Sunday, November 30, 2008

World Aids Day

December 1, 2008 is World Aids Day.







In Memoriam of those who died and are sick.

Want to know more? Click on the hyperlink, or read the fabulous "And the Band Played On", by the late Randy Shilts.

Praying for Mumbai

Healthwise, it's been a miserable weekend for me, and right now it's raining so hard and it's so cold outside, but it doesn't seem to go to snow or sleet, just small ice droplets of rain. Miserable. Good night for soup.

And to be grateful to be alive and safe and warm, when the events this weekend in Mumbai played out. I am especially sad, since I personally knew three wonderful men who perished on September 11, and this reminds me of that event.

One of the best descriptions of this aftermath came from the blog "Elms in the Yard", an Israeli blogger who is also a cat lover. Below is from her blog.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Cats: Praying for Mumbai Edition
Three cats hang out on Agrippas Street in downtown Jerusalem.



I add my prayers for the victims of the terror attacks in Mumbai. May the wounded have a complete recovery, and may all those whom the terrorists are still holding hostage soon be released unharmed.

And may any surviving terrorists meet with swift justice.

Rabbis are asking that we recite Psalm 20 for the rabbi of Mumbai’s Chabad House—known locally as Nariman House—and his wife: Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, together with all those still being held captive.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Lou Reed-Caroline Says Part 2




Been trying to write all day, will let one of my all time favorite songs from one of my all time favorite albums "Berlin" by Lou Reed speak for me.

Bit of trivia, it's the only album I own as a record, an 8 track tape, a cassette and a CD.



ETA: I am not suicidal. Just empty and hollow.

Friday, November 28, 2008

For Doxie


My friend in real life is going through a bad patch so I thought this would cheer him, seeing he loves Doxies.

One more reason I hate Black Friday-person killed @ Wal-Mart


Breaking news from the New York Daily News-




Worker dies at Long Island Wal-Mart after being trampled in Black Friday stampede

BY JOE GOULD
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Updated Friday, November 28th 2008, 10:19 AM

A worker died after being trampled and a woman miscarried when hundreds of shoppers smashed through the doors of a Long Island Wal-Mart Friday morning, witnesses said.

The unidentified worker, employed as an overnight stock clerk, tried to hold back the unruly crowds just after the Valley Stream store opened at 5 a.m.

Witnesses said the surging throngs of shoppers knocked the man down. He fell and was stepped on. As he gasped for air, shoppers ran over and around him.

"He was bum-rushed by 200 people," said Jimmy Overby, 43, a co-worker. "They took the doors off the hinges. He was trampled and killed in front of me. They took me down too...I literally had to fight people off my back."

Nassau County Police are still investigating and would not confirm the witness accounts. The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. Police did say there were several injuries but weren't more specific.

Jessica Keyes was among the shoppers. She told the Daily News she saw a woman knocked down just a few feet from the dying worker.

"When the paramedics came, she said 'I'm pregnant,'" Keyes said.

Paramedics treated the woman inside the store and then, according to Keys, told the woman:

"There's nothing we can do. The baby is gone."

Before police shut down the store, eager shoppers streamed past emergency crews as they worked furiously to save the store clerk's life.

"They were working on him, but you could see he was dead, said Halcyon Alexander, 29. "People were still coming through."

Only a few stopped.

"They're savages," said shopper Kimberly Cribbs, 27. "It's sad. It's terrible."

Buy Nothing Day-Not Black Friday


I got this from Gianna Kali at "Beyond Meds"- and it's brilliant. Today in America is "Black Friday". It's the first shopping day before Christmas, and people get up at 3 am to be in front of the major department stores at 4 am or 5 am to get good deals on things like cameras, DVD's, TV's, you name it. 

I cannot imagine getting up at 3 am for anything cept maybe a Beatles concert, with all 4 original Beatles playing. In other words- there is nothing short of a fire, that would make me leave my comfortable bed at 3 am. 

Something to think about as we Americans shop til we drop today. Lets just stay home, and watch some football, read a good book, or listen to this album Fiddy (Seroxat ((Paxil))  Sufferers, Stand up and be Counted), got me hooked on- "Black Ice" by AC/DC. 


Thursday, November 27, 2008

For Stephany

I know it's not even Black Friday yet- and I was saving this til Christmas- but cannot resist. Something for my friends not in the US. It's the Trans Siberian Orchestra, "Wizards in Winter", and the ultimate Clark Griswold house.


video

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving




Off tomorrow for the holiday. Wishing everyone a happy one. For those readers not in the US, here are some nice food links, since one of the great things about Thanksgiving is not only giving thanks, but eating way too much food .


So without further ado- a couple of food sites I like.


Hulu.com

It has both seasons of Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares and season 4 of Hell's Kitchen. I love Gordon Ramsay.

Top Chef on itunes. i don't watch reality TV anymore, but this is a guilty pleasure.


Things I am grateful for this year.

1. I am alive.

2. My writing is taking off and my blog is a success.

3. The cat is in good health.

4. My friends and family.

5. My readers.

6. Chocolate.

How about a little NYC Thanksgiving fun?


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.. It is also the 82nd Annual Macy's day parade.

From today's Gothamist-


Tomorrow is the day before Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which means it's the day to see the parade balloons get inflated! The parade blow-up action is along 77th Street and 81st Street between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue, around the American of Natural History, starting at around 3PM and ending at 10PM. The crowds can be very intense, so be patient.

New giant balloons this year are Horton, Smurf, and Buzz Lightyear; returning giant balloons are Abby Cadabby, Beethoven, Dora the Explorer, Flying Ace Snoopy, Kermit the Frog, Pikachu, Ronald McDonald, Shrek, SpongeBob SquarePants™and Supercute Hello Kitty. There are also "35 novelty/ornament balloons and balloonicles" (like Cloe the Holiday Clown( and a special giant balloon created from Keith Haring's Figure with Heart.


And of course, the finale is Santa Claus!






Here is where you can go today to see the balloons being inflated. It's quite fun for the kiddies and adults too.

3 am again, another dark night of the soul






Well, the suicidal ideation passed. I was white knuckling it. doing every trick I knew to stop it. A long bath. Playing with DA BIRD with the cat. Surfing the web to figure out what to bring to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. But having spent the day alternating between copious amount of vomiting and diarrhea and then going to the ER to get hydrated and a shot so I could actually eat something, I was just feeling miserable. And lonely. There is a difference between being alone and lonely. I don't mind being alone, I really don't. But the loneliness crept over me so badly I felt it was like cancer on an open sore. And for the first time in a long time I felt alive- down there. In other words, I was horny as hell.

Add loneliness, sadness, being horny, the need to talk to a human being and not a cat- and the desire to eat something other than tea and toast- I was more depressed than I had been in a very long time. The other day i went grocery shopping, and it seemed to me the entire store were mothers with infants buying turkeys, and all the trimmings. I looked at the babies, nestled in their carriers on the shopping carts, their little feet ensconced in blue or pink booties, and the maternal instinct hit hard. And the damn clock. Yelling at me "Your eggs are getting old! Save us".

The holidays- the holidays. We long for Norman Rockwell, we get instead Clark Griswold in the Christmas movie. They can be so depressing. They don't mean to be.


So right now I cannot sleep, I still have the shakes and the sweats from the med change, and am on my 3rd shower this evening. I treated myself to a real nice bath skin moisturizer, and new bath puff, so that is nice. I also washed my hair and put it up in rag curls so it will look great in the morning.

