Thursday, December 06, 2007

LABELS & DNA

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LABELS & DNA/ December 6, 2007
This is the last blog for this year. The next blog will come out on Thursday, January 3, 2008. Between now and then I have a week long seminar I am going to, two special family functions I will be attending, and the normal holiday season celebrations. Since I try to write something worth reading twice a week, I simply will not have time to do it justice and I don’t want to feel like I have done less than my best.
You may want to look at Project Dream Again’s web page since I hope to do more work on it during this time off from writing the blog or look back at some of the blogs at one of the sites listed below where they are archived.
I feel like the blog has been going well. I have heard from many folks and only a few have been in a negative vein. I wish all of you a wonderful Holiday Season!!!
I am alive and maybe even feeling a bit like a person. I am even looking forward to next year which isn’t bad for a person who usually spends November and December fighting depression and suicidal thoughts.
One reason is that I have a new concept for a drop-in center which I hope to work on getting started here in Burke County, NC next year. More about the concept later.
You know I could not end the year without touching on two of my pet peeves.
First, labels or what mental health professionals call a diagnosis. Over the years, I have had about all of the ones found in the “bible” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). At present they are using the DSM-IV-TR. The TR stands for text revision. DSM-V is not expected out until 2012.
Michael Craig Miller, M.D., editor in chief of the Harvard Mental Health Letter, said this about DSM-V in NEWSWEEK, “DSM-V authors will approach their work with a generous attitude toward human nature, and will create a diagnostic system consistent with today’s scientific knowledge. They will offer it, not as the last word, but as a tool for testing hypotheses about mental suffering. After all good science is about getting it both right and wrong. And wisdom-with all due respect to the Greeks-is about appreciating how much we do not know.”
Consumers of mental health services and their families have been wise a long time. We know how much is still to be learned. We appreciate the advances, but we see the flaws and the lack of funds for services and fundamental research.
My second pet peeve is reductionism. One concept from reductionism was just blown out of the water. Again I am quoting from NEWSWEEK, “there is much more to our nature than the plans laid in the genetic code.”
Then just a little further in the article we read, “Biologists have known about methyl groups for decades, and since the 1990’s they have discovered several other types of chemical switches that can turn genes on and off. But only recently have they begun to understand that these switches are a crucial link between the DNA and the outside world. Their findings are now challenging some of science’s most basic assumptions about the way life works.”
Wouldn’t it be nice if someday they understood that we were bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings and that to understand us they will have to understand and treat the whole person? The first person I talked to this about was Dr. John Baggett then Executive Director of NAMI NC and later Director of North Carolina DMHDDSAS. He got it. Then later I had a chance to talk with Dr. Bill Anthony of Boston University. He got it. Why do so few get it? Because we train folks in specialties and do almost no cross training.
My prayer for the New Year is that more of my fellow sojourners will find someone who will see them. Really see them. See them as a person.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, December 03, 2007

THE SYSTEM

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THE SYSTEM/ December 3, 2007
Families of persons with mental illnesses always live with the worry of what is going to happen to their family member when they are gone. That means how the public mental health system works is important to families. The question to be asked is how well is it working in North Carolina?
In May of this year I stopped my “ecological spiritual journey” on our farm in southeastern Kentucky and moved to the small town of Glen Alpine, North Carolina. I had moved to Kentucky from Broward County, Florida in March of 2004. I had spent from July 1991 to March 2004 in Broward County (2000 pop 1,623,018/2006 estimated pop 1,787,636) as a volunteer mental health consumer advocate. Before leaving North Carolina in 1991, I had done the same including being one of the folks that helped found the statewide consumer organization.
Upon my return to North Carolina I found a totally different playing field. Not just different players, but the rules of the game had been changed. Also, there was a big difference between trying to advocate North Carolina and in Florida.
If you go to a board meeting of the Mental Health Services of Catawba County which serves both Catawba and Burke (the county I live in) counties [combined 2006 estimated pop 243,838] the folks will not be handed any of the materials given out to the board members during the meeting. In Florida you would get copies because all the committees and boards I sat on understood we were dealing with public money.
I sent a package of information to Secretary Dempsey Benton of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and copied Michael Moseley, Director of the North Carolina Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services. The package was about a service idea that had cut down on the use of hospital beds and crisis services. Neither one have even bothered to reply. Why do public officials in this state not explore cost saving ideas that have been proven in other states in a system many say are both broke and broken?
Do families members have something to worry about? I am both a consumer of mental health services and a family member and I say Yes, because not only is the system not working well the powers in charge are not listening well either. That is a dangerous combination.
An example The News Herald Sunday December 2 Morganton - For the past 34 years, those caught in the grips of alcohol and substance abuse have had a safe haven here in Burke County.
It appears that is coming to an end.
The Foothills Area Authority has announced it will close the Detox Crisis Center near Chesterfield.
Facility Director David Mazaleski said there is little hope the center can be saved.
Health care reform appears to be the killer, Mazaleski said. With the privatization of mental health care, a treatment facility that focuses on the homeless, indigent and non-insured is a financial liability.
Still, even with the stark reality of capitalism in healthcare, emotions run high about the center's closing.
"I wish this program could be saved," said Randy Thornton, executive director of the Burke Council on Alcoholism. "I don't understand this reform any more than anyone else.
"It seems they're more interested in the appearance of programs rather than the substance of what programs are really accomplishing."
"It saved my life," said one former detox client. "I hate to see that center close. It did a lot of good for a lot of people. My life has changed completely since I took that first step toward recovery."
"If I had not found this place and come here I know for a fact I'd be dead," a current client said.
Current staff and clients seemed to have one overriding question Friday; "Where will they go?"
"That's a good question," Mazaleski said. No other facility in the area treats the clientele Detox Crisis does, he said.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Thursday, November 29, 2007

