Hoover Damn: Unmasking America

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“Inquiry and investigation should begin with oneself. For what we see in others is the reflection of our own selves, our own prejudices are our preferences.”

– Sathya Sai Baba

 

Along the coast of a small village in West Africa, a 16-year-old girl is abducted from her family, taken into captivity by authorities without any explanations. Her innocence gone, lives forever changed, and she knows this is the last time she will see her family.

Near the sea, she spends a week in a dark, secure facility with about a thousand others from various tribes uncertain of the crime they have committed or where their future lies. Eventually they are brought to the surface only to be stripped naked, inspected, and branded with hot iron on their skin with an unfamiliar marking. An enormous ship is docked along the shore awaiting the human cargo.

Aboard the ship, there is an unbearable stench of death immediately creating nausea and vomiting. The prisoners are crammed into tiny docks about three feet high, forced to sit between each other’s legs, with no chance of lying down or even changing positions. The ship crams nearly 600 people into the docks like sardines with little breathable air, forced to sit in feces, and take on the scorching sub-tropic sun.

After a few months of these deplorable conditions, the ship docks in New Orleans at an auction house for white savages. Again inspected carefully, one-by-one they are sold as property, given new names, and sent to their slave master’s plantation.

This girl is renamed Elizabeth and she is sent to live with Christian Hoover, a plantation owner in rural Mississippi.

In the early 1800s, this is one of the final Transatlantic Slave Trade shipments as the trade was finally made illegal in 1807. In all, more than 54,000 journeys have taken place stealing nearly 12 million Africans from their home and put into the trade. But this is just the number that survived. It is estimated that more than 20 million, like Elizabeth, were abducted in West Africa during this time.

It was a worldwide three-part system. The Europeans would trade guns, rum, and clothing to African kings for slaves. At first, the kings would send criminals, or prisoners from war, but the demand from the Europeans was too great. This led to African kingdoms starting war, with the new guns they were purchasing, and hunting down slaves to keep the movement alive.

The middle passage was the horrendous transatlantic voyage described above putting the slaves into the fields for free manual labor. The essence of colonization is conquering an undeveloped country, strip them of their natural resources, to produce cheaper products to increase profits. In the Americas the raw materials were tobacco, sugar, rice, and cotton – all of which were labor intensive. In order for the colonies to succeed and America to prosper, they needed cheap labor, and the slave trade made this newfound nation an economic super power.

In elementary school, we all learn the famous line written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Less known, or told in school, is that Jefferson owned more than 600 slaves throughout his lifetime to help build his estate. Later, in a message to a friend, Jefferson then wrote:

“If there is a just God, we are going to pay for this.”

Stealing land from Native Americans for more room to grow and using stolen Africans to do the work, America soon became the leading exporter of cotton. In the 1800s, cotton was king just as oil has been since the 1900s. And America was exporting 75-percent of the world’s greatest cash crop.

On the Hoover plantation, Christian was married and had 11 children. It was not uncommon at this time for the women to be giving birth on a yearly basis. It was also common for select slave women to serve as “bed warmers” while the wife was pregnant, sleeping with their master.

Elizabeth served as a bed warmer for Christian and gave birth to a light-skinned daughter named Elizabeth Ann.  Although born with light skin, any slave child was considered black and was granted no rights – giving these children the most undesirable of situations being excluded by both blacks and whites.

From here, the Hoover family tree gets tangled which was typical on slave plantations. They are even more difficult to keep track of due to no records being kept of slave births in most states.

 1814 – Christian Hoover has a daughter with his slave, Elizabeth. They also name her Elizabeth Ann.

 1830 – Christian Hoover has a daughter with Elizabeth Ann (also his daughter) and they name her Emily Allen – making Christian both the father and grandfather of Emily.

1859 – Emily Allen goes on to have many children with all of her half-brothers. Her oldest son is named Ivery Hoover. This makes Christian both the maternal and paternal grandfather of Ivery.

 1834 – Elizabeth Ann then passes for white, moves to Washington, D.C., and marries William Hoover. They have one son, John Hoover.

 1857 – John Hoover then marries a woman and they have three children. The oldest is Dickenson Naylor Hoover.

After Dickenson Naylor Hoover marries Anna Marie he is put into an insane asylum.

While in the asylum, Anna Marie moves back to Mississippi and has an affair with Dickenson’s cousin, Ivery Hoover. She becomes pregnant and gives birth to John Edgar Hoover (J. Edgar Hoover) on January 1, 1895.

Confused yet?

Dickenson was aware that J. Edgar was not his child and he was abused and neglected throughout his childhood. The embarrassment and shame of having a slave child was too much for the family to bear and this became the dark secret of the Hoover family for decades.

Growing up, Hoover likely considered himself to be white until the secret was finally exposed to him in which he kept with him to his grave – in fact, he did everything he could to don his mask as a white man. And it was not the only mask Hoover wore.

At age 29, Hoover rose to the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (F.B.I.). Crime in America had been steadily rising and Hoover was the man to make the change. He gained prominence with his efforts for chasing down radicalism and communists with his landmark case of deporting Marcus Garvey.

Garvey was a pioneer in the black civil rights movement. Hoover, part-black himself, often targeted black activists and viewed their beliefs as radical. Perhaps this was his way of hiding his true identity – because if it were ever discovered his heritage he would have never been allowed to prosper in racist America in the early 1900s.

Garvey was born in Jamaica and traveled throughout the Americas and recognized everywhere he went that blacks were on the lower end of society. His vision was to improve their quality of life, self-determination, and repatriation to Africa. Hoover brought him down by hiring insiders to find dirt on Garvey and eventually got him arrested and deported on charges of mail fraud.

Although some of Garvey’s views were controversial, he did trigger the remarkable leaders such as Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. who spread his message in the 1960s. Not coincidentally, both were also premier targets of Hoover in his prime.

Knowing the foundations of the African people in America, imagine all the good Hoover could have done for the civil rights movement with his passion, intelligence, and determination. Instead, he focused on shutting it down to protect his true identity. This is the danger of growing attached to our psychological masks.

Although crime was rising, the Alcohol industry likes to blame this strictly on Prohibition as the sole contributor. In reality, organized crime was on the rise and prohibition just opened up a new industry for the mafia – bring a product (alcohol) to a population that had a high demand and their supply taken out from under their feet.

In 1929, the stock market crashed. This was followed by banks failing, leading to fewer loans, less spending, fewer wages, no jobs, reduced trading, and a global economic collapse – also known as the Great Depression. Not too much different than what we experienced in 2008.

One out of every four citizens was unemployed, people waited in bread lines for food, or headed out west in hopes of finding work. Criminals like John Dillinger, “Baby Face” Nelson, “Pretty Boy” Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde weren’t necessarily viewed as criminals, but more like Robin Hood. They destroyed mortgage papers at the banks they hit.

Harry Pierpoint explained, “I stole from the banks who stole from the people.”

Dillinger became the most famous of all with lotteries putting up odds as to when he would be arrested next. More money was spent on trying to catch Dillinger than the actual money he stole from banks.

This was Hoover’s next prized possession. And cleverly enough, Hoover created a public relations campaign of his own – making the cops the new heroes. The name Hoover was synonymous with the FBI and soon people were cheering for the cops instead of the robbers.

With all his amazing capabilities to fight crime, capture secrets, and change the perception of America – it’s too bad his mask led him down a path of greater crime than that of the criminals he exposed.

And it is not just that Hoover did not like black progressive leaders, he abused his power in a hell-bent effort to bring them down.  Hoover’s used phrase such as “Neutralize black-nationalist groups,” or “Prevent the rise of the black messiah.”

But it wasn’t just blacks that Hoover was after, he was out to expose and eliminate the homosexual community. Hoover’s reasoning was that Communists would blackmail U.S. Citizens – specifically those involved in government agencies – to gather secrets. His claim was that no one had more at risk of being exposed than the homosexual population.

This was known as the “Lavender Scare,” which Hoover was focused on removing any and all homosexuals from office and exposing them to light. During the time of the Cold War, rise of the American Mafia, and all other events going on during this time, it makes one question why targeting homosexuality was a priority.

Although never openly admitted, Hoover was incredibly involved with his number-two man at the Bureau, Clyde Tolson. While there is plenty of evidence to support they had a romantic or sexual relationship, that is not the point of this article and more in-depths documents have been revealed. The point is that that, much like the Larry Craig incident in the Minneapolis restroom, Hoover’s anti-gay rhetoric was clearly a cover-up to prevent himself from being exposed. In fact, nearly the entire Hoover estate was willed over to Tolson at his death in 1972.

So, here you have the best cop in the world, in charge of the greatest police force in the world – yet we have a rise of the American Mafia?

Hoover adamantly downplayed the rise of the mafia or their existence. It baffled people inside and outside the organization as it was a glaringly obvious problem, which Hoover refused to acknowledge.

Well, Hoover had another vice which connected him to the mafia. He was a gambling addict. At the time, horse racing was king in the United States. The mafia set up gambling rings, set lines on the races, betting wires, and even fixed the races. Hoover was highly invested in this system, connecting him to the mafia, and if he were ever to try to go after the mafia – all his secrets, or mask, would be exposed.

On November 22, 1963, the president of the United States is killed in Dallas, Texas. This is in the height of the Cold War and you would expect the most thorough investigation in the history of the world to take place. But instead, Hoover was at the race track the next day. Again, it is well-documented that he frequented such places as the Del Mar race track and that every town Hoover went, you would find him at the local track.

But in testifying to the Senate in 1951, Hoover states, “The gambling problem must be viewed as a phase of the entire crime picture. Organized gambling is a vicious evil. It corrupts our youth and wipes the lives of our adults. It becomes a springboard for other crimes such as embezzlement, robbery, and even murder. “

The man who held the most secrets on others, held the most secrets about himself. It was all just another ploy to protect his mask.

It was a real-life game of Spy-vs.-Spy. The Mafia likely had secrets on Hoover and it was in his best interest to stay away from being exposed. Again, his mask prevented him from doing his work and corrupting a nation.

Regarding the killing of Kennedy, another highly unknown nugget is that Lyndon Baines Johnson hired Hoover to do his own investigation. His 500-page report alleged that Lee Harvey Oswald acted as the lone gunman. Rather than the Warren Commission doing their own diligence, they relied heavily on Hoover’s report and agreed that Oswald was the “lone nut.”

Even at the time of release, only 56-percent of American’s believed Oswald acted alone. Today less than one out of 10 people believe the government’s official story that stemmed from Hoover’s “investigation.” In the 888-page Warren Commission mockery of an investigation, it never gives a motive for Oswald killing the president. Just a lone nut.

Whether or not Hoover was directly involved in the assassination, it is clear he played a role in the cover up. Not only this protected Hoover directly, there is a more indirect protection here. The lone-nut theory, clears the mafia from any alleged involvement – protecting Hoover’s secrets from being exposed by his friends in the organized crime business.

On May 2, 1972, Hoover passed away and his body was found by his chauffeur (or possibly his live-in cook). His cook then contacted Tolson, who in turn contacted Hoover’s secretary Helen Gandy. At this time, Gandy went to work shredding all of Hoover’s most secretive files as one final attempt to keep Hoover’s corruption and illegal activity in the darkness.

Since his death, Hoover’s legacy has been tarnished due to the uncovering of some of his illegal activities of wiretapping, break-ins, bugs, confiscating mail, and blackmail. Hoover was discriminatory, racist, contradicting, and viewed everyone as the enemy. He rose to power by punishing those who shared characteristics of himself – African-Americans, homosexuals, and addicts.

Stigma about race, about sexual orientation, and disease of compulsion turned Hoover into a monster. What if he were to unmask himself and join the fight for equality and empower people like Garvey or King? What if the most powerful man in the world told us he was a homosexual, what would that have done to propel the gay rights movement? And what if he sought help for his addiction and freed himself from his allegiance to the mafia?   

A six-page pamphlet written by Hoover in 1957, entitled, “If I Had a Son,” speaks candidly about activities boys should be involved when in their youth. A strikingly odd title for a man who never wanted a son, nor did he ever want a wife. Indirectly, Hoover unmasks himself in this little-known document. In the booklet, Hoover writes:

“If I had a son, I’d do one thing. I’d tell him the truth. I’d never let him catch me in a lie. And in return, I’d insist that he tell the truth. When children go astray, it isn’t the fault of the children but of their parents…I’d try to understand my son. For if I didn’t, I’d be a failure as a Dad!”

The 危機 Theory: The Flutter of a Butterly’s Wings Creates a Typhoon Halfway Across the Globe.

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“Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small-every day deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay with Small acts of kindness and love.”

 

In traditional Chinese, the word for Crisis is composed of two symbols. The first symbol, “危 (Wei)” pertains to facing an imminent danger or threat. The second symbol, “機 (Ji)” describes an opportunity presenting itself.

 

Edward Lorenz, pioneer of the Chaos theory, coined the term “Butterly Effect,” illustrating how a seemingly mundane event results in a significantly different outcome than would have occurred without the original divergence.

 

Or simply put, there are no moments in life that are too small and there is no crisis too great. Because life is full of chaos, presenting each moment as a crisis, leaving us with a choice between the Wei and Ji – ultimately determining the course of the future.

 

I find myself saying this a lot lately. Then I think, do I live that way, and the answer is usually not. What is so hard about embracing the moment? We are running and running and we are missing the most important thing, which is that which is in front of us. We think these are all mundane moments and we want the big moment. The truth is, there is no huge moment. For me it was going back to treatment 3 times, psych wards 3 times, and jail 3 times. It is not a failure to return, because each time I was in a different spot. I was progressing further each time. Today I take 1-2 steps back, then maybe a few forward. My miracle did not happen with an explosion, it happened gradually, over years.

There were big moments, but not ever some epiphany. My gradual and eventual recovery came behind a super 8 motel in a building that was half assisted living, and half treatment center, some obscure building in the middle of nowhere that you would never know is a treatment center. Much less the magic that happened in that place. No one knows, but, I do. Does it matter? Yes, every single moment matters. Most of us addicts and mentally ill are always looking for that big explosion of dopamine and the sea to part, the problem is it won’t happen, and by chance it does then what? We are usually so bored with the mundane day to day activities. Sometimes, one small thing, one small decision, can alter your whole world. You don’t know what’s next, we have to stop pretending like we do and like we can control it. It doesn’t matter what we think we control, we control nothing. We only have right now. One of the great men I learned from, his name is Alan. He said “if what you are doing, you are doing with love in your heart, you cannot really go wrong.”

 

How do we know which small moments will change the world. Well, we will likely never see them, but every single moment builds on the last. So the truth is every single moment is huge, and every single moment alters life as we know it. We do not see the results, but it happens. I want to share a story of a man, who to him, made one little mundane choice, and it altered the world forever. He still does not know he did this, it was an everyday activity. The choice he made was one we may say, “Oh man, what the hell this is pointless and interrupting my day.” What I see when I remember this story, is that just because we do not see the results, does not mean every moment does not have a huge impact on the world, because it does. This is not to say to you to have all this pressure on you to think “oh I better do the right thing, it matters too much I have to do the right thing.” You don’t have to think, you just act out of love, and not fear, and there is nothing else to it. That takes the pressure away. That’s the answer, act out of love with each moment. No need to put pressure on yourself.

 

This was a cold day in January. It was about 15 below 0 in the location that this took place. It was a moment in this man’s life that he changed everything. Many lives where altered. Here is how.

My daughter, at the time was 6. We had her when we were very young troublemakers. Her mother “AK,” had left across country with our daughter for a couple years and now they were back in the Midwest. AK, the mother of my daughter, was in the middle of the terrible disease of addiction .She was shooting up methamphetamines and was deeper into this addiction than most people ever see. I mean we are talking hourly, and at a minimum daily use, she was not eating. She had lost tons of weight and would rage at anyone and call them out on their faults if they said anything.

AK, the mother, was being investigated by the FBI. My daughter, who I will call “K” was hungry on this day. She had to eat. Her mother was not feeding her on this day. AK was passed out, and K was hungry. My young 6 year old had already missed about half of the days of school, she had been left with drug dealers and at stranger’s homes for up to 2 weeks’ time. Her mother would not wake up on this day, so little miss K left a note and decided to walk towards my home. Which at the time was in the next state over. With the temperature of negative 15 degrees my daughter and her friend decided to head across state lines and to find me. My daughter, who I remind you was 6 at the time, had no mittens, no hat, and an unzipped coat. I know this because I’m reading the police report as I write this, that’s when I see these details. Going through these old files, I see that this man saw my daughter, and stopped his van. He saw 2 little girls not dressed appropriately walking down a highway and they were freezing. What he did was he called the police and brought them in. As I read this report, what sticks out to me is that it states there was “another van” coming up to her at the same time. I don’t know who was in that other van, but who knows. This could have been tragic. This was his act, his kind seemingly simple, courteous act. One that may seem long ago and meant nothing to him, maybe even an annoyance. However, there are many people that see wrong and do nothing or just drive by. This man didn’t, now I want to show you the ripple effect of his actions.

K, then 6, was started on a child protective case in which eventually she would live with me full time. She had been tardy and was not doing well emotionally or in school, neither was her mother. This man started this ripple effect that brought change to millions of lives, here is how.

K graduated high school early, from 7th grade to 11 the grade, she was on the honor roll, captain of cheerleading team, and went to state in forensics. Now has a job and a life, not free from struggles of course. She struggles severely with depression and has a very hard time with relationships. She has gone to the psych hospital a couple times. But she has the warmest heart in a person I’ve ever seen, she spreads love to the world. She used to take special care of the kids in special needs at high school, she is one of the greatest people alive. She is kind and loving. If he didn’t pick her up that day, she may have been dead or worse. Something very tragic could have happened to her or her mother. She had been neglected, and left alone many times. She had been physically, and sexually abused while her mom was using, or sleeping. She had missed many many days of school. She was behind emotionally and academically. We got her in therapy, we, as a village, took care of her. I had my own demons, so when I say village, I mean my family, her family and everyone got involved. It was a community parenting effort. We got her on track. Well, now she has normal struggles, we don’t talk much, but I’m sure when she grows up, matures, that maybe she will realize what love I have for her. At this point she almost never speaks to me but that is ok. That is normal rebellion and I am way over protective of her because of what I saw her go through. I’m sure she needs to be on her own for a while. I will wait for this time. It is painful, but she has opportunity and happiness.

