Why Are Suicidal People Handcuffed By Police? Do they really think they have the energy to become violent? So why are we treated like criminals when we’ve done nothing “wrong?”

Look what popped up on my radar yesterday!

It’s been an extremely busy week, with all kinds of Advocacy communications initiated by me, which appear to have rumbled the Earth below us, and rattled a few nerves, and, produced some incredibly bizarre behavior on the part of those responsible for managing and dispensing Mental Health Services at the State Level, and, their bosses at the Federal level. 

And they think we’re crazy!

Anyway, yesterday I was sitting at a Starbucks at the Mall, drinking my coffee, when I noticed 2 County officers approach a man at a table, not far from me. This man was almost invisible. I hadn’t even realized he was there, until the officers approached him. But there he was, just a few feet from me, quiet and soft spoken. 

The sound in the video is terrible, because of the mall music, which drenched everything around and almost muted it. But you can pick up enough to realize this is a law enforcement intervention in a man reported to the police as suicidal

I was really impressed with the officer who handled the situation. He obviously had additional training in Mental Health, but it was his even and calm approach and empathy that resonated with me. 

However, the handcuffs, at the close of this scene, are disturbing. And this is something that must change. People cannot be treated like criminals when they’ve done nothing wrong, as the officer tells the man. But I’ll have more to say about that later. 

The video is 4:12 minutes. 

DOJ ADA Complaint

Apparently, this was never filed. I thought I had filed it, but while searching earlier, I realized I had no confirmation of receipt from the DOJ.  Excuse the formatting. The Complaint Form has a specific allowance for characters (which may be why they never received it, since I used paragraphs, which exceeded the limit.) So you have to scrunch everything together. Sure would be nice, if they let you know that, you know, had, oh, whatever.

COMPLAINT

GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER (GBMC)

“I was under the impression that I had filed the following complaint with the DOJ on July 23, 2015. However, I cannot find receipt of acknowledgment from your office. This is what I wrote on July 23, 2015, addressed to the ACLU, now edited to provide further details. This past week, I experienced a nightmare when I went in GBMC ER for an allergic reaction. I had been to the ER on Saturday night, suffering from heat exhaustion. The previous night, Friday night, Paramedics pulled me from my car and took me the Hopkins ER. On Saturday night, the symptoms of heat exhaustion were still present and my psychologist recommended I go to an ER other than Hopkins and I did. There, once the Attending Physician discovered I had a psychiatric diagnosis, left the room. A Fellow doing his Residence in Psychiatry, then came (I never saw the MD again) to discuss my psychiatric diagnosis, which is fine. That seemed to go well – at least that was my impression. The next night, however, was when the nightmare emerged and the sadistic behavior of the staff there was clearly visible. I had a systemic allergic reaction after I had eaten something and my hand became swollen. The same physician who had attended me the previous night also saw me that Sunday night. But before I saw him, a nurse attended me, and gave me 50 or 75 mgs of Benadryl to reduce the swelling on my hand. After that, a Physician’s Assistant saw me, and the first thing she said to me: “I can see that your Bipolar symptoms are exacerbated.” I looked at her and said: “What are you talking about? I’m here because of a severe allergic reaction.” My body was producing hives as we spoke. “Where did you get that information, about the exacerbation of my Bipolar symptoms? “It’s in your chart,” she said. “Really? And who put it in my chart?” The psychiatric resident,” she said. When the doctor arrived, I immediately addressed staff treatment of those with psychiatric diagnoses. He became hostile. And refused to examine my hand, and from a distance, called it a “superficial bruise.” Then, I said, there is no reason for me to be here. And I left, walked out. He didn’t stop me. A friend who was with me that night (an Epidemiologist) returned to the ER and discussed the reason why I was there. The Attending Physician then said, I could come back and be examined by another physician. However that is not what happened. I was tricked and escorted without my knowledge and locked in a ward with 2 security guards present and additional nursing staff. “What is going on?’ I said. They said they wanted to evaluate me. That is NOT why I returned to the ER. Furthermore, they had no right whatsoever to do this, as it was not the psychiatric diagnosis that was problem, but the allergic reaction that brought me to the ER. They had incarcerated me against my will, but in a most sinister fashion, through trickery and malice, because I had earlier challenged their treatment of psychiatric patients. If my friend had not been there, they had the power to hold me, a clear violation of my civil rights, and a dangerous breach of ethics. I demanded I be released, and they were forced to comply.

This type of behavior needs to stop.”

Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form

Thank you for your complaint. Please retain and refer to the following reference number for any correspondence concerning this complaint:

16-1nz41-2u9a

Sometimes It’s Just A Leonardo DiCaprio Kind Of Day: The Aviator

Accidents!  Hahaha. Have no idea how it happened, but this piece posted – just the title!  So here I am. Back and ready for take-off.  