FAMILY

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FAMILY/ November 29, 2007
My father was a missionary, educator, and minister. He wrote these words before his death in 1989. This is the condensed form of the Forward by him to my book “When Even the Devil Deserts You”. This piece first appeared in my blog March 4, 2005
““We experienced great disappointment and frustration that our child with outstanding ability was unable to cope in work or school. It was difficult during the earlier years of his illness to differentiate between his mental illness and adolescent behavior. We felt some of our friends and colleagues did not accept us in the usual manner because of our son’s behavior, that they considered us less respectable because of a non-conforming member of the family. The mentally ill and their families have a special need for people to befriend them, not in sympathy but in understanding and support. .......... There were times we did not know where Edward was, even for weeks. We wondered whether he had food or shelter, and even whether he was alive. It was very difficult for me to swallow food, not knowing whether he had anything to eat. .......... When Ed was at home we would lie awake at night and listen, for fear he would get up and try to leave. Once when I found him on the street and brought him home, he did not even recognize the house, and he said he did not have a key when he suggested that he go into the room where he usually slept. We offered him coffee and he said he didn’t have any money to pay for it. ............ One of the most painful experiences was visiting him on a locked ward in a hospital and hearing the door being locked behind us as we left without being able to take him home with us. ....... A few months ago Edward told us about the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. We found out about groups meeting in our area and started attending monthly meetings of two of these support groups. Until then we felt isolated, knowing no one else personally who shared our problems and feelings. ........ Our son has made us more aware than ever of the spiritual needs of the mentally ill and their families. There is stigma and a lack of knowledge concerning mental illness to be overcome. Stigma must be erased and replaced with compassion. It is not easy to stand before my peers and state that I have a son who is mentally ill and that we should have a ministry in our church to help alleviate the stigma and to reach out in love and compassion to the mentally ill and their families as we do when someone has a physical illness. I must continue to do so, and so must others if this problem of neglect is to be addressed with the emphasis and implementation that it deserves.”
I think this piece has a lot to say. It is not his complete Forward to the book, but it gives you some idea about what he thought about having a son with mental illness before he died. The church he was a leader in never did start a ministry and he made few if any presentations on the subject.
The point of sharing this is to say how very hard it is on the family. Mental Illness is no walk in the park. A broken brain and a shattered soul need a home. A place to be embraced.
I want to share another blog that appeared April 6, 2005. It is also about family. About a family member who taught me about spirituality.
“With the death of Pope John Paul II, I have started thinking more about my own faith and spiritual life. Even though I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian church which in my youth taught us to believe the Pope was in league with the devil, I have come to love this Pope. The strength of his faith as he faced death is to be admired. I think the world will miss this man.
Another man who faced death with more courage, dignity and faith than I could imagine was my brother-in-law. Tom Edwards had spent his life as a minister, missionary and writer among other things, but it was the way he faced his own death that made his life stand out to me. He emailed me often before he died. We had never been that close really, but his emails were a ministry to me during one of my deep depressions. How he found it in his heart to minister to me as he faced his own death is still a mystery to me.
There is no doubt in my mind that Tom had faith in his own salvation and in the God he had served all his life. I have heard him preach about faith and belief, but his all time best sermon in my mind was the way he faced his own death. It was with a certainty I had never seen before and have not seen since in a person that I knew personally.
Maybe Tom Edwards and John Paul are meeting in heaven right now. What will they discuss? Of course I really have no idea, but maybe they will chat about why some of us have such a hard time with faith.
I started preaching in my early teens while in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, with my parents who were missionaries there. I was last in a pulpit over a decade ago speaking about the need for the church to reach out to folks like me who suffer from a mental illness. Do I believe anything? Am I a person of faith?
Among other things Tom’s faith helped him face his own death. My faith has kept me alive. Since a child I have been suicidal. Sometimes I have been locked away in a hospital, but the real thing that has kept me alive when I most wanted to kill myself was my faith. I have just enough faith and belief not to risk making God mad at me by killing myself. Not enough to live by, but too much to die with. Maybe someday I will have enough faith to face the day of my death with the dignity of Tom and John Paul.”
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, November 26, 2007