It's also the 2nd anniversary of the break up of my relationship. I think that was a trigger too. I am over him, he has moved on from me and has a new girl friend. I am making hesitant steps back into the dating world. I have a great therapist who is helping me with this. But there is something about anniversaries, that are toxic and hurt.

So that is where I stand. i cannot fall back to sleep, so I am just going to catch up on blogs and wait for the sun rise.

And feel blessed that someone, actually sombodies, care about me.

-The picture of the rainbow was taken by me at my parent's old house back in 05.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I'm so lonesome I could die

I am so blue and lonely tonight, the loneliness is all encompassing and choking me like the pollution at Turnpike Exit 11.
I would sell my soul for someone to hold me tonight, and be with me. This type of loneliness can be fatal, as seen below.




Thomas Chatterton


Hear that lonesome whipoorwill
He sounds to blue to fly
Th midnight train is whining low
I'm so lonesome I could die

I never seen a night, so long
When time go crawlin' by
The moon jest went behind the cloud
I'm so lonesome I could cry


Did you ever see a robin weep
When loved ones begin's to die
That means he lost th one he loved
I'm so lonesome I could cry

The silence of th fallin' star
Lights up a purple sky
And as I wonder where you 'er
I'm so lonesome I could die

Something to cheer you while I am sick.

Meet Libby, the Seeing Eye Cat!






From Stuff On My Cat

Ray Sandford needs a Thanksgiving Reprieve-Please Help

MindFreedom International - 24 November 2008
Ray Human Rights Alert #4: Please Forward

You Can Ask: Thanksgiving Reprieve?

MindFreedom Filing Complaint with UN Claiming "Torture" in Minnesota

The next forced outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford is
scheduled for this Wednesday morning, 26 November 2008, the day
before the USA holiday of Thanksgiving.

Join an international campaign *NOW* to phone Minnesota Governor
Tim Pawlenty today and tomorrow, before the shock:

1) Ask the Governor to give Ray Sandford a reprieve from his next
forced electroshock.

2) Ask the Governor -- who claims to believe in limited government --
if he supports laws in Minnesota allowing this torture: the
involuntary administration of electroshock therapy (ECT) of people
living out in the community?

A MindFreedom investigation revealed that Ray Sandford, 54,
complained of being escorted every week for months from his supported
living home in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for
another course of electroshock over his objection.

After the first MindFreedom News international alert, Ray's doctor
let him skip his forced shock this past Wednesday, 19 November.

This Wednesday morning, 26 November, Ray expects to be woken up early
once again to be escorted the 15 miles to what he is told will be his
34th involuntary outpatient electroshock under special Minnesota laws.

Meanwhile, MindFreedom is filing a official claim with the United
Nations calling Minnesota's abuse of Ray "torture," using a new
process and expanded definition by the UN.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

** ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **

Join in a MindFreedom international phone-in campaign!

Telephone Governor Pawlenty's office *NOW* -- and insist on talking
to a staff person.

Call any day, but especially call today and tomorrow, *before* Ray's
scheduled electroshock this Wednesday.

From anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391.

From inside Minnesota phone toll free (800) 657-3717.

You have the best chance of reaching staff from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm
Central Time weekdays.

NOTE: Staff is directing many of these calls into voice mail.
MindFreedom is not aware of anyone actually getting a response to
this voice mail.

DO NOT GIVE UP! Politely but FIRMLY insist on on talking to a staff
person.

If you get redirected to voice mail leave a message, but call back
until you get an answer from a live person.

If you do receive any helpful information, e-mail it to
news@mindfreedom.org.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ray Campaign News Updates:

MindFreedom Filing Complaint with United Nations Alleging
"Torture" by Minnesota

This past Friday, 21 November, disability advocates met with Ray at
the Minnesota Center for Independent Living. Ray told advoctates he
very much supports this campaign.

During the meeting a teleconference was held with MindFreedom
President Celia Brown in New York City and MindFreedom Director David
Oaks in Oregon. Celia interviewed Ray so that MindFreedom may file a
human rights complaint under a new process with a United Nations
Special Rappateur. Because of recent developments, some types of
severe psychiatric abuse may now be considered torture by the UN.

Involuntary outpatient electroshock (IOE) is part of a trend to bring
the power of forced psychiatric procedures out into the community,
from the back ward to your front porch.

Mind your freedom: Your home is no longer your castle... it can
become your ward.

Electroshock itself has made a comeback throughout the USA, and
internationally, without adequate human rights protection.

You may read some of the many public comments that have been e-mailed
to the Governor at tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/sandford-support-letters

For a full-sized photo of Ray click on his image here:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

Past alerts:

7 Nov: Alert #1 - How to e-mail the Governor:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray-sandford

12 Nov: Alert #2 - First phone-in to Governor:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/pawlenty-electroshock

16 Nov: Alert #3 - Ask Governor's Director of Communications Brian
McClung for answers:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/16-nov-08-update

REMEMBER RAY - TAKE ACTION NOW!

Don't let Ray get escorted without you saying "no" to torture out in
our communities.

It takes just a few moments. Please nonviolently "zap back" by asking
questions.

The campaign is being heard in the Governor's office. MindFreedom has
evidence that at least one frustrated operator has hung up on callers
about Ray.

Ray did not give up. So we won't give up!

From anywhere in the USA or the world phone (651) 296-3391.

From inside Minnesota phone toll free: (800) 657-3717.

ADDITIONAL ACTIONS

Please forward this public alert to supporters of human rights on and
off Internet with an encouragement to act *NOW*!

There's a reason MindFreedom International has broken the silence on
this issue:

Independent united activism.

To support MindFreedom and this campaign please join, renew early or
donate today, click here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate

Once you join MindFreedom, current members can apply to get on the
MindFreedom electroshock campaign e-mail list called ZAPBACK where
the Ray campaign is coordinated internationally. Once you're an MFI
member sign up on ZAPBACK here:

http://www.intenex.net/lists/listinfo/mindfreedom-zapback

~~~~~~~~~~

MindFreedom International Office:

454 Willamette, Suite 216 - POB 11284; Eugene, OR 97440-3484 USA

web site: http://www.mindfreedom.org
e-mail: office@mindfreedom.org
MFI member services phone: (541) 345-9106
MFI member services toll free: 1-877-MAD-PRIDe or 1-877-623-7743
new fax: (480) 287-8833

~~~~~~~~~~~~

MindFreedom International is a 100 percent independent nonprofit
united to win activist campaigns for human rights and alternatives in
mental health.

Join or renew early here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/join-donate

Monday, November 24, 2008

Huge med change today

Went to the doc today, blood work indicated lithium still wasn't even near therapeutic level, so it's now at 2800. It was at 3100 in March when I got sick. Cymbalta stayed same at 60 ,I was hoping to start tapering down to 40. And Klonepin is now daily at 10 mg.


I feel like a zombie, with the bucket next to me. And my hands are shaking I cannot hold a cuppa tea. I wouldn't mind a cute single guy come over and make me some soup though.


Anyway, will write tomorrow. Just taking a day off to be a couch potato tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Destiny in a nutshell

From Law and Order: CI

Bela Khan: Do you believe in destiny, Detective Logan?

Mike Logan: I believe you make your own destiny.

Bela Khan: My fate is already written



"Assasin" episode

I wonder if Werther wrote this

From my friend LP

We do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds; our planet is the mental institution of the universe.
-- Goethe

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Even in the darkest places there is hope.

They are survivors. If you don’t have respect for their strength you can’t be of any help. It’s a privilege that they let you in – there’s no reason they should trust you – none. You can’t know their terror – It’s your worst nightmare come true – a nightmare from which you can never awaken. It’s unrelenting. There has been no safety: no one, no time, no thing – all was tainted. Hope was obliterated – time and time again. ...

