The lunchtime speaker at the Meeting of the Minds was barely audible, but sounded good from the snatches that we caught here and there. Because engagement was difficult, many of us at the table gave up and surfed on our cell phones.
Among our party was a woman. She was shy and simple, but had a fresh smile. Now and again, she would say something, sometimes to the point of discussion and sometimes entirely out of context. What I admired in my table mates was that we did not ignore her or try to act as if she were some crazy and embarrassing aunt at a holiday dinner, but always acknowledged her and let her take part in the conversation.
I think this is what is meant by living a life free of stigma. You take the mentally ill as they are, not conceiving of or treating them as children, but as full participants in life. This woman was just trying to be one of us. She reached out and we accepted her for it.
When you add all the provisions of the 175 page Families in Mental Health Crisis Bill together, the answer is Zero. Murphy’s Law is a caretaker’s bill. I have nothing against compassionate caretakers, but some seem to want to control the lives of their loved ones down to the toothpaste they use to brush their teeth. Murphy’s Law reorganizes the federal mental health bureaucracy so that it is subject to Congressional politics; it erodes HIPAA protections (claiming that caretakers have no access in emergencies to patient records which is not true); it requires states to implement forced medication programs; and, it is the harbinger I have no doubt of privatized mental hospitals. It is anti-patient. And it stands in opposition to the Recovery Movement.
Proponents disingenuously claim that people like me want to keep the status quo which does nothing for the most severely afflicted, the jailed, and the homeless. One word: Bullshit. I am among those who call for real homes for the homeless where they can achieve the stability to maintain a standard of self care. I note that patients are often prescribed medications like Abilify and Latuda in the hospital — which work for them but which they can’t afford — even with health insurance — when they are discharged. I note that police are overworked and often respond in a way which ignores their training for dealing with the mentally ill when they are exhausted. I observe that Laura’s Law — which allows those who are brought in to devise a treatment program that suits their beliefs and conditions — has resulted in more patients choosing medication. Studies show that coercion does not work. Demolishing HIPAA will cause some patients to avoid treatment because of privacy concerns. Is this helping the homeless? Let’s put together a scorecard….
A cult is kidnapping children and turning them into devotees using computers. The children preach a message of simple life, but the cult is collecting millions of dollars. I follow one child who, when she is found, doesn’t want to leave the cult. The cult talks her into accepting that she will be brought up differently, wearing special clothes, etc. She has been with them for two or three years before she is found. I explain to her what the cult is really up to, but she runs away and disappears on a hillside of tall grass that comes up to my chin.
In the first dream, I have a job at a radio station playing music. It’s almost my time slot, so I go to look for something to play. Everywhere I look, I can only find a few records if any at all. I run around the station — which is very large and filled with shops — but I can’t find the kind of music I like to play for my show.
In another dream, I remember being on a bus that stops in Louisville, Kentucky (where I have never been except in a dream). I am in some kind of aquarium/zoo when this memory comes to me. I am on a platform overlooking a swimming pool, watching the water with Lynn?, and a couple of girls, one a teenager and another younger. The little girl fixates on a seal which comes to the surface for a breath. It goes underwater and she loses it, but I see where it has gone and point it out to her. I turn my back and when I look back, she has jumped off the platform and jumped into the pool to pet the seal. There is an alarm and a panic. The operators of the attraction turn the platform away so we are looking at what people standing in line are doing. I briefly wonder if we are going to get a refund.