angela” is, as you may or may not know, a psychoanalyst as well as a psychiatrist, so I told her that I wanted essentially what Joanne Greenberg’s “Hannah Green” got from “Dr Fried” (in reality it was Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, the renowned psychoanalyst who successfully treated Greenberg’s schizophrenia) in I Never Promised You A Rose Garden…No promises, perhaps, no rose gardens, but at least the opportunity for cure, recovery, and an end to treatment. And NO MORE MEDICATIONS, WHICH WOULD TIE ME TO HER PERMANENTLY more or less.
I am off the first drug, Zoloft, and have been for more than a month. But it is not easy. I am bone-weary and feel like crying every day. Feel like I have never NOT been tired, never not fought off hopelessness and the feeling that if I were told I had leukemia I would cheer, “Finally! Thank god it’s over!”. That’s the truth, people. I sit in my chair, the same one I sleep in, and I sit in it virtually all day long. And though I am not addicted and do not need to (most of you know how easily I quit smoking when I need or want to) I occasionally smoke a cigarette just to ease the pain…which is physical as much as it is mental and emotional. I may not seem depressed to those of you when you see me, because I rarely “let them see me sweat” and would never burden you with me if I can help myself. But there is also the fact that if and when I see you, just that fact cheers me, lifts my spirits, thank god, and is a rescue and a blessing, so thank you for that much! The nights are hard, but sometimes the days are harder…Nevertheless, Dr Angela has agreed NOT to speak to me of going back to the Zoloft, not unless I ask for it, because she understands that I want to tough it out, and that i believe that antidepressant drugs cause more depression than they cure. I believe if this is a relapse it is solely or largely because I started taking Zoloft again in 2007, when forced to at Mt Sinai, even though I told them I was grieving Lynn L’s death and because of Joe C’s illness and they ought to let me grieve! If I had been taken off it promptly, or never put on it, maybe I would not be such an easy prey to despondency now.
Nevertheless I am going to go on the record of the past predicting the future, and NOT take Zoloft (as of now) and “get through this somehow…” because despite everything, I haven’t died yet, not of despair, and while i have done a lot of damage to my body, I have managed NOT to kill myself so far…Chances are, then, that I will not. Of course the future is unknown, but all I can say is that I do not want Zoloft or any AD drug at this moment, and can take the pain.
I have cut down on the Topamax, to 200mg but because of recurrent migraines need to keep that where it is for now. The next drug to go will be Abilify. I would rather we stop the Geodon next, but I do not think I can tolerate taking Abilify sans Geodon — not without being incredibly irritable — whereas Geodon without Abilify basically does nothing for me. A steady reduction, not too slow, but not so rapid I cannot tolerate any symptoms that develop. The whole point, in the end, is that should I develop symptoms (and that is not a certainty) we are supposed to be able to deal with them in therapy and not go running to the hospital or back to some drug.
(Okay, this is the point in the argument where even I start getting nervous. But I am determined to do this…I want it, I want it, and I need to try it ONCE in my life before I die. I need to know what I know, what I can know about what I need and do not need in terms of psychoactive medication, if that is even possible… Some much depends on placebo effects you know, and on influences of that sort that I wonder if any of it can be sorted out, and how much is going to be sheer determination?)
Oy, it is getting late, or I would continue. But I need to sleep and so do you. I am certain there is much more I ought to have said or explained and did not. Feel free to ask questions or query me about your own concerns if you have them…I am open to any thing, except anger.
Thank you all for your love and concern and if for nothing else than for simply being there to listen and read this.
#ActuallyAutistic - An Aspie obsessed with writing. This site is intend to inspire through sharing stories & experiences. The opinions of the writers are their own. I am just an Autistic woman - NOT a medical professional.