Sunday, August 14, 2022

Comments by Jane Engleman

Showing 65 of 65 comments.

  • I had my first public breakdown in college. I became obsessed with cutting. I cut, through two more years of college, five years in corporate offices, and about seven years while in a board and care.

    Somebody said once that public speakers have to cuss, because cuss words are the only appropriate words that can describe the shit we survive. Cutting for me was a sacrifice, an atonement. It was the only appropriate punishment for allowing myself to live. The alternative was death.

    Cutting was also creative expression. I spent 14 years as a cutter before someone introduced me to alizarin crimson acrylic paint. And then prussian blue. And then spring green…

    After 13 years in a good board & care , 30 years of competent depth psychotherapy, 20 years in community college learning graphic design and spoken word, 2 years of dance meditation and a life of independence, I don’t cuss so much. And razors, bottle glass, can lids, and Exacto knives are simply art tools.

    I was lucky. I lived through it. I survived psychiatry and found my people as a poet and artist. You don’t cut when you have friends with whom you share love.

  • Since quarantine, Los Angeles has experienced weather close to divine. It has been not too hot and not too cool. It has been just right.

    At the same time, soon after the pandemic started, we had a Massive, rolling earthquake that, had it been placed anywhere but in the mountains east, would have bowled the County under in a mass of metal parts. I woke up to hear the timbers cracking and groaning in the walls and ceilings. My bedroom with 500 books rose up like the bridge of a ship, shuddered across the swell and settled down into the rock of a trough. It was beautiful. People died, as we tend to do.

    We live wild and are born for goodness. When we follow an educated nobility buried in plantations with terracotta guardians and gold crowns, we lose the point of play, when trauma is a story we tell in the comedy show with just a teeny, weeny, weeny taste of the whiskey.

    For a few months, Los Angeles rested. We played. We meditated. We stopped. Maybe one deer got across a highway somewhere to chew some succulent undergrowth and prevent a spark. When we do not stop and do not listen, Pachemama grabs a broom and gets a little nuts. There is nothing worse than cranky Pachemama. She wants us cared for. She wants us competent and healthy. She gets mad when we’re not.

    We have traded in our resources of Soul and soil for cheap knockoffs. We think good is sitting establishment, and evil is upheaval. We’re afraid of the game. We’re afraid to open our eyes to see the giant blank of the wall we are called to swaddle in color and teenagers.

    We’re crabbily hunched over the freshly-mowed diamond stuffing ourselves with brautwurst and talking on the cellphone. We miss the violent catch, the tumble, the battering of the pitcher and the homerun. We avoid pain, we avoid the craggy pinnacles, we avoid the freeze and we seem forced to avoid our lives as free.

    We can never be free alone. Slaves need Moses, Grandma Moses and Bonhoeffer. I am not interested in spending three months dragging my poundage up Mount Shasta for a photo of a pretty blizzard blowing across the Rocky Mountains. But I love busses, trains, with stinky fat witches with Dorritos, hotdogs with jalapeno mustard, and cackles to share at the top of their lungs. We don’t get paid, we just do it for the love of it. Because of “these” people, a lot of people buy earphones to enjoy new experiences with heavy metal. Crones are gifts.

    Somehow waves are connected to particles. As water, as light, I am here and everywhere. So what does it matter what I do? I don’t know; I just like poetry, gradients, details, syllables, wild men and old horses. We are in the current, whether or not we see the flow; we may as well giddily enjoy it as we go. We were made for goodness. We die, as people tend to do. As planets do. Why not paint the room and see what it looks like?

  • Joshua, I hesitate to recommend LinkedIn or Facebook (social medias – like marijuana, wilderness camps, the Constitution and the Bible – have been manipulated by greed-blind people). But find me, find the old guard who have been struggling since 1963 or find the new fiery company of free young people leaving SAMHSA in the dust to take back the planet. I have contacts in Disability Rights, UU Mental Health Justice, Heart Forward LA, PRPSN and Sims Library of Poetry. Old spider, bear, mare and a honey bee. Come out to the barn where we can talk without old growley drunk farmers in the living room.

  • If you find any, any medicine, program or person that is saving lives – anything you do to stimulate vitality in the persons, places or the planet closest to you – please write to Mad in American, the New Yorker, the Guardian, the Supreme Court , your local paper, your third cousin.

    It is not that we write, but that we document what we find to be true in our own work. Tatters with stitches make quilts. Neurons that find resources – and then remanufacture and redesign the nutrition/data – are moved to spark the vitality forward. This is how eyes wiggle toes.