As for me, she was my whole life. At age 2 she was taken by her mom to Florida, her mom had then told her someone else was her dad. She came back, and we were building a bond after I thought I would never see her again and she was basically lost to me, that is another story for another day. Then her mom, with her depression became addicted to meth. She was deep in it. I was eventually granted sole custody and K was full time in my life. This brought me closer to my family, they helped raise her. This made me appreciate my mom more. I got better for a while and went to school and graduated college the first time, I would go back to finish more school later, but this was the first time I ever finished anything. My motivations was to finish so I could care for her. If not, I likely would have floated through life in depression and drank my life away. Now because I was back on track, I met a great woman, married her, and we had 2 children. Now 4 and 3. They are the joys of my life. They wouldn’t exist, my life as it is now wouldn’t exist, if he hadn’t picked up k. There would be no little ones walking around with me if this did not happen. I went through addiction, jail, treatment myself. But with the love and hope I had on the other side, I got through.

I was going to be an addict either way. That has always been my destiny. However, my reaction to this destiny was now different, that is where choice comes in, is reaction, now I had hope. My addiction and mental health collapse were the best things that ever happened to me, but that is for another day.

My wife, her life was altered as we met and married. We never would have even met if I hadn’t gone to school. I wouldn’t have gone to school without k, without school, I wouldn’t have had that job, and so never would have met my wife. We would have not had these kids. J was a mother figure to k for a long time, while I drank and destroyed things. J took care of her, kept our lives in order. All this does not happen without this man’s action. Why was this good for j? Well you would have to ask her, but when I met her, she was against many things, and closed off so she wanted to work her way through life. Through my addiction, she discovered her codependency, we both found truth. Not the truth we were taught about, but we had an awakening to the truth together. Then my kids, and the love she has for them, watch them together once, she’ll tell you it was worth it. Her family may not think so, due to the pain she has had because of me and in their view, it is one sided. But she does, the kids do. She is a strong, amazing person, her spirituality and soul were developed they this, without his action, this doesn’t happen for her, none of it.

K’s mother then started on an amazing journey. She did end up going to jail, then federal prison for about 12 years. However, she beat an addiction almost no one beats. Became a manager at her job. People want her to talk about how she made it. Her and k are now best friends, get along great, and are great for each other. She is an amazing person and mother. I share her comeback story with many of my patients who are down and think they cannot get their kids back. If he didn’t stop, the cops never get involved, who knows, maybe she overdoses, or dies, or something terrible happens.

 

This man stopping his van and acting out of love, changed the world. I think if he didn’t stop that van, who knows where the world would have gone. He does not know this. We all affect each other in ways like this good or bad.

 

I think of patients I have come across, and the change they have told me I have had in their lives. Well, I wouldn’t be there without this one act. The thing is, once you start offering yourself to do this and to live in the moment and look for opportunities to spread love good things happen. You start to see opportunities not to judge. All of sudden you will see the opportunities arise, it will seem like they just show up more. The thing is they were always there, we just were not looking. This is how ripple effect occurs and how we can change the world.

 

When I say I am here writing this it is by chance, I mean it. One bounce in a different direction and I am the guy on the street corner. I am not here at my job with my kids because I am special, I had resources and things turned my way, it is not me. It is my responsibility to do as much as I can to give it back until my body goes back to the earth. We all are special. No one person is better than the other. I am not one of those people that was born on third base and act like they hit a triple. We have to stop this separation, because separation is man-made, and it’s not real.

 

We have to let go of the results. Just keep throwing love out there and being kind, and looking past the masks that others put up. If you are doing it for appreciation or to see it, your intentions are wrong.

Imagine we are building something, one piece at a time. When it is completed, we may not be here, but the idea and the thoughts will be. Instead of thinking of the past, or the future, just let it go, and think about right now. We feel joy just by giving. It doesn’t have to be something like this act of this man. It can be simply a smile, or letting someone who seems in a hurry go ahead of you.

 

You see you pull these weeds out of a garden and throw them behind you, and keep digging and throwing them behind you. You are tired, you say what is all of this for? What is the point? But behind you there is a beautiful garden that you have built that you may never see. If we all do that for each other, then we all have these beautiful gardens, then no one is trying to take from each other.

 

If you end poverty, you end violence.

 

You may not see the results. But there are results of every action, good or bad. The choice is yours.

 

The end

SHOW ME THE MONEY: A Story About Professional Farts

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“I do not like that man, I must get to know him better.” -Abraham Lincoln

I often hear people wonder out loud why there is such a high rate of recidivism, why do our patients come back, and why is there a high rate of repeat “offenders” in the Mental Health System. We can’t fix Mental Illness they say. We can’t “cure” it. The problem is we are trying to cure the wrong people. It is the staff that needs to be “cured,” or fixed. Not the patients. The patients are not the problem. The staff members and the stigma of society is the problem. I can give many examples of my over 20 years as a staff and patient to describe it. This is one that really sticks out to me.

She walks in she is wearing and old dress, it has stains on it. It may be the only dress she owns. It is green, with tan. She has hair that is getting gray, but it is still brown. She has attempted to put it in a nice pony tail. It is off to the side, the left side. The hair is still very frizzy and sticking up. She is trying so hard. This is a big day for her. She is interviewing to get into this program that will likely get her into an apartment.

That has been her dream, this is the way to accomplishing her ultimate dream, her own apartment. She enters the room with the “team”, she comes to the interview.

She farts, and farts loud. She laughs, it is a loud loud laugh. She says she is sorry that it keeps happening. It happens throughout the interview. She answers all the questions, she seems very nervous. She is trying hard to look her best and be on her best behavior. She has a whiny screechy voice. I watch and I see the “team” roll their eyes and shake their heads in disgust.

After she leaves, the team of Doctors, psychologists, OT workers, Social workers then are to evaluate her and decide if she is a “fit” for their program.

They all are dressed up in their fancy clothes, and they all laugh. They all grab the hand sanitizer and clean their hands, because “she touched my hand.” They laugh and tease her. They mock her hair, they laugh about her dress. They say “ick” and shake their bodies like they just touched a rat.

They are really feeling good about themselves. Remember, these are the so called healthy ones that need to “fix” and “stabilize” this patient. They are all getting paid over 100 dollars an hour, each of them, to analyze this woman. If they accept her, their program gets 8500 dollars a month to “treat” her.

The owner is there, she teases the patient as well. The owner goes to France 3 times a year. They all tease her. I know, I was in the room. I was new, I was watching. They accept her to their program, only because they had 3 open beds and they needed the money to pay for their vacations, they said this. Then they mocked her. Money, Money, Money, Money.

After her admission, I got to know her. She had a screeching type whiny voice that sounded like fingernails against the chalkboard. That loud laugh, then the farting, the gas was nonstop. It was a big joke to the staff and the patients.

Everyone blew her off, and no one wanted to talk to her. She annoyed everyone. So she isolated. She was crying uncontrollably one day and came into my office and sat down.

I wanted to say I was busy, but for some reason I didn’t. She said, “Please help, just listen to me.”

She told me about her dream and how nice she thought she looked that day of the interview. She told me that was the best dress and she saved it for so long for her big day. She wanted to impress these guys so much. She practiced for hours about what she wanted to say. She did practice interviews. She told me how she would do whatever staff wanted. She wanted that apartment so bad.

The thing is, they didn’t really care. They didn’t listen to her. They rushed it, it didn’t matter what she said, and they were focused on how “icky” she was.

They were feeling superior. They took her because they had open beds, they wanted money. This was the biggest day of her life, and the “team” they didn’t really care not one bit. What they cared about was getting her out in the hour, so they could admit her and leave on time.

She heard the mocking, the teasing. She had to take it. She wanted the apartment. The counselors never really met with her, the groups only lasted 10 minutes, and no one really asked her about her medications or what was going on.

They didn’t want to deal with her. They were annoyed. She was a thorn in the side of their day in which they did nothing and collected pay for it.

She made them pay attention and that bothered people.

I sat down and talked to her. She cried. She knew, she heard. Why was she always farting? Was it a medication?

N0.

When she was 4. She was raped by her father continually. Then he beat her when she told. He slammed the kitchen table against her stomach, over and over and pinned her against the wall with the table. This all crushed her insides.

He jumped on top of her and beat her. She was age 4. Around the same time that the doctors at the same age were worried about what was for dinner and where they were going on vacation that year. This was happening. This is happening somewhere near us every day. It is happening to someone right now.

She had to have most of her insides removed. This created the farting. But no one cared. The staff were “annoyed” The doctors and psychologists were worried about filling the bed. They don’t want staff to: “feed into this attention seeking behavior.” They said “use your boundaries.” “We don’t need to talk to her when she is doing this for attention.”

This is how they guide treatment. Well, I didn’t listen. This story was then confirmed by records we were able to get.

This is why the mental health system is broken, not because of medications, not because it is untreatable. Not because of people that were institutionalized. Not because they are so “violent” and “dangerous.” In fact mentally ill people have less occurrences of violence than the general public.

The term Mentally Ill is a terrible term. Mental Illness in this culture, in America, is considered this bad thing.

In other cultures it is a healer waiting to be born, in other cultures mentally ill is a term used for those that live in excess.

The reason the system is broken is because of 75% of the people that work in the system are like this. This is changing, I want it to change more, it is coming, and the revolution is coming.

This is why I will keep writing about these things. I have sat in team meetings for the last 18 years hearing stuff like this.

This won’t be over, and I will not be done until we have stopped the feeling of superiority and labels and trying to find what’s “wrong” with people.

Until we stop treating people like this it will never change. Sure we will react when there is a school shooting, or some tragedy happens. We love to react. To over react after the crisis. When we do that, we completely screw it up. We are having an emotional reaction to an event so we overdo it.

We can prevent that by dealing with it right now, everyday. Simply by engaging people and talking to them and showing them that we have love.

Next time you see someone that annoys you, or that you just seem to not like for no reason. Maybe it’s time to get to know them better.

That is how we change things. Sometimes people do whatever they can to “get attention.” A whine, a cry, a yell, a fart.

Either way, it is just that, a cry for attention.

When we see that, it is not time to “put up our boundaries,” as the so called professionals will say, it is the opposite, it is time to let our guard down and remember we are all in this together.

Boundaries create division. Money creates division.

Love brings us back to humanity.

Fight on.

Til the end.

Self Righteous Suicide: An Alcoholics Journey Home

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“If you live in the dark a long time and the sun comes out, you do not cross into it whistling. There’s an initial uprush of relief at first, then-for me, anyway- a profound dislocation. My old assumptions about how the world works are buried, yet my new ones aren’t yet operational. There’s been a death of sorts, but without a few days in hell, no resurrection is possible.” 

Most people, when they speak about addiction, they will tell you of the terrible things that happen to them and their families. The awful days, the time in jail, and the hangovers. I can tell you that is all true. Jail, mental hospitals, and destruction. I hid alcohol in dirty diapers so no one would look. I screwed up about every holiday and special occasion for 8 years. I went to jail. I lost a 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom house. I lost a wife. I lost a daughter. I lost a best friend. I lost a Mercedes, I lost a BMW. Yes, it is terrible. It is awful. It is also the best thing that ever happened to me.

Because I lost myself, I killed myself. My false self. I became enlightened through addiction. I found out what was important. It was like in the Grinch who stole Christmas when the Who’s down in who Ville have all the presents ripped away from them. They still sing, and they learn what Christmas is truly about. Alcohol was my Grinch, and although I am sad about the pain, I would not change a thing. The thing I am most grateful for is my alcoholism, drug addiction, and my recovery. Thank you alcohol, my Grinch.

“Wake up, wake up, it is time to go!” Words we wait for, words I waited for my whole life. My wife says the words to me. It is time to wake up. It was time, it was time for my only son to be born. Inside my head, the thinking was this, “God I hope this is over so I can get a drink, this cannot be real, and she is just faking it. This is ridiculous, I need to be able to drink tomorrow, it is Saturday, and I want to golf and drink.” This I did. I missed the first week of his life. Then when he was a week old, after I had sworn off drinking and drugs, we were at a huge family gathering. I drank, and did drugs. I was driven to the hospital and I ran. I was run down by my 240 pound brother in law. How he outran me on that day I will never know. He was the tortoise, and he won the race. It was the most important race of my life, and I had to lose. Thankfully, he ran me down and drug me into the hospital. Then, I began to “wake up.”

It wasn’t one aha moment. It is a continual process, 1 step up, 2 back. Constantly learning, like an infant. Because that is what you are. You are being re born.

When she said, “It was time to wake up.” She was right. In more ways than one.

I now know what life is about, what is important. I know the reasons why we say do not judge people. I have seen the true power of love. The true power of forgiveness. I have seen magic. I have seen what it feels like to be at the end, with nowhere to go, and people thinking you are some monster. Being annihilated brings a sort of freedom that I can not explain.

I have seen how we get caught up in money, in things. I know the emptiness we feel, yes we are empty, but we are all part of one, we belong to each other, to the earth. We must love each other. Little things do not disturb me, my thoughts are just that, thoughts. I let them pass. It is ok to feel emotions, they are a sign. I finally decided to be my true self, the one I was hiding for so many years. The one that wants to love everyone and tell everyone how great they are. The one that writes, and finds beauty in every moment. The one who talks openly about everything. The one who has let go of what the results are. The one that just puts himself out there. And you know what, I do not need a substance to do that. I never did, that was an illusion.

Others still try to push that true self down. They benefit from the false self I created. However, recovery taught me about resentments, and cleaning my side of the street. I have learned to love myself, to have gratitude, to have affirmations and meditation. To have a good group of people that you trust. Do not be ashamed if you relapse. Shame creates isolation, and fear, and depression. Be open, it will likely happen, learn from it and it is not a mistake. It then becomes a learning experience.

My Ex-wife is back with me, our family is back. We live a humble life. We teach love. I see people for who they are, I see the good in them. I refuse to push this true self down.

Others pushed him down before, that is where the drinking came in, because it helped bring him out. Now I sing out loud, act goofy, play, speak my emotions, love, and let the thoughts go.

I am at peace. And it is all because of my addiction and recovery. There was pain, but because of the pain came great joy. It was like getting a second chance at life, it was a rebirth. I got to find out who I am, and I still do that every day. Every moment builds on the new me.

My son was born, and a week later, so was I. “Wake up, it’s time to wake up.”

Thank you addiction.

HMO Hitmen: The Dehumanization of Human Services

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Amidst an incredible round of golf on an unseasonably beautiful November day, I receive a text message that changed my life forever. And while my life was forever changed, the message itself reported the loss of a different life.

“Susie is dead.”

That’s all it said. “Susie is dead.” What kind of message is this? Is this a sick joke?

Susie is 24-years-old. She is a hard-working, good-looking, young girl without an enemy in the world. She is my co-worker in a fairly large company that has its typical cliques among the younger crowd – but not Susie. She is the person who naturally connects to everyone in the building and genuinely cares about others. How could she be dead? Did she die in a car accident? It is the only thing possible, right?

Nope. A heroin overdose.

I heard these words and it literally floored me. We hear of the figurative expression of being brought to your knees – well this is where it comes from. It really happens when you can not physically stand and the pain and anguish is so overwhelming and unbearable that you involuntarily sink closer to the earth.

Who does heroin? That was my instinctive reaction.

Apparently, a lot more people than I knew. I have associated with hard-core users and never thought twice about trying crack, huffing gasoline, snorting meth, or even intentionally burning ourselves for a quick adrenaline rush – but the word heroin was like from another planet. I have never seen heroin in my life and never even knew anybody who has tried it.

It must have been engrained in our culture and generation that if you touch the stuff, you instantly die. But, in a way, that is not too far from the truth.

Heroin is back and stronger and cheaper than ever previously known. And what comes with that is a desensitized public attention and understanding of our nation’s most recent drug epidemic – Heroin 3.0.

 

Beginning of the Epidemic:

Let’s look back at Susie’s death in 2011. She was one of 10 heroin-related deaths in the state of Minnesota that year. The next year, 2012, that number skyrocketed to 46. Last year, in Minnesota, there were 98 heroin overdoses.

The United States is home to five percent of the world’s population, yet we consume 80-percent of the world’s prescription drugs – primarily opioid pain killers.

And this is where our epidemic begins.

Eighty-five percent of households in America have prescription medication in their house. Most of this medication is not locked up, typically found in the bathroom medicine cabinet. The ease of obtaining prescription drugs legally is a joke, but perhaps more disturbing is that fact that it is easier to get them illegally.

I walk into my friend’s house and ask to use the bathroom, open the medicine cabinet and take a handful of drugs and empty them into my pocket. Stop by the local garage sale, ask to use the restroom and do some shopping in their medicine cabinet. An open house down the road? Let’s stop by and ask to use the bathroom and see what they have to offer.

Vicodin is the highest prescribed medication in the world. Not just pain-killer, the highest prescribed medication overall. With 85-percent of homes having prescription medication and Vicodin is the highest prescribed drug, it doesn’t take a genius to find a way to get an easy high by making a few visits to “friends” houses and using the restroom.

But this is just the beginning of the problem. This is called supply. When supply is up, prices are cheap. When prices are cheap, new customers are found. With new customers, increases demand. If this sounds like I am describing how to operate a for-profit business, I am. This is the for-profit business of legal drug dealing.

Back in the 1990’s there was a shift in the way pain is treated in hospitals. They used to only use morphine-based substances for major surgeries. But the hospitals were in agreement that they had been doing a terrible job treating pain. The consensus was that pain needs to be addressed with each client and monitored as a vital sign. I’m sure you’ve seen this before in hospital beds with the smiley faces and you point to the one that indicates your level of physical pain.

Then this trickled down into primary clinics and it became our God-given right to have our pain needs met immediately.

