When you cant even find the tunnel let alone the light at the end: coping with trauma

July 22, 2014 by

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

What do you do when something bad happens and it simply isnt going to go away…..EVER.

What do you do when the impact of something negative, very negative is there and realistically is probably not going to ever go away?

Millions of people face that question everyday.  Tragedies are many, widespread and often unexplainable and if you can explain them you cant do anything about them.  What do you do?

It is more than an academic question for me.  Within the last 3 months tragedy has struck my life.  It has produced a change that I dont want that will probably always be there.  It has disrupted every level of my personal life.  It has affected my view of me, my view of life…everything.  It has made me question many fundamental assumptions of life that I hold dear.

It has been a war…. a war of the mind, the body…

View original 685 more words

The diagnostic fallacy: on justice and dignity

July 21, 2014 by


From the archives

Originally posted on Hopeworks Community:

In regard to the DSM the biggest fallacy that I see is not the proposal for a better diagnostic system but the fallacy that any diagnostic system is going to make things better.  There is a difference in believing  that a diagnosis might tell you something useful about someone and believing that it can tell you something fundamentally true about him.  In the first instance the diagnosis is a map about a portion of someone’s experience which like all maps serves to guide you and inform you about how to make  decisions about what to do.  In the second the diagnosis is not a map to the truth, but the truth itself.  It leads you to the ultimately destructive conclusion that a person is what you have decided to call him.  The results in every form of human endeavor throughout history have proved time after time the tragedy of this.   The history of…

View original 1,114 more words

Dear Rep Murphy: On the meaning of reprehensible

July 20, 2014 by

You say that it is morally reprehensible for anyone to help a patient question the medical advice a professional gives him.

Let me tell you about reprehensible.

Where I live bipolar disorder is as much a function of the doctor you go to as the symptoms you display. One doctor basically believes everyone is bipolar. He says that the fact he consults and does “education” for a pharmaceutical company has nothing to do with it. Another talks about people “feeling bipolar” to him. They never seem to have the right symptoms for the right period of time but still…. The psychiatrist at the psychiatric unit basically doesnt believe anyone is bipolar. He thinks it is way over diagnosed and way over-dramatized. He normally cures people from bipolar really fast. He just tells them they dont have it. Considering they deal in “medical science” that seems reprehensible to me. How do people know which expert not to question since the 3 of them sometimes tell the same people diametrically opposite things?

My sister in law was according to your terms “severely mentally ill.” She took her life 14 years ago but the illness didnt kill her. The treatment did. She was taking so many meds she had meds for her meds. She couldnt think a clear thought. She told me she was lost. Then she told me there was nothing left to find. Then she died. That was reprehensible.

I met a young lady who told me she had diabetes. She was 22. No family history. No risk factors. She told me she took risperodol for bipolar disorder. Strangely enough about a year later she stopped taking the meds. 4 years later she is doing fine. Was she troubled? Without question yes. Did she have serious issues? Probably. But did she have bipolar or pick doctors poorly? I dont know. She didnt pick diabetes. It was given to her. That is reprehensible.

I live in state that has over 80000 people with mental health issues without insurance because they have chosen not to expand medicaid. That is reprehensible. And it is totally reprehensible that you have voted over 50 times against the ACA while claiming to be an advocate for the very people you would deny medical coverage for.

People with “mental illness” die years earlier than those without. They by and large get lousy medical care. They get “cured” by medicines that for some have life altering consequences. That is reprehensible.

Over 60% of the people with a mental health diagnosis in my state are unemployed. In some states it goes over 90%. It is a result of systematic discrimination against labeled people. That is reprehensible. Never, not once, have I ever heard you address that. Without a job you dont tend to have insurance. You are more likely to become homeless. Your family is more likely to suffer.

You preach about the plight of the “mentally ill” in the jail but you never talk about the factors like poverty, drug addiction, trauma, gang involvement, racism and others that lead to criminal behavior. Largely your party is against any legislation that would affect any of those factors. That is reprehensible.

People are traumatized and hurt everyday in the penal system. Never, not once have I heard you address the abysmal track record of the treatment of the “mentally ill” in our jails. That is reprehensible.

To explain all this as “mental illness” and ignore the widespread injustice faced by so many is blaming the victim and so very Republican. And that is reprehensible.

You would raise the alarm about “crazy people with guns” and ignore the fact this country has a real and pervasive problem with gun violence. You ignore the deaths of thousands of people and seem to write it off as the price of us protecting our constitutional rights and that is so very, very reprehensible.

You ignore the fact that the “mentally ill” are much more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator and in maintaining that prejudice make them more likely to be victimized and that is reprehensible.

You preach against the mental health system and paint SAMSHA as the source of all things bad. You ignore the fact that mental health systems are state creations. But while in one breath you slam the mental health system as being ineffective and almost criminal in the next breath you advocate for a bill that would force people to receive services from the same system you say is useless. You cant have it both ways. To try to smacks of political opportunism and outright fraud. And all of this is way past reprehensible..

You talk about psychiatric hospitalization like criminal behavior is the result of a defiency of hospitalization. The boat sailed a long time ago on hospitalization. They may indeed remain but they will never be the cornerstone of the system again. Other than perhaps crisis stabilization there is no proof they work and many people with lived experience will tell you they do much more harm than good. To even imply that people are against hospitalization because of maintaining their own financial interests in community programs is dishonest, libelous, and, you guessed it, reprehensible.