  • The tiny house village here offers free psychotropics and no coaching or training by peers in creating projects or products to provide income, no community building in mutual accompaniment, no income of at least $1000 a month for transportation, classes in making material products and work tools.

    If you can make anything, you are restricted from selling anything but sex, guns, enforcement, social work, or legal and illegal drugs. The bus system in L.A. has detreriorated to such a degree that if you choose to live without cards and codes and numbers on your forearms, it is impossible. Those who are blind, disabled, sick, or different give up. We are cut off by neurodiversity, religion, color, gender, indigenous culture, appearance and “noncompliant” behavior dictated to us by New England, 3000 miles away, perpetuated by the blind neediness of mercenary middle men.

    Mental health “behavioral” treatment has become a mental illness of totalitarian control. Everybody must be white and undisabled. Everyone must be young, independent, and in love with “technology” and car culture. When we dismantle diversity through micromanagement, rather than pausing to allow the elk to migrate across the bridge, we make a metal portculis restricting our own freedom.

    We can go back to the intuitive. We can live with technology in the toolshed, and laughter in the kitchen. We CAN live paperless and cookieless; it has been done. It will be done in tiny bubbles of caring and sharing, before or after total apocalypse.

    We all make different contributions. The only thing I have to give is what I have seen, and the talent and mercy I nurture daily.

  • Colonialism, the Beast of American Greed, is not only a matter of nationalism, but a matter of your broken heart. Can jelly fish change the PH in the ocean? That, I don’t know. Do bees have any say in colony collapse? Those who fervently believe in the prayers of those in tune with Mercy and kindness hope so. Those who have seen words change lives have faith. Phenomenalists and the Dine’ would say, “Do bees ask for support with intelligence? How do we notice them? In communion with ourselves as bee-ings.”

  • I don’t know if psychiatry is viable or unviable. It damaged me. I have found some truth in the writings of Hebrew and Christian writers. Snake oil works. Counterfeit, petroleum products and laudenum with Snake Oil on the labels, like DSM diagnoses or the substitution of Christ for white monuments, have damaged me.

    I started viewing a business webinar on diversity, inclusion and equity yesterday. I think business enterprise, in connection to Flow, has some possibility for healing, like politics, and even, perhaps science. Like mothers and bees. The question I ask is: What is counterfeit?

    Where is Concert A? Tuning, balance, are intuitive, based on practice: the phrase and the rest, the start up and shut down, the dance. If I find mercy for myself, take it into my mouth, I exude mercy. The customer in the old clock shop is myself, the proprietor who loves cuckoos and watches and loves the health and success of little boys. And the customer is the little boys’ father.

  • I love being a poet in rooms where artists/audiences understand that we must define our roles and companies and the view from above if we are going to hold back the massive destruction of wordrage from the disabled and the elders, both from whom we obtain the wisdom to sustain.

    Since painting my room a beautiful turquoise months ago, I have not yet unraveled my jewelry. I love color, metal and shiny beads. Every time I have an important meeting, I waste time untangling chains from ropes from intricate leaves. I don’t want to go. I don’t want to ride the bus. I don’t want to be seen. And I don’t want to make a grave mistake by opening my mouth.

    But as human divine, I have come to notice the mistake is not in “doing” too much or not enough, but in not being fully maintained and charged. I think the tangles and encephalopathy stop me cold. I have to unknot. I cannot knot.

    I am all things, and must glorify All. I am knot and unknot. We are so priveleged to be particles massaged in waves of matter and light. And for matter, only matter matters. For the poet, the syllable; the designer, the line; the activist, the action; the mother, the family connected to community Spirit; the gardener, the hothouse tomato.

  • All around us, bodies are lying on the street. And I am an old, old woman. I became very old and suicidal when I was five, continually, but never lost hope until I was subjected to the billing codes that allowed Elavil, Stelazine, Haldol, Lithium, Depakote and Seroquel to numb, divide and destroy my ability to struggle in safety.

    Since the unnecessary deaths of Devin Liang, Stewart Lupton, Darren Liess, and Heather Wilcox, I have choices every day. I can allow Keck’s cold dismissal of me as a candidate for liver transplant (psycho-social issues) to tie me up in court or endless testing in other hospitals, or I can use the minutes I have left to live in a clean room, eat vegetables and black beans from the foodbank, design poetry and art, dream about what intentional community means, and teach what I know to be true from my limited perspective.

