Music, books, and personal thoughts on life

Archive for November, 2013

Is The Mental Health System Broken?

I recently read an article that talked about the funding President Kennedy was setting aside for mental health so that mentally ill people could have access to mental health treatment outside of a state run facility.  Sadly he was killed before he could get anything started and the funds have gone towards other things.  Due to the lack of funds, some mentally ill people have limited or no access to receive proper treatment; they wind up homeless, develop substance abuse problems or die.  The prison system is seems to be filling up with people who have sever illness such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.  There are not enough psychiatrists employed through the correctional system to treat those patients.

Last year, one of the state hospitals here in Louisiana was shut down due to budget cut and the patients had to be transported to another state hospital.  This hospital used to offer a three tier level of treatment for patients, but due to the cuts, it was cut down to two tiers and fewer bed were available.  A former nurse from this hospital described the three tier system was admitting the patient and starting them on medication, treating and helping them set life goals and then the last step was to release them.  With the two tier level, the patient is admitted and put on medication and then sent back out into the world.  I have experienced the two tier system twice in my life through two different mental hospitals I went through.  When I was 14, I was in for only 72 hours and released after the weekend.  My second stay 2 years ago lasted for 10 days due to the unstable situation at home.  Both times I had a label slapped on me, pumped full of meds and sent on my way.  The only way I have gotten better is through the mental health center in my city; they offer counseling, medication management and a psychiatrist to see.  The drawback though is that the psychiatrists are now only allowed to see you for only 15 minutes and not an hour like in the past.  It gives the patient just enough time to let them know how the meds are doing and the doctor to decide if meds need to be adjusted.

Another thing that mentally ill people experience is the stigmatism that is associated with their illness.  I have faced them due to my mental illnesses; I have Major Depression and Schizotypal Personality Disorder.  Yes, major depression is debilitating and some people think it is something someone can snap out of like normal depression or that it’s an excuse to get sympathy.  From my point of view, it is not something you just snap out of.  Even with medications and exercise, I have days I am very agitated and want to be left alone.  Schizotypal is considered to be mild schizophrenia but without hearing voices and can come back into reality.  It hinders me socially, but through counseling I have been able to improve on my social skills slowly, but I don’t allow anyone to get very close to me.  Schizotypals face the stigmatism that they are weird and completely odd.  So what if they dress completely different and see out of whatever the norm is.  Major Depression and Schizotypal can both be managed with medications and counseling which could help reduces the chances of suicide and substance abuse.

As a mentally challenged person, I go through pain everyday of my life as well as others with mental disabilities.  It’s as if no one understands our pain or even wants to understand it to help us except mental health professionals.  My mother’s sister and her friend have accused me for half of my adult life that I have just been using my parents to gain sympathy and benefit from whatever they can give me.  Recently my Dad and I talked about that issue and he said, “They have never had children so they can’t make a judgement without going through it themselves.  They don’t understand that you require a certain kind of care at times and your mother and I know how to do that.”
Just remember that everyone deserves equal fair treatment, mental illness or not.  The mental health system needs to quit getting the back burner and get the proper funding it needs.


Don’t You Forget: This Is Your Dream

We’ve all had dreams that we have wanted to accomplish in our lives.  Maybe you wanted to be a famous painter, or a well known author or even a rockstar.  You knew that you had to work hard to get to that point and you are even at this point in life still pursuing after it.  I don’t think we ever stop pursuing after what we know we would enjoy or be good at doing.

When I was growing up, I wanted to be an actress, a police officer or a singer.  It never crossed my mind that I really wanted to be a writer.  I have loved reading ever since I was a kid.  My mother could tell you there were many times she found me sitting in the middle of the floor in my room, reading a book when I should have been getting my shoes on.  A few of my friends and I would do a lot of role playing when we would play with each other.  There were even times during the summer as a kid, I would go out in my backyard late at night and do my own role playing.  I remember I came up with a very short musical about a town getting a letter about an important person coming to visit.  My mother said I never had a vivid imagination as a child, but I think that right there shows she’s wrong.
When I was 14, I asked my parents if they would pay for me to take voice lessons so I could develop my singing voice.  Well that request got shot down due to the fact that they thought I had already messed my voice up and that I wouldn’t really make it as a singer.  I have been told that I have a good voice and that singing lessons don’t sound like a bad idea.  Maybe one day I’ll be a Susan Boyle!

I never knew I had the ability to write anything good until I was 13 and took a chance at writing my first set of lyrics.  In the summer of 1994, I was really big into Ace of Base (go a head and laugh), one of their songs sparked something off and I wrote what came to my mind; the name of the song was called “Time”.  There was no chorus, just one of those songs that flows like a poem.  I remember showing it to my Dad and he was very impressed with it.  My mom told me it was juvenile and not advanced.  HELLO!!!!  I was only a juvenile at that time.  Anyway, I have been doing a lot of writing since then and find I get a lot of enjoyment from it.  Short stories, lyrics, poems and now advancing into novel writing.  I hope to have a current manuscript I am working on ready to be sent to publishers soon.

I thought I was aimless in life; that I would never settle on anything and just be a complete loser for the rest of my life.  Here I am at 32 and finally finding what I want to do for the rest of my life.  I looked at others I see around me who were set in their careers.  I have felt like a fish flopping all over the place because I couldn’t find satisfaction in other things I did.  I thought I would be a police officer after attending college to get a degree in criminal justice, but nothing panned out.  I will admit I have a very short temper, so I would have probably been put behind a desk or suspended for beating up perps.  I thought about going to culinary school to be a pastry chef since I really like to bake.  The more I thought about it the more I would lose my passion for it.  It would be like taking one of my hobbies and making it like work which would be a killjoy to me.  Writing is different for me though, it can be a career but also be fun at the same time.

I have fought through criticism and told I was chasing a pipe dream.  I’m chasing after my dreams of writing.  Whether it’s writing lyrics, poems, short stories or novels, it’s one thing that makes me happy.  I am still chasing after my dreams to have something to do within music as well.  No, I’m not a very good musician but I do like the technical side of things aside from singing.

Chase after your passions and dreams!!  If someone says you can’t do it, look them dead in the eyes and say, “Watch me!”


Have You Ever Inspired Anyone?

“I want to inspire people.
I want someone to look at me
and say “Because of you I didn’t give up.”

I recently found this quote and it sparked one of those deep thought moments…. Have I ever inspired anyone outside of my daughter?  I have been inspired by others, but is there anyone that I have inspired?

Just recently here in Baton Rouge a young man passed away from terminal cancer; he was only 11 years old.  He could have met one of his favorite celebrity or gone to Disney World, instead he chose to help feed the homeless around Baton Rouge.  This young man chose to give than receive, he gave back to the community.  His kindness sparked off a campaign for a local food drive and he helped raise money to feed the poor in the city.  His selfless act inspired others to remember there are those less fortunate and they need help as well.

Hopefully one day I can inspire someone not to give up and to push through whatever they may be going through.