Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away to the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, That, we still are. Call me by my old familiar name. Speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effect. Without the trace of a shadow on it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same that it ever was. There is absolute unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you. For an interval. Somewhere. Very near. Just around the corner. All is well. - Henry Scott Holland
"It may be better to wait and see, but waiting doesn't make you money. It's 'Let me do a little snip of tissue' and then they get professional, lab and facility fees. Each patient is like an ATM machine." JEAN MITCHELL, a professor of health economics at Georgetown University, on procedures in American health care.
Retreating into the cotton folds of his mantels, Paco settled into a torpor of his soul; perhaps a chrysalis from which he would emerge, or into a tomb from which he awaits recreation, he was not certain, but when his transformation was complete he would assuredly be a new creature whom would learn to love again. Paco felt like a worm, none the less. He had fought long and hard in the Army of One that is love. For in love, the austere offices of it's highest functionaries were sparsely populated by field Commanders, Captains of sea going vessels, and lone Admirals that rarely recounted openly the massive loss of their soldiers and sailors. How can One be left remaining as sole proprietor of a love that was lost after sustaining such heavy casualties in battle that they Alone remained to carry on the War? They were not abandoned nor left entirely by their charges for they had, to the last, fought and died in service to this Cause. "Still," Paco muttered in an undertone as the warm blood seeped slowly from his wounds into the ground from which it had come; "still," the flame began to smolder in the wind and a cold evening rain beginning to descend as Paco's life ascended from the smoke and ashes of his former life, now a wreckage in the mud from which he was being pulled by some field medic's Triage team. Paco's eyes winked and dimmed as his field of vision closed. What a fine line there was between Love and Hatred, like the line between oil in water. And yet, what specific gravity that oil acquired over time as absence distilled the Hatred into heavier than water Contempt and Betrayal which darkened and settled to the bottom; precipitated like the snow from rain. Always, in the glut of agitation in Paco's futile existence they called "life," he was shaken and stirred so that for a time Love and Hate were indistinguishable one from the other, but always the dark congealed sludge of Contempt lay along the bottom collecting the atomized beads of Hate until the most heated and bitter arguments no longer boiled away. They smoldered continually, like some burning pine stump dense with pitch and choking acrid smoke that burned again in the back of the throat and eyes, unable to be fully extinguished. If Love were a flame, and Hatred the hot coals, Contempt was eternal smoke. Paco's lady, whose image he carried like a banner, betrayed him repeatedly and so thoroughly, that her token scarf which he carried everywhere into battle was now a humiliating flag of surrender and a discarded rag of Contempt. Not unlike Don Quixote de La Mancha, his Archetypical Anti- Hero, Paco's mortal remains were for the final time conducted upon a litter from the field of battle, hopelessly scarred and broken of heart and spirit, a Comedy of Errors at one and the same time with a Tragic and woeful countenance of a man that, having seen his reflection clearly for the first time, discerned that he was old and dissociated from the reality his Enemies beheld. Paco's armor bore not the patina of green copper but the rusted and crumbling remnants of sheet metal. His helmet was not gold and silver crested but merely a re-purposed chamber pot; and the sword, a broken and twisted stick. Paco had seen the worst of battles to be sure, but they were all the delusional dissociation and projections of a man apparently ordered to self-destruct by charging at imaginary giants Alone with outrage. His Orderlies carried Paco's carcass from the field like a scare crow with half it's stuffing trailing behind and dropping along the way. In the Triage, Paco's foot was tagged with a black badge: In death, the last sense to go was hearing, and what Paco listened to was the tense recension of chatter as the living moved on to other more important things."Still," someone softly and mournfully whispered,"still, Paco, there is Love."Then, Paco fell into an exquisite peace and a rapture of silence, at long last.
A Solution That Now Looks Crazy ‘American Psychosis’ Attacks Mental Health Care
JAN. 13, 2014
By RICHARD A. FRIEDMAN, M.D “How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System”: That subtitle is the opening shot across the bow in this jeremiad of a book by the psychiatrist Dr. E. Fuller Torrey. It could just as well have read: “How a group of well-intentioned, starry-eyed idealists made a hash of mental health care.”
You could hardly blame them for trying, though. The care of people with serious mental illness was long a national disgrace. By the 1950s, slightly more than half a million psychiatric patients resided in overcrowded and underfunded state mental hospitals, often under appalling conditions.
Enter a group of high-minded psychiatrists with a vision to “create a brave new world, a mentally healthy America,” in Dr. Torrey’s words. Armed with little more than optimism, they helped start the National Institute of Mental Health and set in motion an ambitious agenda for the next half-century: closing the state mental hospitals, initiating a federal takeover of the mental health system, and creating a nationwide network of community mental health centers. Reform was well underway when President John F. Kennedy endorsed this new era in mental health in a 1963 speech, calling for a “bold new approach” in which “reliance on the cold mercy of custodial isolation will be supplanted by the open warmth of community concern and capability.” Those were heady days in American psychiatry, when psychoanalysis and the mental hygiene movement held sway and promised to cure all manner of ills by early intervention and improving the social environment. In hindsight, the therapeutic zeal of these professionals was impressively naïve: They were certain that severely mentally ill patients in state hospitals — many living there for decades — would magically adjust to the community and do well with outpatient treatment. How wrong they proved to be.
The sorry tale of what happened to the half-million Americans who were deinstitutionalized over the past 50 years is the subject of this unsparing and lively takedown of American psychiatry by Dr. Torrey, a longtime critic of national mental health policy and the founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center.