    What I know to be true is that I am in love with my life and dance with the universe. I found hope at Project Return and Painted Brain, and I pass it along through Sims Library of Poetry, UU Fellowship and Heart Forward LA. https://www.hearforwardla.org

  • I volunteered with Painted Brain for a year before it became “funded.” It was free, inviting, inclusive. An expressive arts drop-in. No fingerprinting, diagnostics or billing codes.

    I grew up on the Navajo Checkerboard. Some friends found their way back to their personal and cultural centers long after the Long Walk and the near catastrophe of missionary “charity.” In my family, religion without personal reflection or listening to greater perspectives was simply a “digging at the splinters in your eye because I have a beam in my own.”

    But families become self-sustaining again when they were connected to the larger network, to our tribes and to the caring and technologies curated from global cultures. If we live wild, free, in chosen groups, we can move toward healthy villages. There is no need for foodstamps in garden villages. This is a virtual bloody war of quiet mercy.

    You can help us in Los Angeles by continuing to write about how you see things from your part of the world, by seeking medicine that works. I have found partial healing in shamans, crystals, frijoles, parrots and even a bit at Keck USC. My true healers take neither the dole from an investment company disguised as medical insurance or cash. They simply ask that I share our Soul sometimes dressed as a sticky bun and a coffee.

  • I am convinced that that our power is in the community of interbeing and compassion. If we live quietly and well, we may provide quiet wells of kindness. I saw a video of a ship in the middle a storm on the North Atlantic. I guess the sailors were seeing the highest waves they had ever seen in their lives. It was terrifying even on camera. They were in imminent danger of death. And laughing. Joking. Loving the adventure.

    Keck recently sent me to a geriatric ward for encephalopathy secondary to liver damage. With cirrhosis, poverty, and sensitivity, I live in a funky tugboat on the high seas. Laughing. Joking. Loving the adventure. And often in bed for hours.

    But what if we really could get 5.1 million, the cost of a State “tiny house village,” where 240 orphans and widows are invited to live in 177 sheds on the 110 Freeway? What if we could build a clubhouse shared by 177 people from the new apartment buildings finally going up, a pilot which could be replicated in any language and culture in Los Angeles? An architecture of universal design with a garden, service animals, computers and a corridor to colleges, universities and workshops in vocational and entrepreneurial skills? A drop-in center of invitation where those who do not choose to pay rent are free to come and go. Where dinner and hope are valued more than missionary and cavalry coercion? Laughing. Joking. Loving the adventure? Read Mary Watkins, “Toward Psychologies of Liberation.” Read the book of John. Read A.A. Milne, “Winnie the Pooh.”

  • I believed that the pandemic had stopped the rush to violence against the mentally ill. I thought that people would come to Heart Forward LA for assistance after Kerry Morrison spent time and thought to find the best practical, physical alternatives to incarceration and pharmaceutical restraint. https://www.heartforwardla.org

    In the past year, Los Angeles has spent millions on “research projects,” “grants,” “conferences,” “tiny house villages,” and “sanitation.” In the past year, Governor Newsom seems to be pushing forward “Care Courts.” Wow. The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.

    I cannot do much with the years I have left; but maybe I can work to build one pilot clubhouse for sanity in Los Angeles. We were given this planet, with our bodies in them. We were given adobe, sticks and food to sustain us for the time we are here. Thank you for the links. And I hope you are writing continuously about your experiences and the projects you are doing to restore independent communities in the United States.

  • Bradford, I hope we can build an independent center where “conditions of treatment” are chosen by clubhouse members, that it will be a small enterprise and that it will eventually be self-sustained by members ourselves. And I hope that it will spark a network of free, independent, intentional, inclusive communities in Los Angeles. Our history has brought us here. We cannot change either history or the future. We can only build a home for ourselves. If you live in Los Angeles, would you be willing to talk to me about your experiences?

  • I have been holding this post close the last few days. I am so grateful to know you. It is wonderful to think we can be together from such different states and backgrounds. I am finding more and more friends I never knew, emerging from the shadows.

  • I have GOT to get “The Four Agreements.” I read a lot, but have thought that is one book missing from my library.

    I am 179 years old now, I guess (years multiplied by the algorithm of suffering). I went through what I can only see as British colonial paradigm of education (military tactics, dismissal of how mothers, teachers and nurses do our best work, and sit-learning as superior to labor-learning) {I refer you to “My Octopus Teacher,” and “Thinking in Pictures”, Temple Grandin}. Everybody’s different. Most people can learn a little from the other animals in our rooms, always keeping in mind that a buffalo cannot teach a dolphin how to get to Chicago.