- Posted inside Del Amo Hospital, Torrance California

Friday, November 21, 2008

Call to Action Alert for a California Attorney


Hat Tip to Stephany of Soulful Sepulcher.

Stan Cavers, the blogmaster of "Is There Something Not Quite Right With Stan", is not only a good blogger, but he has a poet's soul when he writes. He also knows a great deal about the inner workings of mental health occupations, and has seen the good, bad and the ugly. I respect him for all he has gone through and suffered.

Stephany and I are both mental health advocates. I am as disgusted over what happened to Stan, as is Stephany.

Stephany writes:

As a mental health advocate I am extremely frustrated with recent futile attempts to gain legal representation for Stan Cavers, who was assaulted at his workplace June 13, 2008, and suffered a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) as a result, then terminated from his job the very next day.

Stan diligently battled in spite of his injury, representing himself in court to gain Workman's Compensation after the provider attempted to deny Workman's Compensation by saying it was a previous psychological issue, and Bipolar Disorder.

Stan won the Workman's Compensation case, and November 12, 2008 the Judge deemed and filed, in the State of California, that Stan is disabled as a result of the head injury and shall receive under court order treatment stated in 2 medical reports that were completed as a result of Workman's Compensation attempt to prove psychological problems when in fact it is TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury).

This week the workman's compensation company, CorVel Corporation has denied all services for treatment, breaking the Judge's court order.Though Stan has already been evaluated for treatment in Seattle by the doctor referred to by CorVel, the doctor's office was notified that further treatment was denied.

This is now a wrongful termination and discrimination lawsuit and a call to action and alert to all attorneys for legal representation.

Stan's injury occurred in California and Stan currently resides in the State of Washington.

Representation in California is needed.

Please leave information in comments or email.

(No advertising or junk mail please, it will go to spam)

--
Further ADA reading:

ADA -Americans with Disabilities Act.

Enforcing the ADA:
A Status Report from the Department of Justice.

More on the Florida Internet suicide

This just breaks my heart. My sympathies are with his family.

From ABC News.


Florida Teen Live-Streams His Suicide Online
Abraham Biggs, 19, Was Egged On by Fellow Bloggers, Cops Say

By EMILY FRIEDMAN
Nov. 21, 2008 —

A Florida teenager who used a webcam to live-stream his suicide Wednesday was reportedly encouraged by other people on the Web site, authorities told ABCNews.com.

"People were egging him on and saying things like 'go ahead and do it, faggot,' said Wendy Crane, an investigator at the Broward County Medical Examiner's office.

Abraham Biggs, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., had been blogging on an online body-building message board and had linked to his page on Justin.tv, a live video streaming Web site, where the camera rolled as he overdosed on prescription pills, according to Crane.

Biggs, who had reportedly been discussing his suicide on the forums, also posted a suicide note on a body-building forum, which has since been taken down, in which he wrote, "I hate myself and I hate living."

"I have let everyone down and I feel as though I will never change or never improve," Biggs wrote in the posting. "I am in love with a girl and I know that I am not good enough for her. I have come to believe that my life has all been meaningless. I keep trying and I keep failing. I have thought about and attempted suicide many times in the past."

The video and blog postings have since been removed from the sites, but Crane, who has seen both, said that at first viewers thought the suicide was a hoax.

"The bloggers said that Biggs had threatened to kill himself before and had faked it, so at first they didn't believe him," said Crane. "Gradually, as you read the blog further into the day the bloggers start commenting on how Biggs isn't moving."

Crane said comments on the thread included an exchange about whether the image of Biggs' motionless body was a still photograph or a video, and eventually resulted in one of the site's visitors calling the police, who tracked down the teen through his computer IP address.

According to Wired magazine, online viewers watching the video ranged from "OMG" -- Internet slang for oh my god -- and LOL -- an abbreviation for laughing out loud.

Blog Posts

On a blog where Biggs wrote about his suicidal thoughts, which has since been removed, commenters wrote, "hahaha hahahahha hahahahahah ahhaha." Wired reported that someone else wrote: "Instant Darwinism ..." to which a fellow commenter wrote: "f**king a nicely put." Others called the teen a "coward," "faggot" and a "dick."

In the Web stream, Crane said viewers saw a piece of a door frame -- which had splintered from the police kicking in the teen's bedroom door -- hit Biggs, who is curled up on his bed and facing away from the camera.

"Then you see a police officer go in and check on him, and then the EMS pronounced him dead," said Crane.

Biggs was pronounced dead at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 19 -- about 12 hours after he had begun blogging about his suicide.

The official cause of death was suicide combined with drug toxicity. Crane said that benzodiazepines and opiates were found near the body, but a blood toxicology to quantify just how much Biggs consumed is still under way.

Crane said that at least one of the prescription drugs was in Biggs' name.

Michael Seibel, the CEO of Justin.tv, posted a blog entry on the site titled "A Moment of Silence."

"Justin.tv staff would like to take a moment to recognize and reflect upon the tragedy that occurred within our community today," wrote Seibel. "We respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this challenging time."

Reached by telephone, Biggs' father, Abraham Biggs Sr., told ABCNews.com that he was shocked to learn of his son's death.

"He was a good kid. Everyone knows him," said Biggs. "We live together and everything was fine -- I'm so surprised."

Biggs' father was not home at the time of his son's suicide, and the father told ABCNews.com that he was not aware that his son used Justin.tv.

Biggs had struggled with depression, according to his father, and had been prescribed medication for bipolar disorder. Benzodiazepine is commonly prescribed as a sleep aid or an anti-anxiety medication.

Even so, Biggs had been "doing better," according to his father and had been attending daily classes at Broward College, where he was pursing a career as a paramedic.

Internet Provides Outlet to Suffer in Public

"I am upset that Justin.tv streamed this live," said Biggs. "I have not seen it, and I do not intend to look at it.

"There seems to be a lack of control as to what people put out on the Internet," he said. "There's a lot of garbage out there that should not be, and unfortunately, this was allowed to happen."

David Griner, a social media strategist for Luckie & Company, said that while public deaths are not new, online chatrooms provide an especially accessible forum for those debating suicide.

"The social Web tends to create a sideshow atmosphere, like public executions in the 1700s," said Griner. "The anonymity and lack of personal connection bring out the worst in people."

Griner points out that there have been several other online suicides, and some have been faked as well.

In February 2008 a girl who identified herself only as "90 Day Jane" wrote an anonymous blog chronicling the days leading up to her death. The blog turned out to be a hoax, and "Jane" later described it as an "art project."

The United Kingdom had an online suicide in March 2007, when 42-year-old Kevin Whitrick hanged himself while others watched. According to the BBC, some onlookers tried to stop him while others urged him on.

"The explosion of high-speed Internet access in the past few years has made it so that almost anyone can broadcast a live video in front of a global audience," said Griner. "It's impossible for sites like Justin.tv to monitor everything that's going on, so that puts the burden on the community to help stop bad things from happening."

Griner believes that those who encourage suicidal people are simply a sad reality of an unrestricted World Wide Web. Even so, some potential suicides are prevented on the Internet as well.

"You'll always have the morbid jerks who yell 'Jump!' when someone's on a rooftop, and you'll always have people threatening suicide in a public venue," said Griner. "And while it's easy to focus on the abundance of bloodthirsty trolls online, the bright side is that the Internet also gives more decent people the opportunity to intervene and try to save a life."

"Most times, they just need someone to talk to, and the Internet is the only forum they have."

