Posts Tagged ‘activism’

hugclub

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” Rosa Parks

By Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne

Every Wednesday morning for the past few months I have seen the same patient around 7:00 a.m. I would bring her a sausage and egg McMuffin every morning and sometimes a fish sandwich in the afternoon – a violation of company rules.

The “rules” also tell me that I am not supposed to pick up her medications, not to disclose personal information, and to never give hugs to patients. But we all face moments in life in which we realize that rules no longer apply to present circumstances.

Nearly sixty years ago, on December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, an African-American woman refused to follow the rules and orders of a bus driver demanding she gives up her seat to a white person. The rules no longer applied to Rosa Parks and the Civil Rights movement began. A couple decades prior in Germany, Oskar Schindler and Karl Plagge were members of the Nazi Party who saw the “rules” of the time meant systematic extermination of people. They saw the rules no longer applied, with each of them finding a way to save thousands of lives along the way.

Parks, Schindler, and Plagge shared one thing in common. They recognized injustice, deliberately refused to follow the “rules” of their time, and put their personal life at risk in an effort to do the right thing. While these are all extreme examples, they all also started with one simple act which catapulted a movement.

Today, let’s start our own revolution. As they say it will not be televised. That is because only hate and corruption is televised. The real revolution is a return to love.

This woman that I would visit had just lost her only son about three years ago to suicide. She was devastated and never recovered. When I stopped by, we would just talk about life, my kids and family, politics, and the world we live in. It was the highlight of her day. She always asked me for hugs every time I came, and against staff advice, I obliged.

She was incredibly lonely and her depression had reached the point in which it was physically debilitating. She was in so much emotional pain that it was a struggle to get out of bed each day. I would help her get up and walk around outside for a few minutes to help boost her mood.

Then our Wednesday meetings always ended with a simple hug.

I find it ironic that these things violate rules. This has been scientifically / biologically proven that hugging actually releases a hormone called Oxytocin, which is a natural antidote to stress and naturally lifts ones mood. Oxytocin is also released by looking into another’s eyes, a simple holding of the hand, patting on the back, petting an animal, etc.

In fact, studies have shown that teachers that give a warm pat on the back to students will typically fare better in testing and that sports teams that make more personal contact (i.e. high fives, exuberant hugs) are more successful. It has more of a scientific backing than that of antidepressants.

Today, as I was walking towards her door, something felt different. I knocked on the door and waited as I felt something turning in my stomach.

There was no answer. She was dead.

I am not sure the cause of death, but likely will find out in the coming days once the coroner can run an autopsy. But she is gone, she has passed away and will be reunited with her son. Ask me if I regret breaking these rules for the past three months?

On her answering machine, you hear my voice saying, “I can’t come this morning. I have to bring my kids to school. But I promise I’ll be there tomorrow with the egg McMuffin.”

Before I headed to her house this morning, I was feeling very depressed about some other things going on in my personal life. I wasn’t going to bring her food today and my plan was to let her know that I could no longer keep doing this for her. As these thoughts were going through my mind, I was able to slow myself down and remind myself “just because I am depressed does not mean I should add to her pain.”
Last week, I blew her off during our visit. I was short, rushed, and didn’t want to be “bothered.”  She pleaded me to stay longer, but my occupied mind would not allow me to be present that day.

“I promise we will chat more next week,” I told her. Without knowing, that next meeting never came.

And that is what I regret. I was too busy with things going on in my own world, that I missed out on an opportunity to make another person’s day brighter.

Every interaction matters, every hug matters, every moment matters. Being a man does not mean who is the most productive, busy, finishing paperwork on time, or rising to the top. No, being a man has to do with going beyond our ego and making true, meaningful connection with another soul. Give someone a hug, someone in need.

I am starting a hug club. I’m going to hug people openly just the way we did when we were children before society scared us away from loving our neighbor and fellow man. If I see someone walk in the room that I am happy to see, I am going to hug them. If I see someone distressed, I will hug them and allow their body to naturally heal the way we were created to do so.
This is my vow and I encourage others to do the same.

I know we will get weird looks, laughed at, mocked, and ridiculed. But so did Rosa Parks. A real man does not concern himself over the opinions of those still living behind their mask, because a real man understands that that hug may be saving a life.

Taking the Mask Off” is the new book by Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne. Cortland Pfeffer spent years as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and jails before becoming a registered nurse and working in the same facilities. Based on his experience, this story is told from both sides of the desk. It offers a unique and valuable perspective into mental health and addiction, revealing the problems with the psychiatric industry while also providing the solution – one that brings together science, spirituality, philosophy, and personal experience

“Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution” is available on Amazon,   Barnes and Noble , and Balboa Press

 

In Ep 009 Make America Sane Again: Advocating change for the mental health system, we speak with Emily Cutler. Emily is an assistant Editor for the Website Mad in America and the founder of Southern California against forced treatment. Emily discusses her work for Mad in America, mental health reform, and shares her inspirational personal story.

 

You can Listen on iTunes, sound cloud, Speaker, and here on our site. Links are below:

 

 

Spreaker:

 

ITunes:

Itunes Ep 009 Making America Sane Again Advocating change in the mental health system

 

Sound cloud:

 

WordPress:

Ep 009 Making America Sane Again W Emily Cutler

 

Brooke Feldman lost her mother at an early age, spent her teenage years in the juvenile justice system, psychiatric hospitals, and treatment centers. She became addicted to opioids, had eating disorders, and was suicidal. She now writes for the Huffington Post and is getting her Masters Degree and an Ivy league school. Brooke has a blog and her writing can be seen at https://brookemfeldman.com/, her Huffington Post writing can be seen at https://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/brooke-m-feldman

Listen on ITunes, Soundcloud,or our Website, Links are below.