I coach high school football and hockey. They are high impact sports in which you have people running (or skating) at an excess of 15 miles per hour and crashing into each other – well guess what, there is going to be pain associated with this type of activity. In the old days, we would tell the kids to ice down their sore muscles or “rub some dirt on it,” and take some ibuprofen. That is no longer acceptable from kids and/or parents. They want the quick fix, they want the oxycontin, the Percocet, or vicodin. They know all these medications by name and the doctor is happy to oblige.

Side Effects May Include…

Kids and parents know all these drugs by name because they have been bombarded with advertisements for the past 20 years. It started with the 1997 FDA Modernization Act, allowing drug companies to advertise directly to consumers.

The United States and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow this ridiculousness. The laws previously stated that all side effects must be included, but that is not possible with the number of side effects of drugs toppling the thousands. Instead, they are only required to list a few. And as we have seen thousands of times, at the end of a corny commercial a tiny segment that states “side effects may include…”

This led to pharmaceutical marketing blitz of the late 90’s. Patients flooded clinics demanding new drugs and doctors felt pressured to take out the prescription pad. Because, if doctors were to “just say no” to the doctor, they lose business and the next doctor would say yes. The inmates were running the asylum.

The increase in prescriptions, increased the supply to the general public. And with an increased supply of a mind-altering substance, you will naturally have an increase in demand. It started with high school students misusing painkillers in the late 1990s, which soon led to addiction. An astonishing number of overdose deaths were reported each year over the past 20 years led to congress acting on this self-induced epidemic.

In 2012, more than 41,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. More than half of those were from prescription drugs, including 16,007 from an opioid analgesic – A 300-percent increase since 1999. Meanwhile, sales on painkillers alone has topped $1.3 billion in 2013 – preventing any desire for the legal drug cartels to pull back the reigns on this gravy train that is destroying a generation.

Eventually tracking programs were put into place to discover who was overprescribing medications – known as “pill mills.” While well-intended to put an end to the unexpected surge in overdose deaths, this system also became available to the legal cartels. Pharmaceutical companies used this information to help increase sales. They found patterns in physicians prescription patterns, who was most likely to try new products, and they actually knew more about the doctor’s prescription patterns than the doctor himself. This allowed the pharmaceuticals to send their finest salespeople to these clinics and convince doctor’s to prescribe their drugs. They used all the tricks in the book – giving away gifts, vacation packages, sporting events, and even free samples.

But there was some good that came out of the tracking systems as laws were put in place to reduce prescription practices to risky clients, along with mandating education programs to health providers on how many prescriptions they are signing.

Slowly, the supply in the general public is shrinking but the problem is we already created record-high demands for these drugs. And, when the demand is strong enough in any industry – people will find an alternate supply.

Enter Heroin. It is more potent than any pain killer on the market. In many cases it is easier to obtain and oftentimes cheaper. Basically, we created a demand for a product and then increased supply to fill that demand. Then took the away the supply, leaving a huge unmet demand for a product.

 

History of Heroin

Around 10,000 years ago in ancient China, the indigenous poppy plant was sliced open and they discovered a white-milky substance. When ingested, this substance gave intense feelings of euphoria and pleasure.

Primarily used as a spiritual ritual and then as medicine for pain in ancient Greece, opium eventually made its way into the public realm and was used recreationally. This led to early preaching against the drug and efforts to encourage recreational use in moderation as early as 160 AD.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus intended to sail around the world to India and was to bring back gold, slaves, and opium to the kingdom of Spain. Landing in the Caribbean Islands instead, Columbus could not find opium, but found a different substance – Tobacco. He brought this back to Europe and they were forever hooked. It also introduced a new method of administration. In smoking any substance, it is in direct contact with your lungs and then rapidly enters the bloodstream, bypassing the liver and gives a much more intense high at a quicker rate.

This helped fuel the opium epidemic in China in the 1800s. The British Empire grew opium in India and sold to their Chinese neighbors to the east. China had an alarmingly high rate of opium addiction at this time and the emperor attempted to ban the substance on multiple occasions.

But state-sponsored drug dealing is lucrative business. Drugs are ridiculously cheap to make and the mark-up is astronomically high. Some estimates report as high as 17,000-percent profit margins! And when we are talking that kind of money, fines and legal expenditures can never alter the way these products are pushed to the public. Two wars were fought between Britain and China over the opium trade, but with an advanced military the Brits won both wars and were allowed to continue to sell opium to a nation that saw over 1/3 of its total population addicted.

Technology continued to evolve the drug in Germany as scientists discovered the curing molecule of Opium – Morphine. This became the world’s new “magic drug.” It was to cure addiction to alcohol and opium. It became a popular medication in the United States during the Civil War for the ailing soldiers in the battle field. However, even the strongest pain killer in the world was not acting fast enough to ease the pain and shock of wounded soldiers. Leading to another technology shift – the hypodermic needle; the newest method of administration to quickly get the drug into the bloodstream.

And it worked.

Too well, in fact, it worked so well that it led to the “Army Disease,” referring to civil war veterans that came home addicted to Morphine and a drug epidemic was rampant throughout the country. It turns out, not only is morphine addictive, but is the most addictive drug known to man.

At the end of the 19th century, this pattern continued in America. The introduction of cocaine, a derivative from the South American coca plant arrived in every product around. It was deemed as the “magical drug” with no side effects, non-addictive, and a cure to all other addictions. But that only lasted a handful of years before the truth was discovered.

Then the Bayer Company in Germany synthesized morphine further – developing the world’s newest “magic drug.” They call it Heroin. Introduced in 1898, heroin was available to everyone and marketed in mail-order catalogs and in many products at the local pharmacies. It was deemed non-addictive, a cure for morphine addiction, and no side effects.

This too was short-lived, as the effects of heroin were glaringly obvious. By 1914, the Harrison Tax Act placed major restrictions on using the drug and by 1925 heroin was forever banned, just 27 years after celebrating the title of “magic drug.”

The demand for heroin slowly faded along with the supply. Mandatory sentencing laws also turned the public off to the drug and it stayed that way for about 50 years. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the next wave of heroin use arrived in America.

It was an interesting time in America. The country was divided by the war in Vietnam, kids were being drafted to serve in the military and fight a war we really knew nothing about. People stopped believing the government, and with good reason, as we were fighting secret wars in Laos, Burma, and Thailand – an area known as the “Golden Triangle.”

The Golden Triangle produced 90-percent of the world’s opium during the time of American occupation from 1954-1974. A secret war, with a secret army, needs a secret airline, right? Air America is the name of the CIA’s owned and operated airline in which its fleet supplied arms and ammunition to the rebels and insurgents in the Golden Triangle to help fight the war in Vietnam and the threat of communist expansion from China. In exchange, Air America transported opium grew by the Hmong farmers to the area and made its way to South Vietnam and sold to American Soldiers.

 

The War on Drugs

In 1971, Richard Nixon declared the “War on Drugs.” The war is still active today, making it the longest war in the history of America. While much is to be said about this complete failure, its beginnings stemmed from the soldier’s addiction to heroin in Vietnam.

The Nixon campaign launched “Operation Golden Flow” before ending the war in Vietnam. This was an effort to get the soldiers clean before coming home. They took urinalysis tests, and if they failed, they were forced to go to treatment before returning home. Just like the civil war, this was a generation of soldiers addicted to a derivative from opium. This newfound control of the world’s opium production gave Americans a peak in supply, and as history repeats itself, a demand would surely follow back home with Heroin Epidemic 2.0 coinciding with the Vietnam War and military occupation in the Golden Triangle.

American withdrawal from the Golden Triangle subsequently slowed the heroin epidemic of the 70s. And the “War on Drugs” found a new target in South America, in which the CIA empowered dictators that favored American corporations. Drug trafficking, and the huge profit-margins, ran under the cover of “War on Drugs,” led to an increased supply in cocaine and crack during the 1980s.

At the same time, there was also a new switch in the world’s leader in opium production – the “Golden Crescent.” This is an area is Central, South, and Western Asia defined by three countries – Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan – with Afghanistan being the world-leader in opium production since 1991. During the 80s, the CIA funded a group of rebels, involved in the opium trade, to fight off soviet occupation in Afghanistan. One of those rebel groups funded by the CIA is known as “The Taliban.”

Sound familiar?

Dr. David Musto, a member of the Carter administration’s drug advisory board, issued a prescient warning that the United States was moving “into Afghanistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets. Shouldn’t we, try,” Dr. Musto asked, “to avoid what we had done in Laos?”

In 1979, the DEA agreed with Musto and already anticipated huge shipments from Afghanistan to reach eastern shore of the United States. To give perspective on how supply/demand work in the drug industry along with profit margins, during the Soviet-Afghan War, annual heroin sales in Pakistan peaked at $8-$10 billion – about ¼ of the country’s total GDP. At the same time, the rates of addiction increased by 26,000-percent! Just 5,000 reported cases of opium addiction in 1980 up to 1.3 million in 1988.

The CIA’s control of the Golden Crescent put America in control of the world’s opium production again. The formula stays the same – increased supply precedes an increase in demand. But this time, corporations found their way into the world’s most profitable business. Remember this is the same time that the healthcare industry decided that pain management is needed at every level of care, new laws allowed for direct- consumer advertising, and customers were literally demanding opium (err..pain medication).

Opium is grown in four places in the world today; Southwestern Asia (Golden Crescent), Southeastern Asia (Golden Triangle), Columbia, and Mexico. The majority of illegal heroin in the United States comes from the Western Hemisphere, but prices remain at an all-time low because the world’s supply has created competition. Lower prices will encourage more people to use and with the astronomically high profit-margins, the loss is minimal to the cartels – both legal and illegal.

 

The Final Part of the Problem

The industry known as “health care,” does absolutely nothing to care about our health. The for-profit system is a business, just like any other major corporation, with intents on minimizing costs and increasing revenue.

But first, let’s go back to the Clinton administration and look at another act of 1997 – the North American Free Trade Act. Although not heath-care related, there are substantial indirect consequences. This act allowed free trade between Canada, U.S.A., and Mexico, which flooded the borders with traffic and customs agents were unable to stop the increased flow of illegal drugs.

While well-intended, this law led to an increase in black tar heroin in America and put the control of the supply in the hands of Mexican drug cartels. And while the cold war ended in 1990, Afghanistan became the largest producer of opium, and Americans no longer had a reason to occupy the Golden Crescent.

Until September 11, 2001, and the “War on Terror” was created. The Taliban, controlled 90-percent of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001 and was quickly eliminated following the terrorist attacks on 9/11/01. Since the fall of the Taliban, opium production has actually risen each year since American occupation.

The terrorist attacks also changed things back home, with Bush creating the NSA and Homeland Security put tighter restrictions on the Mexican border (even though the terrorists snuck in through Canada). So, this meant we cut off the largest supplier of illegal drugs in America (Mexico), but we already have established a new demand. With such large demand, and our hands in the world’s new largest supplier of the drug, a need surely be met to feed addictions.

President Bush had the answer with the Medicare Prescription Drug Act of 2003. This act was a handout from the United States taxpayers to the Drug and Health Care Corporations of $800 billion. This bill gave pharmaceutical companies freedom to charge whatever they wish, healthcare as the middleman, and the consumer as a life-long customer (also called a drug-addict).

So, now we have a need for drugs (literally addicted), the supply in Afghanistan, and cut off supply from the biggest competitors from Mexico, and free reign to the corporations (the same corporations that lobbied billions of dollars to congress to pass this bill).

And Now Comes the Sick Part…

Capitalism is about making money, I get it. But why are we allowed to have corporations make huge profits off getting people addicted to drugs (pharmaceutical industry), by creating diseases to justify drugging them (psychiatry industry), and then denying them the help they need for this addiction we created (health insurance industry).

I am going to end with a story that shows the sick ones are not those addicted to heroin, but those in corner offices deciding the fate of those in need.

Meet Ben. He is a 16-year-old boy in a treatment center for heroin addiction. After a visit in residential treatment, he has had a chance to clear his mind and work on skills to avoid further harm. While working on building support, Ben has a relapse by injecting heroin over the weekend.

Heroin relapse is often fatal because after abstaining from using for a period of time, your tolerance drops. The person uses the same amount prior to sobriety and can not handle it, leading to an overdose. Furthermore, heroin is at an all-time high as far as lethality. Back in the 1970s it was about 10-15 percent purity and now the numbers are closer to 70 percent pure heroin. The reason? Again, because of competition. Heroin dealers typically put alternative products in the heroin to increase their supply and profits. But with supplies escalating, dealers need to provide higher quality for repeat business – just like any good entrepreneur.

So, Ben survives the relapse but is in need of further treatment. When contacting his insurance company, you will be transferred eight times before you are told a “clinical specialist” will be in contact with you shortly. The specialist is an untrained 22-year-old kid that is to determine the Ben’s fate. The substance abuse counseling field requires you to go to school, continuing education, pay an assortment of fees and tests to obtain a license which gives the counselor the professional requirements to access an individual’s treatment needs.

However, counselors are overruled by these cue-card bimbos at insurance companies that are trained to deny coverage. These cue cards tell them to “JUST SAY NO!” to the coverage of mental health services.

Literally, they are told to deny claims. In the medical industry, a claim is referred to as a “medical loss.” Think about it; if you deny care, it saves the company money. If you save the company money, they have more profits.

How did such a corrupt system begin? How else, but from the genius work of President Nixon. Nixon passed the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) Act of 1973, which eventually gained many federal subsidies and virtually eliminated affordable individual health care plans.

In a meeting at the White House between President Nixon and John Erlichman (speaking for Edgar Kaiser) in promoting HMOs, Ehrlichman quotes Kaiser stating, “All the incentives are toward less medical care, because—the less care they give them, the more money they make.” - Mr. Ehrlichman quoting Edgar Kaiser to President Nixon on February 17, 1971

The Story of Ben…

After two hours on the phone going through every aspect of the assessment with cue-card bimbo, they are giving you a reverse sales-pitch. They determine how much they will cover and they justify it by questioning a licensed professional.

“Well what will be different this time? They were already in treatment, how will things change? Where are their parents? Where do they get the drugs?”

They challenge everything you say to them, they simplify the situation, they look at a written assessment and believe they have more answers about a kid than you know first-hand. Written assessments do not tell a full story. Ben wants to make a change, but his impulse was too high and he caved.

But insurance girl “just says no.” Eventually after fighting and arguing with cue-card bimbo, she agrees to cover four days of treatment. Four days will not even get Ben through withdrawal. But, it is a start. Let’s get him in the door, get him detoxification services, and then hopefully authorize payment for more services and cue-card bimbo will be on board.

Nope. Now since Ben is doing well these four days, cue-card bimbo decides he no longer needs residential services.

You see, cue-card bimbo doesn’t realize how relapse works. She doesn’t realize that it can be fatal, she has become desensitized to the word heroin because the epidemic has normalized its use.

“This is too serious and I am terrified that if we do not authorize a higher level of care that we both might be attending a funeral in the near future.”

Cue-card bimbo does not know what to say to that threat. But I do.

“Actually, only one of us will attend the funeral because pieces of papers and numbers don’t have funerals. They just get filed away in ‘failed services’ categories which further justifies your reasons to deny care.”

Two weeks later, Ben died from a heroin overdose.

At the same time, United Health Group CEO Stephen Hemsley is paid a salary of 3.2 million dollars and owns a $10 million home in Wayzata, Minnesota. Every day in 2009 he earned 819, 363.10.

The best treatment center in the world is the Hazelden-Betty Ford Center located in Hemsley’s home-state of Minnesota. A 28-day residential treatment program at the world’s finest facility costs $30,000.

Hemsley’s hourly wage was around $102,741.68 in 2009.

At this rate, if Mr. Hemsley were to not pay himself for 17 minutes of one day in 2009, he could have paid for full services at the world’s best treatment center for this kid for 28-days.

In all fairness to Mr. Hemsley, the $3.2 million does not cover his entire compensation package. And in 2013 he took a 19-percent pay reduction. It is quite honorable for him to reduce his total compensation from $34 million in 2012 to a mere $28 million in 2012.

But let’s not single him out, the top ten health insurance companies CEO averaged a salary of $13 million per year, with their average worker making $35,000.

With all that money, imagine all the services and care people could receive, instead of increasing the wealth of one person? We could create an entire industry and call it, “health care.”

Psychiatry and Psychology’s DSM: The Devil’s Dictionary

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“When you start to sit on your throne and decide who is good and who is evil, you become capable of doing great evil, without even thinking of it as evil.” -unknown

Relationships are the key. Relationships. By that I do not mean an “I’m above you” type relationship. Not uppers and lowers. Relationship, me getting to know you, you getting know me. No regard to rank. No one’s better, no one’s worse. When I talk about relationships, I mean a relationship in which we both can challenge each other when we think it’s time. We have to get away from this “I’m the wise healer and you are the lowly patient that needs help.”

That is the attitude of many in the field of psychiatry. That’s why they have phrases like “professionalism,” and “Boundaries.” I love it when they say to the patient, “tell me all about the worst times of your life and I will write it down and make decisions about your life, but I am not allowed to tell you anything.”

That is why it doesn’t work. Martin Luther King Jr. said something like, “you get justice fastest by rendering justice to the other party.” Who is going to open up to you as a provider when they have no trust in the system to begin with and we tell them no, we don’t talk about ourselves? There is a reason for that, of course. Some people end up making it about themselves, however we need to teach this skill. It is a skill that when used and well-timed and for the benefit of the patient is an amazing tool. It is what I call a “relationship.”

We told a patient the other day that she cannot high five staff. The rationale for it was, because it is a “boundary.” This person has not gotten a hug in probably 15 months. Then we wonder why things go wrong.

It’s not about one person walking in the room with a hundred thousand dollar a year job. The provider has a Mercedes, a fancy suit, and giving medications to the other person. We do this by reading a book that tells us how to label people. That is what the DSM is. It is a book written by rich privileged people that guides us on how to label and control those that have not had opportunities. It is an evil book. It takes special people, takes away their person and tells them what is “wrong” with them. It is essentially a “how to be like us” book.

The bell curve theory says that about 96% of the population is inside this box. The DSM helps those in power to pull anyone who is different and special into that box. They do this to anyone that they can influence and change and take advantage of. It uses shame, medications, and even brute force if necessary.

