Informed Consent

Pieces of Me –

I wish I could leave my skin
For just one day.
See if with me
The hurt would stay.
Change my name,
Forget my past.
See if with me
The pain would last.
Trade this life
For fortune and fame.
Stop crying these tears
And bleeding my pain.
Speak my voice
And have it heard.
Have ‘love’ mean
More than just a word.
Not stress over school,
Or worry about home.
Not feel so smothered,
Yet look so alone.
If not for you,
I’d find no reason to live.
I constantly take,
And hardly give.
The emotion is ‘pathetic’
That hovers in my air.
Tarnishes my blue eyes,
Taints my blonde hair.
Such an individual
Holds a reason to cry.
Locks the memories away,
Stores her yearning to die.
I remember those eyes
So full of lust.
Using my love
While gaining my trust.
I can still feel her hand
As our fingers entwine.
She stole that precious moment
I thought was just mine.
‘All’s fair in love and war’,
Or so the saying goes.
All my battle scars
Reflect the path that I chose…

Rebecca Paul

Recently, I have been reminded how fortunate…WE are.  My wife’s adult life (up to recently) had been filled with hospital stays.  Not medical stays but institutional admissions.   In what was commonly known as; mental asylums.

She has held strong through strange visits to strange hotels…sitting an dissecting the merits of lime Jell-O.

Scary moments where as her spouse…I never knew what I would be coming home to after a days work.

Times where I refused to believe her beliefs…in reality.

  • The self harm…
  • The fifty benadryl a day….
  • Emergency Room visits with charcoal milkshakes and unknown doctors.

After years of both forced incarceration and voluntary.  Megan has come out the other side.  Though I do understand paranoid schizophrenia to be a chronic illness and this upswing may just be a fleeting moment.

I also understand that when she had voluntarily sought solace in these institutions.  She, I, US, battled many a stranger/therapist on what meds were working.  And, which ones that offered serious and dire consequences.

I say WE are fortunate because many still suffer.  They suffer in silence.  They suffer from being over medicated.  More importantly, they suffer from not trusting their doctors.  This lack of trust often centers around the doctor not taking the time to acknowledge that many psych patients are fully capable of understanding the side effects of medications or their recourse.

And, for that, many of us can thank, Eleanor Rise –

Eleanor Riese was diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 25. At the time of the trial in 1989, she was 44, and had been in and out of psychiatric hospitals for several years preceding her case. During her stay at St. Mary’s Hospital in San Fransisco, Riese’s lawyers argued she developed physical symptoms caused by antipsychotic medication she did not consent to.

Lawyers representing Riese argued; argued, “People most likely to be treated with the drugs in a short-term care situation were either those experiencing a crisis such as suicidal feelings, or chronic patients, many of whom are among the homeless population, who can make decisions about their treatment even though they may be delusional.”

A victory short lived…

Eleanor had been killed by the medication she had been forced to take.  

Professor Peter Kinderman

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This informed consent triumph in California offered/offers hope to those who struggle mental health maladies…and, physical disability directly related to their medications.

Informed consent in relation to voluntary admission into hospital is state to state.  Often the patient will find his or herself fighting in court.  Leaving decisions up to judge and jury.

 

Poets and Schizophrenics Band-Aid

“If we took all the poets and banded them together.  Could problems arise or self-solve?”

Lyricists to our own plights…Could prose set a tilted world right?

hints and accidents 2

“What of my yet undocumented pain?  Would my own words make me sane?”

‘It is always something’…I heard a philosophical schizophrenic say.

white picket fences 1
“Living well and beautifully and justly are all one thing.” ― Socrates

“What if we all banded together today?”

Her Stigma, My Love

Image result for nami new hampshire may is mental health month

Slight as it is, it is that breathable moment.

A blemish that is to be…

my lover’s crisis…

And, only my reverence by circumstance.

Anything I had to offer?

All makeshift and half understood.

A pocket of indulged loose change.

Yet, I hold no true understanding

I could never enter the game.

My lover’s deep compassionate brown eyes uncovering…nonnegotiable enemies.

Sporadic voices with meaningful names, ted, tuesday…holiday x.

Agile as a bad memory…running into view.

In a breathable moment

A lover’s reality can prolong your fool.imageedit_13_9124626990

 

Visceral Demons

What a visceral demon!

He steals across a window’s view.

To rob those listening…blind.

Leaving an illness.

Frank with expression but few words left to define.

I have not seen this renaissance monster.

In quite sometime.imageedit_86_8489258754

Still he always keeps my lover in mind.

For the quieted voices, tucked in a far off place.

For the distant look upon her face.

The monster comes with a gloved hand.

Gesturing away all notions of sympathy.

And, in unguarded moments…redefines true misery.

The kind of which, you cannot touch or see.

 

 

the Scorn of Schizophrenia

John Nash, a Beautiful Mind; on Madness as a Release

People are always selling the idea that people with mental illness are suffering. I think madness can be an escape. If things are not so good, you maybe want to imagine something better.

Nash had won the Nobel Prize.  He was one of the great mathematicians of the our times.  He had been diagnosed with Schizophrenia

 

Brian Wilson, former Beach Boy.  Musician extraordinaire.  Many a music critic considering him one the best lyricist, stylist, composers…of our times.  Diagnosed with schizophrenia, the Beach Boy, found himself in the hands of a controlling, dictator, doctor.  As is common with misdiagnose, it took years for Mr. Wilson to find his way out from under the thumb of a common therapy…over-medicating.

 

Bettie Page, America’s one an only Pin-up girl.  Shunning the conventionality of the 1950’s by performing in ‘Adult’ films.  Bettie has had fans that span the last 6 decades.  Bettie battled acute schizophrenia beginning in the early 1970s.

“I could never tell anyone about what I was actually thinking.  When I did!  I found myself alone in a cement room with no windows.  Every voice I heard meant more time alone!”

-M. O’Shaughnessy

In most instances, the signs were there.  The delusions, the paranoia, the isolation.  Yet, as a society, we opt for ignorance.  And, if ignorance isn’t a stigma for mental health.  Indifference is.  Indifference to an early appropriate diagnose.  Indifference to a balance between therapy and medication.  Indifference to the silent signs being held out for, help!

 

Mental Health Reform

One thing that most Americans can agree on is that the mental health system is broken. In many parts of the country, mental health treatment, services and supports are not available until a crises occurs. In some communities, jails and prisons have become the default place for mental health treatment.

The facts make one thing clear: mental illness is a major public health crisis in the U.S. today. However, changes to our mental health system can help address this crisis.

– See more at: https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Public-Policy/Mental-Health-Reform#sthash.whzpFQBd.dpuf

 

Mental Illness is not a decision.  Ignorance is the true disability!


My spouse, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, is an active, productive, member of society.  It is through her personal triumphs, distant voices, distant rooms, that I have been encouraged.  Encouraged to not shy away from what I do not understand.  Her struggles with mental health has become her greatest adversary.  It is by her brave honesty that we can begin to open closed minds.