moonwalking…read at your own risk

speaking of walking forward but moving backward- noticing that direction is perception.

snapped this on a walk in the neighborhood the week before i left-


i’ve been making my own version of some cloudy indigo moons- will have more available just as soon as i can…

i haven’t yet mentioned how this whole trip to Houston started out. just needed to get past it all and work through it.
the week prior to leaving for Houston, it became abundantly clear that a planned post-show trip up to northern CA to check in on my mom was going to have to be turned into an emergency trip- right now!
(fortunately, i don’t have a *real* job- which for some people translates into not being responsible-it really is amazing to me how some people view what i do for a living even after 30 years of doing it-sorry folks )
unable to get any cooperation from agencies or authorities (adult protective services and the police department) i caught an impromptu flight north, grabbed a rental car and a cheap motel and started looking for her in the neighborhood where she resides. reports by neighbors of her sleeping outside her abode in the cold and rain, of talk of suicidal thoughts, an imminent eviction due to a severe hoarding compulsion complicated by her paranoid schizophrenic disorder and recent car accident that curtailed her ability to show up for her various volunteering activities were manifesting in an imperfect, perfect storm.

i can’t begin to explain the next course of events which ultimately resulted in my sister and i being able to get her temporarily into a psychiatric facility (you simply would not believe the hoops through which one must jump in order to have this occur even when all roads lead to this). i really have to thank a young woman named Tonja from the the CA Department of Housing and Community Development for believing me and seeing the predicament we were in for taking action afforded her agency and pressuring the other agencies (who actually had the duty to act but were extremely resistant to all reasonable actions- citing budget concerns….)
i am eternally grateful to her. i rushed back to LB to head out to houston with a day to pack and in a tizzy but i arrived- only to leave my sister to perform the rest of the mop-up.
she also took on the task of communicating with all the players while i was away and we talked nightly -usually after midnight – now both on TX time, to form the next plans and brainstorm a possible “solution” (not that there is a solution, mind you, just an approach). thanks sis!
with all this going on in the background of my show it made for many late nights and early mornings in Houston kept me extremely busy but one night i did manage to have dinner with some great gals- new friends that felt like old ones. we traded some reading lists…thanks carola, diane and joyce-it was a great evening!

again, more thanks and gratitude to those who helped me out and bolstered me up along the way-(and especially to phil for keeping everything at home in good order while i was gone and for putting up with my crazy life!!). it really made a world of difference.

i have been thinking more and more on how to imagine my way into her mind- a mind so completely different from my own. this is the challenge at the moment. it seems it may be the best hope for finding an effective way to communicate to her certain things that hopefully will improve her ability to retain a certain amount of (at least perceived) independence while keeping her safe in the most humane way possible.
jeeze- we have simply GOT to do a better job with how we treat and handle the mentally ill.
they are so vulnerable, so often victims, generally marginalized in our society, but in the end they are human beings! i think we better wake up to the fact that mental illness is on the rise and part of it is our own doing. i still say i am convinced that my mother is one of the “lucky” ones. she is just shy of 80, has lived on her own for the last 21 years, has taken no medications for probably 35 years, has no (none!) other physical or medical needs (other than some dentistry) and likely outlived every other patient that was in Western State when she was confined there for over 10 years in the 60’s and 70’s. i truly think there are some things to be learned from her experience that could help others. each case is so unique (imagine-we are all individuals!) but yet we are often trying to treat them as if they are not- as if one size fits most (it seems to benefit big pharma best this way-not to mention the $ medical/social service system we have in place-it seems related to how we want to treat education these days.)
one reviewer of the above book said so eloquently:
“Humans beings find it so tempting to scapegoat, and many of our mentally ill are just that. This is what human sacrifice looks like in the 21st century. A ray of hope it seems lies in the practices in Finland that Whitaker describes. With the mental patient viewed as a canary in a coalmine, a indicator of a problem in the functioning of society with blame squarely mantled on no specific individual, but as a problem in the way people interact, and the solution as one in which the community should share, with the open communication of people’s stories, including listening with respect when someone veers into what we conventionally call psychosis.”
of course there are others who disagree…
-and then there are television shows that see mental illness as entertainment-this is the society we have created.

now i am back and picking up the pieces, clearing the way to travel back there next week and meet up with my sis so we can take the next steps. unfortunately, they are making noises about releasing her without creating a conservatorship so this will be another challenge. like i’ve said before, she is a survivor and we are her daughters.
it will be a real thanksgiving, no matter what transpires.

(p.s. *work* is on hold for the moment-life beckons. i have canceled the SF show and must get to those who signed up with their refunds. give me a couple of days to get that all squared away- as for any unshipped orders- those too are moving slowly- hope to get some out today- email me if you have any concerns )

33 thoughts on “moonwalking…read at your own risk

    1. shiborigirl Post author

      yes, and can you imagine the many more families in far worse circumstances than this? devastating to comprehend. in researching all this i have found so much pain others are suffering…tragic.


  1. Sunny

    You’ve written so much raw truth today. I read your blog while blinking back tears. I also am a strong daughter of a strong mother. They teach us lessons that can’t be learned with pain. I understand your art so much more now.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      raw truth is what is needed i think. no candy coating, no television ratings, no sweeping it under the rug.
      only when light is shone on something do we take away the power that darkness gives to it.
      statistics i have been reading would make your stomach turn. did you know that the LA County jail (at Twin Towers in downtown LA) is the largest mental institution in the nation according to an NPR story from 2008.