Listen on Sound cloud:

 

Listen On ITunes:

Itunes Ep 008 Different Kind of Freedom Fighter: Advocacy for the Inner Child
Listen on WordPress:

Ep 008 Different Kind of Freedom Fighter Advocacy for the Inner Child WithBrooke Feldman

 


“In 1492, the natives discovered they were Indians, discovered they lived in America, discovered they were naked, discovered that the Sin existed, discovered they owed allegiance to a King and Kingdom from another world and a God from another sky, and that this God had invented the guilty and the dress, and had sent to be burnt alive who worships the Sun the Moon the Earth and the Rain that wets it.” ― Eduardo Galeano

By Irwin Ozborne

A good friend of mine, a member of the Republic of Lakotah, has a meeting with her first grade son’s elementary school principal. Apparently, her six-year-old was being defiant in classroom.

What were these defiant actions?

Well, upon his teacher explaining Columbus Day and honoring the courageous and brave sailor who discovered this land in 1492, he had a couple of questions for the teacher. He wanted to know how it was possible that he discovered a land in which his ancestors had lived for 30,000 years, he wanted to know what happened to all the people who lived here in 1491, and he wanted to know why the man responsible for invading his native land and slaughtering his ancestors was being honored.

I would love to just be a fly on the wall of that meeting with the elementary school principal.

Christopher Columbus did NOT discover America.

There, I said it. The first thing we have been told about in our early childhood is a complete fabrication of the truth. But, that is only the beginning of the secret atrocities that shaped our nation that we know today.

The Spanish Conquest of the Americas, preceded by Columbus’s “discovery” resulted in mass assimilation, raping, slaughtering, enslaving, and intention to wipe out all evidence of more than 100 million indigenous people to the land. These atrocities include:

  • Forced hard labor
  • Abducting and selling children into the sex trade as young as nine-years-old
  • Mass raping of women and children
  • Amputated limbs if you were not producing enough
  • Buried alive or burnt alive if you were resistant to the conquerors demands
  • Offering cash rewards for the scalps of men, women, and children as proof of murder
  • Intentionally spreading smallpox disease by means of biological warfare
  • Forced removal from homes and land onto small reservations with unlivable circumstances
  • Death march of more than one-thousand miles to these reservations, in which if you were unable to continue the walk you were left for dead and unable to assist dying family members
  • On these same reservations which were “reserved” for the indigenous people, once this land was deemed valuable, the agreement was broken and they are forced to move once again. (All 370 treaties signed between the U.S Government and Indian nations have been broken by the United States.
  • Public execution of those who do not follow orders
    • Murdering children by slamming against stone and tree trunks
    • Slicing open pregnant women’s stomach on public display as taunting those who do not comply
  • Labeled as hostile savages if not in complete compliance from the oppressor
  • These same mass murders become labeled as heroes after sweeping through villages and slaughtering unarmed civilians
  • Systematically kidnapping all children and forcing them to a boarding school system in which they are molested, beaten, forbidden to speak native language and brainwashed into becoming “Americanized”
  • Not entitled citizenship in their own land until 1924
  • Not included in the initial civil rights act; did not receive equal rights until 1968
  • Not allowed to practice their own religion until 1978
  • In the 1970’s the attendance at these brutal boarding schools peaked and it was not until 1975 that the United States Government emphasized reduction in boarding schools with most of them finally closing in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2007, there were still 9.500 American Indian children in boarding schools
  • Traditional lifestyle mocked and ridiculed in mass media and in the classroom – socially acceptable to discriminate against
  • Altered their history by ignoring and denying the truth for the past four centuries.

These were the policies of our government, the United States of America, and/or the Pope of the Catholic faith. This wasn’t done by aliens from outer space; No, it was done by aliens from the East. Entered illegally into an occupied land with force to subjugate and exterminate the civilizations that had existed for 30,000 years.

Thousand-mile death march, concentration camps, forced assimilation, mass killings by starvation/disease, forced to change culture/beliefs…this all sounds familiar.

In John Toland’s book “Adolf Hitler,” he comments on the Furor’s admiration of the American Genocide:

Hitler’s concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America’s extermination—by starvation and uneven combat—of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity.

 

He was very interested in the way the Indian population had rapidly declined due to epidemics and starvation when the United States government forced them to live on the reservations. He thought the American government’s forced migrations of the Indians over great distances to barren reservation land was a deliberate policy of extermination. Just how much Hitler took from the American example of the destruction of the Indian nations is hard to say; however, frightening parallels can be drawn. For some time Hitler considered deporting the Jews to a large ‘reservation’ in the Lubin area where their numbers would be reduced through starvation and disease.

But, that is kind of a harsh reality to teach children in grade school. So, we could probably soften it up a little…or change it altogether.

Discover, Invasion, or Conquer?

Discover is defined as finding something in the course of a search. Invade is identified as an armed force or its commander entering a country/region so as to subjugate or occupy. Conquer means to overcome and take control of a place or people by use of military force.

Discover technically could be applied as something was found, but the problem is that something already had belonged to someone for 30,000 years. For perspective, it has only been 2,014 years since Christ was born. That means the first indigenous people reached the Americas 27,986 years ago; whereas Europeans have only been here for 522 years.

The most interesting part about the definition of invade is the word “subjugate” and the fact that Columbus used this exact word upon his first encounter with the Taino people:

“They … brought us parrots and balls of cotton and spears and many other things, which they exchanged for the glass beads and hawks’ bells. They willingly traded everything they owned… . They were well-built, with good bodies and handsome features…. They do not bear arms, and do not know them, for I showed them a sword, they took it by the edge and cut themselves out of ignorance. They have no iron. Their spears are made of cane… . They would make fine servants…. With fifty men we could subjugate them all and make them do whatever we want.”

“With fifty men we could SUBJUGATE them and do whatever we want.” Interestingly enough the term subjugate is defined as bringing under domination or control, especially by conquest.

Conquest is simply the act of conquering, which is interlocked with our final term. It is indisputable that the place and people were taken control of by military force. In fact, the exact term in history is labeled, “The Spanish Conquest.”