Copyright © 2008 ABC News Internet Ventures

In Cyberspace, no one can hear your scream



I thought I heard everything last year when a man in the UK committed suicide online. But apparently it just happened again, this time in the state of Florida, and it was a teenager.

I don't want the internet to turn into a nanny state, but on the other hand, if you scream in cyberspace, someone should hear it and act accordingly.



From the Associated Press News Wire:

Florida teen commits suicide in front of webcam
November 21, 2008 1:16 PM EST
MIAMI, Florida - A Florida teenager died of a lethal drug overdose in front of a live online webcam audience 12 hours after he started blogging about his plan to commit suicide, an investigator said Friday.

Abraham Biggs, 19, died Wednesday from a toxic combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, a drug used to treat insomnia and depression, said Wendy Crane, an investigator with the Broward County medical examiner's office. At least one of the drugs was prescribed to him, but it was unclear how he got the others, Crane said.

Some of those watching encouraged Biggs, others tried to talk him out of it, and a few were debating whether the dose he took was lethal, Crane said. It's unclear how many people were watching.

Biggs stated his intentions on a forum at bodybuilding.com, where some users said they did not take him seriously because he had made previous statements about killing himself, Crane said. Biggs posted a link from there to Justin.tv, a site that allows users to broadcast live videos from their webcams.

Someone finally notified the moderator of the body building site's forum, who traced the teen's location to Pembroke Pines and called police, Crane said. Biggs was dead by the time they got to his house in midafternoon on Wednesday, Crane said. He had started blogging about 12 hours earlier.

"He was just seen laying on the bed at that point," she said.

Condolences poured into his MySpace page, where the mostly unsmiling teen is seen posing in a series of pictures with various young women.

A woman who answered the phone at Biggs' home and identified herself as his sister said the family was still dealing with his death and declined immediate comment.

Biggs' father, Abraham Biggs Sr., told ABCNews.com that he was not home when his son died. He said his son struggled with depression and had been prescribed benzodiazepine to treat bipolar disorder.

Biggs had been "doing better," his father said. "He was a good kid."

The elder Biggs said he was upset that Justin.tv streamed his son's suicide live.

"There seems to be a lack of control as to what people put out on the Internet," the elder Biggs said. "There's a lot of garbage out there that should not be, and unfortunately this was allowed to happen."

In a statement, Justin.tv CEO Michael Seibel said: "We regret that this has occurred and want to respect the privacy of the broadcaster and his family during this time."

Messages left with the body building Web site were not immediately returned Friday. A spokesman said Pembroke Pines police are investigating but declined further comment.

Crane said she knows of at least one other case in which a South Florida man shot himself in the head in front of an online audience, although she didn't know how much viewers saw.

In Britain last year, a man hung himself while chatting online.

Polly want a Prozac?

No one loves animals more than me. Imagine my shock to see this yesterday- a parrot given Prozac to cope with the loss of his human companion.

From Telegraph.Co.UK November 20, 2008....



Parrot given Prozac after owner dies
A parrot is taking Prozac for depression following the death of its owner.

By Charlotte Bailey
Last Updated: 12:17PM GMT 20 Nov 2008


Fred, an African Grey parrot, was owned by George Dance, who had rasied him from a chick.

After Mr Dance died nine months ago, Fred became depressed and bit off all of his neck feathers. He also began to bob his head up and down all day as a result of his low mood.

The bird has now been prescribed a twice-daily liquid dose of a bird-friendly version of Prozac, called Clomicalm.

George's widow Helen, from Somerset, told The Sun: "He has been in quite a state since my husband died.
"Fred was very close to George and became depressed."

According to experts, tropical birds are extremely emotional and the number who require anti-depressants is growing.

Late last year, a collie-Labrador cross called Winnie was given Clomicalm after it began to cry and pace nervously.

An animal behaviourist diagnosed Winnie with canine separation anxiety, and the mood-altering drug now helps her to cope

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's been 2 years this week

Med Adjustment Today


I saw the P-doc yesterday. My lithium level was not at a therapeutic level, so it was moved from 1200 mg to 2100 mg. Klonepin, 5 mg has also been added to the mix, as well as my Cymbalta at 60 mg.

I will most likely be out of commission today, while my body gets adjusted to this. I hope to be able to write this afternoon, but in case I cannot, here are some more blogs I love, which I highly recommend. All blogs are on my blog roll.


(In no particular order)

1.
Is Something Not Quite Right With Stan?


What to say about this blog? Stan has clearly gone through hell in the mental health world, and when he writes about it, it is sheer poetry. It's also an inspirational blog, someone who has been through hell and back and by his example, offers hope to those still in the system wanting to get out.

2.
Psych Survivor 2.0


Mark has also been through the mill in the mental health world, and his story had me crying uncontrollably. He is an incredibly strong person, and the only person I know of under the age of 50 who knows the "Who's on First" comedy routine.


3.
Bipolar Wellness Writer


Susan (yes, another Susan!), writes about recovery and gives very good tools for recovery. I have learned so much from her, and besides- can anyone named Susan be bad?


4.
Seroxat (Paxil) Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted

Fiddy writes and reports about Seroxat- Paxil in the USA- and is the champion whistle blower on the side effects on this drug. Personally, out of the 37 psych meds I have been on, Paxil gave me no major affects other than nausea, but I had some hellish issues on Prozac. Reading his blog makes me feel blessed I had no side effects on Paxil, some of the stories are horrifying.

Fiddy is also a cool dude and when he is not blogging about Seroxat, he is writing about AC/DC. The band. Not electric currents invented by Westinghouse, Edison and Tesla.


5.
My Medicated Cartoon Life


This little gem came to my attention from James of "Finding Optimism". The blogger writes about mental health issues via cartoons, and is brilliant at it. Besides, who doesn't like cartoons?


6.
Serendipity Dog


Yes I was only going to do five today- but I LOVE LOVE LOVE this blog, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE Koda the blue eyed doggie. Koda, is a therapy dog to both Stephany of "Soulful Spelchur" and her youngest daughter. Besides, I am a sucker for men with blue eyes.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Amazing people who wrote for Ray Sandford


Ray Sandford, a resident of Minnesota, has been getting ECT. He does not want this procedure and is fighting it, along with the kind people at Mind Freedom, and the bloggers of the Internet.

These letters were just posted on the Mind Freedom Website.

My views on ECT are as follows. I had it done, against my will. If you want to have it done, fine. If you don't, you shouldn't. ECT caused a lot of damage to my brain, to my memory, to my life. I wouldn't wish this procedure on my worst enemy.

Take a look to read these letters, and thanks to all who wrote in behalf of Ray. Lets hope he never has another round of this again.


http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/sandford-support-letters/



ETA: Mind Freedom has been added to my blog roll.

Monday, November 17, 2008

I got tagged! 8 random facts

I got tagged by Fiddy, the webmaster of Seroxat (Paxil) Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted


The tag rules are as follows:


Each player starts with eight random fact/habits about themselves.

People who are tagged need to write in their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.

At the end of your blog post tag eight people and list their names.

Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged and to read your blog.


1. I was born in Manhattan, and spent the first 8 months of my life in a foster home on Long Island until I was adopted.

2. I have lived in NJ my whole life, since I was 8 months old, except one year when I lived in LA.

3. When I lived in LA I did a lot of voice work and met people who do voices on the "Simpsons" and "South Park". I even had an
agent.

4. I have driven the Staten Island Ferry and the Docklands light railroad. (The conductor was by my side).

5. I have been on TV twice, once on the Morton Downey Show and once on Jeopardy!

6. My favorite TV shows of all time are Spongebob, Law and Order CI, and Red Dwarf.

7. I have written 3 novels, all unpublished, and a childrens book.

8. I have had poems and Erotica professionally published.

9. (for good measure). I am an amateur astronomer.