BEING A FAMILY MEMBER

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BEING A FAMILY MEMBER/ November 26, 2007
Being a family member of a person with a mental illness is harder than being the person with the mental illness. I think I have the right to state that personal opinion because I have watched the suffering of my family over the years and because along with being a person with a mental illness I am a family member myself.
My parents and my sisters have been in agony over the years because of my illness. Both of my parents are dead. They did not live to see the better years. The years I have put together over the past fifteen years or so. My father died right at the beginning of the better years and my mom was so sick she died early in them. Too early to know it was a lasting change. I had strung good months together before. How was she to know this time was any different?
Let me tell you a little about the program I have been on. I call it the Patty Program. When I talk about it in seminars or speeches people always say, “Well that sounds good, but everybody does not have a Patty.” Don’t make that mistake here please. It is true. No one else has a Patty. She is special. She is my wife. I would not loan her out even if I could, but anyone who knows Patty knows I don’t own her so I couldn’t loan her.
We now have the first concept of the Patty Program. You don’t own your loved one. I do not own Patty and she does not own me. That puts the burden for my behavior on me. Since I am not a slave, but rather a free person I must take responsibility for my own actions. Being free is scary. It takes courage to accept the responsibility rather than blame the illness.
I liked the highs of mania. They were better than any high produced by any drug. Until I decided to take my meds on a regular basis the better years did not begin. When I first went on medications regularly for my bipolar illness, I went for a time to the Outpatient Clinic at Memorial Hospital in Broward County, FL ,but it was not the therapy there that helped. It was my friend Joyce who was in charge, but still took time to talk to me that helped me over the hump. It was Jan at who I saw at mental health meetings and who had run a group for years who helped. It was Patty who never tried to force the drugs, but just simply walked beside me.
We now have the second concept. BE WILLING TO SIMPLY WALK BESIDE THE PERSON YOU LOVE. This is not easy for a family member to do. You see someone suffering and you naturally want it relieved. It is how you help them get it relieved that matters.
Sally Clay, one of the leading advocates, grew up in the same small town in Kentucky that I lived in just before Daddy took us to the mission field in southern Africa. She wrote an article for the Dream Again Journal which was published by Dream Again Press for a few years in the 90’s. It was called “Spirituality and Anger” and can still be found at her website www.sallyclay.net. It was published in the January 1996 issue. Sally Clay might say I am stepping over the line here too.
Kurt Entsminger in his statement on the website of the Treatment Advocacy Center where he will become the Executive Director January 2, 2008 says, “It is my history that brought me to TAC. As a person who has struggled with bipolar disorder for many years, I understand firsthand the difference that effective treatment can make in allowing someone to function normally again. My hospitalization and subsequent and continuing treatment is the reason I’m well today.”
I have no problem with that statement but then later on he says, “I was particularly drawn to this new position because of my great empathy for the hundreds of thousands of Americans who continue, without treatment, to struggle with the consequences of untreated severe brain disorders. Far too many people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are living on our streets, are warehoused in our prisons, and unnecessarily remain at risk for violence or suicide. I believe it is time to restore common sense to a society that has literally sacrificed human sanity in the name of personal privacy and an outdated and unrealistic understanding of what constitutes true civil rights. “
Now I got a problem Kurt. In 1978 Judi Chamberlin’s book “On Our Own” came out. It is available at the National Empowerment Center store online at www.power2u.org. At Sally Clay’s website there is information about a book “On Our Own, Together” edited by Sally Clay. Maybe Kurt should read them both.
My disability Kurt nor the disability of any of my fellow sojourners does not mean we have lost any of our rights so let’s just talk plain. Your words are code for let’s force treatment on every poor soul we decide needs it.
Kurt, another book you might want to read was written by Edward M. Podvoll, M.D. In the “The Seduction of Madness” he says, “Moments of natural recovery, ‘islands of clarity’ as I have called them, happen all the time within the experience of psychosis; not only can these be recognized and acknowledged, they need to be protected.”
How do I know Dr. Podvoll is right? Because I have experienced them. “On Our Own” may be the only way when our own betray us.
I wrote about how hard it was to be a family member in my own book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” which is still available through Dream Again Press at www.projectdreamagain.com, but please try the Patty Program before resorting to forced treatment. Do you know how many of us get killed each year while they are trying to pick us up to take us in for the forced treatment? Do you know how many of us die while we are in there? Do you know how many of us will never trust a mental health professional again or the person who had it done?
No matter how tough the road gets embrace me don’t force treat me then at least I can still trust somebody.


