Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What's in a Day? Pumpernick's and Talk by Robert Whittaker

Here's Robert Whittaker's website, Mad in America. Very informative. But there's only so much info I can cram into my smaller-than-average bipolar brain - yes, I read about dat! -and it's like a CD getting stuck in a particular part.

Will the real Robert Whittaker please stand up. One of them is a boxer, thother is a journalist.

Image result for robert whittaker  Image result for robert whittaker book
Rich, Ada and I had dinner at Pumpernick's

Image result for pumpernicks montgomeryville pennsylvania

and then drove over to Montgomery County Community College, Science Center, to watch the program.

We couldn't get over the beautiful campus with the greenest of grass. And of course it was all farmland before the college was built.

Bob was an excellent speaker and moderator. He stood up from 7 pm until after 9.

They should've had printed programs so we knew who was onstage. A man introduced him. Probably a psychologist. They had plenty of food outside on tables but I wanted a program.

Bob talked about new paradigms in the field of psychiatry. Spoke about the history of mental patients in America. Treating them like animals and chaining em up in a cell on a bed of straw. This in the 1800s. Lobotomies.Walter J Freeman and others developed them.

Let's learn why Rosemary Kennedy - eldest daughter of Joseph and Rose -  had one.

What is mental illness anyway? It is not a chemical balance in the brain. This was an easy way to describe it at one time. Well, people with schizophrenia have too much dopamine, or people with depression need more serotonin.

Bob mentioned the term 'struggling' with mental illness. Unless you have personally struggled - and I certainly did - you have no idea what it really means.  He compared it to having 'a bad day.'

Many of us felt that Bob overemphasized being free from medication. A young man we know went up to him afterward and told him meds saved his life. Nothing worked until he found Clozaril. Now he's able to work!

The program was sponsored by The Hearing Voices Network.

The lecture was very well attended. A married couple and their daughter - orig in our group - sat several rows in front of us. I remember when young "Delia" would attend. She's a very passionate young lady and one day burst out that she heard voices. And wept.

She was so ashamed and terrified. Her mind is still not working right. In my opinion, she should get very busy, exercise, and get a volunteer job even if it's working for her dad's company.

Here's a piece I wrote about hearing voices called Pray for Me Bernadette

And, Delia, there are indeed psychiatrists who will work with you! On the home page of our website we have thoughts about not using meds by a Harvard-trained psychiatrist plus what they do in Finland about psychosis.

Great surprise to see Tracey, a peer specialist, there! She looked wonderful in purple. Her son is now 14 weeks old.

Image result for mom and baby  We encourage people to have children if they wish. Certain psychiatrists and psychologists specialize in helping women with mental illness issues.

Also Teresa was there. How did you ever get here, I asked, as she is geographically challenged.

Montco is close to home, she said. Her son was also there. He looked great with his little mustache.

Image result for actor with little mustache

Whittaker talked about a first psychosis. Theories are constantly changing. One is: Use medication to get initially stabilized and then go off. You may never have another episode again.

If you have schizophrenia and are taking meds, you're actually growing a little dopamine factory in your brain that makes you feel really terrible.

In Scandanavia they have a different philosophy of mental illness.They emphasize relationships with family and other loving individuals.

The Q and A section was fascinating! People really shared openly and honestly and were so glad to have a chance to be heard.

They should come to New Directions! We hear all different voices and never judge.

Our philosophy, however, is Take your meds as prescribed and partner with your psychiatrist.

One woman who spoke has an important job in behavioral health in Philly and is no longer on meds for bipolar disorder. My heart soared! She's young and she's not tarnishing her brain with meds. And did she ever struggle!

As we know meds can wreck or weaken other parts of your body. Thanks, daughter Sarah, for your kidney!

Helping other people on their journey of recovery is one of the best ways to help yourself! Alcoholics Anonymous was the first to speak about this, but who knows? Maybe Hippocrates did too!

Rich did a great job of driving home in the dark, zigging and zagging through the dark streets, finally ending up on Cowbell Road.


The deli was far away
on the road to the
community college

As we took our seats
Ada, Rich and I
passed the
pickle bar
swimming with
big green tomatoes
and other forms
of transformed

I ordered the chopped
liver platter with cole
slaw and potato salad
decorated with giant
cucumbers and salad greens

Forgive me if I brag. When
I lived in Austin, I brought
a little bit of Ashkenazi
culture down with me.

Into the blender where I made
Sarah's baby food, I swirled
cooked chicken livers, hard
boiled eggs, onions raw as
if they came from the field
vino, paprika, salt and pepper
and no one would eat it.

No one but me. Sitting by the
window, staring at the pickups
with their gun racks, the
couples walking by, I
sat in utter contentment
on the upstairs porch
eating the best chopped
liver in the Lone Star State.

So now what do I do?

NHK has fab graphics and music. 

Image result for nhk news

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