Clearly, Columbus’s voyage may have initially been a “discovery,” but upon his first impression of the people of this island it quickly turned to an “invasion.” Following his death, Hernán Cortés and Francisco Pizzaro carried out the tasks of conquering the Americas.

Now, before you disregard this article as a wacky conspiracist nut, anti-American post, please understand that this is more about seeking the other side of the story. It is about viewing the landing of Columbus’s ships on May 12, 1492, from the occupants of that land – the Taino and Arawaks perspective.

Columbus Early Life:

 

Born as Cristofor Colombo (Italian name; Spanish: Cristóbal Colón; Portuguese: Cristóvão Colombo; and American: Christopher Columbus) was born in Genoa, Italy, in 1451. He grew up working on ships and began sailing at age 10. Upon delivering goods to northern Europe in 1476, upon his return his ship was burnt by a group of French sailors and he swam to shore in Portugal. He remained in Portugal and started working for the kingdom, which had the finest fleet in the world at this time.

During the middle ages, the kingdoms of Europe made their wealth by trading with Asia. But in 1453, the Turkish Empire cut off all land routes and the race to find a sea route to Asia had begun. Columbus sailed along the coasts of Africa, trading with the colonies and learning of the currents and wind patterns of the Atlantic. In 1487, a different Portuguese sailor, Bartholomeu Dias made his way around the southern tip of Africa and discovered the eastern coast; giving strong belief to a quicker route to Asia by sea.

Columbus had already believed the world was smaller than that of the common-held belief of this time. Once Dias’ made this discovery, Columbus’s desire to sail west intensified as he had been seeking sponsorship for a trip across the Atlantic as early as 1484.

(Please note that nobody in the 15th century believed that the world was flat. This is an outright lie by the American school system. The Greek philosopher Pythagoras first made this theory nearly 7,500 years before Columbus was born. Aristotle, 4th century B.C., added more proof by observing the stars. As historian Jeffrey Russel Burton states, “With extraordinary few exceptions, no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the Earth was flat.”)

Columbus was rejected funding from Portugal, twice by Italy, Spain, England, and France. However, upon the Spanish kingdom conquering Granada they were more willing to fund his voyage of three ships and 80 men. Struggling to find a crew, Queen Isabella released prisoners early to join the voyage along with other criminals, conquistadors, and pig farmers. Also, following Spain’s capture of Granada, there were some unemployed military men that were sent along on Columbus’s voyage.

For it was these men that did not fear dying at sea, as it was for more appealing than what life had in store for them in Spain. And in August of 1492, after eight years of trying to make a voyage around the world, Columbus set sail seeking the riches of Asia.

First Voyage:

The first voyage to the so-called “new world” was highly unsuccessful, despite the credit and admiration it has received. After weeks at sea and a disgruntled crew of men, Columbus gave an ultimatum of finding land in the next two days or head back to Spain – dated October 10, 1492. As unfortunate fate would have it, two days later Rodrigo de Triana was the first to spot an island, which is modern day Dominican Republic. However, with a large payout at stake, Columbus claimed that he actually spotted the light the night before – hence, claiming the lifetime pension from King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Columbus claimed the land for Spain and renamed it San Salvador although it had been occupied for thousands of years by the Taino, Arawak, and Lucayans (all extremely hospitable per many written accounts). Early estimates believe there were up to three million indigenous people living in the Caribbean; whereas more recent studies believe that number to be closer to eight million.

As written in his journals upon his first encounter with the Taino:

“These people have no religious beliefs, nor are they idolaters. They are very gentle and do not know what evil is; nor do they kill others, nor steal; and they are without weapons.”

Columbus quickly captured a handful of Taino to help guide him to find gold, while putting many into forced labor and sent thousands back to Spain to be sold as slaves (although most of them died on the journey back across the Atlantic).

“As soon as I arrived in the Indies, in the first island which I found, I took some of the natives by force, in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts. And so it was that they soon understood us, and we them, either by speech or by signs, and they have been very serviceable.”

Merry Christmas – 1492 Style

 

After a few weeks exploring around Cuba, Columbus made his way back toward Hispaniola (Dominican Republic). On Christmas Eve, the Santa Maria shipwrecked before making it to land. The Arawak Indians saw the men struggling and their chief ordered all his men to swim out to sea and help the settlers to safety – including the chief himself.

The Arawak invited the settlers into their home. Columbus wrote of the kind hospitality of the Arawaks:

“They are artless and generous with what they have, to such a degree as no one would believe but him who had seen it. Of anything they have, if it be asked for, they never say no, but do rather invite the person to accept it, and show as much lovingness as though they would give their hears.”

With not enough room on the two remaining ships, Columbus left 39 men behind to settle a fort in which he called La Navidad.

When Columbus returned to Spain, his stories of the new world impressed the King and Queen – Mostly due to his large exaggerations of the amount of gold present in the Caribbean. The Spanish royalty granted him another voyage, but this time with 17 ships, 1200 men, livestock, and weapons.

Columbus consistently wrote about the kindness of the people that he encountered on his first voyage and shared this with the Kingdom of Spain:

“They are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who has not witnessed them would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone….”

 

Catholic Conquest:

On May 4, 1493, the beginning of the Spanish Conquest took place with the approval of Pope Alexander VI. The Pope stated that any land not inhabited by Christians was available to be “discovered,” claimed and exploited by Christian rulers and declared that “the Catholic faith and the Christian religion be exalted and be everywhere increased and spread, that the health of the souls be cared for and barbarous nations overthrown and brought to faith itself.”

This became known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” and became the basis for all European claims in the Americas and continued with the United States western expansion in the 1800’s. As a United States Supreme Court case in 1823 states that “the principle of discover gave European nations an absolute right to New World lands.”

Basically stating the American Indians had no right to their land. And, it was not until 1924 in which “Native Americans” were allowed citizenship. I quote the term Native Americans to highlight the irony of not being granted citizenship to their homeland until 450 years after the Europeans tried to wipe out their civilization.