You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, November 19, 2007

I AM NOT A CAR

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I AM NOT A CAR!/ November 19, 2007

I am not a car. You can’t just take me to a mechanic at a garage and have new parts put in me. The recovery process is not like fixing a broken piece of machinery. It is more like a long walk with good weather some days and bad weather other days. Sometimes the path is so far down between the mountains you can barely see the sun when it comes up. Other days you are walking on top of a mountain along the ridge and all seems well. You must keep walking even after the sun goes down and there is only darkness all around. If you want to help me, then walk beside me. The problem is too many people have the fix-it syndrome and only want to fix me rather than walk beside me.
I don’t have to be told that I have flaws and things that I need to work on. I am well aware of my faults because the world never lets me forget them. What I need as well as what my fellow sojourners need are fewer critics and more folks willing to take the steps along the path with us.
It takes the ability to see things from our viewpoint. That may sound simple, but it is not. Merriam-Webster Online defines empathy this way, “the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another.”
I don’t know how many times I have said in frustration, “If they think they can do it better with what I have to work with then jump in my shoes and do it.” I know I have said it enough times that my wife must be tired of hearing it, but I get tired of being told what I should be able to do and what I should do without being asked what I want.
This is not just a “poor Ed” piece. I am trying to convey the idea that if you want to be helpful to a person on their recovery journey who has a mental illness then you will have to partner with them not try to direct or drive them.
You have to change the viewpoint from yours to theirs. This gets tricky. I am always asked, “But what if they say something delusional?” “Are you saying I should say I see something or hear something that I don’t.” No I am not.
Empathic understanding, genuineness, and unconditional positive regard that were the tri-pod that Carl Rogers’ work stood on does not mean you reinforce or agree to any delusional thinking system, illegal act, or immoral act. It means exactly what it says.
However, telling a person that they don’t see a big six foot tall rabbit when they tell you they do will get you exactly no where. A simple “I’m sorry I don’t see him” is enough. It shows you heard the person and respect the person, but you have not agreed to seeing something you did not see. In fact we have been known to do such things as test mental health professionals to see what they would say when we say delusional things and then at times we are simply delusional, but when I look around me I sometimes can’t tell who the delusional ones are.
The point here is we aren’t cars. We need someone willing to walk the hills, deserts, marsh lands, flat lands, and beaches with us. Will you talk a walk with us today?

[There will not be a BLOG Thursday. Next BLOG will be Monday, November 26]



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Friday, November 16, 2007

THE CARPENTER

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THE CARPENTER/ November 16, 2007

I apologize for being late with this blog. Patty’s Aunt passed away and we were out of town. Mary Lou Franklin Phillips Egan would have been 103 years old in January 2008. There was a service for her in Burke County, NC the place of her birth and then she was interred in Florida next to her husband.
For almost two weeks I worked with a master carpenter who is also a general contractor. He happens to be Patty’s son so he went easy on his step-father and I am glad. The etymology of the word carpenter in Latin (carpentarius) and Celtic (carpat) both mean carriage. We did not build a means of transportation, but I did learn that carpentry was more than nailing wood together. A master carpenter is an artisan.
In the letter to the Hebrews in the New Testament we find these words, “the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.” (NIV Hebrews 3: parts of verses 3 & 4)
I am not a builder. I am not an artisan. I even wonder each day if I am even a person. I am not alone in this. One of the mountains we must climb on the recovery journey is finding our personhood.
Knowing the Builder of everything considers one a person certainly is the centerpiece of making that climb. I personally am a Christian and I don’t try to hide it on this blog, but I am not the one to decide the path for others. All I am saying is that I think knowing the Builder, the Creator, is the best self esteem builder I know of. If I feel embraced and in the arms of the Creator, then all the stigma and discrimination I face can’t make a dent in how I feel about being a person.
A community of believers like the church I attend makes it easier for me to build my relationship with the Carpenter, the Builder of All That Is. The community of believers helps me climb the mountain of recovery.
In the second verse of the 13th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews we find these words, “Do not forget to entertain strangers for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NIV)

