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Vikram Patel: Mental health for all by involving all

October 28th, 2012

More about Vikram Patel

Thousands Of Flowers Planted In Abandoned Mental Asylum

February 28th, 2012

Thousands Of Flowers Planted In Abandoned Mental Asylum

Artist Anna Schuleit created this beautiful and haunting series, entitled BLOOM. Schuleit took 28,000 potted plants and distributed them between four floors of an abandoned psychiatric hospital. The thesis addresses a lack of flowers present in such facilities and certainly reveals the natural beauty under dark circumstances.

via Ze Frank.

Willard Asylum Suitcase

November 30th, 2011

This is really fascinating — preserved suitcases of former patients of The Willard Psychiatric Center: Willard Asylum Suitcase:

In 1995, the New York State Museum staff were moving items out of The Willard Psychiatric Center. It was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health, and would eventually become a state run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams was made aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard, and since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left.

The Museum made arrangements to have the suitcases moved to the Rotterdam storage facility, where staff have catalogued each one, and have carefully wrapped and preserved their contents.

Fresh starts, again

August 4th, 2011

It’s that time of year again- time to get ready for a new school year. Princess is still in the special school, with small classes and lots of counseling support. Also lots of troubled kids, but in a way I feel as though being surrounded by everyone else’s issues may force her to cope with her own. She made a good friend last year, another girl who loves Harry Potter and Invader Zim and writing role plays on Gaia. Oh, and who is also fighting some mood disorders. There is something very comforting about arrangement a sleepover when you know the other parent totally understands the medication drill and all that. We are in the midst of changing the mood stabilizers, but so far we have not had any problem with the transition. I remain cautiously optimistic, and continue to take things slowly. There is something to be said for keeping her in the special school for the remainder of the year, and waiting until she starts ninth grade to transition back into the comprehensive school.

Hoss is working really hard at being in control, even dropping his afternoon ADHD dose on days when he is just hanging out. His meds have been steady for some time, his appointments are now spaced out more than before, and we are not dreading the return to school. The administration stacked the cards in our favor this year- the fifth grade had a vacancy, so Hoss’ fourth grade teacher rose to fill it. And, in a totally unexpected move (and by “unexpected” I mean “totally expected,” a la Professor Doofenschmirtz), Hoss was assigned to Mr. G’s class again this year. Hmmm, a teacher who my boy totally connects with and loves more than anything, and a special educator who gets his humor. What more can a mom ask for?

This, I think, is the year of Little Joe.  The quirks and routines are starting to become more noticable.   I forsee testing, and am going on record with a prediction of PDD/mild Aspergers with a touch of OCD. I hope that any issues can be dealt with by behavioral measures, since the possibility of Little Joe swallowing even the tiniest of pills or anything liquid that is not milk is…let’s just say it would be a challenge.

My goal for the school year? No hospital stays. It’s not so much to ask.

Bracing for impact

March 11th, 2011

Right now the amount of pain that is sitting on my chest is more than I can carry.  I have no outlet for it, I have no release, and I’m tired.

It’s big, it’s heavy, and it hurts.

I keep waiting for a break, a lift; a moment when it’s not there when I don’t have to focus or operate under it’s influence.

Sometimes if I’m lucky I’m able to cry; most times I’m not lucky.  I know the tears will help ease the burden but they stay deep down tucked away.

My head keeps asking me when it will be time to stop all of this hurting nonsense, when will I get out from under this rock of despair, will there be a happy ahead, where the fuck is the carrot?

Perhaps the happy is just an illusion, something that we’ve bought and sell our souls for on a daily basis.  Happy is an overstatement, I’m just looking to feel balanced and relatively happy for longer than one day, a week even.

I’ve been emotionally running from the final impact that I know is my due.  I doubt anyone could blame me for this after the last 10 years of the up and down, heart being ripped from my chest; beat up and ripped and hung on the outside of my body to dry.

Resisted writing this, not looking for condolences, I know it’s a part of the process (I’ve come to despise those three words).  I’ve been holding it in hoping it would pass, that I would be released magically.

I know better, I do.  Yet, I never stop bracing myself for impact.  It’s a primal reaction built in to humans.  Some are lucky enough to keep it under the rug and hidden.  That’s never a choice I’ve had, or even been successful with my attempts.

Back to where I always land, writing about it and posting it here releasing it into the safe place where others understand and will sigh as they read; nodding their heads in solidarity.

This too shall pass.  I just wish it would hurry the fuck up because my heart, mind, and body are weary.

Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

January 24th, 2011

Great and inspirational video from TED. Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

Hope for the new year

December 30th, 2010

Six weeks ago, we were back at the start of another loop. Since then, we’ve gotten a new diagnosis (Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified), changed schools (withdrew from the private school to enroll in our home middle school), another hospitalization (shorter duration this time) and acceptance into the county’s transitional program. The Bridges program is for students with special education/emotional disturbance needs and serves the goal of fully identifying the educational protocols and services needed to get students back into the least restrictive environment (hopefully their home school, but sometimes a regional school that is one of the comprehensive schools with some additional resources available- there aren’t enough resources for every school to have them, but it’s more inclusive/less restrictive than a specialized school).  We are continuing to use the intensive outpatient program that we’ve used off and on since July, even though I am starting to question its effectiveness, since there isn’t another program of its kind anywhere else in the state.

She wants to be in school. She really wants to be in the comprehensive school that is in our neighborhood. Kids with PDD tend to have some of the same behaviors and social difficulties that kids with Aspberger’s Symdrome have. The subtle difference lies in the fact that AS kids don’t seem to understand why the lack of social interaction is a problem, while PDD kids want more than anything to have friends and be like every other kid their age.

For years, I thought I wanted my daughter to be special. Now that she aches so hard to be typical, I find myself wishing she could put some of that specialness aside until she’s old enough to appreciate how wonderful being atypical might be.