Following his first voyage, Pope Alexander VI granted the new world to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, claiming:

“We of our own motion, and not at your solicitation, do give, concede, and assign for ever to you and your successors, all the islands, and main lands, discovered; and which may hereafter, be discovered, towards the west and south; whether they be situated towards India, or towards any other part whatsoever, and give you absolute power in them.”

 

Later, as word of the mistreatment of the natives reached the Spanish Kingdom, Queen Isabella finally made a “Stand.” She proclaimed that the Natives shall be given the opportunity of converting to Catholicism before being forced into slavery.

But, claiming slaves of anyone non-Christian was not a new trade. Back in 1455, the Pope issued a statement allowing Portugal to enslave any non-Christians. Columbus got started in his slave trading back in 1480’s as he sailed along the West coast of Africa picking up slaves for the Portuguese kingdom.

And on his third voyage, Columbus was the first to bring African slaves to the new world in the Dominican Republic (Hispaniola) with his claim that “one African slave is equal to four Indians.”

By 1514, the Spanish Conquistadors carried with them an ultimatum entitled, “The Requirement,” in which the Indians were forced to accept, “the Church as the Ruler and Superior of the whole world.” The Requirement warned the natives the consequences for non-compliance:

“We shall take you and your wives and your children, and shall make slaves of them, and as such shall sell and dispose of them as their Highnesses may command; and we shall take away your goods, and shall do all the harm and damage that we can.”

 

 

 

Second Voyage:

The King and Queen of Spain were eager to fund a second voyage following Columbus’s reports of the first trip to the new world. In his largely exaggerated accounts he shared:

“Hispaniola is a miracle. Mountains and hills, plains and pastures, are both fertile and beautiful … the harbors are unbelievably good and there are many wide rivers of which the majority contain gold. . . . There are many spices, and great mines of gold and other metals….”

Columbus returned in 1493 to find the fort at La Navidad burnt to the ground and all 39 men were killed. It was reported that these men apparently had “Misbehaved.” And, of course, by misbehave it is meant they raped all the women and children and tried to steal whatever they could get hands on. In hindsight, leaving 39 released criminals into a land with no rules and laws it should not have surprised Columbus.

The Spaniards retaliated and Columbus forced anyone age 14 or older to work in the mine fields daily searching for gold. If they refused, they were killed. If they did not meet quotas each month – they had hands and arms amputated. Many began committing suicide to avoid the tortures of the Spaniards, while others were buried alive for refusing to oblige to Columbus. The Taino were being killed by starvation, worked to death, disease, or murder. The women were all given to the Spaniards to do as they chose.

Columbus wrote of the innocence of the Natives and his intent to sell them into the slave trade:

“Naked as the day they were born, they show no more embarrassment than animals.” Columbus later wrote: “Let us in the name of the Holy Trinity go on sending all the slaves that can be sold.”

With not enough gold to return to Spain, Columbus rounded up the best one-thousand Taino he could find. He gave half to the Spanish colonists and took the other half to be sold to the slave trade in Spain. While 250 of the 500 died en route back to Spain, the conquistadors simply tossed them overboard. With much disorder among the colonists at this time, Columbus left his brothers in charge of the islands as he returned to Spain.

 

Third Voyage:

 

Upon his return, the island was in more disarray than when he left. Columbus embarked on daily beatings, raping, feeding infants to wild animals, and progressing the sex trade of children. Columbus began selling girls as young as nine years old into the sex trade as accounted in his writings:

“A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

 

As word got back to Spain, the King and Queen had Columbus and his brothers arrested and shipped back to Spain. At the same time, a man named Bartolome De Las Casas was aboard the third voyage with Columbus and was the first to speak out about the crimes against humanity in the new world.

While settling into Hispaniola in hopes of fortune in the new world, La Casas was a slave owner himself until 1509 in which he started speaking out against the crime. However, he still believed in converting those to Christianity but in a peaceful, non-violent way. While it was applauded by the royalty of Spain, it was simply not followed by the Conquistadors.

La Casas wrote of these atrocities:

“Endless testimonies . .. prove the mild and pacific temperament of the natives…. But our work was to exasperate, ravage, kill, mangle and destroy…

And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers’ breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them head first against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, “Boil there, you offspring of the devil!”

Forgotten Parts of the Legacy:

Columbus was arrested, shipped back to Spain and stripped of all his land and titles of “discoverer.” However, he did find a way to be released and allowed to explore once again – with gold! He presented gold to the King and Queen and was pardoned and allowed a fourth voyage.

He passed away in 1506 always believing he had landed in Asia and no knowledge this was an entirely different continent. During the ten years of his four voyages (1492-1502) the population decreased from 3-8 million inhabitants to less than 50,000. By the mid 1500’s that number was reduced to just 500 remaining Taino.

A liar, crook, thief, rapist, pedophile, savage, torturer, genocidal murder, introducer of slave and sex trades, and conqueror did not discover anything besides a beautiful group of people who rescued him and welcomed him into their home.

The thirst for wealth, greed, and power wiped out generations within a decade. And for his “bravery”; we celebrate the day he invaded the land of the people that rescued him.

Enjoy your paid day off.

Taking the Mask Off” is the new book by Cortland Pfeffer and Irwin Ozborne. Ebook is only 3.99. Cortland Pfeffer spent years as a patient in psychiatric hospitals, treatment centers, and jails before becoming a registered nurse and working in the same facilities. Based on his experience, this story is told from both sides of the desk. It offers a unique and valuable perspective into mental health and addiction, revealing the problems with the psychiatric industry while also providing the solution – one that brings together science, spirituality, philosophy, and personal experience.

“Taking the Mask Off: Destroying the Stigmatic Barriers of Mental Health and Addiction Using a Spiritual Solution” is available on Amazon, and Balboa Press.

iraq

By Irwin Ozborne

“We Were Told to Just Shoot People, and the Officers Would Take Care of Us” – Iraqi War Vet

“Why did you shoot me?” Asked a six-year-old child “That’s not fair. I’m just a girl. I do not do anything, I just had my doll in my hand. Why you shoot me?”