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, November 12, 2007

FIRST-PERSON

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FIRST-PERSON/ November 12, 2007

Why when I go see a psychiatrist does it seem like they can’t see the whole me? I know part of the problem is the way we fund the public mental health system. They can’t spend very much time with me and they certainly aren’t going to deal with any physical problems I might have. Also, when I go to my medical doctor I know he/she can’t spend any time dealing with my mental illness. In fact, if I happen to be manic or near manic they seem to not want to treat me at all. It is hard to get my medical needs taken care of. It is hard to be seen and treated as a whole person.
Back to the original question. One of the big problems is how the mind is viewed. Daniel C. Dennett and many others see the mind as simply the brain in action. That has been a convenient viewpoint for the drug makers and the funders of the system. If a person’s mind is only an action of his or her brain then a pill will fix the problem.
What if Dennett and those who think like him are wrong? What if mind is more than merely the action of one’s brain? Cartesian dualism says they are wrong, but modern science simply dismisses Descartes (1596-1650) as a philosopher without the facts of modern science. I simply dismiss Dennett and his theories as not having all the facts. You do not have to be a Cartesian dualist to disagree with Dennett.
When I do seminars on FIRST-PERSON I am basically trying to get across three concepts.
1) We are bio-psycho-social-spiritual beings therefore our minds are greater than merely a function of our brains because we also have a soul through which we can communicate with the Creator.
2) That the person has FIRST-PERSON knowledge with respect to the contents of his or her mind, whereas others (third persons) can only get at these contents indirectly. Therefore the person has FIRST-PERSON AUTHORITY.
3) FIRST-PERSON AUTHORITY means the person is the one who gets to make the decisions on the recovery journey because they have the best most accurate knowledge. When I am at my worst I will need help, but if you haven’t built a relationship with me on this principle then I will not let you help me. I will not trust you when I need to.
FIRST-PERSON may sound simple or it may sound wrong to you, but it works. It is along with hope and learning to Dream Again the keys to being able to walk the recovery pathway. I know. I am walking it each day. Sometimes I stumble way back down the mountain and have to pick myself up and start all over. I have been doing this since 1964 and I can tell you I don’t trust anyone who does not trust me. You can’t help me if I don’t trust you. FIRST-PERSON shows you trust me. Then I might trust you when I need help.


You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Thursday, November 08, 2007

OUR CHILDREN


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OUR CHILDREN/ November 8, 2007
Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist and novelist Doug Marlette, who recently died, wrote this line in what Pat Conroy calls “the finest first novel to come out of North Carolina since the publication of Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.” Marlette wrote in The Bridge “We both know that monsters don’t spring full blown from Zeus’s brow.”
Likewise a baby is not born fully developed. Multiple factors and influences go into the development of an adult human being. One of the tragic influences we need to pay more attention to is childhood sexual abuse. The following article is a good example that we do not take seriously enough the protection of OUR CHILDREN.
“The former pastor of the Believers Faith Center in Iredell County, accused last year of sexually assaulting minors, has pleaded guilty to taking indecent liberties with children and has been placed on probation.
Carl Edward Nixon, who now lives in Charlotte, entered his guilty pleas Friday in courthouses in Iredell and Rowan counties, Rawls said. He was placed on probation for five years in Iredell and for four years in Rowan, the defense lawyer said. He'll be on intensive probation the first six months and will have daily contact with a probation officer.
Nixon, 66, is now employed as a truck driver. He must register as a sex offender with the state and can't be around children without another adult present, the defense lawyer said. He also must perform 50 hours of community service.
Two women in Nixon's church told authorities that Nixon made inappropriate contact with them more than 10 years ago when they were 11 and 14 years old, Detective Sgt. Bill Hamby told the Observer after the pastor was charged in 2006.
"Probation was appropriate because Carl Nixon accepted responsibility for his conduct," Rawls said, "and the conduct occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s."
Iredell Assistant District Attorney Paxton Butler said he agreed to the plea because he believes Nixon likely would have gotten probation even had he been convicted at trial. Nixon didn't have a criminal record and didn't do anything more than inappropriate touching, the prosecutor said.
"You're glad when your victims aren't subjected to terrible abuse, but sometimes you wish you could do more," Butler said. "But the law doesn't allow for more when it stops at just the touching.” [THE CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, TUESDAY NOVEMBER 6]
Why do I keep writing about a subject most people do not want to hear about? Because OUR CHILDREN are in danger from a society who does not have the will to protect them or the will to properly deal with the people who victimize them.
The defense attorney thinks because the man confessed and because the sexual abuse was years ago the punishment was appropriate. One of the District Attorneys agreed to the plea because it was only touching. I guess he doesn’t know only touching is sexual abuse. I guess he doesn’t know that only touching from your Pastor has lasting memories you can’t forget. I guess he just plain doesn’t know anything about us.
Most victims of childhood sexual abuse of which I am one would have the same reaction as I do to this story. We know we did not all suffer the same amount or length of abuse. We know we did not suffer the same amount of physical pain. We know that each one of us coped in a different way. I believe we all have one thing in common. Deep in our hearts we would like to see justice. If you think justice was done in this case as the defense lawyer and prosecuting attorney does then OUR CHILDREN will never be safe.
Please go to this web site www.annafoundation.org
and then give some serious thought to the subject. As I have said before lots of folks with mental illnesses are also victims, but all OUR CHILDREN need all of us.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, November 05, 2007

