I Believe in Change

February 1, 2016

I believe in the power of reaching out to the politicians who represent me.  Having worked for a state legislature, I know that when constituents call or write in about specific issues, they are noted.  Politicians do listen and often your voice can bolster their ability to make change.

Unfortunately, my experiences in the last few years have served to show me how far removed my representatives are from understanding the plight of those with disabilities – including mental and physical illness, in poverty, and homeless.

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The Duck Question

January 20, 2016

A few years ago, my doctor encouraged me to read The Catcher in the Rye.  When I read it, he told me:

So many times, I saw you as Holden Caulfield.  A really good person that, at times, refused to see the world for what it was despite how you were treated.  How you care for your kids and wanting to stop them from suffering any of the ways you ever did.  How much you care for those around you and your selfless acts towards everyone you come in contact with.  It was really the image of the title of the book—I could see you as the catcher in the rye field trying to protect the innocence of your kids and at the same time, you, as one of the kids wishing someone had been there to prevent you from going (being taken) over the edge.

The words were quite kind and I carry them with me.  But when I read The Catcher in the Rye, I was more drawn to what I call “the duck question” – which for me translates to “was it bad?”

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I Didn’t Want to Die Alone

January 3, 2016

December 18, 2015 was a pretty cold day.  It’d been a cold week.  That Friday evening was warmer than the previous nights I’d spent sleeping in my car, but it was still cold. And dark.

Many things led up to my suicidal actions that night (I won’t call it an attempt – this wasn’t a mere attempt, these were dedicated actions) – homelessness, poor health, feeling a burden, and much more.  And then I did it.

But something quite different happened this time – a feeling that I’ve never before experienced:  I didn’t want to die alone.

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Taking, Giving, and Feeling Like a Burden

December 29, 2015

I will preface this by saying that there is probably nothing you can say to convince me that I am not a burden.  It’s not that I don’t hear your words, but my mind will counter them with a million examples to prove to you just what a burden I am.

Suicide for me has never been about escaping pain.  I suspect for many it is not.  Rather, I have attempted suicide time and again because I come to a place where I feel like too much of a burden and I am utterly convinced that the world would be better without me.  When I look at the bigger picture, I have taken more than I can ever give back and thus I should not exist.

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The Truth About Psych Wards

December 22, 2015

As I’m sitting here in the medical hospital after yet another suicide attempt reading well wishes from many around the world, I’m heartened by the concern and love pouring forth. Yet in the same breath say “I’m glad you’re safe and how you can get the help you need.”  In those words, most mean that they hope I’ll be shipped off to another psych ward thinking that somehow such a place will give me rest and recuperation. They feel unequipped to deal with mental health – mostly they are scared of mental health illness. They think that psych wards are something they aren’t.

Here’s what the experts say:

“You know there isn’t a single shred of evidence that any hospitalizations ever kept anybody alive five extra minutes.” -Marsha Linehan (the worlds foremost researcher on borderline personality disorder who developed dialectic behavioural therapy)

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Laundry

December 9, 2015

Last night I was hanging out at the laundromat down the street and thinking about when I purchased my washer/dryer set in Austin. I was so hopeful. I had a job I loved and excitement on all that I could do to make a difference in this world. I remember telling myself that I’d made it and how great it would be that I’d never have to use a laundromat again.

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SNL Ebola Parody Reminds Me of Living With Chronic Illness

October 7, 2014

From the moment she said “I have Ebola” and he gave her “that look” – the look of “what did I get myself into?” and “I’m not so sure about this all of the sudden…” – I knew that this SNL parody: The Fault In Our Stars 2: The Ebola In Our Everything (video below) really described trying to have a relationship when you have chronic illness.

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