We are getting this all wrong. We are trying to make everyone safe, and the same. Not a threat to those in power.

I remember a time in my life when I was working at a rehab center for mentally unstable kids and I learned this first hand. I was trained by many people coming out of my recovery. Some say to me now, “you were lucky to have the people train you that trained you.”

I disagree; I think we choose who trains us. We have these beliefs already, and we have everyone throwing knowledge our way. We choose who we cling to and who we take ideas from. If we are gifted with humility, (which I was not,) we learn a bit from everyone. If we see everyone as good and bad, and every experience and person as a teacher, we become amazing. Even if someone does something wrong and bad in our eyes, is it really bad if we learn from it and become better? It is a rare person that can learn from everyone that they meet.

We are taught to listen to authority and to think like the teachers and elders tell us to from the time we are young. We get rewarded when we repeat what the adults want us to say. With positive reinforcement, we are basically domesticated early. In school, we teach children to remember, repeat, and memorize what the teacher wants. You are labeled “good” if you are able to do this. If you question them, you are a non-conformist and a rebel and get a bad grade. It is passed on throughout the school that we need to “keep an eye on him/her.” It starts early. We reward conformity.

However, we need to be careful when blindly obeying authority. I have a very good example of when I made a huge error and ended up learning a lot about this whole psychiatry, psychology, mental health and addiction field. My lesson came in the form of an 8 year old boy and a 55 year old woman. Not exactly who they tell you who the wise teachers are.

This happened at a point in my life when I was in full recovery mode. I thought I had this addiction/mental health whooped. In my mind, I am now on my way to becoming the great healer. I had been cured in my mind. As the great man I’ve mentioned before “PVD” says, you can become complacent, or addicted to thinking you are recovered. He warned me, I didn’t listen.

I get this huge supervisor job at a rehab center. I am the man. I now will teach my great wisdom. This is what I am telling myself. My ego was through the roof.

In pops Deborah. She is dressed very nice, walks the walk. She is the ultimate “professional”-she hired me. I feel I owe it to her to listen to her and keep her on my side. She seems legit. I am in the big time now, so I need to last here, so I look like I have made it.

She is very adamant about making sure we know who the staff is and who the patients are. She tells me I need to dress up more. That If I dress nice, that I’ll perform better. She says “studies show this is a fact.” I was her puppet. The truth is that studies that evaluate this do not take in to consideration other factors, like those that are evaluating the person’s performance, likely has a biased. They want people to play grown up professional like them.

In my heart, I didn’t believe this, what I noticed is, it causes separation. But she’s the boss, maybe she’s right. So I get dressed up. I’m making all this money, dressing nice, feeling special. I went out and got myself a BMW, and a Mercedes. I am now the rich healer. “Look at me! Look everyone, I’m not a loser! Accept me! Accept me! Tell me I’m ok!”

I’ve arrived. The money of course is to try to prove I’m not that addict. I’m a success. Problem was that I was living for other people. I wanted acceptance from family. I also wanted acceptance from others. I wanted an image. I have heard it said, “It is better to be hated for who you are than be loved for who you are not.” I found out that this is not just a saying, it is a fact.

My ego loved this. I had made the full comeback. I told myself that I don’t need any more recovery talk. I beat it. I don’t need no “PVD.”

Deborah had taught me, that what we do is go into offices, go to meetings, make up committees, and more meetings. Socialize with the big shots, find the good staff, and befriend them. Show off at meetings. Get information from the staff, use it to our advantage, and manipulate the numbers. This is why money should not be involved in this. It is not a business, it is people.

Something felt icky about this. But of course it was another addiction. Not booze, drugs, women, but image.

Now I learn the game, let’s label all the patients, look at the DSM and categorize everyone. We did this and it would make me feel superior. I got to sit back and label people in need and determine who they were. If they didn’t get better, it was because they weren’t ready. I learned these neat phrases on how to say things and how you can use words like that and manipulate and cover up your deficiencies.

We were making money. We didn’t track success by recovery, but by beds, and cash flow.

When I did do a lecture, people didn’t listen. I wasn’t getting to anyone. What happened? I didn’t get it, that’s what I thought my strength was. But I wasn’t me anymore. They just weren’t ready I told myself. “I know this stuff; I used to be an addict I told myself.”

Then the magic happened over the next year and a half.

In walks this kid with his mom. Jonah is his name. She says he’s tough. He also has Asperger’s. He’s almost impossible. No one has ever been able to get to him; he has been kicked out of many placements. He is only 8.

Well I have to meet all new patients within 72 hours. Or I need to just sign off. So, as Deborah taught me, just sign off. So I did. They just needed my signature.

Then I can’t get over it, for some reason, I’m interested in this Asperger’s, so I look it up in the manual. “Wow, this is interesting,” I think to myself. So I get books on it and read them. I read them over and over. I got this figured out. We are going to do this! We will be the ones. I had a spark.

Meanwhile, the kid is wreaking havoc and we don’t know what to do with him. Everyone is at a loss, they said at one time or another, “discharge him, send him up the river, and lock him up. He’s a future ax murderer.” My ego wanted to be the one to figure it out.

But I, the self-proclaimed expert, have read the book. So I know how to treat him. I set up organized activities. Make sure he understands what people mean when they are talking to him. I say, don’t give him negative consequences, because of his Asperger’s, it won’t work. These are the theories I’ve learned. I had this master plan to fix this. I had done hours and hours of reading as well as research.

I decide after coming up with my master plan to meet the kid. But of course, I’ve already got him figured out. I’ve read about him. I have also read his chart and asked EVERYONE ELSE what they think about him.

So in this research, I had read the diagnostic criteria for Asperger’s. Here it is:

(I) Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:

(A) Marked impairments in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body posture, and gestures to regulate social interaction

This kid, he made weird movements, had weird facial expressions. He didn’t make eye contact. He didn’t regulate social interaction like most people.

So here I am and I have already read his diagnosis. He has Asperger’s. So I did not take into account that maybe he was shy, maybe he was just quirky, and maybe he was just a goofball. He would say weird things to start interaction. Maybe he didn’t know how, maybe he has been told he is no good and to shut up his whole life. So he doesn’t know.

What I also failed to realize is that we all have these traits sometimes, and the phrase here is “marked impairments.”

I never questioned the word impairment. Who gets to decide what impairment is? It is worded here like it is a defect. Really, Impairment? Would we say that about Bill gates, that he is impaired?

I looked it up and impaired means being diminished, or weakened. Why is it that because this kid did things different that he was diminished or weakened? Who decided this? Why does the APA have the power to tell us what “normal” is? And if we don’t meet their standards we need medication?

But I did not take any of this into consideration. He was labeled, so I didn’t think about other possibilities. I attached it all to the “Asperger’s” label. This is what we do. This is what we teach in school. We label, we teach to find what’s “wrong” with people. Then we reward those that remember and repeat. We reward conformity even in the psychiatry and psychology schools. We do not reward free thinkers and truth seekers. The students want to be the next great healers, so they learn what the elders want them to learn. This is the only way to stop the issue. We have to change the way we teach.

The problem in this case is it is not a “problem.” It is not an ”impairment,” at all. We have a bunch of old white guys who are paid by drug companies to come up with these “problems.” We all feel superior being able to label people and sit on our throne and decide how we need to “fix” everyone.

(B) Failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level

Well this kid definitely met this standard. He did not develop peer relationships normally. So, it’s got to be Asperger’s, right?

Yes! Of course it is! He already was labeled so that is who he is. He is “impaired,” poor kid. I say to myself, “I’ll fix him, and I am going to be the one to get this.”

What I never took into account was that maybe he was smarter than the other kids, so he was on another level. Or perhaps, he was very sensitive, and got his feelings hurt easily. Or perhaps he was just ok with being alone more, like maybe a very introverted kid and a deep thinker.

But he had been labeled by someone that read books about how to discover what is wrong with people, and I wanted to feel superior. Of course this poor kid can’t develop relationships. We think “It must be Asperger’s.”

Or maybe he doesn’t want to do it like the rest of us; maybe he is not domesticated like us.

I didn’t think of this, I didn’t have the capacity.

I love in this criteria they use the word “appropriate.”

What is the definition of “appropriate?” -particularly fitting or suitable.

So this means if you do things how most people do things, you are “appropriate.” If not, you need to be looked into and maybe medicated. Maybe you are dangerous.

If it were not for people that were not “appropriate,” women still would not be allowed to vote, we would still have slaves, and many other atrocities would still be happening. I could name a million things that “inappropriate,” thinkers at the time changed.

Do you think Bill Gates or Martin Luther King or mother Theresa did things how everyone else wanted? Or Gandhi? You see what we are doing here to this kid? What I was doing?

I didn’t know any better, and most of us in the system truly think that those they are helping are still in the same boat. No one does this intentionally. It is just that absolute power corrupts. In psychiatry, we have built it so one side has absolute power.

 (C) Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

So this kid did this as well. Of course he is the impaired Asperger’s kid in my mind. So I ignore the fact that he does not always do this.

He didn’t show interest in others things sometimes; this is a trait we all have. Some people are obsessed with certain interests and thank god for them. That is how we come up with cures for diseases and how we fix serious issues, is those obsessed with their own interests.

What would we do without people that are obsessive? Michael Jordan? He was so obsessed with himself and basketball he became the greatest basketball player of all time. So I guess he may have had Asperger’s as well? We need to fix him also.

Or others like him…

Einstein

Bill Gates

Just to name a couple.

Think about some of these obsessive people. How about instead of finding what is wrong with people, we start to find what is good and pure about them.

(D) Lack of social or emotional reciprocity

The kid I am discussing did this as well. He did not always want to listen to others’ opinions, or care what their opinions were. If you didn’t do what he wanted, he just did his own thing.

I did not take into account that maybe he was just sure of himself, and liked what he liked. Or that we all do this sometimes, which is true, we are all selfish at times and it can be seen as healthy.

We are also told to take care of ourselves and we only have one life. So maybe he was happy with his own stuff and talking to people with the same interests. Maybe we just didn’t like this kid deciding what he liked and wanted.

Maybe he was sensitive and a loner, but why there is such a need to make our children extroverts when they don’t need to be? It is poured into peoples’ heads that you need a lot of friends, you need to be popular. This is done even if it is completely against your nature. So you are taught that who you are is wrong. Voila, the mask!

We all get selfish at times. It is self-preservation, and we all have different levels. In fact, we call a high degree of unselfishness a disorder known as “codependency.” If you’re too selfish, you’re wrong. If you’re too unselfish, you need help. We listen to these psychiatrists and therapists like they have all the answers. The truth is, they mostly read a book passed down with studies made by people that manipulated them to favor their own beliefs. They repeated and remembered. Now not all of them, there are great ones out there. I am simply saying look around and don’t blindly follow. Not all therapists and psychiatrists are created equally. Don’t judge someone by the plaque on their wall.

If it wasn’t for great doctors and therapists, I wouldn’t be here. They saved my life, but bad ones exist. I’m saying they are like every other profession. Some are robots. Some are people. If someone diagnoses you right away, then run, run, run.

(II) Restricted repetitive & stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:

As I had him diagnosed and as I read this, I started to think, “Man, this sounds like me. I don’t make eye contact a lot, I get selfish. I am inappropriate at times.”

I started to think, “Wow. Maybe I have Asperger’s and that is what has been wrong with me my whole life. Maybe this was me.” However, I thought that as I went through every diagnosis. So apparently I am a Borderline Narcissistic Anti-Social Asperger’s with some major depression and a little ADD with some Bipolar.

(A) Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus

“Yes!” I said, “This is it!” He was preoccupied with reading, and with nature and animals. He was very obsessed with many things.

Some would say “abnormally obsessed” but I start to ask myself….

What is normal and who gets to decide this?

Normal- conforming to a standard.

So if he is abnormally preoccupied with things, can’t that be good? Why is there this need to “fix” this, and to place everyone in the “normal” box?

(B) Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

He loved things the way he wanted them. We would say, “ Must be the Asperger’s, must be a defect.”

I did not think for a second that maybe he was abused and needed to have some kind of control over his environment. Or that he was just rigid, and liked structure and having a voice. A voice that maybe he was denied his whole life.

A lot of these criteria are also that of a gifted person. But I did not consider it. He was at our mercy, and we had him labeled and we had to fix him and get paid for it as well.

 

(C) Stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)

Sometimes he had weird movements so check mark on this one also. What is “weird” though? It is a term used to shame people that we don’t understand. If Bill Gates wasn’t famous, you would call him a weirdo, same as Einstein.

However, we all have weird ticks, I pick my head, I chew my nails, and people that truly love me just laugh and say that is me being me. My brother chews his tongue, some people grind their teeth. But that is “normal.” If the loud powers that be have a tic, they market it as normal. It is all about the language we use.

“We need to stop him from his movements,” we say. So we give him more meds that make him sick, but he is not allowed to complain. So he is now sick and told to be quiet. Then he is angrier and we say “Boy, they were right, he is very difficult.”

Some people move more often. They are hyper. I did not even consider this because I already had him figured out. See I read in his chart he had Asperger’s. So, that is what he had.

(D) Persistent preoccupation with parts of objects

Preoccupation of things, yes he had this, He was very obsessive about things he likes.

But aren’t we all?

So why do we need to fix this? Why is this even a disorder?

I started to think, “Ok he only needed to have a couple of these, he has almost all of them, wow!” I am thinking how this diagnosing and labeling was going to help us deal with him.

We ignored the fact that sometimes he did some of these things, sometimes he did not.

For instance, when he showed empathy, we ignored it because it went against our preconceived notions. When he showed eye contact, we ignored it because it went against our label; we do this with everything in psychology and psychiatry.

So as time goes on, I spend time with him. I have come up with a plan on how to help this poor Asperger’s child. I am going to be the one that helps him, that was what was in my heart.

People want to help and there is ego and superiority involved, wanting to focus on others’ problems as an escape from yourself. There is a sickness in that.

So I gave him a routine. He needs that, which is what is written. I had him talk about his feelings, he needs that. I watched him and watched him and spent hours and hours with him. Fascinated, (must be my Asperger’s.)

It occurred to me, as this master plan was not working, that half the time he does not do this stuff. He does show empathy, he does smile, he does share, he is not always obsessed, and he is not always rigid.

I realized I was always looking for this stuff as he was labeled. So I attached everything he did to that label; and if he did something contrary to the label, I ignored it. If he did something neutral, my own mind twisted it to what I wanted it to be. I was becoming aware of this.

After hours and hours I thought, “This isn’t working because he DOES NOT HAVE Asperger’s. It’s a poor diagnosis.” Now that is something that is upsetting to most in the field. I told them their label was wrong.

So he goes on to another series of tests and analysis, they come back with agreement. He does not have Asperger’s. Of course I told them in my report that I do not believe it and gave specific examples. I of course gave them the referral that was paying their money. I represented future business. So that of course influenced their minds. Same as my mind was influenced previously.

I told them the things we tried and how they didn’t always work. It says to not discipline the Asperger child, and to let it out and he will stop, that he needs routine. I had evidence he was not by the hours that I spent with him and the notes that my biased mind had made.

They came back with something new. Now I was invested in this diagnosis because I had helped fix it and get him the correct diagnosis. I had to make sure this was the right diagnosis, and manipulate the chart so it seems like I was right so I can keep making more money. That is what happens. I was a part of it.

His new diagnosis was Oppositional Defiant Disorder.

Here is the criterion:

Diagnostic criteria for 313.81 Oppositional Defiant Disorder

 

  1. A pattern of negativistic, hostile, and defiant behavior lasting at least 6 months, during which four (or more) of the following are present:

(1) Often loses temper:

He did that for sure. First we were sure it was the Asperger’s and he was throwing Asperger’s fits. Not anymore, now that we know he does not have Asperger’s. It was just the fact that he was angry and had temper issues.

We didn’t look at his history of abuse, isolation, inability to speak up. Or his sensitivity that caused hurt. Why would we, he was oppositional. That is not good.

You see how most of these diagnoses revolve around conformity and normalcy and appropriateness? As defined by the powers that be.

 

(2) Often argues with adults

He did this almost nonstop. We thought before it was because he didn’t understand, he had Asperger’s and didn’t get things the same way others did. Now we were convinced it was just defiance.

He argued with me all the time.

We now knew he understood, he just wanted to be in control. He was basically a punk.

We didn’t think about him being hurt, sensitive, caring and afraid of being hurt or punished. We didn’t have to, especially me. And this was my monster.

(3) Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules

This kid did this very often, almost nonstop. However as you see some of these are the exact same as Asperger’s, just written differently. With Asperger’s, he “doesn’t get it” with this label he is just a “rebel.”

So here we are again with conformity. We teach kids in school to listen and obey. Repeat and remember. Do as we want you to do. We domesticate them. Those that do not believe the lie or buy into it are labeled in one of many ways.

Maybe he didn’t trust the system because of the abuse he endured, the isolation and terrible life he had. We didn’t want to think of that, we had to find out what was “wrong” with him, so we would know how to “fix” him.

Maybe he was scared.

(4) Often deliberately annoys people

He did this to everyone every day. So he met these criteria for the disorder already.

We never thought that maybe he is in great need of attention, had never gotten it, and was doing whatever he needed to in order to get his need met. Maybe his soul was screaming to be heard, “Someone pay attention to this!”

We had to fix him, we had to fix that.

This is a dangerous diagnosis. It sets kids up to be labeled as “trouble.” If they have this diagnosis and then trouble as an adult, it is an almost automatic diagnosis of “Anti-Social.” Or “Sociopath.” Basically, life over. You are not reversing that.

Martin Luther King may have met the criteria for this, Gandhi, and Mother Theresa. They were all oppositional as well.

This is only a bad thing for people that want to control the masses and keep everyone in a box.

(5) Often blames others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior

Yes he did that. This 8 year old never took responsibility for his actions. Maybe because monsters are not born, they are created by other monsters and the APA labeling system.

With Asperger’s, he didn’t understand. Now we think it’s intentional.

Maybe he was scared of rejection, or that no one would love him if he said he was wrong, or the things that he notices, or maybe he didn’t know. Maybe he learned that this was a way to stop abuse or get it spread out to others to escape a beating for one night.