    Since becoming ignorant, I have pondered particles and waves influence each other, and how breathing keeps us alive. I breathe a lot more than I used to. I sit and meditate, and get up to wash the dishes. I dance with Fred Sugerman every week in Medicine Dance. I carry that movement of meditation into my work. The challenge of my life is: I am an introvert, would prefer the cushion and the library; forty years of psychotherapy and twenty-five years of “support groups.” But never learned to breathe on the move.

    I saw a man rolling, sobbing in bags, on the sidewalk in Highland Park last week. We have rows of toolsheds on the 110 Freeway for people who choose to live inside a “shelter.” I have to learn to breathe through this agony. I have to work with it. I have to come home and curl up in mercy and go on out again with a bottle of water, or stay inside and do a Zoom group.

    There is plenty of room in the universe for particles and, in the experience of Mahayana Buddhism, Jane Adams’ Hull House, faith without works is dead. By the wiggle of your typing fingers in communication, you are moving. Breathing. The exterior is a direct consequence of the beauty of the interior. We have got to gently lift people up off the street who are lost, and allow free expression of the wildness of the wind and sunshine for those who choose to be independent. The environment is a spectacular meditation on the Divine.

  • What is Terrain Theory? Are you aware of the work of Mary Watkins, “Mutual Accompaniment,” or Dr. Alisa Orduna from Pacifica Graduate Institute, or Foundation for Intentional Communities? What I am seeking is a bridge between the real world and the island of British colonial kapo structure so that we CAN bee. How can we build intentional communities in L.A. without civil war? How can we burn the paperwork into bricks for buildings with kitchens and gardens for ourselves? How do we allow space for intentional migration and flow?

  • The argument is that recovery from depression is not possible. American doctors have never seen it. African, Indian, Chinese and Navajo gurus, mothers and shamans have failed to produce an elegant checker box survey of results. You really need a three-month double-blind study of thirty MediAid patients needing a room to get in out of the rain.

    So, if USC wastes money on heavy steroids to allow the liver not to be rejected, I will sink into gross despair, kill myself and waste the $350,000 provided by a medical investment company to save worthy American citizens.

    But I kind of think I have avoided a bomb. Could I trust a medical pro with a knife and a second-hand liver whose primary interest in me is his career and the financing on the school bill?

    My healers tell me the liver can be restored. I have not met a single kind academic on the Keck USC Transplant Team. Our Medical Schools so frown on people who can use both logic and compassionate imagination. Thinkers can be such stinkers. Better to robot. Cut and laser with precision.

    I look at the offering as snake oil. I am my own experiment. Snake oil was a powerful medicine brought in by the Chinese who worked on the Western Railroads. It got a terrible reputation after European pharmaceutical salesmen counterfeited it.

    I’m foggy. My life is beautiful. I am exhausted and suffering terribly. I love the dance. I love my friends. I love my art. My life is beautiful. I am dying. Aren’t you?

  • Yeah. A lot of questions. Why did the county defund The Village? Why, when you talk to a psychiatrist do they glaze when you simply point out that psychiatric “treatment” is not science, but subjective guesswork based on ignorance of how a child develops and is trained? Why are psychologists financially supported for their masculine education and expertise, where mothers have not been since the Mayflower?

    How has America come to accept this cultural blindness? I can only posit that it is insistence on force, assimilation and the resulting isolation from an education that is both compulsory and originating at a single source, that is political and financial “power,” which are counterfeit powers. The discreditation of alchemy, Christianity, witchcraft and snake oil did not come about because we could learn nothing from them, but because desperate organizations chose to counterfeit them for profit.

    So. What do I have? How do I encourage my friends to want to stay alive long enough to network and grow to clarity, community and hope? Slaughter doctors? Rant?

    There are a few threads left of the tatters of the “American” experiment:
    We have free press as long as we use the “internet” to provide greater one-on-one sharing of outside information and in-person healing.

    We have mothers learning how to network, do business and personal research in psychology outside of compulsory education and corporate nonthink.

    We have, even in the dark age of the new world, intellectuals, gardeners and builders who use their entire bodies to think and perceive, as opposed to study by sight. (STEM is a stick with no root or fruit without the feminine principle of loving experiential observation and the collaboration of associations of independent groups.)

    This is, as a poet, all I have to grab. And in L.A. County, Morrison is the first person I have met, after 12 years of hunt, with the power and the physical understanding to do this one thing: Coaching people burned, traumatized, disrespected, and left on the street by our founding fathers and their inbred European rationalism.