WORDS MATTER

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

WORDS MATTER/ November 5, 2007
“Imagine, if you will, a world in which the right-wing pundit Ann Coulter were not a grating opportunist who said horrible things on air for her own personal gain. Imagine—and it's a stretch—that she occasionally said something interesting or at least worth considering. Then her recent comments on Donny Deutsch's cable show might have generated a useful conversation instead a lot of name-calling and Scripture quoting. Here is what happened: Coulter and Deutsch were bantering about Israel and Iran, when Coulter used the phrase that has gotten so much attention. Christians, she said, ‘just want Jews to be perfected.’
‘Wow, you didn't really say that, did you?’ asked Deutsch.
‘Yes, that's what Christianity is,’ Coulter answered. Later in the program, Deutsch called Coulter "anti-Semitic," and in the days that followed, the Anti-Defamation League condemned Coulter's statement and the National Jewish Democratic Council called on news organizations to quit inviting Coulter on their programs. On the blogs, Christians alternately signaled their support of or opposition to Coulter's statement with Bible verses and profanity.”(Newsweek, November 5, 2007)
We may think our words don’t matter, but they do. Ann Coulter makes a very good living using them to hurt other people and other groups of people. For those of us with a disability, we know how much words mean. For people from a minority religion, color, or nationality they know how much words matter.
When the old adage “actions speak louder than words” was given birth, it was not the age of mass communication. A political blog in today’s world can have more influence than even a major march on Washington, DC.
My wife can do a hundred good actions, but break my spirit with a single word. I am not trying to say actions are not important. I am trying to get you to think about how much what you say and write matters.
What you don’t say and write matters too. When I lived on the streets on New York City (or any of the other cities where I found myself without housing) panhandling (begging for money), I would have loved to have heard a kind word. I would not have cared what personal faith the person had if any. I wanted and needed more than a kind word. I was able to panhandle quarters, but I seldom heard a kind word.
How are we to DREAM THE DREAM ONWARD to use a phrase from Jung if we never hear an encouraging word? Hate speech is a crime, but I don’t recall reading of a single case of it involving a person like me with a mental illness. Does it happen? Yes.
One example is the pulpit of churches across this country each Sunday. Let me ask you. What other group of people would society allow to be called demon possessed? I can hear you. It does not happen Ed. Yes it does.
In fact, my fellow sojourners are not only called demon possessed, but in some church somewhere in this great country of ours each Sunday a person with a brain disease is going through an exorcism. I can’t give you a number of how many a year, but I can assure you without any doubt whatsoever that what I am saying is a fact. To be called demon possessed when you have a medical illness ought to be considered a crime and hate speech, but then we are merely the mentally ill. Think how we have been treated down through the ages.
Yesterday my soul was blessed by a wonderful Sunday School lesson taught by a lady who believes deeply in the Grace of God. She does not see me as a candidate for an exorcism, but rather as a child of God. May all my fellow sojourners experience such a soul enriching moment.



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

{Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.}

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Thursday, November 01, 2007

WAKING UP!