Forget Silver Linings Playbook.  I know people raved about that film, but it didn’t do much for me. The depiction of two people, both with a diagnosed psychiatric disorder, their romance, the happy ending, left a superficial taste in my mouth. It was a fairy tale. I suppose it helped bring Mental Illness into the spotlight, but through rose-colored lenses. The happy ending was especially annoying because we know when we have such diseases seldom are the endings happy. Rather, we are caught up in a storm that ruins relationships with spouses, lovers and children and friends and co-workers (If we have any). The scars are permanent on all of those involved.  And the biggest challenge is the daily search for equilibrium and minimizing the wounds of the psyche. 

So Silver Linings Playbook, for me, at least, was comparable to daytime soap operas – the sanitized version of “life,” which is nothing more than an escape route into sentimentality, presenting perfectly painted faces – no scars, no stained teeth, because who wants to go to a movie and see that, anyway?

Actually, I do. 

Films such as Trainspotting, for example, which I can only revisit once every 3 years because of the intensity of the subject depicted there – despite its cinematic brilliance and writing, its balance between the tragic and scatalogical humor, the incredible acting – especially appeal to me.

But then we come across a film like The Aviator, which although now more than 10 years old, more closely approximates the struggle, confusion, and eccentricities of an actual person who clearly is not normal, but this, in no way compromises, the gifts of such a person. And which, if it had occurred in the present climate of psychiatry, the essential spirit of that person would be suppressed until that spark could no longer be expressed because they would be heavily medicated and perhaps even institutionalized indefinitely. 

The are the Visionaries – right?  Those whose contributions often lead to dramatic and revolutionary breakthroughs, despite their Mental Illness, in any field imaginable, or more precisely …  That not yet imagined by anyone else …  

They are the fighters, the determined ones who keep going despite adversity, to reach for and make tangible what is intangible. The ones who never abandon or betray their visions. 

The Aviator is all about that. And Leonardo, one of the finest actors around, never fails to deliver an exceptional performance. 

So if you are interested in a more honest portrayal of Mental Illness, I’d put my money on this film, and not Silver Linings Playbook, any day. 

Suicidal? Sheppard Pratt may be your cup of tea. 

Go there and come out stark raving mad?

Hm. 

Tough choice. 

Sheppard Pratt Asylum Is designed as a Critical CARE Psychiatric Stabilization facility for those who struggle with medical conditions such as Bipolar Disorder (like myself) or any other psychiatric “diagnosis.” It has an impressive and illustrious history as an innovative facility when it was first conceived and built in the mid-19th century – a refuge, with its concentration on humane treatment. 

However, reputation, to be sustained, must demonstrate consistency of those values and principles, rather than regression from them. 

Undoubtedly, Sheppard and Pratt are totally turning in their graves. 

The isolation we feel exhaustively, all by ourselves, ripens there. 

So there are parallels to the real world. Severe Depression, which is just a hop, skip and jump away from Death, actually spikes exponentially there. 

The Human Spirit is crushed, until we finally, breath by breath, disappear. This, my friend, is where you go to watch yourself become one of The Invisibles. 

Now when you are on the outside, you have some wiggle room. You may choose to remove yourself from the Kingdom of Ignorance, if only for a breath of fresh air, and focus on the brightness of the Human Spirit. 
We have choices. 

Smell the fragrance of a lovely flower. 

Meditate. 

Listen to music. 

Dance. 

There we have no choices. We are at the mercy of Stupidity, Ignorance and Fools, and we have nowhere to go, locked between two nightmares. 

There is this clearly defined and unshakeable and raw feeling that they do not care. 

Then again, if you wanna but haven’t yet experienced depersonalization, it’s available there. Think of it as a lean, introductory course on the subject. And since I am naturally an optimist, I feel compelled to plug the positive spin here. 

First, your empathy and understanding have grown for those who do experience such devastating psychological symptoms. 

Second – 

Who knows? 
This accidental slip, for example, allows you to drift into unknown territory altogether, as you wonder if you really did, in fact, erase your memory of an entire day of your existence, because someone is insisting you did – when you didn’t. 

Luckily, there are other patients there who know that you didn’t – just as you had thought. And they are now your salvation. 

But this additional drop of uncertainty and confusion has now bloomed in your head. 

Shit happens, right?

Be forewarned, however, any heroic attempt to battle the trolls and the slugs just makes you crazier. Totally not worth it. 

They follow whatever code they’ve culled and pinned to you from the Diagnostic Statistic Manual, and we all know how that keeps expanding with each new edition. 

But that’s exactly when the epiphany occurs …

I had never truly understood what I Am Not My Diagnosis meant until I realized that that is all you are there – a code. 

Yep. 

Hey!  Look at me. I’m still here.  

Sadly, they do not hear or see you.  You have disappeared. 