“I was just riding in my car with my family and I got injured so I had to have surgery,” said the child, “…because I got shot [by the] American people.”

She lived, but her family members are a couple of the 165,000 Iraqi civilians killed in the Iraq War since 2003. However, that number is quite low and only based on reported information. However, household surveys are far more accurate and estimate between 400,000 and 650,000 deaths.

“I guess while I was there, the general attitude was, A dead Iraqi is just another dead Iraqi,” said Spc. Jeff Englehart, 26, of Grand Junction, Colorado

“I remember one woman walking by,” said Jason Washburn, a corporal in the US Marines who served three tours in Iraq. He told the audience at the Winter Soldier hearings that took place March 13-16, 2008, in Silver Spring, Maryland, “She was carrying a huge bag, and she looked like she was heading toward us, so we lit her up with the Mark 19, which is an automatic grenade launcher, and when the dust settled, we realized that the bag was full of groceries. She had been trying to bring us food and we blew her to pieces.”

Disclaimer of Cognitive Dissonance:

Before reading any further, I would like to inform the reader that this article will likely provoke strong emotional reaction and some will find it offensive. In fact, I already am aware of many of the negative remarks that will arise, so I will just address them now.

  1. I do not hate the troops and I do not hate people associated with the military. Quite the contrary, I feel badly for them because they are being brainwashed, manipulated, and used to fight bogus wars under the disguise of protecting our freedom; when in reality they are only fighting to secure financial interests for the elite and corporations. Then when they return with PTSD, injuries, mental health, addiction, unemployment, homelessness, anger, and violence, they VA does not provide the services they need. They are treated like pawns to profit those at top.
  1. Not all the troops misbehave and you are focusing on the minority. This true, the majority of the troops are good people who follow orders. However, the orders that they are following are destructive and evil. Many of Hitler’s Gestapo were probably good people following orders, but they will always be viewed as evil by association.
  1. How can you not support them, when they are protecting your freedom? They do not protect my freedoms. All military interventions since World War II, have been solely to secure resources from third world nations to help profit American businesses. This is all done under disguises of threats – such as the Cold War with no clear enemy and the threat of Communism; the War on Drugs with no clear enemy; and the War on Terror.
  1. Death threats and Personal Attacks: I can handle personal attacks, as that just shows me that you have nothing to argue the statements of the article. However, death threats are always quite ironic. The death threats come from veterans or military supporters because they have so much love for their country. They tell me that they dedicated their lives to protecting my freedoms. First, see number three, you did not protect my freedoms. And second, if you care so much about my freedoms, you should be happy that I am exercising them. To threaten to end my life for stating my point of view is not protecting my freedom, that is actually imposing that I am not allowed these freedoms unless it follows a certain point of view.

Immediately after World War II, the United States has been intervening in countries as a means to making the world safe for American corporations; enhancing financial statements of defense contractors and members of congress; preventing the rise of any society that might serve as a successful example of an alternative to capitalism.

In 1953, the United States overthrew the Iran government after they tried to nationalize and profit off their own resources, oil. This led to oppression and torture of the Iran people, while foreign powers took over control of their oil.

Similarly in Guatemala, the democratically elected government was seeking to nationalize the United Fruit Company. The United States turned this into a death field under the disguise of Soviet threat, in reality had huge commercial interests in the United Fruit Company.

The same things happened if you were neutral in the Cold War, you would soon get paid a visit by the United States to provide you “Freedom.” It happened in Italy, Greece, Albania, Indonesia, and the list goes on. Of course the Korean War and Vietnam Wars in which our history books seem to miss. The “Secret Wars” in Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand during the Vietnam War.

In the Congo, their first democratically elected president called for economic liberation which was later deemed as communism. Eleven days later he was assassinated by the request of President Eisenhower. The area is one of the richest in the world with natural resources, but the people live in extreme poverty as there is constant genocide in the area as people work in the mines to sell diamonds and cobalt to Western powers.

This list goes on-and-on (Indonesia, Chile, Nicaragua, Libya, El Savlador, Haiti, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) with more than 70 different countries in which we have intervened with in the past seventy years. That is on average of one country per year we have invaded for nearly a century to support American interests, not protect my freedoms.

Supporting the Troops:

Supporters of the war in Iraq should do some outside research as to what is really happening without just blindly supporting the troops because they are American. In 2007, WikiLeaks revealed footage of U.S. Soldiers killing 12 civilians and wounding two children. However, this was clearly not an isolated incident as Kelly Doughetery, former director of Veterans Against the War, explained:

“The abuses committed in the occupations, far from being the result of a ‘few bad apples’ misbehaving, are the result of our government’s Middle East policy, which is crafted in the highest spheres of US power.”

Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, was a 14-year-old girl who was gang-raped by U.S. Soldiers while they killed her family before ending her life. It was all pre-meditated, and they targeted her because there was only one male living in that house.

“During the time me and Barker were raping Abeer, I heard five or six gunshots that came from the bedroom,” Sgt. Paul Cortez admitted, “After Barker was done, Green came out of the bedroom and said that he had killed them all, that all of them were dead.”

“Green then placed himself between Abeer’s legs to rape her,” he added, “When Green was finished, he stood up and shot Abeer in the head two or three times.”

The entire crime took about five minutes and the girl knew her parents and sister had been shot while she was being raped.

Then Chris Kyle writes a book referring to the Iraqis as the ‘savages’? Before this fictional book is turned this into a propaganda film used to promote further killings.

This is what we are supporting when we say “We Support the Troops.” We are supporting systematic and barbaric killings of many innocent people, to provide for a war that benefits corporations and rich politicians. The Yellow Ribbon we proudly display to show our pride is the modern-day Swastika, showing our support for savagery.