I am not passing this on, but if you want to play, consider yourself tagged.

Ray Sandford-Alert 3

I would like to thank Marian, the webmistress of :"Different Thoughts" for the update. Her insightful blog is on my blogroll.



MindFreedom International - 16 November 2008
Ray Human Rights Alert #3: Please Forward

Now see a photo of Ray here:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

Media ought to ask, "What is Minnesota Governor Pawlenty's
position on Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock (IOE)?"

Ray gets a one week reprieve.

First the good news.

Within days of MindFreedom launching its campaign on 7 November 2008
to stop the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray
Sandford, his doctor has decided to "skip a Wednesday."

Ray says that this coming Wednesday, 19 November 2008, for the first
time in months, Ray will not be escorted against his will, under
court order, from his Minnesota home out in the community to his 34th
involuntary outpatient electroshock.

So there's a reprieve for Ray.

For one week.

The bad news is that Ray's doctor said Ray's forced outpatient
electroshocks will resume on Wednesday, 26 November 2008, the day
before the USA holiday of Thanksgiving.

Ray said his involuntary shock will then continue every other week.

We don't know if the one-week reprieve is because of the MindFreedom
campaign, but we know MindFreedom News readers are having an impact.

Since the MindFreedom first alert went out nine days ago, on 7
November 2008:

*** Many people from all over the world have e-mailed and phoned
the offices of the Governor of Minnesota, along with social service
agencies, media, and the hospital where Ray receives his electroshock
against his expressed wishes.

*** For the first time, thousands of people are now aware of the
existence of IOE -- Involuntary Outpatient Electroshock.

*** A few national and local media are now actively investigating.

*** Several advocacy agencies and human rights organizations are
expressing concern and getting involved.

*** Several volunteer attorneys are now in touch to provide
assistance.

*** Volunteers are visiting Ray and sending him their support,
and Ray tells us he is grateful. One volunteer took the photo of Ray
shown on the web version of this alert:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

*** MindFreedom's "Zapback" e-mail list is coordinating the
campaign.

*** A disability professor and her class of students have called
up Ray and are taking on his campaign as a project.

*** And more.

Thank you, everyone.

Keep up the pressure and the support!

KEEP IT UP!

First, keep phoning and e-mailing, especially if you have not so far.
Show there is national and international concern!

Here are the links to the original two MindFreedom alerts, which have
information about how to e-mail and phone the Governor of Minnesota,
and how to write or visit Ray:

7 Nov: Alert #1:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray-sandford

12 Nov: Alert #2 - Governor Phone-In Campaign:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/pawlenty-electroshock

16 Nov: Alert #3 - Link to this alert with photo of Ray:
http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray

SOLVE A MYSTERY!

Second, help MindFreedom answer the main mystery.

Despite all this public interest the question remains, "What is
Governor Pawlenty's position on Minnesota laws allowing involuntary
outpatient electroshock?"

Is this Governor, who campaigns for "limited government," for such
laws or against them?

Unfortunately, the Governor's office has not responded to any of the
many e-mails or phone calls requesting his policy position. The
Governor's office is immediately forwarding citizen inquiries to a
voice mail, and then not replying to the voice mail.

We need media to ask the Governor for us. Please forward this alert
to all media, small and large, from newspapers to bloggers.

Media can direct questions to:

Brian McClung
Director of Communications for Minnesota's Governor
phone: (651) 296-0001.

Media ought to ask, "What is Governor Pawlenty's position on
Minnesota laws allowing involuntary outpatient electroshock?"

Sometimes the Governor's office is re-directing calls to the
Minnesota Department of Human Rights. At first that sounds good. But
this office says it is only focused on determining whether narrow
discrimination complaints are legally valid. A spokesperson said this
department makes no statements about policy.

This Minnesota agency said they are planning a major one-day human
rights conference and forum on 5 December. One barrier is the "forum"
costs $200.

For information on this Minn. Dept. of Human Rights, and their
"forum," click here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/shield/ray/minnesota-human-rights-conference
or use this link:
http://tinyurl.com/mn-human-rights

You can also keep up with some of the latest developments about the
Ray Campaign on the MindFreedom blog by MindFreedom director David
Oaks, here:

http://www.mindfreedom.org/mfi-blog

Disclaimer: Because the State of Minnesota won't reply, portions of
these alerts are based on Ray's personal statements. By Ray's own
admission, he now has severe memory problems. Therefore, journalists
may want to find a second source to confirm accuracy.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Now I know why cats have 9 lives


Amazing.

Up until last night she was sick, groggy, wouldn't let me near her, just wanted to sleep on my bed.

I went out to the local diner to meet up with some friends from out of town, and came home to a miracle. A MIRACLE!

The food dish was half full of kibble. The water bowl was empty. And the litter box- well, let's just say it was full. How so much poop can come out of a little cat, i don't know. But if there was ever an award for the cat who made the most poo, she would get an Olympic Gold.

And best of all, she was playing and running around the house, met me when I opened the door, rubbed up against my legs and did her happy kitty dance.

Right now she is snoozing on my lap as i type. Six am is too early to be awake if you are a cat.

Thank you all for your love and support . She is my best friend, and I am blessed to have her. and I am blessed to have such great readers.

Definitely back to Mental Health issues now, and no more about Holly.

In the mean time, let me dance around the apartment to the tune of "Happy Happy Joy Joy!". I would post the video, but it's been taken off of You Tube. (Ren and Stimpy. Great cartoon).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cannot blog today, sick cat redux





I enjoyed my night with Holly, and slept like a baby next to her in my bed.

This morning was a different story. She has not used her litter box since she came home, and will not eat or drink. I called the vet and am waiting for her call to tell me to bring the cat in, to see what is going on again.

I really want to thank all people who have come via Blogs.com, and Spark.Com this week- my hits for this site have hit a week record of over 1000 so far. I am humbled. I owe you all something about Mental Health, but right now, I need to take care of my family, which is my cat. I may write tonight, I may just turn off the computer, and listen to the new AC/DC album that arrived from Amazon, and was recommended to me by Fiddy, webmaster of Seroxat (Paxil) Sufferers Stand Up and Be Counted.


I want to recommend some really good blogs and sites, just a few from my daily reads and tell them Holly and Susan sent you. All are on my blog roll, since I still don't know how to do hyperlinks.

1.
Furious Seasons
- both for Philip Dawdy's journalistic skill, and the reader's comments. Advice, make your self a cup of coffee, or tea, and really take the time read the comments as well. I cannot think of another site anywhere on the blogosphere that generates such thoughtful debates.

2.
Beyond Meds
- Gianna Kali writes about meds and their side effects. No one, does this better.

3.
Soulful Spulcher
- Stephany is the mother of daughter who is recovering from a nightmare from meds, and hospitals. I honestly think, Stephany should get the :"mother of the year"- award- after my own mother, of course.

4.
Finding Optimism
- James' site can always be counted on for lifting you out of sadness.

5.
It's Quite An Experience
- Matt is currently blogging about his fish tanks, and Holly loves looking at the fish. Free range sushi, anyone?

6.
Merelyme's
blog. She is currently blogging about writing and writing skills- must read for all of us doing NaMoWriMo this month....

7.
Storied Mind
- John D writes like a dream about his battles with depression.

8.
The Trouble With Spikol
- because Liz loves animals and does get it about mental health issues. Now that the election is over, she is getting back to her roots, mental health issues with occasional cute fixes thrown in.