We don’t think like that in the west. We think, “What is wrong with this person, how can we label them and come up with a plan to help them.”

(6) Is often touchy or easily annoyed by others

He was bothered by a lot of things. Again, this is almost the same criteria as Asperger’s, just worded different. He got upset by people and things in his environment very easily. He was highly sensitive to the environment. Even this is now a disorder.

Why would a kid be this angry? Maybe hurt, pain, abuse, or fear. We don’t focus on that, we focused on his “problem” because he is the “identified patient.” We come up with these “problem statements” that guide us in how to repair these, in our minds, “defective” people.

(7) Is often angry and resentful

Yes, he was an angry kid. Mad all the time. (Guess he is oppositional.)

The same possibilities exist that we ignored as we focused on his “problem,” and how this will guide us in saving him and correcting him.

(8) Is often spiteful or vindictive

. We are limiting ourselves out of ego. We know what’s wrong with others, we are superior. WE GET PAID. We have the fancy cars. We are above them. That is the attitude.

It is very rare to hear someone say, “Why would a kid be this way. What caused it?”

No one looks at the family system. That is the last thing the family wants. They have identified their family problem. Don’t bring them into it, just fix the broken piece.

Often the kid reacting to the dysfunctional home is the strongest and healthiest. They see it and act out. They do not know how to verbalize it, so they act out.

We take the strongest and most sensitive, tell them they are ill, and label them. This leads to a lifetime of labels going from chart to chart.

This labeling is sick. And this was my doing. This was my error, one that will never leave me.

Note: Consider a criterion met only if the behavior occurs more frequently than is typically observed in individuals of comparable age and developmental level.

I love this one. It says only if it is more frequently than individuals of comparable level. Well how can we compare a kid that has been abused and isolated to a kid who has not. Again, conformity is normal. Be like we tell you to be and you will survive this world. Domesticate or suffer.

So how do you treat oppositional defiant disorder, the opposite of Asperger’s? So one week we are convinced he shouldn’t have consequences, he should have routine, have him talk about things.

Now with the next diagnosis he needs order and discipline and consequences.

To my surprise, after a few months, it did not work. I was astounded. I got to know him after even more hours and hours. I saw the anger, but I also started to see the caring and loving kid. He lowered his guard. He cried. He was scared, nervous, and shy. He said that he wanted to die. A 9 year old that wanted to die and said he hated himself. He said that he was not ok, that no one loved him.

His sister never got the abuse; he did, so he was of course spiteful of her.

I’m watching this kid crumble with this discipline and my heart is breaking. I watch his family when they visit. When they come in, they want a diagnosis; they want him to be sick. It takes responsibility away from any of them.

If he is sick, they have an excuse. They take the strongest most sensitive family member, the one who speaks up through his actions, and place him in therapy and in centers. They then get mad when I say, after 8 months now, “I’m sorry, but I think this is a systems issue. I do not think he has Asperger’s and I do not think he has oppositional defiant disorder.” They want Asperger’s, because that opens up funding for in home care. So they get people to come in and “deal with his stuff.”

What is it then? What is wrong with him? His mom is raging. Can’t you see what I see? He acts different here than he does at home, and she is mad that we aren’t diagnosing him. What is wrong with us?

He cries and clings to us. We are all starting to get to know him. He is obsessive, strong willed, funny, caring, sensitive, and a very gentle soul. He also gets mad when things don’t go his way, and he doesn’t make eye contact. He has a hard time connecting and he can be selfish. He also wants to die and hates himself. I think I would call him, “human.”

I went into his room. I said Jonah; I want you to write down 10 good things about yourself.

He couldn’t come up with one. It broke my heart. I cried. I said ok, I’ll make a list. I did. He hung it up and framed it. Of course, he later got mad and ripped it up.

Then we gave him structure, we talked it out after he had outbursts, he wrote out feelings and what they meant, how his body felt, what he could do, what he could do to stop it.

I realized we were now incorporating some of the Asperger’s and some of the ODD treatments. And it was a mixture that was working. I was starting to see the picture of the truth.

The next one was ADD. That made sense to us all. I won’t go line by line but he met them all and that guided our treatment. Now we got it.

Medication and organization again, we were treating this kid on a label. Now it was all ADD, we were convinced. That didn’t vulcanize him or make him unaware.

He didn’t respond to our perfect treatment plan. We never asked him, so now as more time goes on, we are at almost a year with this kid now.

Yes he may have had ADD, maybe some of everything. I didn’t know.

He was scared of adults, he lived with a man that locked him in his room at night and abused him. The daughter got none of it.

He loved rocks, science, video games, organization, and rules. He was strong willed and sensitive.

We came up with lists of why he likes his sister because he got jealous. We gave him complements. When there was an outburst, we processed it. The feelings, and processed what happened.

We did discipline him and took things away, but also gave more positive reinforcement and caught him being good. I do not think he needed discipline, I think he needed something else.

He absolutely loved animals and little kids. He was wonderful to anyone who was helpless. He was such a loving kid; he was so sensitive and had a hard time with criticism. Ghandi once said, “You can tell everything you need to know about someone by the way they treat animals and those that can never pay them back.”

We treated him, not some fake label, but the person, who has traits of all of these. We found his strengths, things he liked and talked about that.

He was seriously abused. Never allowed to speak for himself, hit, thrown, and never told anything good.

He started reading his “good things about himself” list, the one he made. He loved reading it to me. He grew, he smiled, and it was his favorite time. He started adding to it. It was my favorite time as well.

I watched him get well and start to thrive, and then he would act up just so we can talk. I realized I was failing and needed to give him time when he was doing well.

He had taught me more than I taught him. I don’t believe in these labels and diagnoses anymore. I believe in people.

If you get diagnosed with bipolar, schizophrenia, bpd, major depression, you get major funding. It’s a money making scheme.

This is not supposed to be about money, but about people.

I wondered to myself, why was I so invested in this case? He was teaching me. I enjoyed the time, and it was like watching me at age 8.

I acted up, got in trouble, didn’t want friends, and didn’t know how to communicate or make eye contact. Wet myself at times in school, afraid to ask the teacher, trembling in fear.

You could have diagnosed me with all of these at one point. In fact in preschool and kindergarten they thought I was mentally retarded because I didn’t talk or participate.

No one said “That is odd, whey won’t he participate?” I was scared, then I acted up and got expelled from junior high, then I didn’t graduate. The labels continue.

The family wants you to be sick.

I became very attached to him. I would not diagnose him or follow Deborah’s rules anymore. I stopped dressing up, I realized I was not above anyone, it was about getting to know people and talking to them and teaching them what I had learned through my life’s trials and tribulations.

I survived by luck. So I broke rules of “dress,” “professionalism,” “self-disclosure,” and I didn’t follow their rules. They decided to get rid of me. Once again, I was not following the script.

I gave up the house, the cars, all of it.

The kid taught me more than I ever taught him. It was like going back to the 8 year old me and understanding the pain I was in and it made me feel ok.

It was an equal relationship. When I screwed up, I said “I’m sorry, I screwed that up.” I got serious eye rolls from Deborah and she told me that I cannot apologize to patients like that. You should have seen the look on his face when I apologized. That was worth it.

He wasn’t Asperger’s, ODD, or ADD. He was a person, as we all are. He was not a label.

When the Dali lama came to west and met with western psychologists and he was baffled. He said “What is this, you are always trying to figure out what is wrong with people, and all people are beautiful.”

It is a good thing the DSM wasn’t around for these people:

Einstein was four years old before he could speak and seven before he could read.

Isaac Newton did poorly in grade school.

When Thomas Edison was a boy, his teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything.

  1. W. Woolworth got a job in a dry goods store when he was 21. But his employers would not let him wait on a customer because he “Didn’t have enough sense.”

A newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because he had “No good ideas”

Caruso’s music teacher told him “You can’t sing, you have no voice at all.”

Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college.

Verner Von Braun flunked 9th grade algebra.

Admiral Richard E. Byrd had been retired from the navy, as “unfit for service” until he flew over both poles.

Louis Pasteur was rated as mediocre in chemistry when he attended the Royal College.

Abraham Lincoln entered The Black Hawk War as a captain and came out a private.

Fred Waring was once rejected from high school chorus.

Winston Churchill failed the sixth grade.

I was fired and learned many lessons from this. Jonah actually was hospitalized multiple times. He took his own life at age 14. At the wake, they all talked about how he was “messed up.” I sat in the back of the room, waited for everyone to go away and, as they do at any wake, go about their gossiping and use it as a social event. I went up to his casket and said “Thank you Jonah. I am sorry, and I love you. I will take this with me everywhere. There won’t be another Jonah.”

Deborah finally got her wish and got to open her own treatment center. It was run into the ground within 7 months.

I have since researched this. I think it was actually a different kind of label that fit him.

That label is gifted. This is a list of gifted traits:

High moral standards.

As a gifted person, you have a strong sense of what is right and wrong and how others should be treated. It hurts you to see others mistreat each other, animals or the environment.

As I said, he was great with animals and helpless people. He knew what was right and wrong. That’s why he acted up when things went wrong at his home. Instead he got pushed around and beaten and blamed.

So in this case it is called a strong sense of what is right and wrong. I if you look at the ODD criteria that would call this behavior as actively defiant of adult’s requests or rules.

I ask you, what if the things that the adults are doing is wrong? So he was gifted and standing up against that, but we called it “defiant.”

It is all about perceptions.

Passionate devotion to what interests you.

What absorbs you. You easily devote your energies to what moves you.

He did this.

But look at the Asperger’s diagnosis criteria.

If you’re labeled as “gifted” it is about passionate devotions.

If it is Asperger’s it is called:

“Encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus.”

See it depends on the one doing the labeling.

One says passionate devotions, the other says abnormal preoccupation.

It’s the same behavior.

 

Independent, tend not to be a follower.

You may not do well in groups or have much patience for processes or ineffectual leaders. You tend not to admire authority figures. You seem them for who they really are. You value people for their gifts, not their positions.

Again he did this. He did not want to participate if it was not something he believed in.

So here it says if you are gifted, you do not admire authority figures and you are independent.

Now let’s look at the ODD and Asperger’s definition of the same behavior:

Asperger’s calls this same behavior:

Apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals

So, what they are saying in the DSM is that he is inflexible and not a follower? It is the same behavior, not always following.

Here is what ODD says:

Often argues with adults.

Again, what if the adults are wrong and he is just smart enough to see through it all?

So he is labeled as “not a listener.”

Whereas someone not obsessed with labeling or that looked at the whole person AND gets to know him MIGHT SEE THIS as gifted.

It’s the same behavior labeled differently.

 

High degree of sensitivity to inner and outer stimulus.

Whether or not what you attune to is relevant, you can easily be overwhelmed by stimulus – visual, auditory, mental, emotional, physical or energetic.

This is another hallmark sign of “Asperger’s” and “ADD.”

They say it is impairment, and that it is not normal.

They are right, it is not normal. It is gifted.

This is the same behavior and is labeled as a “good” thing and sign of being gifted

So we take someone who is in tune with their environment and notices thing that do not make sense, is sensitive, doesn’t know what to do, so acts out. Instead of thinking of this as special, we say it is a problem.

The problem is the whole practice of psychology and the DSM.

 

 

Depression or boredom if you are not engaged.

Because much of what is in the world is simply noise for the gifted person, you may avoid stimulus. In fact, as a gifted person you require stimulus in the areas of your passions. Without the proper stimulus, your gifts can turn against you.

So this says that if you are gifted, you like to tune out the world and focus on the areas you are passionate about.

ODD would call this defiance.

Asperger’s would call this preoccupation abnormality.

 

Feeling something is wrong with you because you are unlike others.

Living as a minority, it can take a great effort to stop comparing yourself to others. One tends to compare one’s level of energy, number of friends, activity level, and personality with that of others.

So these kids, in tune but in an environment that does not know what to do with them, act out and WE want to know what is wrong with the kid.

The answer is nothing.

So this kid doesn’t have a LOT of friends. We say it is Asperger’s, it means he doesn’t get social cues. Maybe there is something wrong with society that he understands.

In ODD they would call this pre antisocial behavior, trouble maker.

It is easy to label and write it down and walk away. These kids are different, but it is not a bad thing.

Elaborate inner dialogues, thoughts or imaginings.

Whether it is what you think when you watch a movie, read a book, hear a lecture, or what you dream – you have a rich inner world. You have rich inner dialogues or imaginings.

If a kid like this is obsessed with his inner life and is an introvert, we think that is wrong. We say he is shy like it is a disease, we have to fix him. He needs friends.

Maybe he doesn’t, maybe he needs a couple and that is it. That doesn’t mean he is socially awkward. Maybe he gets the world and what is important.

But we label it. Call it a disease.

In ODD we call this antisocial behavior, manipulation, or trying to scheme.

It’s all in the person doing the labeling.

Seeing the underpinnings of things.

You tend to think about, explore and see the place of origins. You look at the causal level of interactions in the field of your gifts – whether human interactions, agents of disease, warring countries or foundational aspects to color. You are aware of the place of essence, the place before things have form.

We call this being a weirdo or an introvert, thinking deeply, being quiet and analyzing. Of course someone like this would not have a lot of friends their age level.

But it is certainly not a disease.

Seeing outcomes before they occur.

You tend to jump ahead. This can occur when you read, listen to someone talk, or when you consider an issue. You often see what has not happened yet. Outcomes seems obvious to you because you are considering the variables in a way many are not.

When someone jumps ahead in ADD is a bad thing. We have to stop calling that ADD, a disorder, when really it is someone who figured things out quicker and has more thoughts in 4 hours than most do in 24. But we want to “slow them down” instead of embracing it.

Interrupting is a hallmark of ADD, which we call a disorder.

Little interest in much of what interests others.

You don’t find yourself easily absorbed in what interests others – events, activities, news or reading matter. You want to go deeper than most.

Remember what Asperger’s says about this behavior:

“Lack of social or emotional reciprocity.”

But we like to jump to this label. It is superiority and ego. We can find someone who is sick, and then they go back to the same sick environment and wonder why they keep coming back.

They don’t need meds, they need a therapist that gets it and they need a “system fixing.”

A rapid learner in the fields of your gifts.

You tend to have natural abilities without formal training. You are a rapid learner in the area of your gifts and a creative thinker – seeing beyond the given.

So you do things differently, you make your own rules, do things your own way, don’t conform.

What did ODD say about this behavior?

“Often actively defies or refuses to comply with adults’ requests or rules.”

What did Asperger’s say about this behavior?

“Lack of social or emotional reciprocity. Doing things their own way means these poor kids with Asperger’s are “socially clueless” when in fact they may just be advanced.

 

A maverick.

Because you process in a different manner than most and tend to attend to many different directions of thought or experience at once, you may find it difficult to be part of organizations or situations that value consensus.

So someone that doesn’t blindly follow is gifted.

We know that is not what Asperger’s and ODD say. They say they are impaired and abnormal.

Many skills or interests.

Many (but not all) gifted people find themselves gifted in more than one area. This can make focusing energies and prioritizing very difficult.

So disorganization is a sign of giftedness.

The APA would have you believe that it is lack of empathy, ADD, or something that needs to be fixed.

You approach the world and problems differently than others. You may be concerned about things that do not concern others.

So if you are different than others it is a gift.

Other phrases that may describe you: too smart, feelings of despair, alienation from culture, authentic existence, meaningful life, critical inner voice, highly motivated, driven.

Or Asperger’s, ODD, anti-social, bpd, bipolar, depression, etc.

If you meet a mental health professional that diagnoses you in the first visit, run.

We need relationships, not criteria. Treat people, not symptoms.

And in the end, all of these so called “disorders” have an antidote:

LOVE.

End the DSM.

DSM2

The lunatic is on the grass: A schizophrenic golfer unwittingly removes stigma of mental health

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“For no amount of our screaming at the people in charge to change things can change them… the powers bent on waging war against the poor and the young and the “other” will only be moved to kinship when they observe it.”

 

We all have those moments that change our lives forever. Sometimes we don’t even notice it. We expect some huge moment. We expect what we see in movies and on tv. So sometimes, we miss it, we miss the miracle right in front of our faces. Of the 2 most life altering moments in my life, one was at an obscure building behind a super 8 motel in the middle of no where. Miracles aren’t supposed to happen there are they? It sounds like a country song. The other was the one I’m going to tell you about now.

 

It came at a time when I needed it, and when I was ready to see it. So many times it is there, but our perceptions and false beliefs prevent us from actually seeing it. When you open your mind, it will come. Truth is always there, waiting for you to see it. It always will be.

 

This point in my life I had it figured out ( I thought). This came after my major relapse that almost cost me my life, and it did cost the complete destruction of my false self and broke down all the lies I had been telling myself. This was about 1 year after joe killed himself.
I almost died, and I almost got committed for a second time. 18 years after my original commitment. I lost my family, and everything that I thought mattered. Joe had killed himself, I was on the verge of total destruction.

 

Before this happened, I had finished school and was using that to prove I was ok. I had been a supervisor at a psychiatric rehab facility at the time. I was down after this relapse, I had given up. I was completley lost. When people are down and hopeless it is very hard to have any positive thoughts, or any hope. What we do is blow off the positive wonderful things we see, and we tend to see all the darkness that there is to see.
I think there is enough darkness to see the world that way, and enough light to see that. I had spent months fighting for us to give patients rights, I had been advocating, fighting in staff meetings, trying to spread awareness and show everyone that the mentally Ill and addicted are not bad people. Then of course I have the relapse and I look like a fraud and lose all credibility.

 

I started to listen to the negativity. People working there would say things like “this is all a fraud, we write fake progress notes, come up with fake goals.” We would have 5 minute groups, and pretend like we are helping. Staff would sit in their offices 6 hours out of the day. The patients are just there 90 days to wait to get housing. We would charge 8400 a month per patient and it is a run down, beat up, and about to fall down apartment. Meanwhile, out of their 400 dollars a month that they received we took all of it except 87 dollars per month. Meanwhile the owner went overseas every other month.