There have been a few cases in which this makes mainstream media. In Afghanistan, an army squad commander led a “Kill Team” in which they killed civilians for sport and collected body parts as trophies. And in 2006, the Al Ishaqi massacre in Iraq included the killing of 11 innocent civilians including five children and four women. The Pentagon portrays this as part of an operation directed at Al Qaeda.

However, so many more every-day occurrences never reached the headlines. A boy with both his arms lost, a dead baby on the pavement, or cars full of dead families that were trying to escape the war zone.

But what happens, when you are an eye-witness to these slayings and reveal the information to the American public? You get sent to prison. Bradley Manning, released thousands of documents to WikiLeaks providing evidence of U.S. torture, abuse, and soldiers laughing as they killed civilians. Did the soldiers get punished? No, but Manning was sentenced to prison for 35 years for exposing the truth.

The Haditha killings in 2005, left 24 civilians dead – including women, elderly and children – who were shot multiple times from close range and were unarmed. The court case drug on for six years before six officers had charges dropped, another found not guilty, and the eighth was convicted of negligent dereliction of duty and sentenced to lowering his rank.

In a few interviews with Marines it was later said that so many civilians were found dead after being killed by unknown factions in the Iraq conflict that civilian deaths seemed routine, and one sergeant testified that he would order his men to shoot vehicles that failed to stop at military checkpoints even if it were possible that children could be in the car.

One of the wars most iconic photographs is that by Chris Hondros’s image of Samar Hassan, age 5, covered in blood screaming after just witnessing her parents being blown away by U.S. Soldiers, as well as her 11-year-old brother severely injured. Her brother then went to the United States for treatment, and was later killed by insurgents in retaliation for going to the United States for treatment.

Then there is three-year-old, Dalal, is sitting in her home with her family in late March of 2003. At three-years-old, we are still exploring the world and trying to figure out how things work. But, for Dalal, she would figure out more truth about how the world works at age three, than most Americans will learn in a lifetime. Her home was hit with a missile, which killed her brother and injured her mother. She also lost her right leg that day.

And Omar, age 7, was traveling to Bahgdad to visit relatives when they came upon confused U.S. troops who opened fire. Omar’s father was shot twice in the back trying to rescue his son. He got him out of the car, but could not rescue his wife – Omar’s mother – as she burnt to death.

“My whole family was devastated by what was happening,” said Omar’s father, “The most devastating was losing my wife.”

The United States refers to these losses of life as “collateral damage.”

An estimated four-percent of Iraq’s population has been killed due to the war since 1991 and that does not include the ongoing poverty, starvation, disease, cancer from depleted uranium and birth defects. That “collateral damages” sounds more like genocide.

Khalid Hamdan Abd lost two of his sons, three cousins, and has his infant daughter wounded with 17 pieces of micro-shrapnel in one eye and 11 pieces of micro-shrapnel in the other eye, and a detached retina. He was brought to America by a group called nomorevictims.com in which they helped provide surgery for his infant daughter to prevent her from going blind. He states:

“It is kind of scary to go back, because even if you are just driving your car peacefully in the street, you might be shot by the American troops for no reason.”

These stories don’t even begin to include the families being wiped away by drone strikes in Pakistan. An estimated 200 children have been killed due to drone strikes in which one 16-year-old states, “we no longer like when skies are blue, because drones don’t fly in gray skies.”

President Obama refers to drone strikes as “targeted killing”; however, they have targeted 41 men, which has resulted in the deaths of 1,147 others.

Buried deep in the $800-billion defense budget, the Pentagon agreed to add in five million dollars to fund families killed by American airstrikes. I guess the next logical step, would be to admit to the ongoing war crimes committed daily in these wars.

Happy Veterans Day.

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“When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.”

Hopeless. Given up, throwing in the towel. This is pointless and I cannot do this anymore. This is a feeling we all have at times. I remember a time when I was working at a rehabilitation facility. I was sitting in a staff meeting and it all boiled over. I screamed at all the staff, “What is the point of this, what are we even doing for these patients! We just take their money, give them 80 dollars a month, and do not help anyone! This is a complete fraud. We write notes so we get paid, not because we care!” “Someone tell me what we have done for Bill!” No one answered. “See we do not help anyone, this is a complete joke and it is wrong.”

The looks on everyone’s faces said it all. It was a small room packed with many people as we had the projector on as we were required to go through all the patients. Some had agreement on their faces. Others disappointment, but mostly shock. People had their heads down. It looked like shame. No one said a thing and after this went on for 10 minutes I walked out in disgust. I went to my office upstairs and closed the door in complete defeat. It was over. I am done.

After years of working in the field of psychiatry and addiction. I had quit internally. I watched over and over as patients would come in and leave. They would come back. No one seemed to be getting any better. We made money either way. We were told to write notes, because that way we could get paid money for that day. It was all about money and filling beds. We had to fill the beds.

At times, it did not seem like the patients cared at all. They had a place to stay for a few months while they attempted to get into new places. The social workers in the community did not care, because they just wanted a place for their patients to be so they did not have to worry about them. The hospitals did not care, they discharged people to us because they needed placement. Hospitals did not care about how a patient was doing, they only cared if the patient had a place to go.

I watched the other staff. They came in and sat in their offices, basically the walking dead. They sit in the offices and stare at the computer, and in the 5 minutes that the patient wanted to talk, they would blow the patients off. They would come to work, goof-off at times, but basically dead on the inside. It was like zombies walking all over the place in a dark dreary place. They would talk about how this whole system is a fraud, how we are making money, patients do not want to be here, the staff themselves do not want to be there. I would listen to this, and then as it got in my head, I would look and that is what I would see.

I gave up. My whole life was a fraud. It was a scheme and what I had lived for, my passion, was now exposed as a complete fraud. It was painful, and defeating.