9.
Ambibexteroua
. Bex is going through a bad patch right now, but man, can this guy write! His blog is new, so I would love people to take a look at it, and tell Bexter is he not alone with his depression, and struggles with alcoholism. He has a beautiful yellow lab puppy on the site too.

10. And lastly, Holly's favorite site-
Serendipity Dog
. Yeah, Koda is a dog, but he is amazing, and he does share his life with a cat named Sammy.


But in all honesty, all the blogs on my blog roll are keepers.

Hopefully I will be back to blogging ASAP. In the mean time, I posted a new picture of Holly on this piece.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Call to Action:Telephone Gov Pawlenty, MN, on Wed

I want to thank Stan, from the amazing blog, "Is Something Not Quite Right with Stan" for this Hat Tip! (There is a link to his blog on my blogroll).


Ray Sandford & MindFreedom: Call to Action: Telephone Governor Pawlenty on Wednesdays

MindFreedom has a call to action to telephone Minnesota Governor Pawlenty every day and ask these questions regarding the forced ECT treatment of outpatient Ray Sandford:


"Action: Telephone Governor Pawlenty's office now: From anywhere in the world phone (651) 296-3391. From inside Minnesota phone toll free: (800) 657-3717.You can leave a message at any time. You can reach staff any non-holiday weekday from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm Central Time.Call any day, but especially call on Wednesdays.


Be polite but be firm and persistent. Ask one or more of these questions:


1. Does the Governor support Minnesota laws allowing involuntary outpatient electroshock?

2. Is the Governor aware that some Minnesota citizens are being escorted from their homes using court orders to receive involuntary electroshock?


3. How many Minnesota residents receive electroshock against their wishes, as either an inpatient our outpatient?


4. Who collects this data?


5. How is this data reported to the public?


And if you have any doubts about this campaign, go ahead and ask,


6. "Are reports on the Internet true that some Minnesota residents receive electroshock involuntarily on an outpatient basis?"


You may be directed to another department such as Human Rights. Do not give up. Keep asking. If you do not get a return call soon, call back to complain.If you do receive any helpful information, e-mail it to news@mindfreedom.org.


UPDATE 10:43 am Pacific Time: Staff in several offices is definitely aware of this campaign.


Phone calls to Governor now mainly seem to be re-directed to a voice mail. Please leave a clear message and ASK FOR A CALL BACK. If you do NOT get a call back in a day or two, please phone again asking for a call back.


I urge every Mental Health Blogger that believes forced ECT is Wrong and Inhumane to copy and paste this article to their site.


Thank you,

Stan

Holly is home!


Miss Holly has been home about two hours now, and I am pleased to report she is on my lap, while I write on the computer, purring softly. Her purr isn't back to where it was, but it's a purr. I can feel her heart against my jeans, and it is the nicest thing in the world.

She has had a rough couple of days. She apparently is a klutz like her "mother" and sprained her back leg and tail when she fell off some piece of furniture. It was so painful, she apparently stopped with making number 2 in her box. That backed up over the one day she didn't go, and made her sick as well. She had actually been using her box, but only a bit was getting out. When they X-rayed her they found the blockage. Don't ask me how they got it out, I assume cat strength prune juice?


Holly was a rescue cat from Mercer County. She was due to be put down, and was rescued by an agency that rescues cats. She was rescued on Christmas Eve, hence the name "Holly".


Shortly thereafter, she had 6 kittens. Two were white with black patches, one was white with grey patches, one was a grey tabby, and 2 looked like Holly.  Their names were, Kringle, Joy, Noel, Merry, Vixen, and Feliz.
 
That Holly is such a smart girl....

All kittens were adopted, but Holly stayed at this foster mother's house in Trenton for 2 years because she was considered unadoptable.


I adopted Holly about 5 weeks after the death of my former cat at the ripe old age of 17. She has been a delight, and I don't think I could have gotten over the loss of my marriage if it wasn't for this cat. She truly is a miracle in fur to me.

She is doped up from surgery, and I was told to keep an eye on her until the anesthesia cause she is a bit woozy.

I am overwhelmed by the love and support from my readers. It was touching. I just want everyone to know she is going to be OK and thank you so much for caring about one cat- who is my best friend.

Love,


Susan

Back to mental health issues tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

DNR






I had to go to the vet today to check on Holly and sign paperwork for surgery. They don't know what is wrong with her, so they will be X-raying her, doing blood work, and they said they think they need to do surgery.

They are also clipping her front and back claws, and giving her maintance shots that are due next month. (Felv, rabies, distemper).

I signed all the forms no problem, but then the last form threw me. It was a form for DNR (Do Not Resuscitate). I have seen it for people, I had one done this past March for myself. But I never heard of one for a cat, or a dog for that matter. Never.

I asked to sit down and read this form. The vet let me do so, and I read, and thought and just thought. My first instinct was "yes, absolutely", but then I thought of a book about one of my favorite authors, now dead. Raymond Carver, "No Heroics, Please".

I thought of Carver dying of cancer, and my mind was made up. I told them "No Heroics" for my fur baby, let her have dignity. She is almost 9 and I do believe she still has some of her nine lives left.

They let me go in the back to see her. She was in a cage, heavily sedated. She couldn't move her head to see me but her eyes lit up. She had an IV drip in one of her front paws, taped down. Her fur there had been shaved, I guess for the tape. The assistant said she has not eaten in over 12 hours, has not urinated or defecated. She cannot move one of her legs, and snarls and meows if she is touched.

The assistant was optimistic that once she is under anesthesia, they will figure out what is making her so ill. I hope so to. It is heart breaking to see someone you love sick.

She's just a cat. Just a cat. But she is also my best friend and I love her so much.
The apartment is empty without her and I am looking at one of her catnip mousies and her food bowl and tears are rolling down my face onto the keyboard.

Stay Strong Holly. Sweet little fur ball

Monday, November 10, 2008

Very sick cat





Holly was taken to the vet today. Vet would not get near her, she was in too much pain and would hiss and snarl. She bit me hard and scratched me that I might have to get stitches.


Vet will knock her out tomorrow and examine her. She is at vet tonight, heavily sedated and hopefully sleeping.

Please pray.

Love,

Susan

General Breaks Silence on Mental Health





Tomorrow- 11/11= is Veterans Day. My father is a Veteran, as is one of my dearest friends. Rather than going shopping, take a minute to remember those who served and those who didn't come home so we can have our freedoms that so many in other countries do not have.

This from a newspaper yesterday.


General Breaks Cultural Silence on Mental Health

Saturday , November 08, 2008


WASHINGTON —

It takes a brave soldier to do what Army Maj. Gen. David Blackledge did in Iraq.
It takes as much bravery to do what he did when he got home.

Blackledge got psychiatric counseling to deal with wartime trauma, and now he is defying the military's culture of silence on the subject of mental health problems and treatment.

"It's part of our profession ... nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area," Blackledge said of mental health problems among troops returning from America's two wars.

"I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now," said Blackledge, who came home with post-traumatic stress. "We need to be able to talk about it."

As the nation marks another Veterans Day, thousands of troops are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with anxiety, depression and other emotional problems.

Up to 20 percent of the more than 1.7 million who've served in the wars are estimated to have symptoms. In a sign of how tough it may be to change attitudes, roughly half of those who need help aren't seeking it, studies have found.

Despite efforts to reduce the stigma of getting treatment, officials say they fear generals and other senior leaders remain unwilling to go for help, much less talk about it, partly because they fear it will hurt chances for promotion.

That reluctance is also worrisome because it sends the wrong signal to younger officers and perpetuates the problem leaders are working to reverse.