 

These people at work had said these things before, however, I didn’t listen. Now, due to my internal struggle, I was listening. I thought to myself, what a fucking joke. This is all a lie, everything is. I have spent my whole life fighting against stigma and for these patients and I am a joke. I have been wrong all along and people must think I am a complete idiot. I raise my voice and demand better treatment, but for what? I was making all this money for what? My whole life was a lie.

I went for my 2nd rehab stint but as soon as the social workers 16 days of following me were up, I walked out. I had nothing. I needed money so I’ll keep showing up to work I decided.

 

Every week we would have our team meetings in which we go over treatment plans of the 16 patients in our “intense psych rehab.” What a fucking joke I thought.  I had been off for a while since the relapse. I was now back and this is the first treatment meeting I had been to since. We have the mental health practitioner present the patients and their goals and progress. This is like playing house as a kid, now we are just playing treatment as adults. We talk about this new patient, a schizophrenic, and we discuss his goals. It is said that this is a career schizophrenic that goes to hospitals over and over. His goal is to marry Paris Hilton and play golf on the european golf tour. Well everyone cracks up. The laughing is intense, everyone teases, ridicules, and assasinates his character. 20 mostly privledged white kids in their 20s sitting in this board room with their first psych job determining the fates of these patients. I’m laughing, I think what a joke.

 

We had a program director who was amazing, she said we have to think, how do we get him to that. Maybe get an apartment first. She said if that’s his goal we need to meet him where he is at. So ok, let’s get him an apartment first.

 

I am a little intrigued because I love golf. I am terrible at it. However to be outside in nature with the sun for 4 hours I love. The lessons it taught me was like exercise for my mind. Every shot matters in the same way that every moment matters. If I hit the ball by a tree, then in turn if I get angry and impulsive, and try to smack it out of the woods, it will likely hit a tree and i’ll be in worse shape. However, if I let my ego down, and chip it out, then I will be better off. It all adds up, little things matter, have patience, and the only shot that matters is the one in front of you. Swing soft and the ball will go further. You can’t beat nature, go with it. Use your talents, don’t try to be like the other players. Stay within yourself, and be humble. This is why I loved golf. It was some sort of meditation for me.

 

I walk upstairs and I see the guy, the golfer Paris Hilton guy we talked about. He is wearing 20 year old tennis shoes, and he wears the same clothes every day, it is likely all he owns. He says he’s not sick but he has to take medications. He gets angry if anyone challenges his delusions. I just walk by daily for about 2 months. The whole time thinking this guy is a typical schizophrenic so let’s write our notes, get him out of here and go home. Lets get our checks and continue living the lie.

 

It was nice outside early that spring so I brought my clubs in one day as I was going golf after work. They were brand new fancy clubs. I thought I was the man but I hated myself and at the time didn’t know why. Now I know because that was one of my false selves. A mask I was wearing, it wasn’t who I really am. When you run from who your true self is, you suffer.

 

So at times I’ve talked to him about golf to measure his awareness, and he knew a lot so I was surprised. He had started coming down to talk to me more because it was more of a friendship than me just asking him about his ” coping skills” and his “goals” and the bullshit they teach you to say in school and at these expensive trainings. He didn’t feel threatened by me or that I was against him, or that I writing things down in his chart. When patients do that, we think, see they are paranoid. However, is that really paranoid? We read their charts and decide who they are without ever getting to know them. I think lacking trust and not wanting us to write things down is a perfectly normal response based on the circumstances they are usually in.

 

I swung my clubs inside that day, he said ” whoah, you got a good swing, not bad.” He saw my clubs and said ” hey can I take a swing?” Now what I was doing here was something that most places would say is inappropriate and me dusplaying poor boundaries. The people mostly running these places would say that I should be discussing his treatment and goals and his plan. However, no one will talk to you if you don’t build a relationship first. I wasn’t purposely manipulating a relationship either, I was genuinely talking to him like an equal, without regards to the societal roles we were playing. So, I said “”yeah, $$$$’ take a swing, let’s see.” This was the beginning of one of the most deep and profound times in my life in which my false selves would all die. Was it in a church, in a school, in a huge moment, no. I was about to learn about life from a lifelong schizophrenic at a golf couse. Not quite how I had it drawn up.

 

He swung the club and it was one of the nicest swings I had seen in person. I was shocked. Of course that didn’t mean he was a european pro. I did start to doubt my own pre conceived notions as an “expert.” Could I, the all mighty one be wrong? It brought me back to a time when I was working at the county hospital, and one of the doctors said, ” you don’t treat the diagnosis, you treat the patient, everyone is different.”

I then went to get support from the program director to take him and anyone else to the driving range. The university where I got my golf lessons, it was close and I was familiar with. I got the ok and so we drive the van to the driving range. We arrive and there is is bunch of young kids with fancy clubs looking as we walk on the course, a group of mentally ill patients. They had that look like “umm i think you guys are lost” or the ” not in our neighborhood” looks. Here is this schizophrenic guy with 20 year old shoes, long hair, and 10 year old jeans. We had no clubs,, except mine, and all they can give him is a 9 iron, which is typically hit about 150 yards by professional golfers. He is given a jr. club, the kind for little kids, because they say that is all they have for use. He says ok, he wasn’t arguing. This man is 6’5. The club doesn’t fit him very well but he is happy to be there as is everyone.

 

 

Then there is that moment, the one that changes everything. He puts the ball down. All these young kids, with their 3000 dollar clubs and their fancy clothes are all chuckling and watching, I am watching, the other patients are watching.

 

He says “wow, i havent swung club in a long time.” I was so nervous at this point, because I could see all the people watching, and I was watching. I was wondering, was this a delusion? Am i hurting this guy and embarrasing him? I felt my body get tighter. My teeth clenched, heart racing, I could feel it.

 

I look at his face, I watch his eyes, they aren’t schizophrenic eyes. His tongue was tightly wrapped on the outside left side of his mouth. He has this grimace on his face, it was extreme like focus. I look at his feet, they are not schizohrnic feet anymore, they are solid, on the ground, perfect stance. His arms are not schizophrenic arms, the grip is well, but the club does not fit him.

 

 

I sense the tenison and the energy as everyone was watching this “freak.” The thing is, he couldn’t sense it. He already knew what we were about to find out. He wasn’t hitting the ball for just him, he was hitting it for me, to give me hope. He was hitting it for the other patients. He was hitting it for the kids watching, 18 to 22 year olds who already have their mind made up, they want to laugh.

 

He hit the ball, it goes well over 175 yards, with a kids 9 iron. The ball flew soo high in the air, like when you watch a pro golfer hit it. It towered over the earth, and the ball was soo beautiful in flight, it was like you see on tv. I could not believe it and you could hear a pin drop.

 

The world stopped, and mine had changed forever. Had the first shot been a miss, no one watches again. The first shot was the key. This wasn’t a ball you could say was just struck well by an amateur. It had the look of a real talented golfer. He hadn’t swung a club in years, he had a girls jr club, he didn’t have fancy equipment or shoes or a glove. He had a sweatshirt, jeans, old raggedy shoes.

Then this happened over and over and over again. Eventually people were not whispering anymore. They eventually went back to hitting their balls. Then more magic happened. You see at a range all these golfers hitting and all these balls in flight. There continued to be one ball that towered over the rest and made the others look like little kids. Then, I started watching the kids, they started swinging and missing, and hitting terrible shots. He’s not supposed to do that. I could barely move. I had been shown the truth yet again. I hit some ok shots, but it didn’t really matter anymore.

 

Then he walked over and started giving me tips on my golf swing and they all worked. I couldn’t fucking believe this. Then I look back, there is 20 kids watching him hit the ball, and watching him teach me. It was that impressive. Of course on the side you had our other patients trippng, laughing, running around.

 

Then a moment that still tears me up as I write this happened. One kid with extreme courage and bravery comes up and asks him advice on his swing. They had teased and judged, but our guy didn’t care. He said sure, loved helping. Before you knew it you had the schizophrenic giving golf tips to these college golfers. I will never be the same and I knew it. I remember getting back to the facility and sitting down. My co workers said “you must really like golf, I’ve never seen you so alive and energized.” I could not describe what I had just seen and I am still not doing it justice. All I could say was ” yeah I like golf.”

 

We went again maybe 3 times. We had long talks in the car. He started talking about his life growing up, how he got involved. I started teaching him about schizophrenia. Eventually, he said to me, “well I’ve been going to these hospitals and group homes for over 20 years, and no one has ever explained it to me. I think I do have that disease, actually maybe they are right.” I think other people had explained, he hadn’t listened, becasue no one had ever listened to him. I only did by chance. I ignored him for 2 months. Everyone played a role, the negative mental health practitioner who tried to make a joke of his treatment plan, the program director. It all played a part.

 

Then I started to listen carefully to what he said when he went on rants instead of just having preconceived notions. I heard him talk about the college he went to. I decided to look it up, then there it was. I saw a picture of him, clean cut, very well groomed and dressed. He had a 4.0 and was captain of a division 1 golf team. I wanted to be his caddy and get him in tounaments. That never happened.

 

Did he have the talent ot be a pro golfer?, I don’t know, but good enough to make money for sure.

 

My life changed forever, for that first swing was the swing hat changed the world. It came when I had given up on mental health and thought it was a fraud. I needed that.

 

I know this is an extreme example. I feel blessed to have even seen it. Those negative people at work said to me that I really am a good con to be able to get to get paid to go golf at work. Then I realized this wasn’t always a terrible business. Yes there are terrible things that happen, terrible abuse. Horrible things happen. That was not a reason to give up, that was the reason to stay. To stay on the inside and do my best to create change. It is only a fraud if we make it one. We have the power over every present moment we are in. That will always build on the past moment, much like golf. We can find evil if we look for it. However as socrates said “our energy is better spent on focusing on positive future than on the negative past.” I think ghandi also said that “the best criticism of the bad is the practices of the good.” Maybe it wasn’t ghandi,however I know it wasn’t me. Everyone is a human, we are all connected, and we all have things to offer. Maybe it is not this dramatic. However, if you start to treat people as equals, who deserve respect and love, instead of superiors and inferiors, you start to change. You may even learn something, like golf tips

 

The end

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A look behind the scenes of the dysfunctional Mental Health System

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“You know in this hotel room they have food every day and I knock on the door. Every day they open tha door to let me see the party, let me see that they throwin’ salami, throwin’ food around telling me there’s no food. Every day. I’m standing outside tryin to sing my way in- “We are weak, please let us in. We’re weak, please let us in.” After about a week that song is gonna change to, “We’re hungry, we need some food.” After two, three weeks it’s like “Give me some of that food! I’m breakin down that door.” After a year it’s like, “I’m pickin’ the lock, comin’ through the door blastin.” It’s like, “I’m hungry

- Tupac Shakur

It is my hope that we have a silent army building. The revolution will not be televised. But I see the replies I get, and it gives me hope.

I saw an article in the New York Times basically saying there would be less shootings if the mentally ill had less privacy and were more easily forced to be hospitalized. This is the New York Times! Who are the sick ones?

I’m going to tell a story. 2 stories, of 2 different people. They are both true stories. Then you can see how this all begins and becomes a problem. I’ll go back and forth between the stories until their paths meet.

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Here’s Dusty, I don’t know, age 3 to 5. Happy kid, plenty of love. Just loves everyone and loves the world. He doesn’t see color, sex, religion. He has nokind of discrimination, all he sees is love.

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Here’s the second story. This is my cousin Donald. The man he is with is my father. Donald also loves the world, he sees no race, sex, and discriminates against no one. He is a very loving and giving kid.

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Dusty gets older. He still loves everyone and everything. However, Dusty grew up in a home that was infested with cockroaches, and had been condemned 2 to 3 times. There was about 7 or 8 kids living there, they had no food. Dusty was the kindest of the group. He got beaten by his brothers, picked on, and thrown around. He was told “You are a loser, give me your money, do my work.” He did not understand, he gave whatever he had to others.

When I met Dusty he was about 8 or 9 years old. He had 4 brothers and sisters, they all smoked pot, drank, and never went to school. Everyone walked around this place with almost no clothes. They had only 2 bedrooms. The house was full of smoke.

Cockroaches were all over. They had no shower, and a bathroom with only a curtain covering it. The old guys would come around drinking, smoking weed, and getting physical. The older kids were getting worse also.

There was something special about Dusty, his heart. He was born with an amazing heart. He loved everyone, and gave all he had. To tell you of this kids strength, words won’t do it justice. As a 9 year old, he was growing up in a house in which every adult was punching, smoking weed, drinking, and stealing. Also, the gangsters knew where the weed was.  THE house, that’s where they were. But Dusty, at age 9, he refused to smoke weed or drink or do any of that. However, being sweet and sensitive, he was an easy target. He did not stop loving though, he still loved them all. He saw through it, through everything, even as a kid. So what happens when you are extra sensitive, caring, and loving? You get pushed down, forced to create a mask, his was the goofy guy. This is the same house where I met Joe. Dusty and Joe were cousins and best friends.

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Here is Donald. He is my cousin. He was a great kid. His father was a doctor in a small town, he made lots and lots of money. That doesn’t make Donald bad, and he is not bad. In fact, he’s a wonderful human being. I know this story puts him in privileged category. But, that is not his fault, he is still a caring, kind, and considerate human being. His father, my uncle, was once in jail for stealing cars and grew up to be a doctor. The thing about Donald was, he was born gifted, and extremely smart. He was above the genius level. He may have skipped a grade, I can’t remember. He was and is not a bad person.

However, while Dusty was seeing what he saw, Donald was going on trips, and getting the best life had to offer. He worried for nothing, he could be a kId and thrive.

Thrive he did. He is a talented, smart, and funny guy that had charisma. He didn’t have to worry about gangsters, getting food, getting raped, or having mice and cockroaches sleep on him. He had a huge bedroom, went on vacations, had all he ever wanted. He had great parents.  Now another thing I noticed about Donald was that when I went to spend 2 weeks with him when I was 12, was that in this small town everyone drank,  and did drugs, at age 12. Which is common for a small town. They were 12 and flung this. All of his friends.

One time we went to his friends house, the kid was sleeping and the kid woke up, and lifted his pillow and there was jack daniels. They all smoked and drank, except  Donald. His parents taught him this.

Dusty did it on strength of character. Donald friends said “man your dad is always getting thanked in the paper.” That was true, small town legend.

Donald’s pressure was to follow his father, and that is a different kind of pressure. One that is often not considered a problem, the gifted child.

However, that is just as hard as raising a troubled child. People don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. What they both had in common was they were gifted.

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Dusty then ended up going away for a while after missing so much school. His brothers would go just enough to not get sent away. Dusty was the extra sensitive one, he didn’t care. Me and Dusty and Joe had a bond, we all loved each other and saw behind each other’s masks.  One time, on the phone, Dusty had called his mom and said, “tell mike I lo, well never mind,” he wanted to tell me he loved me, but he was afraid. I stopped hanging out there.

That’s another story, this isn’t about me. Dusty eventually surrendered and started using drugs. Then, they had a guy from Arizona living at the drug house, his name was Carl. He had packages of drugs delivered to the house all the time. The police got involved, and a sting was set up. So the package is delivered, they all have Dusty answer because he is kind and wants to help. So he always does, and he did on this case as well.

Well, he signed, and he gets arrested, and now he has a felony. They knew it was not him, he gets interrogated, and interrogated. Does he give Carl up?, nope, never. This was when Dusty was 19. That’s his booking photo.  He went to jail, then he just got off probation recently.

This is someone you may see in jail, or at the shelter, or with the dirty clothes. That’s what you see, but this is what you’re missing when you make that judgement. These are the kids that come into our neighborhood, come to school, to church. We say get them out, those dirty kids with no manners. We don’t want to look at them, it’s like clutter in our clean house. We don’t want to deal with it, we want to pretend it’s not there. Then we may have to do something. So we ignore them and label them and call them losers or dirtbags. That’s much easier, isn’t it?

But that is how we all are part of the problem and we ask are co responsible for the inequality. You see these kids, these people, and no action is am action. Silence is consent.

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Here’s Donald at age 19. He had a child. Now that’s a disaster if he’s in Dusty’s situation. However, Donald had great supports in place. His mom and dad helped the teenagers adjust, made sure everything was taken care of.

Donald was able to go to school and while Dusty was in jail, Donald was excelling. He finished college in 3 years and went on to medical school and finished. He’s a doctor. Now again, he’s not bad, not a superstar yet, I don’t think.

He is now starting to isolate,  he is on a different level than others and he gets told that alot. So he believes it, so does his wife. So now the good doctor moves and starts dominating the medical profession.

They told me his iq is 156.  I’m sure they told him too. He then joined the army like his father and got lots of medals and accolades.

Which is not bad. This is simply to show how we start to label and separate.

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Here is Dusty taking care of his dying mother. He gets out of jail, meets a girl, and they have kids. He didn’t know how to have a relationship, he is on his own with no college, no skills, no understanding of life. Just love.

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Then you have Donald with his 500 thousand dollar house that got egged.

How do I know this? Well his wife posted on Facebook that someone egged their 500 thousand dollar house but she wasn’t worried because they had security cameras all over the house. You know, to keep the “bad criminals out.”

Like clutter, she didn’t want to see that.

I also saw her post once that she was very upset with the mayor in the town they live in because he allowed a Wal-Mart to be built by their house. Her quote was “who else has to look out their 500 thousand dollar house and see a Wal-Mart, someone needs to stop this guy, do not vote for him.”

See as the separation is almost complete. What did dusty do to be placed below donald?

Nothing. But we see them each walking down the street and we treat them differently. That’s how we all contribute.

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Dusty getting older, he split with his kids mom. He suffers from depression, severe depression. He feels rejected all the time, he smokes weed to forget, to not be himself.

He talks about suicide all the time. He misses Joe more than anyone.  His heart is broken. Dusty and Joe spent all their time together. They even moved 2 blocks down from me for 2 years. I would drive by and wave. Really? Yes. I was no better than Donald. Even worse, because I drive by, and we still talked from time to time, but I was trying to get my life together. I could have said hi.