    We can do nothing, but Nothing does not feel Good. Why would I want to live in a city where no one wants to be alive? Or we can do what we can do, which is a great feeling of beauty, joy and encouragement. If we can light the pilot, we may be able to wash a few windows and provide showers in lieu of shock, awe and this psychotropic/opiod pandemic that has flooded across the world in the global “market.”

    I don’t care you call me a pretty dreamer. I love my life. I love our people. And after 54 years suffocating in the murk of a gyrating brown-bag labyrinth, I learned never to look a single gift seed in the mouth, long as it is mustard. I collect them for spring.

  • Thank you for adding to my perspectives with “A Dose of Sanity.” I have been focused on cultural oppression. I am interested in social disrespect for physical operating systems in different brains. I want to bring attention to how specific experiences change how we see things, and so, how we act.

    But I am sometimes so focused on combatting American behavioral eugenics and forced compliance by drugging, shock and economic isolation that I can forget how complex we are; the brain is a bodily organ (you cannot heal the mind by killing the body); the body is a brain (cognition is “felt” in every nerve and muscle).

    Your work and understanding is extremely important in adding insight to the collective conscious. As a woman with some German ancestry, I reflect on that minority of Germans who went underground to save children and seniors and ordinary professionals sacrificed by that majority who did not care to take responsibility for their own sin and suffering. These activists fought in secret, often alone, to save one or two people at a time.

    We are not alone. We have Mad in America. And I hope you will check out http://www.heartforwardla.org. It is a personal dream come true for us in L.A. County. Keep building your knowledge, network and understanding. We may together introduce racial and radical democracy into American society, if not the government.

  • I am so grateful to MAD IN AMERICA that they publish the work of survivors who are poets and storytellers as well as scientists. So many American survivors are now finding full professionalism and acceptance in their chosen fields beyond “peer support” due to seeds planted by Jane Adams, Sojourner Truth, Dorothea Dix and our colleagues in advocacy since 1963.

    We can never quit planting, harvesting and storing the riches of these seeds. They are our happy grandchildren and why our lives were lived in such unmitigated suffering and infinite beauty.

  • I have a close friend who has survived childhood encephalitis, sexual predation and total neglect due to generational trauma. She tells me continuously that my distrust of any American “mental health” professional is unwise. She relies on psychotropics.

    So, I try to be open. I am now a firm supporter of Heart Forward LA. I have met Kerry Morrison on Zoom and have been heard, along with six other colleagues. Yet, her staff includes herself, a business executive, a psychologist with the LA Sheriff, a NAMI rep and a DMH executive. How can we possibly trust them? But I don’t see any other option. Heathe Wilcox is dead.

    Survivors of trauma are dying of neglect, suicide, weather and “natural causes” caused by prolonged overuse of debilitating psychotropics.

    I have hepatic encephalopathy. It is the opinion of Dr. Patrick Baumgart, after one appointment and based on my anxiety after two years of medical dismissal and psychiatric force, that I am not eligible for transplant.

    But Heather Wilcox died of American scientific ignorance and social neglect. Sam, you and I are apparently alive. We must have faith in love. We must have faith in forgiveness. I will fall over if I stop moving.

  • In my book, “The Last Run,” I dramatized the disaster of the American Dustbowl, which was such a brilliant illustration of the Great Depression. Our people refused to negotiate or friend the people living in Oklahoma. Instead we used force to obliterate them, and when our killing was held in check by others, we offered “reservations” or assimilation to the Indigenous.

    Now I am a student of our people in Los Angeles, which has the largest urban population of native people pressed from the East Coast through Oklahoma into L.A. I say “our people” because we come from the same world if not the same human seed.

    The suffering of our family, of my grandparents, is continuously healed through me by the community that could have been destroyed or made uselessly bitter by our unmanaged trauma and refusal to accept mercy every morning.

    These lives matter because they teach all of us to get up again, as Joy Harjo, John Trudell, Peter MacDonald, as Quincy Jones, Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman. They rise to dignity, intelligence and competent compassion. As a member of the most predatory tribe in the world, does that not give me some hope that I can be good?

  • Some Americans who accept their symptoms as “schizophrenia” fully support psychotropic use. My questions are:
    1. Why did Heather Wilcox die?
    2. Do the drugs restore body/mind/culture integration, or cover these over? In other words, we accept wifi and electromagnetic energy, even though they are unseen. Could the collective conscious be a fact, could living energies communicate intergenerationally and geographically, as researchers posit after years of study with tools still foreign to Germany and America?
    3. If we re-introduced feminine culture and Indigenous sexual integration into white America, would some of the rage and terror of these voices become friendly? These might be done with depth psychology (the original primary task of women/artists) and with poetry, music and mindful gardening and eating.
    4. Would the APA ever become willing to regulate themselves or must it be up to survivors to hold them in check? Who is profiting from this willful ignorance? And isn’t the arrogance of eugenic isolation a mental illness? Should it be drugged or healed?