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

WAKING UP/ November 1, 2007
During September 2006 they took me off the medication that had been controlling my bipolar illness and put me on another medication. The new one did not work so they changed my medication again. All this because the blood tests were showing bad liver numbers. Finally, they did an ultra sound of my liver and discovered I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and I had surgery in March 2007. As soon as I was able, we moved from our farm in southeastern Kentucky to the little town of Glen Alpine, North Carolina.
I had been in a long hibernation in Kentucky. A bear only hibernates during the winter, but I was doing it year around. With the medication change, I began to climb towards mania. There is some disagreement in the household (my wife and I) how close I made it to full blown mania.
I made it to the stage I could not sleep. I was extremely irritable. My head was full of more ideas than I could possibly get done. It seemed to me like the whole world was in slow motion and I was the only one moving at a reasonable pace. Call it what you will. I had waked up. I was no longer hibernating.
Complicating my bipolar disorder is the fact that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Dually diagnosed usually means mentally ill and an addiction. What about a major mental illness and childhood sexual abuse? What is it called? A few blogs back I wrote about tri-diagnosis by which I meant a mental illness, an addiction, and childhood sexual abuse. I am no longer using any substance not prescribed by a doctor, but I have. I am not alone. Go to the streets and the state hospitals and you will find many folks like me. The public mental health system and for that matter the private system does a poor job dealing with us. We are referred to as treatment resistant if we are referred to at all. Mostly we are ignored if they can get by with it. Do a search and find out how much has been written on the subject. Especially look for research about folks with a major mental illness who have dealt with their childhood sexual abuse by self-medicating and by developing a number of people inside them to deal with the world. I think they call it Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The positive side of waking up is that I resurrected Project Dream Again. I started this blog. I built a web site. I gave presentations during Mental Illness Awareness Week and I had not given a presentation in almost four years. I had my book reprinted because people were asking for it. I am corresponding with folks in prisons and people who write me in response to the blog which is posted in five places on the net and sent out to an e-list. I am advocating on the local and state level. I am awake.
I am somewhat calmer now, but not back to where I was before the medication change in September 2006. It has been a long and grueling time for both me and my wife. Yes some good has come out of it, but the price is pretty high. What if Patty had given up on me during all this? Would Project Dream Again matter then?
I am glad that my words and the work I do at times are helpful to folks, but it pains me deeply when my illness and my own actions hurt those people around me who love me. Bipolar disorder is a destructive illness when you can’t or will not get it under control. It destroys not just you, but the people who love you.
Folks serious mental illnesses are no joke. That is why I get so mad when the public mental health system never gets the funds it needs, gets turned over to for-profit corporations to take off the top of the already meager pie, and the planners never really listen to the real experts those of us with the illness and our families. Carl Rogers ( who I wrote about in the last blog) believed in the knowledge of the person. I wish the planners and funding sources did.
It may never change, but as long as I am awake I will keep trying to be heard.


You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

{Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.}

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Monday, October 29, 2007

BEYOND BELIEF

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

BEYOND BELIEF/ October 29, 2007
Carl R. Rodgers who some say is the founder of the humanistic psychology movement and father of person-centered therapy wrote the following, “I can remember this in my early grammar school days. A child would ask the teacher a question and the teacher would give a perfectly good answer to a completely different question. A feeling of pain and distress would always strike me. My reaction always was, ‘But you didn’t hear him!’”
Living with bipolar disorder can be like riding the giant roller coaster at the North Carolina State Fair. If you are not taking medications or if they are not working you can either be living in the depths of a depression or feeling like you are on top of the world in mania or anywhere in between. There is a stage just before mania in which I desperately want to be heard. From my father and mother who are dead to my wife, I have frustrated them by demanding they answer my questions exactly. I am trying to verify that I am being heard.
Why is it so important to me to know I am being heard? Because it means to me that they saw or see me as a person.
Whatever name you give it. Client-centered, Person-centered, or some other name we are talking about viewpoint. That is why I call it First-Person. I am trying to convey the idea that the recovery process belongs to the person therefore any help must come from the person’s viewpoint.
I was one of the trainers at South Florida State Hospital when Service Planning was introduced there. Service Planning was based on the idea that the planning process started with the person’s long term view of what they wanted for themselves. The same concept was introduced into the community mental health centers. I helped train hundreds of mental health professionals on this approach.
North Carolina has a similar set of papers to be filled out. I am sure there have been trainings here also.
You can train someone on the paperwork, but you can’t give them the heart and eyes to see us or the ears to hear us.
It takes someone spiritual who has already found their heart. Maybe even a person who has already had to crawl on their belly so that have empathy for me when I have to crawl on mine. It takes a person who is getting their needs met so they have the strength to help me meet mine. Only one person at a time can be helped in a therapeutic relationship.
Part of Carl Rodgers’ education was done at Union Theological Seminary. Don’t dismiss that as an influence on the body of work he left us. The three cornerstones of his philosophy (1) empathic understanding (2) genuineness and (3) unconditional positive regard could have come straight out of the teachings of Jesus which don’t forget was a Jew well learned in the Hebrew Scriptures.
What do I what most when I am at my worst? To be heard and seen. Just answer the question I ask and I will know you are hearing me. If you are hearing me then you are listening. If you are listening then you must think I am worthy. If that is so then maybe you think I am a person. That would be a victory beyond belief.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

{Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.}

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE ELSE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Thursday, October 25, 2007