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The doctor and his family. Now this is not an attack in Donald at all. It is about how we create separation. He worked hard, he’s caring, and  he is a good man. He just started to believe he was different and better. He got told lies.

Lies we all believe, like, you need this huge house, cars, medals, and everyone to see how awesome you are.

So he fell in the trap. Here we are, the “look at us” photo. 

You know how the native americans defined mental illness? They said anyone who lives in excess of what they need is mentally ill.

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The doctors wife at the ritz.

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Dusty and his kid at the laundromat.

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The doctor and his boat.

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Dusty at the playground. Having fun.

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The doctors daughter with one of her trophies, she had special tennis lessons, beauty pageants, and she going to Oxford college on scholarship.

Same thing as Donald, smart talented kid. No fault of her own, the cycle continues. She is being brainwashed like he was.

He had a mask on as well. Still does.

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Dusty being a dad and loving. He never knew life would be so hard when all he wanted to do was love.

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The doctor is now continuing to serve and get accolades. To bad it’s all a lie.

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Now this part is not real, but an example of what would likely happen from what I’ve seen in my years being in both worlds……

Now what happens if Dusty walks into Dr. Donalds office? How in the world can the doctor understand what Dusty is saying. Dusty says “Life isn’t worth living, I need to smoke weed.” 

The doctors response is usually, “He just doesn’t care, he doesn’t want to work, he wants disability.” The thought process I’ve seen a million times.  All the time, it’s the rule, not the exception.

So, let’s say Dusty had attempted suicide 2 times, and keeps coming back. He has to in order to get benefits and to get housing for himself.

The doctor is frustrated, in his mind he’s trying hard. That’s what life is, you just don’t behave like that in his opinion. In his world, you get up, work hard, and get it done. He can’t understand why Dusty complains that no medications work, yet continues to use drugs, and goes to the hospital.

He thinks Dusty has children,  and he’s not taking care of them, he’s a “Predator” or a “Manipulator” or “Gamey.”

This is when I hear things like, why do they get free healthcare and we don’t. Almost a resentment at the patients. This is something that I see daily. The caring staff keep their mouths shut in fear.

So now Dusty has to be forced to take meds. He doesn’t get it, we have to help him. So we will put him on meds, and we aren’t going to listen to his side effects stories. We are going to force injections if he doesn’t comply with orders.

He can’t take care of himself.  We have to in the doctors opinions.

Oh and, let’s charge insurance about 1500 dollars a day to do this. If the drugs give him diabetes, that’s too bad because he needs to be safe.

Good job young doctor, you’re saving the world.

Now Dusty has not been without weed for years, so asking him to stop is asking him to feel all these feelings that he has never felt before. Forcing him to take his mask off without support.  The feelings he had been told to block his whole life, the feelings that have made him an outsider and not accepted.

Then give him a med that makes him feel no better for at least 6 weeks.  Then it might not be the right medication, so we may have to start all over.

He will have side effects like drooling, sedation, diarrhea, and tremors. That occurs right away. Plus feeling all these emotions. Then when he sleeps too much we say that he is lazy,  or non compliant with his treatment.

So we force him out of bed, and we make him go to groups with someone explaining all these “skills” he needs to use. Then he can’t participate due to the meds, the side effects, being off drugs his brain had coffee to rely on, and now having to freak with all these suppressed emotions.

So he is said to be non interested. So we need to give him more medications.

Of course we do.

Now he’s angry. No one listens, he’s sensitive, but he has had enough. He explodes from this and other patient’s likely taking advantage of him,  and staff telling him when he can shower, piss,  and treat him like a criminal.

Because, we say, look at his record, he is a felon. No one asks why or what happened, and they won’t believe him anyways, he’s a “manipulator.”

True story…

We had a young man admitted to our place the other day. I’ll call him “kev.” Abused age 1 to 3. A ward off the state at age 3. Picture a 3 year old being abused and taken from home, then a 3 year old in a privileged  home, they’re is no difference, why do we seem to think as adults that there is?  He was in foster homes his whole life, sexually abused, and beaten.Then at age 19 he committed an armed robbery,  and he was shot 3 times. Then he Went to max security prison for 7  years. In prison, he cuts himself enough to need surgery, he has been known to swallow glass,  and toothbrushes requiring surgery.

The assessment by “the team.” Is that he is “smooth, and manipulative.” He swallowed these things to get to go to hospital, a trip out of jail.

This is dangerous to call him manipulative. If I think you are manipulative then everything you do I take as a con. If we instead think of him as this kid who has a desparate need for acceptance and love,  you will treat him differently. Then he will react differently. Then he gets better treatment.  Our staff are young, impressionable, and eager to learn about psychiatry since it is romanticized on the media at times.

However if you work in government, they need to save the taxpayers money, they don’t want us spending “their” money.  We have to hire inexperienced staff, because they are cheaper. We train them by what they see. The cycle continues.

So why would someone like Dusty shoot his doctor? It’s not so black and white if you look deep enough.

What’s the difference between…

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This 19 year old young dad.

And this…

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This young dad? (This is Joe and Anthony from last post)

The answer is nothing. Until we divide them. When we divide, we create class, uppers and lowers. When really we are all connected.

It won’t end. It can’t. Until people start fighting back. The battle is not going to be easy, we won’t see the end. We won’t see the victory. That will come after we’re gone.

But there is going to be a fight, we know that there is going to be a fight  because we are going to start it. We will lose some, as we lost Joe. We won’t stop. Love always wins. Always.

If I’ve made you mad, then I’ve done my job. Happy people don’t create change. You have to be angry, you must have discontent to create change. So be angry. Then do something about it.

If 1 person reading this gets 1 thing and does something, that’s perfect. The ripple effect will be huge.

Love you Dusty.

The end.

If you want to see this in video.
Here it is..10 minutes I think.

The Problem With the Mental Health System

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It only takes one: How to fight the monster

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“Let us never forget that everything that Hitler did in Germany was legal at the time.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Restraints and seclusions happen at an alarming rate in psychiatric hospitals.

What is a seclusion and restraint? It is a barbaric and outdated practice that is abusive and is completely unnecessary except in extreme cases.

I have spent 21 years in the system, going from a committed patient, perceived as “Mentally Ill,” and needing the State to intervene, to drug treatment 3 times, and jail 3 times. I have then become a staff member and supervisor at a drug rehab, at a jail, and at state psychiatric institutions.

If you look at when they happen, and look at statistics, some staff has a much much higher rate of them when they work. This is an indication that it is the staff’s behavior, not the patients, that causes these things. We also have union staff, unions are about keeping jobs and staff convenience, not patients.

I have seen it from both sides. It is inhumane. They do not let people in psychiatric facilities with cameras and they do not let information out. They hide behind the “confidentiality” of patients for their protection. However this is a smoke screen and it is in place to protect the staff that abuses the patients.

I cannot use specific names or examples; however this is what I have seen throughout the years as my interpretation of things.

I will not go into all the boring details with statistics and case studies, just my perspective of what I have seen in general. If that is wanted by readers of this, I can certainly do that later.

It needs to stop and the only way is if we start prosecuting staff for the abuse.

Here we have in general what I have seen over 21 years:

The monster is in the dark room. The monster is chained up. Those in power let the monster out, but the monster rages. Sometimes it doesn’t for a day. Sometimes it is chained up for a week, for a month.

People are excited. The monster is learning they think. Really the monster is hiding the rage. Not knowing how to talk about things, and afraid. Then it explodes eventually.

The monster explodes again ferociously. Those in power watch. They don’t know what to do.

They fight about how to treat the monster. Some say, let the monster rage, it will tire. Some say ignore the monster. Take away the audience.

 

The monster gets worse. Those in power have anxiety. They say they want safety, what they really want control of the environment. They take the monster and chain it up again. They are afraid and have no idea what to do, so they use the chains.

They don’t talk to the monster when it is screaming. They sedate the monster. They give medications to slow the monster down.

They have meetings in their suits with their big degrees to discuss what’s the best way to treat the monster.

The monster is left chained up for days.

The monster screams and fights and spits and fights. The monster doesn’t tire.

For days, they come in the dark room with the monster.

The first one is a guard, he says shut up or you don’t get out or fed food.The monster spits, fights, and kicks. The monster gets more aggressive. The guard gets more physical and tells the people in charge that the monster is out of control. Not to come in. The guards then write a report saying that the monster fought, and that explains all the bruises on the monster and all the blood.

The monster screams. Then in comes the next guard. This guard doesn’t know what to do, and doesn’t really care. The guard sits and sits and does nothing. The guard is worried about getting his break and not having to do overtime. The monster sits and sits and rests a bit. This guard is filling out his fantasy football team and watching his phone to see how his team did.

Then the monster screams and fights and screams more. Now we have justification for more medications, more roughness, and more chains. Everyone is in agreement, it is the monsters fault.

The doctor writes an order to force the medications. The judge won’t argue with the “expert psychiatrist.”

The monster got in the way of one guards fantasy football team, and his breaks. He also upset the other guard who was crabby about his life, the monster is an inconvenience.

Then in comes the medication nurse. They give the meds. The nurse tries to be rational and explain the reason the meds are needed and to educate the monster. The monster screams and spits medication out. The medication nurse runs away. The medication nurse is in agreement now, how could this monster not understand why it needs these medications. The nurse was told in school and in her books that the monsters need to be sedated, or they are dangerous. So she believes she is helping.

The nurse, then upset, tells the people in power that make the decisions that the monster won’t listen to reason, and refused help. The monster needs to be forced medication. The ones who make these decisions base the decisions on what the guards and nurse are telling them, they never actually spend time with the monster. They think that the only way is forced medication. They have to, that’s their whole job, without medications, they have no job and no 500,000 dollar beach house.

Next nurse comes in. This nurse is angry with the monster, tells the monster they are doing this for attention and are a spoiled brat, They really think that the monster wants control and it’s a game. The monster rages and rages and rages. This nurse reports the monster is out of control and should be shot. This is the only way is to permanently put the monster out of its misery.

The monster when it rages speaks the truth, it says things like “you take medications” “you are an idiot” “you are a robot.” This enrages the staff, so they all write, “non-compliant” “delusional” “out of control aggression.”

The problem is the monster, when it was a child, was getting beaten and raped and abused while the staff members were enjoying a somewhat “normal” childhood. They do not understand how someone can become this “monster.” All they are trying to do is help. This monster is so ungrateful they do not get it.

Then the next guard comes in tries to talk, when monster yells, then the guard refuses to speak to the monster, to punish monster with silence. The monster rages and screams, spits and threatens to kill.

This guard is so offended that being nice did not work, they will now ignore the monster and basically “give up.” They say “well, nothing is working; you are right, chains them up then get an order to kill them gradually with forced medications for the rest of their lives.”

Next guard comes in, afraid to speak to monster because of all the information already written. All the smart degree people say don’t talk to the monster until it is heavily medicated. This guard listens, they are new, so they believe what they are told and ignore the monster. They are afraid, and never tries out of fear of losing their job.

Then the next need nurse comes in, wants to go home, not fill out paperwork, doesn’t want to deal with this. So, asks one time if the monster will take medications then stops trying. They do not want to be inconvenienced. This staff used to care, but they have seen this too many times and do not want to fight anymore. They want a job and a good review and to feed their family, so they go along. This staff has given up.

They talk to all the money making professionals, they have never met the monster, the big decision makerd tell everyone how they cannot hold the monsters hands, or touch the monster.

That sets their monster off these experts say. That’s what they were taught in school. The big money making professionals discipline staff if they try to touch the monster. They sit back in their meetings and decide how the staff should treat the monster. They spend between the 8 of them about 30 minutes a week with the monster, they make a combined million per year.

 

The monster screams they have to go to the bathroom; the staff won’t let the monster out. The monster urinates on himself. The experts say it’s a behavior to get out of chains. It is written in a report that this monster is urinating on himself for attention.

They leave the monster in the chains. The monster can’t eat. The doctor says force medications.

The big strong guy’s come in, hold the monster down, they are very rough, they write in reports that they have to be, they can explain all the wounds on the monster as the monster resisting. This is passed along as the monster being out of control, and fighting. This is why the monster looks so beaten up. No cameras are allowed in the facility due to what they say is “confidentiality.”

They force the medications. The monster rages more than ever.

They have more meetings after their one hour lunches at fancy restaurants. They get paid a lot, these professionals. They read reports of these staff, talk to the monster for a few minutes. Some do not even meet the monster, they just read the reports and writer their opinions based on that.

The monster sits in urine and starving. They justify this as having to keep the monster safe.

 

The behavior analyst comes in to see the monster. The behavior analyst uses all these neat fancy terms about behavior that they learned in school. They read about this in school and they are so excited to use these terms.

The monster laughs at them and spits. The behavior analyst doesn’t know what to do, the book didn’t tell about this stuff. They are scared. They wanted to help. Now they are at a loss. They have dropped their whole humanity for textbooks written by other robots. Now they must go to the wise elders and learn how to treat this monster.

To save face, they sit and agree with the others. Shoot the monster, put him down for good. They all are in agreement, if the monster survives, it may tell people about this stuff.

Then the old psychologist, the great wise one, writes out a plan on how it is ok to shoot the monster. People will listen to this old psychologist. She has worked with monsters for 40 years; no one checks how well they do under her care. They respect that piece of paper that calls her a monster expert.

 

This expert decides it is best to never meet the monster. No one will question her; she is an “expert.” She feels she is the best, and that is how she is paid. So she sits down and writes a report that it’s ok to kill the monster for society’s sake. No judge will question the 40 year expert and all these staff in agreement. How could he, if he did, he would be going against all these experts and staff members that say the monster is dangerous.

The next RN comes in, the monster spits at this RN. The RN laughs, maybe out of nerves, this RN says, “why are you doing that, stop it that’s silly.” The monster calls this staff names and spits and once again the monster rages.

The RN is confused, goes along with plan. Writes they the monster is aggressive and refused food. This RN did not even offer any food, but it says in the paperwork that you have to offer it. SO the RAN writes in the report that they offered food and it was refused.

The Next RN comes in and starts to talk, the monster screams, and the RN leaves. Fear and reading the reports has told this staff to just walk away, so that is what they do.

Medical Doctor comes in, peaks in, staff asks if the doctor wants to do an evaluation on the monster. The doctor shakes their head “no.” Say “it is ok, he looks ok.” The monster never even knew this doctor was there. She was quiet enough so no one heard her. She writes her report that she saw the monster for 30 minutes and the monster denied problems and screamed at her. After all, who is going to question the validity of this report? The blood and bruises are all explained. The urination and feces on the monster are all explained as well.

 

 

Then psychiatrist comes in and scold the monster. He tells the monster that he has the power over the monster. Monster gets aggressive and screams. The psychiatrist says if you are not going to stop we will keep you here until we get an order to put you out for good. Uses his power, he does not like that it does not work. The psychiatrist is mad now and wants this done.

 

 

The psychiatrist finally leaves and says give more and more medications until the monster passes out. Do this every day so the monster sleeps all day until we can get the order to shoot them. “No one talks to us that way.”

 

 

They go in report and pass it on that the staff are to write in notes that the monster is unsafe and needs medications. They use their power to coerce staff what to write in the notes.

 

 

They all go home proud of themselves. They all write their reports to match the consensus. They all have the weekend off, holidays off, enjoy time with family. They get paid extra by medication companies to give the medication that the company makes. Everyone is getting rich off of the monster.

 

 

The next morning staff comes in while we all are awaiting this order to kill. This staff walk up to monster, kneels down. Monster spits at the staff, the staff simply moves their head to the side.

 

This staff doesn’t leave.

 

This staff asks” what can I do?” And she asks this genuinely. She has pain in her own eyes talking to the monster, almost saying please tell me how to help you. Nothing out of a book, or based on supervisors, this staff doesn’t care about status. The monster is confused they aren’t gone.

 

 

The staff leans in and touches the monsters arm.

 

 

The monster screams, but it’s different. It’s a cry.

 

The staff releases one arm. Says, “I don’t care what they say, wipe your tears.”

 

The monster cries and wipes the tears. The monster doesn’t fight at all. Just wipes the tears.

The staff sits and hold the hands if the monster, says “what do you need.” This staff says, “They can fire me for holding your hand I don’t care.”

The monster screams,” I want my Mommy. I want to call my mom. I miss my mom. They didn’t let me call her. She’s 6 hours away.”

The monster doesn’t understand things like the staff do, the monster is told that they can’t touch staff, everyone is afraid of being disciplined. The monster is far away from their family. The monster is always told what to do. The monster only knows to rage. That is all that is left.

The monster pushes people away when afraid. They are afraid and scared so they rage.The monster cries. Then the staff tells a joke, the monster laughs, and laughs, and laughs. It is a loud laugh like it is saying “oh my god someone is here, thank you god.”

The monster then calms and talks to this staff. The other guard who is there watching then says to the monster, “can I come talk to you to?”

The monster says, “Sure.”

They all joke, and start to talk. They find out about the monster and that it is a scared, sad, and lonely monster without the natural in born skills or environment the staff had. The monster was abused as a child; it is afraid and scared and does not know how to communicate this.

The monster is soaked in urine, and feces, it has been chained up continuously. The monster is 6 hours away from home. Away from all it knows. It is now allowed to touch or hug or even high five staff. It is told it has to take meds.

The monster is beaten, bloody, chained up and drugged up.

After all of this, this staff writes a note about it. The other staff is upset, because of this, they cannot kill the monster and they have to release him.

 

The monster is released. And is not killed

 

 

The monster is not a monster.

 

 

The monster then listens to the staff that helped, makes mistakes, but gets better day by day. Some days it regresses, but it is making strides. Other staff are seeing what works and not as afraid anymore.

 

 

The doctors are mad, the staff is mad. They will try to get this staff fired for breaking their rules.

 

 

This staff let the monster hold her hands and hugged the monster. The staff is written up and disciplined. They want this staff to quit. Or fire her.

 

 

That’s against the books the experts read, and the rules.

 

 

The older staff and experts say the monster is running the show.

 

 

The loving person sticks by the monster every day through ask the rages, all the mistakes, all the bad days. She won’t bend, she won’t give up. She gives hope and love. She is not afraid of being fired. She gets sad, questions herself, gets down on herself. She keeps fighting with love though.