The budgets of mental health systems have been cut to the bone by state legislature after state legislature. It befuddles me that you dont even seem to recognise that in your prescription of problems. You seem to only see what is in your political interests to see. And that is reprehensible.

AOT is old news. Except New York which pours millions of dollars into, it basically lies fallow. It costs too much and does too little for too few. In New York it serves 1/3 of 1%. To pass it off as the essential piece of reform in a system needing widespread is at best a distortion and at worst a lie. And it is reprehensible.

And a final word (believe me much more could be said) in this country it is not reprehensible that someone would try to help someone else to protect their rights. It is reprehensible not to.


July 18, 2014 by

Living is sometimes so hard it makes it hard to write about it.  This blog is really important to me and it is really frustrating to feel like I am doing such a poor job with it.  Distance and perspective is really hard to find right now. 

My nephews death is really hard.  The police are saying it looks like he laid down in front of the train.  No one may ever know truly, but I think he slipped away and none of us knew he was slipping.  My brothers health is poor to begin with.  I fear Bennie will not be the only casualty.

The wear on Linda and I of our situation is real.  Finding a place for her to live is not the same as finding a way to live together.

We are being flooded with Tenn Care stories.  Their grief is real and many have never had anyone listen.  The suffering is horrific.  And I wonder more and more what world the governor lives in.

Another bad seizure night.  I cant sleep.

Dreams are not my friend tonight.

Tomorrow will be a new day.  My prayer is to find the newness in it.  I am so ready for new days.

4 Ways Mentally Ill Become “Athletes of the Mind” | Trauma Informed Systems

July 16, 2014 by

4 Ways Mentally Ill Become “Athletes of the Mind” | Trauma Informed Systems
【from Next Browser】

The problem with the Murphy Bill is not that it asks too much. It settles for too little

July 14, 2014 by

The problem with the Murphy Bill is not that it asks for too much, but that it settles for too little. It is a sterile view, narrow view of a catastrophic problem. It would have us rely on AOT as a major solution to the problem and ignore the fact that New York, the most friendly AOT state in the country, with all the pressure for it and all the money spent and all the machinery in place only serve 1/3 of 1% in their program. New York has the criteria for commitment Torrey and Murphy preach. They spend mega bucks. 1/3 of 1%. Even if you ignore all the issues and questions about it it is still trying to save the Titanic with a bailing bucket.

It would have us depend on psychiatric hospitalization. Again ignoring the questions about it as a practice, the idea that it is a possible solution is a cruel hoax by people who know better. The financial ship on psychiatric hospitalization sailed a long time ago.

Murphy ignores a central experience of countless people: being called mentally ill has drastic life consequences. Injustice is a major life experience for people with psychiatric labels. You are far less likely to have a job, far more likely to be without insurance, far more likely to get lousy medical care or none at all, far more likely to be homeless, far more likely to be a victim of violence, far more likely to be treated as a broken person, just far more likely.

A mental health reform bill that does not address justice is like a song without melody. Much ado about nothing.

Murphy is like a person with a microscope who forgets there is a larger world. He doesn’t propose a difference that makes a difference.

‘Bleak picture’ for mentally ill: 80% are jobless
【from Next Browser】

RIP Diagnostic Psychiaty

July 12, 2014 by

RIP Diagnostic Psychiaty: My Take on an Edge Question – Talking about Bipolar Disorder – Bipolar
【from Next Browser】

Your voice

July 11, 2014 by

The statistics say that somewhere around 80000 people with mental health diagnoses are in the coverage gap in Tennessee.  They don’t have insurance and don’t qualify to get it.  32000 people with “serious mental illness” are in the gap. You either pay for help or you pay for the consequences of not helping. The idea that Tennessee cant afford to pay for people is past naive. There is not a choice to pay. The choice is what you pay for.

If you or someone in your family or someone you know is caught in this gap and you would like your voice heard I would like to help. You can contact me through this blog or I am easily found on facebook.

Please let me hear from youk

Been gone

July 11, 2014 by

I want to apologize to the readers of this blog.  I’ve been gone.

Life has gotten in the way.  Linda and my story much to our astonishment has went viral.  This week has been a veritable storm of activity.  Again I apologize.

There is so much of importance to talk about.  Within the next couple of days posts will resume on Hopeworks Community.  Thank you for your understanding, your patience, and your commitment.

The 48th letter: Our skin in the game

July 11, 2014 by


The 47th letter: Losing my home

July 9, 2014 by

Please share with others


Forced To Separate For Health Insurance

July 8, 2014 by

Forced To Separate For Health Insurance
【from Next Browser】

Not to speak is to speak

July 7, 2014 by

Not to speak is to speak…..
Not to act is to act….
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Today is his birthday.
Words worth considering in a world where silence too often seems to make sense, where inaction seems to be just realizing reality.

No one should suffer with help available.  No one should starve in a land of food because they have no food.  No one should get sick in a land of medicine because they have no care.  No one should be lonely in a land of people because they know no one who cares.  No one should be treated unfairly in a land of laws because there is no justice for them.


The main thing

July 6, 2014 by

Focus-  resolutely and passionately make the main thing the main thing.

Accept accountability for doing this.

Try to do the best you can in all things.

Treat other people as a priority.

Live with the best attitude possible.

Learn always. Treat everything as an opportunity to learn to do better. Welcome life.

The 44th letter: please talk to me

July 6, 2014 by



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,232 other followers

%d bloggers like this: