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Stopovers on my Way home from Mars

May 19, 2012

Rather than being directly addressed to those who need help, it’s an analysis on the organizations in the Self-help movement in the US, Britain and the Netherlands. It was written in the 90’s but her observations are still relevant. You can find the pdf of the whole book here.

Mary O Hagan does a good job on paring down the essential values and ideology of the ex-patient peer support movement while keeping it easy and engaging. She travels and visits various alternatives oranisatitons in the three countries and quotes members. Also those interested in leadership in general, her dedication to democracy and equal distribution of power is quite interesting.

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Self-assurance

May 5, 2012

So some people might just always going to see you as inferior. Illogical. Incapable.

I tried so long and so hard to get my family to take me seriously, to respect me, to stop dismissing my ideas or feelings when it was convenient. I tried to come up with arguments they just had to accept, tried to tell them how much their behavior bothered me, tried to prove something. Basically I exhausted myself.  I was always too young, too naive, and besides that a girl. But that’s where history came in.

There was such a thing as a feminist movement, and even a civil rights movement! Astounding art, music and literature comes from every demographic. Scores of countries have been ruled by boy-kings, a few by queens. And then there was Joan of Arc! The young girl who saw visions and led armies. When threatened with fire she did not back down. There’s some self-assurance.

“If this was X was true about you Y would happen.” Do NOT fall into that trap of trying to do Y so someone will believe you/take you seriously. Don’t try to prove things on their terms.  You can meet their definitions but you will always find someone else with a different dictionary.

It’s time for you to make your own demands. You deserve to be respected and taken seriously. All humans do. Strength comes from knowing yourself, knowing what the truth is, or at least knowing you put the time and effort in to have credible input. Not infallible, but credible.

People have tried to tell me I’m not feeling what I’m feeling, when clearly I am. But there was always that doubt in the back of my mind: maybe I just don’t matter. I backed down, later hating myself for not having a backbone.

It’s been a process, but this is what has helped me:

  • Researching my beliefs/opinions in spirituality, mental illness, civil rights, ect. so I am sure of myself, not so I can debate them.
  • Journaling through what helps in life and what doesn’t
  • Talking to others who respected me and/or shared my ideas (a shout-out to my yellowstone community!)
  • role models or examples of what not to be
  • using outside sources like the bible or quotes to give my thoughts credibility in my own mind.
  • It’s okay to have an opinion. Objectively no one person is the authority on good music or movies.
  • sometimes you just have to let it go. Let them think what they want. You know better.

These are some of the core ideas (worth, capability, credibility) addressed in Judi Chamberlin’s book On Her Own, albeit in a very specific application of them for ex-mental patients. Judi stresses finding empowerment through consiousness raising. Instead of  trying to tear down the oppressors, you use your strength to build alternatives.

By finding role models and building self-credibility you’re using your energy constructively instead of destructively. 

Praise God for this quiet strength I’m finding.

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Great video about voice-hearing

May 2, 2012

An organization in the netherlands did this wonderful animation, and the Voice Collectives  tumblr introduced me to it. It’s done very well although I wish they would have mentioned the damage the medical model can do.

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April 30, 2012

“Psychotherapy oppresses us by teaching us that we are sick, crazy maladjusted. We should forget grandiose and paranoid ideas such as that some societies just aren’t worth adjusting to.” — Dianne Jennings Walker, from the book Own Our Own

I want to clarify that while I do agree with the above statement, it is the system and the way it’s designed that does this. Within this system there are indeed individuals who do good work in therapy, and I never want anyone who seeks help from it to feel judged. I found, though, that I am benefiting from trying to reject the model that I am sick, crazy or malajusted, and trying to change my life for the better instead of trying to adjust. We shouldn’t have to adjust to bad situations, we should try to get out of them. Much work in psychotherapy is done trying to get you to take care of yourself and recognize bad situations or relationships.

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The cause of “schizophrenia”

April 30, 2012

I was reading a personal account in the book On Our Own by Judi Chamberlin. I highly recommend it, I just bought it for 75 cents plus S&H.

Dianne Jennings Walker shares her story in chapter five that I found remarkably similar to mine, especially when she talks about her belief as a child that her soul had been stolen from her body and her later discovery of psychology. “In my late teens I discovered psychology and Psychiatry, which I believed for many years was my salvation. I read case histories in college textbooks and thought, “Oh, I’m not from another planet, I’m simply crazy!” 

Judi makes this observation on a previous page “People who end up as mental patients are people in trouble — with their family, their job, or the community at large. A diagnosis of mental illness lets everybody else off the hook… The illness model says that after psyciatric repair, he or she should return and fit smoothly back into his or her old life.”

Mrs. Walker continues with a quote that really knocked me off my feet: “I was lied to for so many years that I still fear the feeling of being split apart from my body. This so-called symptom of schizophrenia is what happens to us when the perceptions we have of our environment are attacked and ignored and denied over and over again. Ironically our perceptions are accurate. Even after we are terrorized, drugged, or socialized out of expressing ourselves directly we do it symbolically and the feelings are right. I believed as a child that my soul had been stolen from it’s rightful body, that my real parents lived on a satellite of Betelgeuse. That was not an insane delusion. It was a poetic and actually logical way to handle the unlivable environment I had the ill fate to be born into.”

I think this is absolutely the cause of so-called schizophrenia. I can’t tell you how many times I expressed a problem I had with someone or something and was told I was ungrateful. Feelings were proof that I was illogical and irrational and therefore didn’t have to be taken seriously. This decreased self-confidence made it tough for me to fit in with my peers, causing me to feel an outsider. Even if my family didn’t mean for it to come across that way the reality was I was in an environment that wasn’t good for me personally and should have been re-evaluated.  

It’s really tough to… what’s the word? To face the negative feelings you have towards those you care about. It’s upsetting me even now that the great family I have may have let me down in a big way. I wouldn’t make such a harsh proclamation as she did about her family. I have a great family, but it’s not and never was perfect. Even now my instinct is “I shouldn’t feel upset, that’s a wrong emotion.” In fact it is the correct and logical response. It’s just that negative emotions are not the best place to stay for a long time. That’s why the empowerment of the mental patient liberation movement is so important! We must learn to think of ourselves as capable and strong. 

From what I can tell, the thing that Dianne says made her mind, body and soul feel hers again was denouncing the label and all that it says about her. She was honest about being an ex-patient. She says: “Psychotherapy oppresses us by teaching us that we are sick, crazy maladjusted. We should forget grandiose and paranoid ideas such as that some societies just aren’t worth adjusting to.”

Consistent study on what I believe and why makes me know deep within myself that I have put enough time in to have some valid things to say, to ‘know what I’m talking about’ so to speak. I’ve been reading up on the accuracy of the bible as a historical text. I recently found Randal Niles and really like his show THINK IT THRU” A Radio Show/Podcast Dedicated to Truth-Seeking! 

As a side note, I enjoyed this story of a man involved in the feminist movement who got ‘kicked out’ of a mental institution. He talks about his political movements that began within the instituion, and his later discovery that he wasn’t alone. There really was a mental patient liberation movement! But be warned, I believe the website is as old as the internet itself. 

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The power of the Joke

April 28, 2012

Shirley was in love with the joke. If It was funny, she’d say it. Inappropriate? offensive? Didn’t matter.

If anyone knew about her, they dismissed her as not real. But the joke… the joke was something that had power to transform into something else, the power to become real. We watched it happen a few times.

Here’s an Example: My best guy friend and my best female friend fought like married people. The rest of us in the group used to make fun of them about it, saying they were secretly in love. At the time the guy was so crude and in recovery from some stuff, it was so ridiculous that she would be interested in him. Her and I thought he was creepy when we first started hanging out. As time went on and the more we joked about it, as he got better and she got to know him more, things started to change between them. We suspected something and called them on it but it was denied until maybe four months later they were like “Ha, you got us. We have been together a while now.”  I had a girl-to-girl chat with her and she said it was actually the joking that kind of got things started in her mind, changed how she saw him.

You might say: “Yeah, but the two people involved made it happen. The joke influenced them.”

I’ve got another example, a teacher I know well went down to the lockers where their checks usually sat and instead of a check-shaped envelope it was square, like the kind pink slips come in. Lingering over the sealed envelope joked with a co-worker: “Watch, this is going to be worse than a pink slip, It’ll be worse than getting fired! They’re going to make us keep working and not pay us.” And lo and behold it was the first of many notes explaining the school had limited funding and would pay them as soon as the parents paid the tuitions and the government funding got in. This pattern of late checks and half payments has lasted the entire school year, and had rarely been a problem in the years beforehand.

Perhaps some jokes are a matter of precognition, perhaps of coincidence, perhaps it’s God’s sense of humor. We all can attest to how many times you have said “I will never do this.” And then you do. I think our words have power, and I think the joke is an extention of the “I will never” phenomenon. 

My brother and I used to joke about making this movie about a kid with schizophrenia. He would hallucinate a sexy curvy woman who always wore a red dress, her name is Life and Life’s a bitch. She’d say stuff like “See those stairs right there?” Uh…yeah? “You’re about to fall down them.” what? No I’m no—-ahhhhhh, oof.

There was also a literal knight in shining armor who tackled life like a college professor. Main character was confused about it, because he’s not a girl and doesn’t want a knight in shining armor. However the knight and him become friends, and helps him deal with Life, metaphorically and literally. In the end the boy finds goals outside his inner world and begins to leave them behind in pursuit of a real life. Life finally get packs her bags and heads to hollywood where she inspires a screen writer to write her character as the lead role in a tv show or movie. I’ve got old notebooks full of plans for this movie.

It’s a very thinly veiled re-writing of my life with a magical fairy tale ending I never thought would happen. But it did. Forgive me for posting about Ruby Sparks again but I’m still flabbergasted. Friends of mine who knew Shirley don’t even know what to say, except there are too many coincidences to dismiss. I’d have them collaborate my story but honestly, people who don’t want to believe it will just say I made another account or something.

A few coincidences I can ignore, but when you have scores and scores of them it’s not as easy to dismiss. I realize all of this is anecdotal and not at all scientific, but I’m not putting it forth as proof, I’m sketching an idea study and calling for further study. Look into your own life to find your proof there. I would love if someone could dream up a controlled scientific experiment to test it. But if you can add a little suspension of disbelief, a little imagination that precognition is possible albeit rare, that sometimes coincidences point to a larger truth, perhaps we can go someplace new as humans. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

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Proofs regarding the Ruby Sparks Development

April 26, 2012

This one calls Shirley a pixie and references her red hair. It’s addressed to Amy, the dark-haired level-headed 22 year old, whom I used to drink peach champagne with. She also was invisible-to-everyone-else-but-me. We weren’t as close as Shirley and I were. 

Here’s more calvin and hobbes stuff, not convincing on it’s own but coupled with this post….

This one is just awesome and references how funny she is.

P.S if you mouse over any of these posts they will reveal the date…. day and time but not the year? what’s up with that, tumblr? 

 

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