By David W. Oaks
Executive Director, MindFreedom International
Dear friends, family, colleagues, and supporters,
After 4 decades as a psychiatric survivor human rights activist and 3 decades with spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis), that fused my spine into peanut brittle, I knew I needed a break. The break that I got about 3 weeks ago was not the one I expected. I slipped off a wet ladder in my writer’s studio, and it resulted in a complete break of my neck.
The silver lining in this event has been witnessing the love between us all. I’m overwhelmed by the cards and offers of support for me, for my wife, my fabulous darling Debra, for my family, for MindFreedom, for USICD, OCSC, Opal network and for our movement for nonviolent global revolution.
I love you all so much from the core of my heart. I hope that every single one of you can feel that heat!
With my whole heart and soul, I give thanks for Earth’s free bounty shared w/ all my relations. The word origin for “thanks,” is simply “to think,” and a Native American sign language for thinking is to point to one’s own chest. Truly my heart is thinking of you all. Thank you!
I’m laying here in a special rotating hospital bed with my good friend, Rev. Phil Schulman, using a special trache tube to talk for a few minutes. To finish this letter we are using a word board based on cryptography designed for me by my computer genius brother Tony. Here at Sacred Heart Hospital River Bend I’ve been cared for by an amazing medical team of skilled and compassionate healers. They seem like they are from NASA and as friendly as a next door neighbor.
Finding Creative Maladjustment
A few days after hearing that crack of my neck, I laid in a hospital bed here, and I knew that I must find a creative maladjustment. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. many times called for an International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. I’m requesting your leadership in launching the first annual Creative Maladjustment Week, July 7-14, 2013 with Patch Adams MD. It may be a way to recover from a broken planetary ecosystem, as well as neck, heart and anything else. Let us finally hear the crack of the nut of normality.
During long nights in this hospital, I have been emboldened by the spirit of Justin Dart Jr., considered to be the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His heart radiates into mine. I hear the words he so often echoed: “I love you, Lead On!” He knew that absolutely each one of us who join in this movement for human rights and dignity is a leader.
I cherish being connected to him, and to all of you. It has been my great fortune to have 38 beautiful years in this movement so far without direct funding from the government or mental health industry. Many of us speak out freely and organize for human rights in mental health. Some of us work to change the system from within. Together inside and outside, we are an emergent force of nature, a creative maladjustment to oppression. We are leading humanity into a sustainable way to live on this planet that includes caring and listening to marginalized people.
Many of you have expressed concern for Debra and me, that we will continue to have the financial resources for quality of life and access to full medical care. Below you will find a short note from my brother Tony providing a means for contributions. Thank you, all of you for personal support as well as participation in this movement.
Gratefully in support,
David W. Oaks
Information from David’s brother, Tony Oaks, about how you can help David:
Through Debra’s job at the Eugene Public Library, Dave has access to health insurance. Given the catastrophic nature of his injury, we expect that eventually his coverage will be maxed out and Dave will switch to medicaid. In order to ensure Dave gets access to the things which may be necessary and yet not covered by insurance or medicaid, my mom, Violet, worked with a local attorney (Mark Williams) to establish a Irrevocable Special Needs Trust for David.
If you would like to contribute to that fund please make your checks payable to David W Oaks Irrevocable Trust, and mail your checks to this address:
David W Oaks Irrevocable Trust
1100 Williamette St.
Eugene OR 97401 USA
(Note, your contribution to this fund, while a gift, is not tax deductible and, of course, it is not refundable.)
Another way to support David is to get involved in MindFreedom, the organization he founded and has nurtured through 25+ years of successful activism!
We’ve compiled a list of 9 ways you can participate in our non-violent revolution in mental health care. We hope you can join us!
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.
I am so proud to know that you are making steps to optimize how you write and get it out. I am one who thinks that if you have something that is keeping you from doing what you want you find a new want to maximize your level of doing things. I am not able to walk or do as much as i used to and now the computer will be my way of getting things done and doing something meaningful. Hopefully you will keep recovering in all ways possible. Inspiration comes from the weirdest places is something I have said. i don’t really know you, but I can see you have strength that will get you everywhere.
We have never met, but I want you to know what a tremendously positive and important role you played in my life after I was traumatized by an involuntary commitment a number of years ago. Finding MFI, reading your words and listening to your radio shows online gave me the comfort of knowing I was not alone in my experience. You spoke for me and gave voice to my feelings when I was too humiliated and ashamed to speak up for myself.