  2. Els

    Glennis, I hope all turns out well in the difficult situation regarding your mother. She might not be fully aware of it but the fact is : she has two wonderful caring daughters. Strength and keep safe, and hopefully you can return to your work in due time (although your mom is your most importent “work” now)
    (a quiet “follower” for quite some time)


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      we can all help-
      from the link joan provided above:

      It is likely that someone I know is living with a mental illness and that fear of stigma may be preventing them from accepting their illness and seeking help.

      I can make a difference by learning about mental health issues and the devastating effects of stigma.


If someone I know exhibits sudden changes in behavior, I will pay attention and reach out to them.

      If someone I know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, I will take it seriously and make every effort to ensure they get help.


I will not perpetuate or tolerate stigma of any kind and will commit myself to changing the way society views people living with mental illness.


  3. jessica

    Another set of arms reaching out to hug you. Another prayer added for your mom’s safety and comfort. Thoughts and prayers for the strength needed, coming in contact with just the right people (such as Tonja) and the path made easier, as you take care of her.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      yes, please- more Tonja’s! my sister and i have marveled at what we call “mom’s fairy dust”- seems she has sprinkled it around in odd places and has a whole cadre of folks that look out for her interests- they pop up in the oddest of places…


  4. helen

    Just wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers are with you. My sister (one I am closest to) works as a mental health therapist and we have a family member who could use help but refuses because of stigma(I believe, anyway) It is definately a tangled weave and hopefully you get someone out there to help. There are good and bad therapist and social workers, etc. I will send good vibes that a qualified, caring one comes to help your mother and thus you and your family. Be well and always have hope and faith. There’s alot in the system and society that has to change, but it is definately a long complicated process.


  5. nance

    what a great post glennis. i am sending loving and healing thoughts to you and your family. thank goodness your mom has you and your sister.
    i have lived with people close to me with mental illness all my live. it goes back generations. my grandfather committed suicide but i never knew until a few years ago. my son is
    bi-polar, as are my 3 sisters. i suffer depression. my mother was misdiagnosed from what we can tell now. so i hear everything you are saying. yes the article is good in that it identifies what we can all do.
    our medical facilities are so poor at treating these disorders…they are over worked and understaffed and under funded. more and more students want to be plastic surgeons or neurosurgeons because it pays well when what we need are more people to study mental illness. what ever happened to a world that values the people around them? this has become a disposable society in more ways than disposable goods…. now the elderly, the mentally ill and disabled are thought of in this way by our lawmakers who say the government has no role in making a world where these people are treated as they need to be. when will we learn? i want to live in a world where everyone takes care of their neighbors and friends and when they need help the government has a good infrastructure in place to deal with these issues.
    thanks for sharing your story and for the opportunity to bring these issues to light… the only way is for us to tell our truths.


    1. shiborigirl Post author

      i think what i am finding surprising is the facade we have created that makes us *think* we have solutions to these problems but when we are actually in need of utilizing them- they really don’t exist…only a hollow shell or facade is what is there. such a sham. we are a feel good society-whatever makes us feel good in the moment.

      the mentally ill in this country are just so so screwed it amazes. i am thankful my mom has reached the age she has, fairly unscathed (my opinion) but as i dig into this issue and learn more, the pain i see others in is truly devastating.
      i think the quote i saw that reflects this best is that our current treatment of the mentally ill is akin to “human sacrifice of the 21st century”. so true.
      also the canary in the coal mine is an apt correlation to judging our society’s health based on the how we deal with the most vulnerable folks in our society. i think the canary here has died.

      following the path we are on just makes certain that we are digging the hole deeper and creating more people to carry to this alter. i just don’t get why we can’t see that dealing with these things are less costly (in terms of $ AND our humanity)
      than not. many days i wish it would all burn to the ground so we could start anew. a ritual cleansing.


  6. Melly

    Oh Glennis.
    I am sorry. You did mention an inability to create as much product as you had hoped. I am really happy to have bought 3 moons and an eclipse from you, thank you. I keep fondling them and wondering what might be made. You remain in my thoughts and much love where it is needed.


  7. Alice

    I am like Melly ~ I have that wonderful package of indigo moons and bits and pieces and ‘imagine’ what I will do with them.

    I send lots of love and light your way ~


  8. serenapotter

    i tried commenting on your most recent post and can’t seem to get a comment box to pop up.

    thinking good thoughts for you both.

    i agree with so much that has already been posted and written.

    sending lots of positive energy to your entire family.


  9. karen

    Glennis, I hope that things will find a way to a good solution for your mother. My sister in law suffered with schizophrenic mental illness all her adult life. We tried going through the social health care system to get her help..there seriously is something horribly wrong there. Ultimately getting her into a facility that kept wanting to send her to live with us because she was ‘difficult’. They had no problem taking her money however. Sadly, she passed away under thier care. Long sad story there. Our social services have been cut to the bare minimums – humanity isn’t worth helping seems to be the governments response.


  10. Robyn A

    Hi Glennis
    I couldn’t comment on your newer post. It must be so hard for you and your family not to mention your poor confused Mum. I hope all goes well amd that you find her safe. Prayers will be with you.


  11. helen

    I can’t leave a comment on the recent post, for some reason and the links don’t hook up for the articles, but I know it is the least of your worries.
    I know the whole mental health system needs to be looked at and reworked, I’ve seen where they release a person who is suicidal and mentally ill because they ask them if they are and they say “no” so they can leave, it’s a mess. All I can say is my thoughts are with you and GOOD LUCK! and yes, sometimes the only way to cope is with humor and laughter.



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