Friday, April 10, 2009

Look! I've turned into a mental health advocate!

Oh, I forgot I already am a mental health advocate. Each day I wake up I must remind myself of who I am.

And don't forget! If you have flowers growing in your yard, pick a few and bring em inside. On my kitchen windowsill I have - and please don't tell him - ruffled daffodils from Scott's yard. Don't worry, I picked some for him too and put em in an old glass peanut butter jar on his counter. He loved them! I also sent him a postcard from Oklahoma. I chose 4 at the Oklahoma City airport and have sent out three.

If you'd like the last one, send me an email at It's got a picture of a shuttered old barn at twilight with swirling clouds.

We had an exceptional Mornings at the Willow Grove Mall yesterday. We do outstanding work. I have a personal mission to get help for "Peter." He lives in a group home and feels very loyal to his psychiatrist who is not helping him at all. We planted the seed yesterday at the mall that he needs to change psychiatrists. We finally got "Mary Ann" to switch to Dr. Desmond. She's very happy with him. She'd been w/Dr. A.H. for 6 futile years.

Look, if it's broke, FIX IT for godssakes! Desmond has already put her on Abilify.

Only some of you reading this will understand what I'm talkin about. I'm not one of them.

Here's an email I send my Board of Directors and Directoresses plus support group members:

As a mental health consumer, I urge you all to support legislation for the carefully thought-out Senate Bill 251 to update Pennsylvania's antiquated mental health laws. Please read the following editorial in the Harrisburg Patriot newspaper and then my online comment.

I'm in contact with the mental health advocacy organization Treatment Advocacy Center, founded by the famous psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey - and endorsed by actor Martin Sheen. The TAC of Arlington, VA, are spearheading the drive to pass this legislation in Pennsylvania.

If you wish to be added to the TAC's email list, please contact Aileen Kroll (pronounced I-lene) at She'll advise you what SIMPLE ACTIONS you can take - like making phone calls - to help pass this urgently needed mental health bill.

As we know, it's very difficult to help people w/mental illness who may not know that they're ill. This bill will get them much-needed outpatient treatment.

Here's my Letter to the Editor to the Patriot.

THANK YOU for your excellent editorial of April 10 supporting Sen. Greenleaf's much-needed Senate Bill 251 to update Pennsylvania's antiquated laws to help people with mental illness and their long-suffering families and friends.

As a woman with bipolar disorder, I was forcibly hospitalized in 1984 due to out-of-control mania and psychosis including combativeness toward my family. At the time I was totally unaware of my odd and threatening behavior. Thankfully I got the treatment I needed, including forced medication, so I could return to my life as a mother and writer.

I've been closely following Greenleaf's legislation and have been in touch with his staff to ensure that the legislation is not whimsical but follows careful protocol.

Due to the excellent care I received in the years following my hospitalization, I founded the largest support group in the Philadelphia area for people with bipolar and depression and their family members. Nearly half of us have been forcibly hospitalized and learned that medication and therapy are vital in managing our illness. While certainly not pleasant, forced treatment ensures that the chaos produced by these treatable brain disorders will come to an end. Yes, intervention works.

Have a wonderful Good Friday and Passover!