Editor’s note: This speech was delivered last fall by Ken Braiterman, my adopted dad and advocacy mentor. More of his writing can be found at KenBraiterman.com, and at MadinAmerica.com
When I found out I was getting a lifetime achievement award from the Riverbend Community Mental Health Center, I laughed out loud. I’ve been working since 1995 to close it down, or change its treatment mode from meds first to meds as a last resort when alternatives fail. I thought of rejecting the award, but that would be a small spiteful gesture.
Then I realized that the award made me feel like
Continue reading My Riverbend Mental Health Center Acceptance Speech
This is an article you all may find of use on spiritual emergencies. http://www.spiritualcompetency.com/jhpseart.html The high points are a list of types of spiritual emergencies, like loss of faith, loss of a teacher, need for growth, mystical experiences, etc. the difference between psychoss and spritual emergencies: being coherent and willing to talk about the experience, sudden onset, and stressors beforehand the difference between regular spiritual growth and spiritual emergencies – the second interferes with daily functionin
Corinna West and I have each gone through different kinds of spiritual emergencies this past fall and winter. Corinna called hers a spiritual emergency
Continue reading A Tale of Two Spiritual Emergencies
I have Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). It has no treatment, cure, known cause, or hope. Accepting fate is the key to my serenity. good attitude, and great quality of life. I live one day at a time to the fullest, still write, and work with Wellness Wordworks and my faith community. I have wonderful friends and supporters, and I’m just fine with accepting fate.
For me, accepting fate is choosing life in accordance with God’s command, not giving up. Accepting fate, staying active, positive,and productive, not boo-hooing over it, is the key to my good attitude, which
Continue reading Accepting Fate Is Good Unless It’s Really Giving Up
It’s a good idea for people who deal with emotional distress to be extra careful with alcohol, tranquilizers, and amphetamines, whether they take psychiatric medication or not. Roughly half the people with mental health diagnoses have co-occurring substance addiction. It can make a temporary, transformative problem much harder to get through, because you must also deal with the addiction.
The pros and cons of psychiatric labels and medication are not the subject of this blog.
The assumption in psychiatry has always been that people “self-medicate” their moods with addictive alcohol or unprescribed drugs before they seek psychiatric help. In sickness
Continue reading Why I Stay Home on New Year’s Eve
Dec. 5. 2012
Since Sept 28, 2012, I’ve been living with the possibility that I might have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, usually called ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I don’t think I do, but ALS was my biggest fear long before any doctor said I might have it. I think I have pinched nerves, which are treatable, but docs always eliminate the worst possibility first, and they haven’t eliminated ALS yet.
I’m in the third month of waiting for them to confirm or eliminate ALS. For two months, I was immobilized by fear of ALS. I’m over the worst
Continue reading What Fear of ALS Taught Me about Serenity and Emotional Distress
Is a gnetic cause of bipolar and creativityin these chromosomes?
I used to think – only half seriously — that there was a genetic link between bipolar and creativity. One element of the theory made my friends with biology training laugh out loud.
My idea was that so many people with bipolar are also very creative, and bipolar is a genetic disease. So creativity must be nature’s way of helping some people with the bipolar gene live long enough to reproduce. “Live long enough to reproduce” is what made biologists laugh, an essential principle in biology absurdly applied.
Continue reading Are Bipolar and Creativity Caused or Linked by Our Genes? Part 2 of 2
In 2004, California voters initiated and passed a new far-reaching Mental Health Services Act (called Proposition 63 in Calfornia) to upgrade its obsolete, notoriously underfunded mental health system. Since it was enacted, MHSA has raised more than $8 billion for mental health services, Valley Public Radio reported Aug, 9, 2012.
The services are paid for by existing mental health funds, plus a “Robin Hood tax.” People who make more than $1 million per year pay one percent of their income, earmarked for “recovery services” for folks with mental health labels.
Now, a Republican lawmaker is calling for an audit of how
Continue reading Audit Requested of California’s Mental Health Recovery Services, and Special Tax That Pays for Them
Workaholism is unsustainable, the authors agree
I haven’t figured out how to be an advocate, and do this work, without burning out every few months. In a very good article by Ken Braiterman about strength-based recovery and peer support, he mentioned his workaholism.
What hit a chord for me was when he said that, earlier in his life, “my life was my work, and my work was my job.”
I am like that. Everything runs together like a big clump of things that intertwine. I don’t have a good work schedule sometimes, and then i feel like i’m “always
Continue reading Elvia Knoll and Ken Braiterman: Two Workaholics Discuss Workaholism