We had a patient at this time and his name was “Bill.” Well, “Bill” came to us, he would not even talk. He would not eat because he thought food was poisoned. The man was about 90 pounds. Can you imagine thinking your food was poisoned? How scary that must be. He would go into the bathroom and spit until he had no saliva because he thought we were trying to kill him. He would hold his bladder because he feared going to the bathroom. He had a look of fear in his eyes, he was scared of everyone and everything. Then we had to force him to take medications. In his mind, he was at a place that was trying to kill him, poison his food and kill him. He then is told he has to take medication that makes him sick, tired, and shaky. Then he is told he has to take it and is locked up if he refuses. Imagine that as your reality for a moment. He would not even sleep. It was torture I am sure. It was heartbreaking. He had no family to come visit, he would never come to groups, and he would never participate. No one really cared. We got his money every month, we wrote a note on him every day and got paid. He had a place to stay. His social worker figured he was ok and would work on a new placement for him. But treatment? How was he getting any treatment? Staff did not care, they got through their shift. I did not care anymore, this was the blow that was ending it all for me. It is official, this is a fraud and I cannot help anyone or anything. I give up.

Then the staff meeting I described above in which I let loose on everyone. I blew up and it all came out in an angry speech in front of all staff at the meeting.

As I sat in my office with my heart pounding and my heart racing and emotions all over the place. I hear a knock on the door. I say “come in.”

It was Lonny. Lonny was the business manager of the place. He was the one that collected the money and paid the bills. He was a kind and direct man. I always wondered how he could take money from these people who had nothing. He did it every day, which was his job. He was not a bad man, he was a good man. He had a difficult job. He did not speak often, but when he did, it was important and meaningful.

So my thought as he walks in is “Oh my god he is going to give me a lecture about this, but I do not care I am quitting anyways.”

He said, “Can I sit down.”

I said “sure.”

He said to me, “I was thinking about what you said. What have we done for Bill? What are we even doing? And I think I have an answer for you.”

I said, “Ok.” I was thinking, “I cannot wait to hear this one.”

He said, “Well maybe if we do well, Bill will have a place that he can go back to some time in his life and say, you know the world is a scary place, but there is a place that I was at for 90 days that was not so scary. People were nice to me, they took care of me and listened to me. So maybe the whole world is not so bad. Maybe we can plant seeds in his mind that he will use later.”

I said “How do we get to that, he will not even talk. He is scared and no one cares.”

He responded. “Start by saying hi every day. Smile at him. Regardless of his response. Let’s just start with hello.”

This conversation changed my life. I am rarely speechless, but this was one of those times. My mind went blank. It was all still. All the emotions were gone and my mind was blank. It was like once again in my life when I could not take anymore. I was delivered a message to continue and to go on. I was given a spark of hope and a different way of thinking from a most unlikely source.

Every moment in life can teach us lessons, and every person is a possible teacher. If we are not fully present in each moment, we miss out on the lesson. IF we have preconceived notions about others, we miss the lesson. If we are elsewhere in our mind, we miss the moment. If we miss the moment, we mess with the future. Every moment builds on the next, which is how the future is built. Moment after moment.

I never thought this man had this life changing lesson for me. When I was broke, defeated, and had given up on my life’s passion. The man who pulled me up was Lonny.

I started to listen to this advice. I said hi. Nothing at first. For a couple weeks. Hi how are you doing? Then one day, it happened. “Bill” looked up at me, and said hi. Then he smiled. Then he would say he is “doing fine.”

I watched him start to talk to other people as well. Others would talk to him and be good to him. Now the same staff that were zombies were still being zombies. But my mind was not focused on them anymore. It was focused on the 2 or 3 staff that were trying every day to make a difference in each moment that they had. These were the people that I was not noticing before, because my inner turmoil did not want to see it. Now I saw it.

One staff. Her name was “Rochelle,” would give everything she had to each patient and in each moment. If they wanted to walk, she would go for a walk, they were the most important people to her in that moment. She also heard all the negativity, however it did not disturb her. I was in awe of how she did this. Maybe it did bother her, but it did not seem like it. For each patient, the moment they were with her, they were the most important person in the world. How had I not noticed this before?

“Bill” eventually got better. I mean not completely. He shaved his head, he was smiling and talking to us about his life. He actually was eating. He would still eat as fast as possible and cover it up, but he would eat. He was no longer afraid of the bathroom. It was amazing.

I go back to Lonny’s words often. Planting seeds. Sometimes we just need to do the best we can do and let go of the results. Sometimes we won’t see the results. Sometimes the results we see for other people will not be what we want for the other person, but it is not about us. It is about them. It may be that they got the result that they wanted. We cannot define another person’s success by our expectations and standards. What is their goal, and how can we help them. Do they even want help? We are like the passenger with a road map that points out things. They are the driver, it is their journey. Sometimes all we can do is make someone feel safe, or plant seeds. Or make them feel like the most important person in the world for that moment.

I thought for a long time that I planted seeds in “Bill.” Maybe I did. I let go of the results because I did the best I could.

What I know happened is that “Bill” planted seeds in me. So did Lonny. Thank you Lonny.

I thought I was the gardener, however I was the flower.

Or maybe, I was both. Maybe we all are both at all time.

The end.

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“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”

If you take an onion and cut it as close to the roots as possible, without cutting the roots, it can grow larger and larger every time. We are like this, we grow and become wiser and more loving by giving away what we get, as long as we keep the roots. This is a lesson I never believed to be true, I thought how can you gain more by giving things away? I thought I needed to keep it all to myself. That is what we are taught. This is the story of the day I realized I was much like an onion.

These toasts and things are common at weddings. They are also common at graduations and other special occasions. It is so bizarre to me that we only talk like this about each other at these rare times and usually when heavy alcohol is involved. Then we forget. We forget to tell each other how we truly feel. We are afraid, or embarrassed.

Dave grabbed his drink and stood up. Everyone listened as Dave spoke. “I remember one time, we were playing video games when we were kids, and it was so important for Bob to have the best team, that he went and bought a 12 pack of mountain dew and stayed up all night creating this master team so he could beat us. He always wanted to win, ever since he was a kid. But when he was done, then he worked on everyone else’s team.”

