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 )