I talk honestly and openly about my experiences with mental illness, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome through the lens of feminism, fat acceptance and process theology. I also do recipe and book reviews. My mission is to spread the message that hope is always real for a better life, despite living in a world that is often very harsh.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Tell Sonny Perdue that We Need More Community Services for Mental Health NOW!!!

I got a message a couple days ago from NAMI workers about the Department of Human Resources that is very sad and upsetting. It is important information, so I felt compelled to show it here:

> A DHR spokesperson admits that the DHR
> Blueprint really is NO plan—it is only a PowerPoint Presentation that
> an employee made. The DHR is “making it up as they go along”. It
> really IS an “ever changing” policy. Their doublespeak press releases
> say /they aren’t “closing” the hospital, they are repurposing it./ In
> regular English it means if anyone needs more intensive treatment,
> they will have to go at least 2-1/2 hours away. Community treatment to
> DHR is a few added services to the community, (which are needed more
> than ever because of 20 years of DHR cutbacks to mental health
> services in our communities).
> Please know that the ACT Team, Mobile Crisis Team and Crisis
> Stabilization Units ARE needed – especially in a time where DHR has
> removed the “true” community services. NAMI has requested ACT, Mobile
> Crisis and CSUs for years. We NEVER said those services should be in
> lieu of hospital beds in the community. Hospital beds are part of a
> full continuum of care that should be provided by the State of Georgia
> for the biological disease more commonly known as mental illness. IF
> the State provided the full continuum of care, it would cost the State
> $1.00 for every $7.00 that they are at present paying. They always
> would have been able to reduce psychiatric hospital beds due to a
> decreased need.
> We need to ask the Governor and his staff to have the * signing of HB
> 228 removing us from DHR with a great deal of celebration, not a quiet
> ceremony as is planned. * Georgia has made a huge step forward in
> beginning to fix the mental health system in our state.
> * Please call the Governor and Lt. Governor’s Offices with the
> following messages (in your own words)--or cut and paste using the
> links below: *
> * Gov Sonny Perdue Phone: (404) 656-1776 *
> *
> http://gov.georgia.gov/00/gov/contact_us/0,2657,78006749_94820188,00.html
> *
> * Lt. Gov.Casey Cagle Phone: * * (404) 656-5030 *
> http://ltgov.georgia.gov/00/agency/contact_us/0,2688,2199618_87997337,00.html
> *
> 1) THANK YOU for supporting the legislation removing us from DHR and
> please enact it immediately before more harm is done by DHR
> 2) Please name Gwen Skinner as Department of Behavioral Services and
> Developmental Disabilities Commissioner effective immediately. She can
> “hit the ground running” and she has the respect of legislators,
> consumers and advocates alike.
> 3) Please do not allow any more hospital “repurposing” by DHR until
> all effective community resources are in place (not just the ones and
> the few that Commissioner Walker has added in order to diffuse
> objections over the loss of hospital beds). We need to see the PLANs
> and the backup PLANs when the Blueprint “PLAN” doesn’t work.
> 4) Please call all of your legislators (State Representatives and
> State Senators) to ask them to *properly fund* the new Department. By
> doing this, they will SAVE Georgia money, not cost it more.
> There has been a direct correlation between increased incarcerations
> as institutions have been emptied. The answer is to decrease hospital
> beds because effective treatment, education and support has been given
> IN THE COMMUNITY. We need to get Georgia out of a crisis mode,
> failure-driven method of delivering mental health services which has
> been proven to not work. Georgians deserve a better MH Report Card
> Grade than * D * .
> */ Medical treatment cannot be delivered in a black and white manner -- /*
> */ especially when it involves GRAY MATTER /*

In Honor of National Poetry Month - A New Tradition

A few years ago I started a project and in honor of the ending of national poetry month, I am going to start a new blog tradition! The project is rewriting the Psalms from the Bible in a more feminist, inclusive manner. Other poets have already done this, but I honestly did not know that when I started the project! I am also horrible at finishing the artsy projects that I start, so in order to encourage myself to finish what I started, I am going to post one of my efforts once a week! I would absolutely LOVE any and all honest criticism-one day I would like to have them published, but I cannot do that if I never receive honest feedback! I have only shown them to a few people and those that have seen them, have liked them, but that does not mean that you will too... This first psalm is meant to be read in the call and answer style, with "L" meaning "Leader" and "P" for the "People."