"Stigma is a challenge," Army Secretary Pete Geren said Friday at a Pentagon news conference on troop health care. "It's a challenge in society in general. It's certainly a challenge in the culture of the Army, where we have a premium on strength, physically, mentally, emotionally."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, asked leaders earlier this year to set an example for all soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines: "You can't expect a private or a specialist to be willing to seek counseling when his or her captain or colonel or general won't do it."

Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, an Army psychiatrist heading the defense center for psychological health and traumatic brain injury, is developing a campaign in which people will tell their personal stories. Troops, their families and others also will share concerns and ideas through Web links and other programs. Blackledge volunteered to help, and next week he and his wife, Iwona, an Air Force nurse, will speak on the subject at a medical conference.

A two-star Army Reserve general, 54-year-old Blackledge commanded a civil affairs unit on two tours to Iraq, and now works in the Pentagon as Army assistant deputy chief of staff for mobilization and reserve issues.

His convoy was ambushed in February 2004, during his first deployment. In the event that he's since relived in flashbacks and recurring nightmares, Blackledge's interpreter was shot through the head, his vehicle rolled over several times and Blackledge crawled out of it with a crushed vertebrae and broken ribs. He found himself in the middle of a firefight, and he and other survivors took cover in a ditch.

He said he was visited by a psychiatrist within days after arriving at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington. He had several sessions with the doctor over his 11 months of recovery and physical therapy for his injuries.

"He really helped me," Blackledge said. And that's his message to troops.

"I tell them that I've learned to deal with it," he said. "It's become part of who I am."

He still has bad dreams about once a week but no longer wakes from them in a sweat, and they are no longer as unsettling.

On his second tour to Iraq, Blackledge traveled to neighboring Jordan to work with local officials on Iraq border issues, and he was in an Amman hotel in November 2005 when suicide bombers attacked, killing some 60 and wounding hundreds.

Blackledge got a whiplash injury that took months to heal. The experience, including a harrowing escape from the chaotic scene, rekindled his post-traumatic stress symptoms, though they weren't as strong as those he'd suffered after the 2004 ambush.

Officials across the service branches have taken steps over the last year to make getting help easier and more discreet, such as embedding mental health teams into units.

They see signs that stigma has been slowly easing. But it's likely a change that will take generations.

Last year, 29 percent of troops with symptoms said they feared seeking help would hurt their careers, down from 34 percent the previous year, according to an Army survey. Nearly half feared they'd be seen as weak, down from 53 percent.

The majority of troops who get help are able to get better and to remain on the job.



Fox News, November 9, 2008

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Action Alert- Stop the forced ECT of a man in MN

MindFreedom International — 7 November 2008
Human Rights Alert: Involuntary Electroshock
please forward

If it’s Wednesday, then Ray Sandford is Getting Escorted from His Home for Another Forced Electroshock

Minnesota Resident Gets Involuntary Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) On A Weekly Ongoing *Outpatient* Basis

ACTION: How You Can Easily E-mail Minnesota Governor

by David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

The past Wednesday morning after the historic USA election what were you doing?

I know what Ray Sandford, 54, was doing.

Each and every Wednesday, early in the morning, staff shows up at Ray’s sheltered living home called Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota, adjacent to Minneapolis.

Staff escorts Ray the 15 miles to Mercy Hospital.

There, Ray is given another of his weekly electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) treatments, also known as electroshock. All against his will. On an outpatient basis.

And it’s been going on for months.


Ray says the weekly forced electroshocks are “scary as hell.” He absolutely opposes having the procedure. He says it’s causing poor memory for names such as of friends and his favorite niece. “What am I supposed to do, run away?” Instead, Ray phoned his local library’s reference desk to ask about human rights groups, and the librarian referred him to MindFreedom International.

Ray called me at our office here at MindFreedom International about two weeks ago. At first I wasn’t sure I believed him.

Of course, MindFreedom International has documented proven cases of electroshock against the expressed wishes of the subject all over the world, including in the USA. MindFreedom succeeded in having the United Nations World Health Organization call in writing for a global ban on all involuntary electroshock.

But this is the first time I’ve been on the phone with someone getting court-ordered forced shock while living out in the community, on an outpatient basis.

This is the ultimate double whammy.

I confirmed Ray’s story by calling two staff at Victory House as well as his court-appointed conservator, Tonya Wilhelm of Luthern Support Services of Minnesota.

Ms. Wilhelm said, “We are following the letter of the law.” She said the State of Minnesota had secured a variety of court orders that require Ray to have forced electroshock against his expressed wishes. Ms. Wilehlm says it’s all legal and she can’t do anything about it.

Krista Erickson, chair of MindFreedom’s Shield Campaign, sees it differently. “This is terrible. This is a serious human rights violation that should stop. I hope MindFreedom members and supporters speak out. Even if Minnesota is following the letter of the current law, the law ought to be changed. And Ray has not had the legal power to appeal to higher courts.”

I pointed out to Conservator Wilhelm that the public — when they find out about forced electroshock — is passionately opposed to their taxpayer money being used to force such brutality on citizens. Ms. Wilhelm did let slip that what is happening to Ray — involuntary outpatient electroshock — is not that uncommon in Minnesota.

But when Ms. Wilhelm found out we at MindFreedom are issuing one of our public human rights alert to you and others, at Ray’s repeated request, she said something chilling.

Ms. Wilhelm claimed she had a legal right to stop MindFreedom!

Ms. Wilhelm told me, “Only I can give you permission legally to say anything publicly about this.”

I pointed out we are not a medical facility, and that if she falsely claims we’re doing anything illegal then this is defamation. Which really is illegal.

Ms. Wilhelm laughed loudly in the phone, said “let our lawyers talk,” and hung up on me. I hope she hung up to read the First Amendment.

Let’s disobey Ms. Wilhelm!

Spread Ray’s alert far and wide! Speak out against this electrical torture, now!

Because… Remember… While the world marvels at the power of USA democracy:

If it’s Wednesday morning, then Ray Sandford is being led from his home — which is supposed to be his castle — to get another weekly forced procedure that can cause brain damage and wipe out memories.

- David W. Oaks, Director, MindFreedom International

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Mind your freedom. Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

Forward this alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY!

And take the *below* actions. Thank you. Ray and I are counting on you!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

* * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * * ACTION * * *

You can do this in a moment. It’s free! DO IT NOW!

E-mail your firm but polite message to Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.

SAMPLE MESSAGE — your own words are best:

“Investigate the weekly involuntary outpatient electroshock of Ray Sandford. Every Wednesday morning, MindFreedom says Ray is brought from Victory House in Columbia Heights, Minnesota to Mercy Hospital for forced electroshock. Stop all forced electroshock today! Taxpayer money should not fund torture!” [Your name/contact.]