  • The medical profession is seeing these and are squirming. They attempt to yank us out by the scruffs of our ACEs.

    All change is temporary. The jazz wanders from bass to electronic keyboard to drum to the poetry. But have we not all won before? Do we not see the meaning now of liberty if not the manifestation? As solo instruments, we can choose our timbres, raucous and grate, or syllabant and throb. The infinity, the beauty, is found in the jam. And I prefer days and days together in music festivals than a week in a trench.

    But music is self evident. Follow your own bliss.

  • Sam, I feel a softening in your voice, a submission. But I am not afraid of failure anymore. I am not afraid of fire. And I am not afraid of my own terror and anxiety.

    I see our human purpose as simply the mastery of competent compassion. If my capillaries bleed out, if my spleen ruptures, if I go into encephalitic coma, I know the effort of competent compassion will continue to spark and flow throughout the Body Mind through the sparks each neuron takes in, develops and sends. But I am not dead yet.

    And, thank God, I see you are still sparking and kicking. Live on, write on. We only win a war at a time. But the War we CAN win is our own arrogance and ignorance. And mercy rains.

  • Thank you for the link. People will be reading this. They can cut us, delete us, and gaslight us as long as our solo voices are squeaked in a cubicle with a psychiatrist fat with statistics, credentials and government funding.

    Never be in a room alone with a psychiatrist or psychologist you do not know. Buddy systems are mandatory for anyone out late in the dark.

  • I have just lost a friend, artist activist survivor, Heather Wilcox. After being pumped with psychotropics in lieu of safe housing, physical coaching and understanding, she went to a hospital in East Los Angeles for bloodtests for anemia. Her heart could not take the strain and she died of a heart attack. 53 years old. This is the fourth friend I have lost in community “mental health treatment.” If you are a fighter, help us fight, one enemy at a time. If you are a lover, help us fight, one enemy at a time.

  • Do you know of an advocacy group outside of religion that is doing this already? Or is there a religion that is doing this that is simply not networking with advocates?

    There are programs in Los Angeles that are doing wonders in social justice. These seem to be isolated pockets, without communication with trained professional System survivors.

    I am not personally most interested in prevention. Prevention is healthy parenting within small networks of communities which include universal food, clinics and an education not based on national propaganda. Others are working toward this.

    I think I am primarily a teacher (I hope I am not simply an academic theorist.) I want to have a specific focus on a specific group, which is those who have been so battered by social, economic and psychological trauma they are finding it difficult to function.

    So, first we must train survivors who have somehow bumpedly arrived at some place of stability, kindness and wisdom, who are attempting to build independent lives with a view to influencing hope in others. I think we must be REMOVED from our dysfunctional system for a short time and then returned to practice in the community, not just a “Peer Supporters,” but as business leaders, teachers, artists, farmers, parents and scientists.

    Some of these, however, could go on back to school for credentials in the mental health system. Some could start rural two-year retreats for trauma survivors who could be matriculated on to advocacy training. This may seem too fast; it took us 30-40 years to become independent. But if we can move from an advocacy arts training center into a system of networking and support in the community, we could sustain the hope, the cultural diversity and the furthering of wisdom. We really have to return to kindergarten those who have been thrown into the bloody arena with no kindergarten.

  • Wow, thank you both, Ian Parker and Ayurdhi Dhar, for such a lifeline! We must be connecting to people doing the labor of social justice, dishes, mops and computer literacy instruction.

    Is there an actual place yet, a short-term physical “asylum” for psychiatric survivors? I need to rest and cannot find the in-depth caring and solitude I think I need in order to move on and continue my work. I would like to find a place where I could discuss and research the experiences of peers, particularly in alternative cultures than white America.

  • Pretty pictures. Practically, if we could find funding for a small pilot Advocacy Arts School, do you know of a competent peer administrator or a business executive to run it? Are there compassionate coaches with lived experience (ACE’s, Adverse Clinical Experience) already trained in various educational and cultural backgrounds? Are you aware of a thinktank of grandmothers who might be willing to come teach or workshop? I feel far out of the loop, and running out of time.

  • Do not stop researching and writing. I am reading in a great deal of pain. I began “treatment” in 1980 for chronic depression and “mood swings” (emotional dysregelation possibly due to genetic emotional sensitivity but in conjunction with prolonged psychological and social violence). I threw myself into the European/American System in Los Angeles for help.