Psalm 1

L: Blessed is the woman, man, or child who does not walk in the counsel of the ignorant
P: But walks with them
L: Nor stands in the path of sinners
P: But stands with them
L: Nor sits in the seat of the scornful
P: But sits with them.

All: One does not have to follow another’s counsel in order to feel their pain.
Blessed is the one whose delight is in the law of LOVE, and who meditates upon LOVE’s teachings both day and night.

L: O Blessed One, you shall be like a tree, planted by the rivers of water that brings forth in its season.
P: Whose leaf also shall not wither;

All: And whatever you do in truth shall prosper.

L: The ignorant are not to be feared, but are like dead weeds which the wind drives
away. Therefore, the ignorant shall not stand in the judgement.
P: But they will not be forgotten, for there is always room in the congregation of the righteous.

All: For LOVE knows the way of the righteous is a yearning inside every hungry heart and that one day the path of ignorance shall be no more.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Good Night, Friend-Bea Arthur, You Will be Missed!

The great comedian and feminist Bea Arthur died April 25 and she will be greatly missed. Her sharp wit made one laugh hard and think critically about women's issues at the same time. She was a success on television for very many obvious reasons, moving from hit to hit-first appearing on All In the Family, then Maude, and then Golden Girls. She was also in many musicals, movies, and specials. I believe she was a gift to the entertainment industry and to all of us. Even though I do adore the video of her reading Pamela Anderson's book at Anderson's Comedy Central's "Roasting," I decided to post her singing to her "friends" in the Star War's Christmas Special. Good night, my friend and keep God laughing and thinking.

http://www.youtube.com/v/RzXKySxPFCI&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344">

Friday, April 24, 2009

National Poetry Month

I just found out that it is national poetry month! I wish that I had found out sooner! I'm trying to think up something clever, but for now I want everyone to go check out the blog Shapely Prose at http://kateharding.net This is a blog by three fat activists and if you don't know what that is, then go check it out! They are also very witty and today in honor of national poetry month they are asking their readers to submit their own poetry on body image/food and the results are AMAZING! I submitted my own Vogon poetry about donuts, though mine is not the best by far. Go!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Remember Your Goals!

A couple of weeks ago, a member of NAMI Georgia asked me to write two articles for a newsletter for NAMI and I agreed. I was ecstatic! I was told that I could pick out one topic myself and then the other topic would be given to me. I immediately responded by saying that I would write about eating disorders awareness, so imagine my surprise when the person said that he didn't know if that was allowed! WHAT?!!!

This is my therapist's response when I told her what he said, "What?! Of course, it's allowed! They're in the DSM!"

Her response is basically what I said. He looked a little embarrassed, and then tried to laugh it off. To his credit, he told me that I should definitely write the article on eating disorder awareness, so that people will know that in the future.

The thing is, as a person who works for NAMI, he should know this. I felt horribly stigmatized. Are people with eating disorders not welcome at NAMI?

It took me a while to write back to him and ask for more details about the articles, because I was so hurt. I am proud of myself though, because I sent him an email explaining why it took me so long to respond-that I was offended by his lack of knowledge and that I felt stigmatized, which is the exact opposite of NAMI's goal.

And I received no response, except from my eating disorder.

I started ruminating about my weight more and more, making myself miserable and hungry.

Only today did I realize that the major reason why I have been doing this is because my subconscious has been thinking to itself, "You don't believe me? Well, I'll make you believe me! I'll make myself so sick that you will have to understand that an eating disorder is just as serious as any other mental illness and deserves just as much advocacy work!"

*Note: I never claimed that my subconscious is incredibly mature!