 

 

The loving person never gives up. She sees the good in the monster until the monster starts to see the good in themselves.

 

 

The monster still runs, spits, screams, fights, and makes mistakes on bad days.

 

 

The loving person sticks through it all, endures.

The monster doesn’t have to be someone in restraints. It can be anyone who is having a hard time or judged by society.

 

 

It can be anyone, in this case this staff knows who they are, what they did for this monster was unbelievable. The details had to be left out it is a mix of certain stories. Unfortunately this is all too common in psychiatry and mental health.

However, “change is coming.” And the revolution will not be televised. Keep fighting please.

 

Try to do that for someone labeled a monster today.

I at one point was that monster, my ex-wife, now maybe future wife jenny was the one who released me. How her and people like her do this I do not know. I admire it and try every day to do something to help release someone.

 

Now I work with other “monsters.” I won’t let it happen when I am around.

 

 

 

 

The end.

 

Stigma killed Robin Williams not suicide

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“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift. We will not solve the problems of the world from the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” -Albert Einstein

Robin Williams didn’t kill himself, stigma killed him. It kills many people like him everyday. Here is how:

STIGMA, that is the reason people do not ask for help. STIGMA is the reason people do not go to the doctor and say I’m depressed, or I’m an addict, or I do not feel things like anyone else. Who wants to say that I feel all these intense emotions? When you know what the result is going to be.  What we will do is we will give you medication.  We will tell you to change, to just feel better.  The issue is we have it backwards, they don’t need to change, we do.

We as a society, we do this. This is why people with great talents still kill themselves. Much has been written about Robin Williams; however why do you think he was such a good actor? And why do you think Jim Carrey is such a good actor? I’ll tell you what I think, it is because they get to wear a mask and pretend they are somebody else. That is easy to do when you hate yourself.  Why don’t they ask for help? STIGMA.  Why do people kill themselves?  STIGMA. We are all Co responsible for this, and until we take responsibility for our part, things will never change.

A few years ago I was sitting with a patient.  I’ll never forget as I watched her as she sat with her hands in her head crying. She was crying like I had never seen anyone cry before. She had just been told by her husband that he was leaving her and he would be taking her child with him.  He would be divorcing her if she didn’t “change.” This child was 6 years old at the time. I remember the look on her face like it was yesterday.  She had a look of pain and anguish that I have never seen before. Her lips were shaking. I could see her chin trembling.  Her knees were banging into each other as her feet were shuffling back and forth, back and forth. She was shaking. The tears were coming down her face. They were clear tears, very clear and big tears. Her eyes were squinted and almost closed. Her mouth was leaning towards me as she trembled in fear as if to say to me, “do something, I don’t know what to do.” It took everything I had not to cry. I still cry as I write this. That day, I did not. I sat and I was there for her. She said to me, “I don’t know what to do. My husband’s going to leave me if I don’t change and I don’t even know what that means.”

She paused as she saw me pause. Looking at me with eyes like a child saying “make me feel better, help my soul, this isn’t fair.”  I didn’t save the world this day. However, for this moment, I was able to take away some pain, or teach her how to do this for herself in the future. That is good enough, because that is all we can do. That is how we can cause a mass ripple affect and stop suicides and pain. One moment at a time, every single action and every single  moment matter, every single one.

So what I told her was “I know you’re feeling like somebody just hit you in the stomach and you have a dull aching pain that will not go away and you just want to keel over and surrender.”

However in my experience, this kind of pain is a beautiful thing. Why I say that is because in the moments like this in my life, this is when the truth entered me. Rumi the poet says it best in my favorite quote of all time, “The wound is where the light enters you.” This is true, there have been times in my life where everything was ripped away, all the things I thought that were important. Things like cars, houses, and fake friendships and relationships with family members. These were the things I grasped to. I was certain I needed them or I would die. The beautiful thing about adversity is that it will rip away everything, so you can see what really is important. However, I wouldn’t recommend saying that to someone while they are going through this, unless you want to get punched in the face. It is painful as hell, but it is beautiful as heaven if you let it be, then it becomes a wonderful gift.

She said “all I want to do lay down and go to bed.”  I know she meant forever. The pain she was experiencing was shame. She felt like she was not ok. She had to change. She was sick. Her whole life as she knew it, her husband, her son, and everything she had ever known was going to be taken away from her because she was sick. She then put her hands on her head and cried and cried and cried. She looked at me and I said to her,
“Sammy, look at me, just look at me.”

She put her face up, she stopped crying, her hands stopped shaking, and her chin stopped shaking. It was like I had her attention. She paused, and she looked at me. I said, “Sammy, there is nothing wrong with you.” She looked at me like this was the first time anyone had ever said that to her in her life. She bawled and bawled and put her head in her hands. Then she pulled her head back up and said, “I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to do!” 

Her husband was offered talks and education and all other kinds of resources and ways to find out about her illness. He declined this every time he was offered. He always stated that he had to work.  He declined every single time. I said to her “we don’t know that he’s going to leave you. He’s probably stressed out because he has a kid all by himself for the first time and he’s working full time.  Maybe had a bad day.  Good days come and go, bad things come and go. That is life. We try to do our best with what we know at the time. Life flows.” She shook her head yes. Then I said to her, “I’m sure you’ve had hard times before and it didn’t last forever. What you are doing is healthy because you are feeling your feelings. You aren’t running from the pain, you are taking off your mask; you are being strong and healthy. You aren’t cutting and you aren’t drinking and you are not gambling.  You are feeling your true feelings and it sucks and it hurts what you are going through. You aren’t blaming anyone, you aren’t telling anyone they have to “change.” You are just being loving and hurting, you are being real.” I told her a lot that day, but the only thing that really mattered is when I said, “There is nothing wrong with you.” That was the moment of clarity and truth.

I am going to finish her story towards the end of this. I have to talk about something else first.

The reason I tell this story is because of the stigma and how stigma destroys people, and stops the patients who are suffering from asking for help. It prevents people from wanting to get help because they are scared they are going to lose everything. They are scared that people are going to look at them weird and tell them to just get better. Stigma, that’s what it is. People don’t want to ask for help because of STIGMA. 

STIGMA is created because there is a large group of people who do somewhat fake mental illness. That’s the truth. There are people that pretend to have mental illness because there are some benefits you can get if you are diagnosed with a mental illness. However, if somebody is faking a disorder to get benefits there is probably some kind of mental illness in that act alone. People see this and they think to themselves and say it outloud,  “They are taking my benefits and they are taking my tax dollars. This is bullshit, they are faking illness!”  These loud, and opinionated, yet uniformed people have power. They assume everybody in psychiatry is faking an illness. That is why we must stop stigma by education, not by hating. If we treat them the way they treat those with mental illness, we are no different. Anger does not stop anger, hate does not stop hate. Only love can do that. So you look for opportunities to educate and you use them wisely. If we just randomly spout of at the mouth we lose credibility, even if what we are saying is accurate. If we try to reach people that are not ready to hear the truth, we will lose them. When you see an honest opportunity,  we must use it, and jump on it. Educate every chance we get. You prepare yourself through reading and knowledge, then you will see more opportunities come, and that’s when you jump at them.

I want to talk about the most stigmatized illness in mental health. It is the illness that “Sammy” had. We call it a “disorder,” however, I want to try and show you how it is a gift, and not a “disorder.”

I want to talk about Borderline Personality Disorder. This is what we say is the single most difficult mental health diagnosis to treat and to have as a patient. What is said is that they depend completely on the external for clues as to what emotion to feel. We say that they are manipulative, they are gamey, and they are attention seeking. We say they want everybody to love them and that they feel like it’s up to everybody else to make them feel good. We say they are dependent on the external for all emotions. We say that they don’t know how to feel. They feel intensely connected to everything therefore affected greatly by everything.  We say we need to teach them how to handle emotions.  If you ask me, the wrong people are in the role of teacher.

The truth is that science is finding out very quickly that we ALL ARE IN FACT connected. Science and studies have found out that we are breathing the same air that people breathed in and breathed out thousands of years ago. The air we breathe is composed of mainly nitrogen gas and oxygen gas.  Very little is lost in space, and only occasionally is there a new source of carbon or oxygen introduced into this planet.  So every breath you take has atoms that have been here for billions of years.

There was a computer program set up in various spots around the world. It would shoot off random numbers, there was no pattern ever seen for years.  This is called a Random Number Generator. However when the September 11th attacks happened, or other moments that human consciousness becomes coherent things changed. For instance, in the case of a severe tragedy in which all humans  are thinking about similar things and having similar emotions, all the numbers become structured and organized. They show an unpredictable sequence of one’s and zeroes.  The odds of this happening by chance is one in a trillion.

Some people still think that Darwin said evolution was about competition, survival of the fittest.  However, that’s just the part that got popularized by people who had a hidden agenda. The truth is he said compassion and cooperation is what is essential.  This is truly what he was about.

Years ago, I was in a Biology class for school, at this time, I was convinced wetlands were unnecessary and it bothered me that we had all these little ponds all over the place. I believed that we were the only species and that we don’t need birds, fish, or bees. They were ok, but not essential and at times they were an annoyance to me.  Then the teacher explains how if we lose algae, then we would lose fish. If we would lose fish, the whole food chain would go to hell, we all would die.

Every single thing you can see around you. The rocks, the birds, the trees all are comprised of the same atoms. Just expressed differently.

There is science out there that if bees were to go extinct, that humans would not last more than 10 years. This is debatable, however we would suffer greatly, that is for sure. Albert Einstein once said that humans would not last 5 years without bees. One third of our food needs to be pollinated. That is mostly done by bees.  The scary part is, they are going extinct for many reasons,  some is unknown, some is pollution,  and some is due to the unnatural insecticides used by Monsanto. However, I am getting off topic, and  that is a whole different story. Studies after studies after studies are proving we are all connected. Science is finally catching up to the truth, that what I do, affects the whole world, same as you.

Science has also proved we are all connected in other ways. Humans and chimps have 90 percent identical DNA.  Humans  and mice have 88 percent identical DNA.  Humans and cows have 85 percent identical DNA. Humans and dogs have 84 percent identical DNA. Humans and Zebra Fish have 73 percent identical DNA. I could go on and on. My point is, we are all connected.  We use our genes differently, express them differently. Science is figuring out what borderlines and great sages and philosophers have always said. We are all connected. So why is this a disorder again?
 

What we do is tell the people with this “disorder” we call BPD, who have always felt connected to everything and everybody. We tell them that they are too emotional. What we are doing is we are telling these people with a gift, the gift of the truth that they are crazy.  There is a trick that I see, especially in the hospitals, someone comes in with Borderline Personality Disorder, and it is very easy to look at the mood swings and say “it is a chemical issue.” We then diagnose them with Bipolar Disorder. Then what we can do is give them these “mood stabilizers” or these “antipsychotics,” and they will be sleeping and tired all day.  Then what we say as we pat ourselves on the back is “Look, no more behaviors, we cured them!!”  

We didn’t cure them, what we have done is chemically restrained them and shut them up because they speak the truth. 

Marsha Linehan said they are like 3rd degree burn victims, if you just walk by them you can hurt them. My biggest questions and concern is, why do we call that a disorder?  They are the ones that know the truth and we don’t, we lie; we put a mask on them because we do not like what they have to say.

How Borderline personality disorder is developed is very simple. We are all born with an innate temperament which can be on one of many different levels. We can be born not very emotional, slightly emotional, or normal emotional, (whatever that is). Then there is highly emotional and extremely emotional.  Once again, there are studies that prove this. They tested babies when they were first born and followed them. There were babies that cried more when their mothers would leave the room. When they were tickled by a feather they were much more affected by it. These babies grew up and continued to have the same innate temperament. It is something we are born with, like blue or brown eyes.

Temperament alone will not cause Borderline Personality Disorder. We all know emotional people, you know those people who we say “wow they took that harder than anyone else.”  The pain that they feel is intense. 

Imagine you are eating a pizza, and you feel it is luke warm. The guy you are eating it with thinks it is burning hot and it is burning his mouth. We don’t understand him , we do not get it, and we roll our eyes and we make jokes and tell him to settle down, “what is wrong with you,” we say. That is invalidation; we all do that from time to time to each other.   That alone does that cause BPD.
 

Let’s pretend there is a boy named little Johnny and he is a very emotional person or one of these extreme emotional persons.  He has this “weird” instinct and intuitiveness that makes it so he can feel everything around him and his environment.  He is in a family that maybe is dysfunctional, or maybe is not. However, the family and his friends do not understand his emotions.  Let’s say little Johnny has something he is very connected to because he just knows this is important and we don’t understand this. Then one day, he loses this toy and he is crying continuously and nonstop. What an invalidating environment does is forces him to stop. We tell him that it is not OK, we tell him to quit being a baby. What we are really saying to him in other words is to quit being yourself little Johnny. Johnny now feels like something is wrong with him and he is not OK.  Now he looks to the external environment to tell him how to feel.  He watches for cues on how to feel and how to act because he does not trust himself or his feelings. Congratulations to society, he now is wearing a mask. The intense feelings are still there, just because they are hidden, does not mean they are gone. In fact this makes it much worse. The emotions  are building up over time. He can’t take it so he gambles, he drinks, he cuts, he overeats, he steals, or he becomes hyper sexual to mask the feelings. The behavior depends on what’s most acceptable to his certain environment. The next step is then the judgments come in about this behavior, the criticisms, and it’s usually from the ones that caused the behavior that are doing the most judging.  The original shame about who he is, still is  with him. Now he wakes up and he feels worse, he has more guilt and more shame.  The intense emotions are worse now, so what does he do again? Well, first he fakes and fakes and fakes until he blows.  What they call this in the books is “unrelenting crisis” what I call it is blaming the victim. We have it backwards; it is hard to see someone go through all this and especially when we do not understand.  However,  to say “it’s all attention seeking and drama,” is really making it much much worse. 

Sometimes the only way anyone understands is if he attempts suicide. This may be the only time he gets reinforced by family. Still no one ever tells him he is OK. What we have done is told him that he has to be somebody else.  Sometimes people with this so called “disorder,” you will see an unusual reaction to something that is happening.  For instance, one day I was talking to a patient and said “Wow I heard your mother is dying.” Her face was blank, and she said “oh well.”  I said “well if that happened to me I wouldn’t be ok.”  Then she understood that it was okay to cry. She had to take cues, she was afraid to feel.

One invalidating moment will not cause Borderline Personality Disorder, it is  repeatedly invalidating someone and telling them who they are is not OK is what causes it. We must remember that these are the people that understand life and connections. Instead of validating them, what we do is we drug them up until then they have no behavior, when really they have a gift. That’s where stigma comes in. Let’s shut them up.  They don’t play pretend like the rest of us. They don’t play grown up very well. They just speak the truth so we get them drugged up and we put them in hospitals, and we call them names behind their backs. What we think of them is something which affects how we treat them. This, in turn, affects the reaction we get. We have made it so that they don’t think they are OK. What we have done is we have tricked them. 

The truth is, we are not OK. Another thing we are told is that this is the toughest mental health diagnosis to work with. I was told this before I knew what it was. It would frighten me. The behavior frightened me. When I first started about 20 years ago and I was training in, I was told  this was all attention seeking behavior and  manipulative.  I watched the elder staff roll their eyes so then I started doing it. I thought it was fake and I didn’t want to deal with it. I didn’t want to have to dig deep.

Then it was explained to me this is a trauma disorder. 100% of people with this disorder have suffered trauma. The statistics say 70%, I do not believe that for one second, I am convinced it is 100%.  What is a trauma is different to each person. What is a trauma to me may not be a trauma to you. If you are on the top of a ladder when you fall down, it is a lot more painful to fall than if you were only on the first step . I believe that they have powers and they are locked in darkness, like a genie in a bottle.

I am NOT saying this is easy to deal with. I have had relationships with many of them and it is difficult to understand. They are not bad, they have a gift. They know your emotions instinctively and they sense and feel things that we can’t feel.  They know how to make people happy, they can read your soul.

In a way they are lucky, and in a way they are not. The way they are not is the way that our society treats them and tells them that it’s not okay.  

Back to the story I started with.  This patient was crying with her head in her hands and trembling in fear while her husband was about to take her life away because she was sick. How is this justice?  I said “what do you need to change Sammy?” and she said “I don’t know.” I said for the second time “there is nothing wrong with you.”

I didn’t save her life. A few months later, she killed herself.

However, for that one day she felt she was ok. I know this because she was brighter, and happier.  She looked better. She felt ok. That is all we can do is embrace every moment with each other and make it the best moment possible.  In that room, for that day, she felt ok for once in her life. She got better and was discharged in a week.

So to all you Sammy’s out there, and all the Sammy’s I will meet in the future. My message is you are ok, we are not.  She didn’t kill herself, Stigma killed her. This is the same thing that killed Robin Williams. He will get enough attention, the Sammy’s of the world will not.

We will never change the problems of the world until we start embracing diversity and gifts.  We have these intuitive, special people and they are invalidated and abused. We continue to abuse and punish them. We need to stop punishing them. I agree, yes , the behaviors are tough.  But there is truth in their behavior.  There is a truth that sometimes we do not want to deal with.

  We have to simply change or reframe the way we see things. See beyond the mask. To do this, sometimes we have to forget all the knowledge we think we have.

We had one Borderline Personality patient who was 23 and could not comb her hair. The staff  said “I’m not giving her a comb she doesn’t know how to comb her hair.”  I said “how about we reframe that and say, she is 23 and she doesn’t know how to comb her hair, why has no one ever taught this girl how to comb her hair that must have been a rough time growing up. Then let’s look into why?”

In this case, when she was nine years old, she was taking care of her six year old brother on a vent.  He died and she was blamed. Her mother was a meth addict. So we  see her scream , we see her shout and she would  bite and  attack staff and patients. She would bang on the desk and yell and not be able to comb her hair.

What we don’t see, is we don’t see past her mask. We cannot see that her behaviors are telling us there is something wrong here. Maybe it’s time we stop drugging them up and start listening.

Sammy, there was nothing wrong with you, there is something wrong with us.

the end

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