Everyone laughed and hollered. It was a great toast. After the laughing was done. Dave continued, “Bob is amazing, he is a rare person, and I love him and am lucky to have grown up with him. There was a time that I was driving without a license and crashed. He didn’t think twice, he jumped in the driver’s seat and pushed me aside and took the blame for the accident.”

Then after that, all of a sudden Jacob stood up, this was unexpected. He taps his glass and says. “Bob, Bob, Bob, he loves borrowing other people’s cigarettes.” Everyone knows this to be true and has a good laugh. Jacob continues, “But what Bob never bragged about was the time he had only 5 dollars left and gave it to me because he knew I was struggling. He never told anyone. He is kind and a humble man.”

Then Brian stood up and held up his glass. This was turning into something rare for us. Brian was not one to speak in front of a group like this, Brian says, “Bob and his heart. When I was in the middle of my addiction to heroin, Bob came and got me and drove me 6 hours in the middle of the night to treatment. Then I ditched it. He still came the next time I called. He missed work, and family time. He just took the heat. I love you Bob.” That one got everyone’s attention. People were getting emotional. Brian recovered from addiction, but none of us knew that part of it. It was starting to seem like Bob did a lot of things for all of us. We all had these stories. Brian’s was very strong because we all had pretty much given up on him, well, except Bob. We had wondered how he had finally beaten the addiction, I guess Bob had given him what I call “psychological life support.”

Danny stood up now. “I hate Bob. He makes us all look bad.” That was how Danny was. He then got serious, which is very out of character for Danny, and he said, “I got kicked out of my parents’ house and Bob came and got me every day, and he drove me to work for a month. Never asked for anything.” We all were surprised, we thought they hated each other but dealt with each other. They were kind of the arch rivals in our group that were always fighting.

Jim stood up and said. “I don’t have a story like any of you. However, I’ve seen Bob with opportunities to be unfaithful, and he was not. His loyalty, it really is something that changed me. In a hot tub, with women all over him, he left to go to his ex-fiancés house and be with their kid. They were no longer together at the time, and she was seeing other people. But he did not care. His love is strong. He is probably embarrassed by me even telling this story, but I think it tells you all you ever need to know about Bob.”

So I am sitting there, thinking about them saying these things. I am hearing words describe Bob, like humble, kind, caring, loyal, considerate, and unselfish to name a few. Wow, we all liked being around him all the time. I never had heard these things before. I felt like I should say something. I sat at the corner. This had become a moment that we were all speaking of our relationships. It was my turn it seemed.

I stood up. I said, “Bob is amazing. I remember one time we were walking in the city at night. There was a homeless man and Bob gave him his shirt and jacket. Bob went and got another one for himself. Everyone else was mocking the old homeless guy. But Bob made sure no one was watching. He did not do this for show, he means it. All heart.” Everyone agreed.

But listening to all this about Bob was hitting me hard. So I decided to say more.

“I was just wondering if anyone has ever said any of this to Bob’s face. Because I have not. I do not know why either. This feels good.” Is what I said.

Dave said, “No. I have never said this any of it. Why? I do not know.” Everyone else shook their heads in agreement. It was sad to hear that, everyone had the same look on their face. Why not? Why haven’t we?

Well, in this case, it was not Bob’s wedding, it was not a graduation either. Bob had died at the age of 26 about a week prior to this. He was in a boating accident. We all were just at the funeral 2 days ago, and no one mentioned a thing. Everyone was in shock. His best friend was Joe. Joe would later take his own life. He was emotional and crying and kissed Bob as he lay in his casket. No one else said a thing. I think we were all in complete shock. This was 15 years ago, I was 24. You do not expect things like this to happen when you are 24 and you are thinking you are invincible.

A couple days later, as we sat at this restaurant, just sharing stories, we were having his real funeral. This lasted until 5 the next morning. I sat that day, when it was over, thinking to myself if I ever see something positive about someone I am going to tell them. At first when I did this my face would get all red, sometimes I would tear up and my voice would crackle. Then I started to see the impact it had on me, and on others. I was growing more each time I gave more away. Much like the onion.

It doesn’t work if it is not genuine. But when it is genuine, it is amazing. It is almost like I get more out of it than the people receiving it. The more I give away, it seems the more I get given to me. By that I mean love. If I give it away completely, it seems that I get more placed in my heart.

I think people believe that it takes away from them if they give it away. They may think it will be scary or they will be rejected, but if it is pure, it is amazing. If it is a manipulation, and you have a hidden agenda, it does not feel the same. It has to be real. Even if the person already knows it to be true, it is good for them to hear it. I remember when I started doing this, my brother said, “I wish I could talk to people like that.” I said “you can.”

Anyone can do this if they want to. Try it. That is the key to growth, is doing things that you are uncomfortable with. If you only do things you are already good at and are strong in, you will never truly grow. That is fine if you are satisfied with the way things are, but if you want to grow, the way is by doing things that are hard or uncomfortable.

Imagine it is raining outside, and everyone has a bucket, if you try to keep all your water to yourself, and hold the bucket close to your chest, you will not get very much. If you take your bucket and start pouring what water you have into other peoples cups, someone is going to say, “Hey get that person a bigger bucket.” You will start to see more opportunities come, and you are never depleted. As weird as that may seem, it is true, the more you give, the more you get. Our minds do not think that way. Because we were trained otherwise.

Removing the outer layers of the onion brings tears. In fact, it can be so painful, people publish articles as to how to get to the core of the onion without the tears including cutting under water, wearing goggles, or freezing the onion first. Similarly, we freeze or emotional feelings with things such as alcohol or drugs for an easier way to get to our core. Freezing vegetables, or feelings, similarly creates changes in texture and we lose the natural flavor.

This was what came of Big Bob’s death to me. Some people look at me weird, which is ok. I do not want to leave love left unsaid or undone when I go, I want to leave it here in the world. So it can keep being passed on forever. That will stay forever, regardless of where my body goes.

I hope Bob heard us that night. He never did when he was alive.

 

 

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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.