Fortunately, that is why one goes to see a therapist! When I told my therapist, Tara Arnold, who is absolutely wonderful, that I was thinking of leaving NAMI, she grounded me with these words of wisdom: "remember your goals!"

She reminded me that I my goals are to be a writer, an activist, and to have a support group. I should not give these goals up, just because someone is ignorant and I certainly should not destroy my health. Oh yeah.

I had let this person take my own power away and the worst thing about this is that by not forgiving him and moving on with my life, I am ultimately hurting myself far more than I am hurting him. I cannot accomplish my goals by giving into my eating disorder, that is for sure.

And I do know that I am welcome at NAMI and that not everyone is so ignorant, for there had been a woman at the meeting who also heard him say that to me. She told me that she knew it was an illness worth talking about for her own daughter-in-law had died from anorexia.

Eating disorders are a mental illness. Their definitions are contained in the DSM-the mental illness Bible. I am going to write those two articles and I am going to continue writing this blog until people understand this. In fact, eating disorders are the mental illness with the highest mortality rate! I just do not feel that that fact can be stressed enough, so I will say it once again:

Eating Disorders are Currently the Mental Illness with The Highest Mortality Rate!!!

Do insurance companies not care, because 90% of its victims are women? Is that why there is so much ignorance about it? As a feminist, it is certainly very hard to not make that assumption!

But the point of this post is that I will not forget or give up on my goals! After my therapy appointment, I tried out a new restaurant and discovered that Pete's Pizza in Marietta has an awesome fettucini spinach and artichoke heart stromboli! I'm on my way to realizing my goals-what are yours?

Friday, April 10, 2009

Don't You Want Me as a Roommate?!

I needed to use the rest of the sausage that I had used for the pasta dish, so one morning I got up a little early and made sausage and cheese omelets for everyone. Let me just say that whoever I end up rooming with will be very lucky! They turned out amazing, though I still need someone to teach me how to correctly turn an omelet...

(I gave up on making an omelet for myself and just scrambled the eggs.)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Write Sonny Perdue!

The bill was passed in Georgia recently that will create a new Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). This is wonderful news, as it means that departments - addictive services, mental health, and developmental disabilities-that were previously crammed together with other health departments will be able to finally able to get more of the attention and money that they deserve. Unfortunately, there are some lobbyists/politicians that do not see the benefits of this and want Sonny Perdue to veto this bill. Please write or call Georgia's governor, Sonny Perdue and let him know how important this bill is. The rights of those with mental disabilities has been shoved aside for far too long!

Here are some points from NAMI to consider when writing your letter:

- Thank you for your leadership in improving mental health care in Georgia.
- Executive order creating the Mental Health Service Delivery Commission in August of 2007 paved the way for a better mental health care system in Georgia.
- Passage of legislation on May 3, 2009, creating the new Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD)
- I wish to express to you just how much this development meant to me and my family
- New department will be able to focus ts considerable energy and resources on the recovery on thousands of Georgia's most vulnerable citizens without being diverted by other matters.
- Georgians served by this department will gain... in your own words
- New department, with its focus on just three divisions, gives new hope to all Georgians living wth mental illness
- Governor's leadership and continued support of the legislation that created this new department will make Georgia a better place to live.
- Looking forward to the signing into law of this legislation with great anticipation.


The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Governor, State of Georgia
State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Phone # is 404-656-1776

*Some senators and representatives said that they were going to kill this bill, but because so many people flooded the Houses with calls, they listened and it passed! We can do this again with the governor! Flood his desk with letters and his telophone lines with calls!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"I Am Beautiful" - My Recovery Artwork

I plan to write more today, but in the meantime here is some of my recovery-positive artwork. Happy viewing!

titled, "Escape"
Collage with beads from Haiti, shells and driftwood from Virginia, magazine cutouts, tissue paper, fake gems, other beads, stickers, and fabric

titled, "Imagine"
I found this posterboard already painted by my mom-probably just used to test different painting techniques. I then incorporated magazine cutouts, metallic paper and sheet music.