    Peer reviewed research is saving me. It is attended by an unwavering flood of education and personal experience of survivors of the initial trauma of oppression in addition to the overwhelm of “treatment resistant” results provided by the “education” of old boys.

    This is probably old hat to you; these articles are a beginning for me. But I seem to be dying young now. I intend to live another forty years, but the medical establishment is saying not; the damage is done. They are saying I did it. Own it. I am not.

    Please write on. I began worship of professors and doctors before the decade when CBT, statistics and studies had the funding to become ineffective in their little boxes, and irrelevant. They have not destroyed my life, but have caused a suffering that was never necessary in its completeness. This eugenic education has caused the suicides of George Foster, Catherine Foster, Frank Foster, Opal Antonito, Ernie Curly, Devin Lange and Stewart Lupton.

    They are keeping the people I “grew up” with in a CMHC without families, independent income or positive career choices. I struggle to even believe in God anymore. But I do. Have met Them. They are diligent, and kind, like you. Don’t ever stop.

  • I finally got a chance to print this article and read it through. It has brought me close to mania, not the wild North Atlantic hurricane on a floating plank (where thou shalt surely die, in nonsensical chaos of dismemberment in the society of psychological battering), but the Colorado River in a pontoon before the dam, dam, dam, dam, dam ( which is the intensity that incentivized me to want to begin the study of the Canyon in the first place).

    I am stunned by my disconnection and ignorance. Are there other Americans, some even white, some even descended from Germans, who are alive, who think like me, who have been diagnosed as “to be managed, drugged or allowed to simply decompose?”

    I am allowing myself to write the wild in the way I like to write. Somebody’s always saying I write purple. I am always having to dumb and muffle the violet or the blues. But it is the way I feel it. I think you have written the way it is. Thank you, Jesus, or whatever your Name is.

    Thank you for this forum, Mr. Whitaker. Thank you, Ms. Spencer. And thank you for this brilliant writing, Mr. Coates or The Writer. I wish I could express all the horizons I see through the holes in the white bones. I am again beginning to begin again. I am about to write another paragraph or a silly jingle this afternoon.

  • That’s it. There it is. The futile label, which can be so helpful as a conversation begun and a mute for actual meaning.

    I have had such immense difficulty talking about the experience of ‘realms of emotion’ labeled for me as “bipolar.” How stupid. How ignorant. How lame. The label is like going down to the beach with a bucket for water. If the water is over 70 degrees it is warm. If it is below that it is cold. Now we have decided we like our water to be 70 degrees. If the ocean from sea to shining sea is 70 degrees, we are healthy. Functioning. We know the ocean. We took its temperature. We like our middle sea. And we are now undertaking to address the problem in Washington D. C. We know everything that is necessary to know about he movement of waters on the planet. Here is the evidence-based proof. It’s in the bucket.

  • Man, Someone Else! This is brilliant! If I had more than fifteen minutes of war in me in the morning, I’d be out in a march on these lines. I see myself more as a roller of bandages with a big pot of chicken posole’. If you can fight, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT.

    If you can hold an android in your lap, stroke it gently. If you can keep the kids back in the yard, out of the roll of the bullets, do that. If you can paint heiroglyphics in the underpass, do that. And if you can dance as an extended family out in the droning, be the dancers. We might not survive the excitement, but it’s a little joy in the hard, hard oppression of love-deprived generals.

  • I wish, outside of this funky foggy, I would be sued by the big guys, or shot as so many broken people have been in L.A. Just to have my little say.

    I get up in the morning amd they haven’t come after me yet, to force a confrontation. I wake up, HUH, and I’m still alive and unbothered. So I get my coffee and I have my little say.

  • We’ve seen this collective dignified crazy overturned in many countries over the centuries… Why are the little tyrants so filled with terror? Problem is, we’ve seen strange flips: the Indians become the British/American, the Israelis become the Nazis, the Tutsis become the French, the slaves become Masters, and women become men.

    In art and poetry, we might study the ritual of the Tibetan and Navajo sandpaintings. We come into these prepared performances for healing in myth, design and color. But then they are carefully swept up to be discarded in a sacred place. Have they been destroyed forever?

    Everytime a Navajo Medicine Man brings the Beauty Way to his people, the world is re-created. The mandala might be a reminder we can have no other Gods than the God who loves us Everyday. Every time a woman has a baby, life is re-created. We are temporary, given the awesome experience of bottomless peace in the spark of our being together for a bit.