E-mail address: tim.pawlenty@state.mn.us

Or use this handy web form

~~~~~~~~~~~~

* * * ADDITIONAL ACTIONS TO SUPPORT RAY! * * *

1) E-mail a complaint to Luthern Social Services of Minnesota (LSSMN) about Ray’s conservator.

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that LSSMN employee Tonya Wilhelm tried to stop a public human rights alert by MindFreedom International about her client, Ray Sandford, who is receiving weekly outpatient involuntary electroshock at Mercy Hospital in Minneapolis. If verified, please reprimand, fire and replace Ms. Wilhelm, and please place this in her permanent personnel record. Please support human
rights.” [Your name/contact.]

Use LSSMN’s web page

Or phone Luthern Social Services at: (218) 726-4888

You can copy your message to headquarters of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA):

info@elca.org

From ELCA’s web site about their church: “It’s a story of a powerful and patient God who has boundless love for all people of the world, who brings justice for the oppressed.”

More right here

2) E-mail a complaint to Allina Hospital and Clinics, owner of Mercy Hospital.

Sample message:

“Investigate allegations that your patient Ray Sandford of Victory House is receiving involuntary outpatient electroconvulsive therapy against his will each Wednesday at Mercy Hospital.”

Use this web page

Or phone: (763) 236-6000

3) Ray is open to visitors and supportive postal mail:

Ray Sandford
Victory House
4427 Monroe St.
Columbia Heights, MN 55421-2880 USA

MindFreedom will print out and mail to Ray some of your e-mail messages to the Governor and others, and put some on the web. E-mail a copy of what you write to news@mindfreedom.org.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND ONE MORE THING!

Say “no” to mental health system censorship!

Disobey Ray’s conservator now!

PLEASE forward this public human alert to all appropriate places on and off the Internet, IMMEDIATELY! Thank you!




And for those who are interested, I had ECT in December of 2002. It was a huge mistake. My writing on this can be found here...


http://www.furiousseasons.com/archives/2007/07/a_readers_ect_experience.html

(Thank you Dawdy)


h/t to Gianna Kali at Beyond Meds

Friday, November 7, 2008

I Am A Top Mental Health Blog




I want to thank Therese Bouchard, of the blog "Beyond Blue" for compiling this list of "The Top Ten Mental Health Bloggers", for Blogs.com

The list is here.


http://www.blogs.com/topten/top-10-mental-health-blogs/index.html

Check it out. There are some real good gems here, like Philip Dawdy's "Furious Seasons", Liz Spikol's "The Trouble With Spikol", "Finding Optimism" by James Bishop, "Storied Mind" by John D, and McMan's Depression and Bipolar Web, where I got my start writing mental health articles. All are on my blog roll.

And of course, Therese's site. I look forward to reading the other blogs mentioned here later today.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

RIP Michael Crichton


I met Michael Crichton once. He was the tallest man I ever met.

From the BBC-












Michael Crichton, author of Jurassic Park has died, aged 66, after a "courageous and private battle against cancer," his family has said.
He penned the books Congo, Twister and the popular Jurassic Park trilogy, all of which were adapted into films.
He also created the long-running US hospital drama ER and his books have sold more than 150 million copies.
"He will be profoundly missed by those whose lives he touched," his family said in a statement.
Crichton has won an Emmy, a Peabody, and a Writer's Guild of America Award for ER.
He became the the toast of Hollywood when his 1971 novel The Andromeda Strain was turned into a film.



RIP.

What type of dog should the new First Dog be?


I am hard at work on a new piece, but thought I would engage in some silliness.

President Elect Obama promised his daughters a puppy if they were good during his campaign.

Last night he told them they would get a puppy.

Now, I hope he gets a puppy from the pound, or ASPCA, not a puppy mill.


But I wonder what kind of dog he should get to be the First Puppy?


I will toss in a White or Yellow Lab. Girl.


Any other ideas? I know there are a lot of dog people out there!
(The picture for this post is of Socks Clinton).

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

Today is Election Day in the USA.

it's the biggest election in my life time.

Please, please, please, if you live in the US and can vote do so.

Like other bloggers I respect, i don't care who you vote for. I do care that you vote.

If I can do it, so can you.


ETA: I waited over an hour and a half at my polling place. Bring a book or a walkman/ipod with you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Lemons, Luck and Freedom

I wish I had written this, but I didn't. It was written by friend of mine, Sean, a fellow journalist and writer in Tacoma, Washington.





Many of the bpers I've met seem to fall into a few categories.

Some:

1) embrace their illness and try to find the positive in it (turning lemons into lemonade)

2) try their best to live with it, despite the challenges (striving to turn lemons into lemonade, sometimes more successfully than at other times)

3) are simply resigned to it (knowing they've got lemons, but believing there is nothing they can do about it

4) fight it (wishing the lemons weren't there, but since they are, hoping the lemons will turn themselves into lemonade)

5) deny it ("What lemons?")
I realize this is a gross oversimplification and doesn't take into account financial circumstance, trust in pdocs, mixed dxes, level of functioning, severity of episodes and so forth. But when I look at that list, I can't help but wonder if the primary distinction between each of the items is a bper's attitude toward his or her illness. If it is, there's good news: Attitude is the result of a choice that we are free to make.

I had a professor who survived a concentration camp, where he was subjected over an extended period to the most painful medical experiments imaginable. During one of the most excruciating experiments, he found he had suddenly stopped caring about the pain.

The pain didn't go away, obviously, but it became more bearable because it taught him that there was a part of his character that the Nazis could never reach: his attitude toward his treatment, and that was fully in his control. He later described that realization as the most liberating moment in his life. Despite barbed wire, attack dogs, crematorium and armed guards, he never felt more free in his life.

My epiphany in this regard came in a far more benign environment -- at work. I was never a morning person, so I didn't especially like getting up and going to work each day. I also have a limited theshold for idiocy not of my own making, and hated stupid obstacles created by others and got easily frustrated.

One day, the business' head honcho asked me how I could possibly go through life with such an outlook. The way he looked at things, we get a finite number of days in our lives, and he couldn't understand how a person could stand to waste a single one. (I think his attitude was shaped in part by the fact that he'd lost several siblings when they were young.) He said he couldn't wait for the alarm to go off every morning so that he could get to work and tackle the challenges.


Scott Carson

He didn't see problems the way most of us do. I remember early one morning, when I could tell by the tension in his jaw that he'd just been on the receiving end of a particularly unpleasant telephone call with a corporate honcho. I said something like "Well, it doesn't look like your day is off to a great start!"

He looked to me as if I was nuts. From his perspective, that phone call brought him an unexpected problem that would require him to use intelligence, creativity and working with others to solve. That was NOT the attitude I brought to my work and my life, but over the course of the four years I worked with him his attitude rubbed off on me and others around him.

Realizing that we control our attitudes can give us a whole new way of looking at ourselves and the world. It changes EVERYTHING. Because of that change in perspective, I found myself feeling downright LUCKY when I was dxed with bp.
Lucky that there was now an explanation for my chronic depressions, my manic antics and my abusive behavior.

Lucky that bp was treatable, and that I lived in a time when medications could bring it under control.

Lucky that it brought me in contact with other bpers, both here and IRL.

Lucky that, because of bp, I had to face and learn to overcome challenges that other people would never know.
Once I thought of myself as lucky for such a dx, I became free to feel a sense of pride in achieving even the simplest everyday task during a depressive episode. Sometimes just crawling out of bed requires a good deal of willpower, when all my body wants to do is sleep, and knowing that I really won't feel like doing any of the things I need to do once I get up. So getting up can be a significant achievement.

I feel lucky to have such supportive friends here on MG who gave me such encouragement when I was on the downslope recently, and who show appreciation on those occasions when I can contribute something of value to them. I would never have had such friends except for bp, and my life would be so much the poorer.

It takes courage to be a bper. It takes resilience. But it needn't require resignation. I like to believe it is possible for many of us to embrace our illness, appreciating the advantages it's given us and looking for ways to mitigate the disadvantages. If we've been given a lot of lemons, we may not be able to make a lemon-chiffon pie, but lemonade may be within our reach.

We don't get to choose bper-hood. But as my professor observed, we are free to choose the attitude we wish to bring to any situation, no matter how terrible. And that, in his view, is the very definition of freedom. Our attitude is within our control, and we can make a tremendous difference in our lives if we exercise that choice.
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