Deinstitutionalization itself was not the problem. The discharge of hundreds of thousands of mental patients from state hospitals was a broadly humane measure, made possible by the effectiveness of new antipsychotic medicines like Thorazine. The egregious error was the failure to provide treatment to patients after they left the hospital.
The idea that community mental health centers could supplant state mental hospitals was little more than a fantasy. The N.I.M.H.’s own data showed that these centers were largely treating not people with severe mental illness, but those with “social maladjustment or no mental disorder” — better known as the worried well.
Tragically, vast numbers of deinstitutionalized patients ended up in jails and prisons, in nursing homes or homeless on our streets. Some law-enforcement agencies have become de facto mental health systems, and at least one-third of homeless people have serious mental illness. The capacity of some of these individuals for violence, of course, has received lurid and sensational focus in the media, and Dr. Torrey does not shy away from recounting one horror story after another.
It’s true that effective treatment for mental illness would probably decrease violence in the community. But because only 4 percent of violence in the United States can be attributed to people with mental illness, even giving all of them the best psychiatric treatment would have a very small effect on violence over all. Late in the book, Dr. Torrey finally gets around to putting the risk in perspective, but by then the force of all his anecdotes has only served to exaggerate it.
Curiously, he does not explore the possibility that better psychiatric treatment might well reduce the risk of suicide: A vast majority of people who commit suicide, in contrast to homicide, do have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illness.
Dr. Torrey’s solutions for our broken mental health care system are mostly thoughtful, though not everyone will like them. Aside from increasing the number of public psychiatric hospitals, he would lower the bar for involuntary treatment. “The freedom to be insane is a cruel hoax,” he writes, “perpetrated on those who cannot think clearly by those who will not think clearly.”
After the mass shootings of the past decade or so, the public may well agree with him. But the risk of lowering the threshold to involuntary treatment could be to discourage people with mental illness from seeking help in the first place.
Few will disagree with his advice that we should focus our resources on the most problematic patients — the estimated 10 percent who are repeatedly hospitalized, imprisoned, or made homeless.
This wise and unflinching book is an object lesson in good intentions gone awry on a grand scale. It should be widely read.
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'We are MEN. Not victims. Remember that. This beautiful, messed up world needs every one of us here to do our job. As boyfriends, husbands, fathers, brothers, laborers, managers, artistes and entrepreneurs. I repeat: WE ARE MEN !!! Let's act that way and reclaim our power, but do it responsibly, calmly and with heart. No matter how low and defeated you may feel right now, please be assured that as long as you follow your heart and stand up to yourself, you will be able to look into the mirror and appreciate the Man you see looking back at you. It may take time. It WILL take hard work. Mostly on yourself. But if you can read this you have a good chance for not just complete recovery and survival, but truly holistic health, prosperity and the the concurrent sense of joi de vivre (joy in life).'
'I will not give advice that I have not followed dozens of times myself. Yes, it hurts. Sometimes the pain is the only thing that reminds us that we are alive. You have not lost your soul, only lost touch with it. The kids will figure out who the MAN is and forgive you. The money, you can always make more.'
'There are literally millions of sweet stable ladies who are begging for the attention of a real MAN. And once you have regained your sense of self and taken back some of your personal power, you can be a real MAN and forgive the poor little crazy girl and finally LET HER GO and make space in your life for some, something, someone, better. As you heal and improve yourself with a good diet, vigorous exercise, adequate sleep, company of good old friends, vocation and recreation, you will find that the toxic and/or unnecessary people in your life will remove themselves with very little intervention or effort.'
'Be patient. With your self. And with others. You will learn that True Love, as exhibited by a MAN, is not a bunch of mushy emotions, but an attitude that directs the way we act toward others. With compassion, forgiveness, fairness, consistancy, and yes sometimes firmness and a distinct delineation of our boundaries. A real MAN's true love will always be reciprocated with devotion, connection, and when appropriate, obedience (compliance). And mostly, a pervading sense that, as long as we are doing what we are supposed to do, the Universe will always meet our needs.'
Next chapter: Taking responsibility for making them crazy. Name withheld for obvious reasons, but you know where to find me.To: WTOMenOnly@yahoogroups.com
"That night I didn't see him leave. He got away without making a sound. When I managed to catch up with him, he was walking fast, with determination. All he said was, 'Ah, you're here.' And he took my hand. But he was still anxious. 'You were wrong to come. You'll suffer. I'll look as if I'm dead, and that won't be true...'" "I said nothing. 'You understand. It's too far. I can't take this body with me. It's too heavy.' I said nothing. 'But it'll be like an old abandoned shell. There's nothing sad about an old shell...' I said nothing. " "He was a little disheartened now. But he made one more effort. 'It'll be nice, you know. I'll be looking at the stars, too. All the stars will be wells with a rusty pulley. All the stars will pour out water for me to drink...' I said nothing. 'And it'll be fun! You'll have 500 million little bells; I'll have 500 million springs of fresh water...' And he, too, said nothing, because he was weeping...." "'Here's The Place. Let me go on Alone.' And he sat down because he was frightened. Then he said: 'You know...my flower...I'm responsible for her. And she's so weak! And so naive. She has four ridiculous thorns to defend her against the world...' I sat down, too, because I was unable to stand any longer. He said, 'There...That's all...' he hesitated a little longer, then he stood up. He took a step. I couldn't move." "There was nothing but a yellow flash close to his ankle. He remained motionless for an instant. He didn't cry out. He fell gently, the way a tree falls. There wasn't even a sound, because of the sand."