    Art and liturgy implode us into daily performance as revolution and war never will. We’ve got to keep fighting like crazy to be the cooks of Renaissance. One forgotten project, one burned tuna picnic, one smile at a time.

  • I have seen people screaming in a “hospital” given a lawn chair, a counselor and a cup of tea if they were connected, and other people (same age and education) screaming and strapped down, drugged and hauled out the back in a gurney if they didn’t have a Family.

    Really, in or out of it, the only hope we have as indigents and people with brands of skin or history is in the slowly developed professionalism of peer advocacy. And I’m telling you, sometimes rebuilding a Self to become a warrior out of a stomped-on tulip takes time and a lot of InLightning.

  • Actually, I typing with all ten fingers again! I’m really not sure if my health improved; I was wiggly with sick terror of getting out of bed and getting out to my groups and work, buying into the look in the eyes of the ignorant, that I might be dying because of my own stupidity, trips and stubbornness. I had a terror of stroke or psychosis. But I have come to sit in a chat in a beautiful Community.

    Stubborness is a funky tool, given us by prolonged terror. We hang on to survival in freezing waters. Later when they try to pry our bony fingers off the gunwales, they seem frozen solid. We really have to learn to let go. It is the stubborness that saved us, until help came.

    I’m thinking my help has arrived, in shamans and therapists, horses and the colors in vegetables and brown rice. Anyway, I might die today. But then, anybody might, too. I’m dizzy all the time with a weary cough, but I am still writing, going to my groups and dancing my brains out. I can’t begin to describe the ecstacy of life in the terror of the rollercoaster on high steel.

  • I really have no idea if the system has changed. We were always terrified that they were “coming after us” to cut us off from MediCal or SSDI if we made too much in a single month. Some friends had their funds cut within a month so they suddenly couldn’t pay the rent. I hope it is improving.

    I haven’t been bothered lately by fear; I know I can survive, with friends, on the street. I’m not so fearful of discomfort or oppression. Maybe the County government works now, or maybe I just don’t care enough to worry. If your community will not help you, help yourself to the community.

  • It is endlessly curious to me that I can still write, clause after clause. Writing is no problem. I think I am on a track developed for survival in second grade; part of my brain holds a space to write.

    Everything else is a muddle. I can’t cope the tech; I panic and collapse every time I have to see a doctor; I see those doors sliding behind me and I can’t breathe. So it is not only the problem of the current clinic; there might be competence somewhere. I only hope I can continue to wax Buddhist, accept the love of Jesus in my life, come into the awareness of the Infinity of Allah and the Creativity of White Shell Woman, in time to be open again to a human healer, so that I can get these last projects done.

  • Bet you have a story of your own. It doesn’t look like we are going to replant with a tidal wave of these stories, but a constant system of steady irrigation on the local level. Our hope, I hope, is to be clear and connected, to be part of the flow from Source to gardening to market. And that is not just writing and art. Our story is whoever we are, the products and projects we finish, because we are compelled to by the curiosity or the fires in our lives. Do the work and take days off to dance with the planet.

  • I can’t do “education.” Don’t know anything about Law or if it exists in the wild wild west. So I am looking to the “fringe.” I am a goose that lays eggs, looking for a farmer and a marketplace. For myself, this means both handmade textual art (books, boxes and 3D hangings), graphic design in publishing, and dramatic group performance. I figure if I connect to enough advocates, I’ll find some art professionals. What is your busy store?

  • Just reading this for the first time. Thank you. Thank YOU. I hope we have not sustained enough damage to our body minds not to inundate desiccated gardens with the fertile shit of new poetics. New shit here. New fresh manure over there. No one person has the organic shit to cover the endless plains. Disemminate the sustenance. The abundance. By tractor, video or sermon.

  • Who are the “talented folks.” Where is “around here?” I have a friend in Washington State with whom I would like to work on a project, an experimental play written and performed by advocates. We are calling the pregnancy “The Lemongrass Tea Project.” I am very sick, but find I can get up several times a week to get to rooms to talk, talk, talk, and I can still write, write, blog, cough, fart, write, type. If you know advocates with the skill to stay focused, and some craftpersonship, have them get in touch. I have been isolated in a County Cell called “community mental health.” Ha!

  • Thanks for the encouragement. I am going to read it all. I am seeking professional performance poets/writers to develop dramatic gatherings in the L.A. area. I have no connections and no credentials and no funding. I have a plan, a purpose, and a determination. I have also built an abiding belief in increments, syllables and iambs. I am learning to work with others. Do you have a website and a list of books or videos?