So when the object of hospitalization is to support and help you shed the nasty symptoms of Depression, and instead you are fighting to be seen and heard – those are the exact type of challenges we do not need. 

The salt on the wound is the absolute isolation from the actual world. This is the abyss. Isolation is not good. They keep preaching that. And then that’s exactly what they do. 

So what do you do?

Well, trying to pry open their eyes is futile. They get really, really pissed at you. And that makes them more sinister and deadly, while they sharpen their ignorance from unbelievable heights, as you are fighting for your sanity …

The plus?

You are too fucking busy to be worrying about Suicide. So in that sense they have met their goal. You have shifted from suicidal ideation to absolute self-preservation. Plus, Existentialism is the only dish on the menu. 

Yum. 

Reminds me of a poem by Stevie Smith. An attempt to communicate with those on shore, while being swallowed by the sea …

“Not waving. But drowning.”  

Busy Buddha Buddy

We’re shy of celebrating our one year anniversary by two months. It was love at first sight. I found him at a New Age conference in Rockville, Maryland, having gone there to look for incense, since Rockville doesn’t sell incense, and they had no incense either! Not really. (Maybe it’s taboo in Rockville?). However, there were a few exhibitors there who had Eastern Art.

Initially, I spotted a large wooden Buddha and I thought … We need to be together. We belong together. Luckily, I could afford him and I bought him on the spot. They graciously held him while I browsed the conference exhibits in the other room, and would pick him up on my way out.

Having found only one table that sold incense that was disagreeable to my sense of smell, I wandered around with a couple of friends, before I determined it was time to go. It was then, in the outer hall, that I began to browse a table filled with small objects, that I saw him. He was a pale shade of green (my favorite) jade. I picked him up, held him in my palm, looked at him closely, rubbed the texture of his face with my other hand. I was hopelessly in love, stricken. We were meant to be together.

And he was portable!
He would always be with me.

Soon afterwards, we traveled across the country, from coast to coast, and back again, in the Smart. We wrestled steep inclines in Arizona, Utah and Colorado together. We saw the flat Plains of Nebraska and Iowa together. We paused in Chicago for a month, before heading back to Baltimore, where I would live.

He was always with me.

But once we settled in Baltimore, he became mischievous. He began to play Hide ‘n Seek with me. Usually he slept with me, either next to my pillow, or clutched in my palm.

But on our many errands together, he began to hide.

Was he in the pocket of my coat?
No.
Was he in the pocket of my jeans?
No.
Was he in my bag?
No.
Was he in the pocket of my pocket?
No.
Where was he!

Eventually we would find one another again.

But then he became even more mischievous and began to play with me in ways that would leave me utterly amazed.

One day, I had an appointment with my therapist. I bathed and dressed then packed my essentials into my bag. I knew he was around, but my attempt to find him proved futile. I would have to travel without him.
I was disappointed.

So I get to my therapist’s office, wait a few minutes in the waiting room, browsing through the latest issue of Gossip, People Magazine, which I love doing, before going into the office.

I settled into the comfy couch, crossed my legs, and began talking to my therapist. Moments later I glanced down at my crossed legs and saw a protrusion on my right leg, on the inside, level with my calf, and I am flummoxed.

Omg.
What is that!

I say to my therapist.

I pull my leggings up and reach in and guess who comes out?

Yep.
It was him.

But how did he get there?
I have no idea.

And my therapist says:
Buddha is always with you, while laughing at the absurdity of this mystery.

I guess so, I said.
But I was just happy to see him again.

Weeks later, I had a lengthy meeting in a professional office setting, a large conference room. And he was there with me. We were going over papers. I was spread out everywhere, and when it was time to leave, I began to gather and put myself back together again, and left, without giving a thought to Buddha.

The next morning, I noticed he had mysteriously disappeared again. My search, once again, was futile. I had many other things to do, so I became distracted, while in the back of my mind, wondering where he was now!

I began to retrace my steps (I do that often with him) and thought perhaps he decided to stay in the Smart (He’s done that before.). But when I searched the Smart, he wasn’t there.

The pace was hectic then. I had lots of paperwork to collect, calls to make, coordinating the transfer of information – I hadn’t been able to paint!

And, I was highly distracted.

Then it occurred to me that he probably decided to stay with my attorney, and I would call him and check as soon as I had a free moment. But then again, they would’ve called me, wouldn’t they, if they had found him? So maybe he was somewhere else?

Then late last week, I received an envelope in the mail. A large one. It was from Chicago. I opened the envelope and found another envelope inside of the big one, just like it, only smaller. So I opened the smaller envelope, but it appeared to be empty. I reached into the bottom of it, and there he was!
In the corner.

I see.
So you like flying as well, I thought.
Baltimore to Chicago.
Chicago to Baltimore.

Me too!

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