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A NEW THOUGHT is published every day as well as the BLOG on MONDAYS & THURSDAYS at:]
www.projectdreamagain.com

CHILDHOOD SEXUAL TRAUMA/ October 25, 2007
“Child sexual abuse is a significant public health problem in the United States and across the world. In the United States one out of three females and one out of five males have been victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 years. Sexual abuse occurs across all ethnic/racial, socioeconomic, and religious groups. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is considered a relatively common experience in the lives of children. A report released by the National Institute of Justice in 1997 revealed that of the 22.3 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 years in the United States, 1.8 million were victims of a serious sexual assault/abuse. There are gender differences with regard to sexual abuse incidents; specifically, girls are at twice the risk than boys for sexual victimization throughout childhood and at eight times the risk during adolescence. Because significant physical, emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral problems are related to childhood trauma, the need to more effectively address the issue has become paramount.
There are a number of commonly held misconceptions regarding child sexual abuse in the United States. These include the following: sexual abuse is limited to sexual intercourse between an adult and a child; the perpetrator of the sexual abuse is always a stranger; and rape occurs with adult women, not children. However, these beliefs are false. Sexual abuse involves a range of activities including non-contact and contact offenses (see Table1); stranger abuse comprises only a small percentage of total victimizations; and children are approximately three times more likely than adults to be victims of rape. In fact, among females, almost 30% of all forcible rapes occur before the age of 11 years, and another 32% occur between the ages of 11 and 17.
Researchers in this area use somewhat different “criteria” for sexual abuse; the most common definition of sexual abuse, however, is any sexual activity involving a child where consent is not or cannot be given. Sexual contact between an adult and a minor child, as well as an older teen and a younger child, are both examples of sexual abuse. Depending upon the age at which a state deems a child capable of giving consent, sexual abuse between two minors can also occur. For example, the law in Texas dictates that there be greater than a three-year age differential between children in order to be considered sexual abuse. The types of sexual abuse vary widely and include both physical contact as well as non-contact offenses. Despite the choices made by laws and research criterion, the impact of a forced or coerced sexual activity can be devastating on a child even if the action cannot be legally or academically described as sexual abuse.
All states require some kind of mandated child abuse reporting. Child abuse reporting laws most often require specified professionals (e.g., physicians, teachers) who have contact with children to report to law enforcement, the department of social services, or children protection agencies incidents in which abuse is suspected. These laws were developed in order to better protect children. From state to state, it varies as to who is mandated to report and what abuse acts require reporting. For example, according to California Penal Code there are two categories of sexual abuse that are reportable: sexual assault and sexual exploitation. According to the code, sexual assault includes rape and rape in concert, oral copulation and sodomy, lewd and lascivious acts upon a child under the age of 14, penetration of a genital and/or anal opening by a foreign object, and child molestation. Sexual exploitation includes conduct involving matter depicting minors engaged in obscene acts; promoting, aiding, or assisting a minor to engage in prostitution; a live performance involving obscene sexual conduct, or posing for a pictorial depiction involving obscene conduct for commercial purposes; and depicting a child in or knowingly developing a pictorial depiction in which a child engages in obscene sexual conduct.”
(Dominquez, R. Z., Nelke, C.F. and Perry, B.D. Child Sexual Abuse in: Encyclopedia of Crime and Punishment Vol 1.(David Levinson, Ed.) Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks , 2002)
As those of you know who have been reading the blog I am a victim of childhood sexual abuse as well as a person with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I have also self-medicated. Many of my fellow sojourners share my story. You can call us the tri-diagnosed. I know I am hard to come up with an adequate treatment plan for and to live with.
I shared this rather long piece with you about childhood sexual trauma because I think it is still one of the big issues in this country which we have our heads in the sand about. We need to get smarter. You can’t just treat part of my problems. You have to treat all of me. If I am ever to become a person then the whole person has to be considered in the plan to address my recovery.
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Here are some good resources you might want to check out. Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this BLOG.

www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
www.faithnet.nami.org


FIGHT STIGMA AND HELP SOMEONE LEARN ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS BY BUYING A BOOK!!!! GO TO THE ORDER PAGE AT
www.projectdreamagain.com

Monday, October 22, 2007

CORRUPTION

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A New Thought is published every day as well as the Blog on Mondays & Thursdays ]
www.projectdreamagain.com

CORRUPTION/ October 22, 2007

Jack Betts is an Observer associate editor at The Charlotte Observer. His piece this past Sunday was about a speech given in Chapel Hill, NC about ethical problems in public life by Joel Fleishman professor of law and public policy at Duke University. The draft of the full speech is available at a link at www.charlotte.com/jackbetts. The following is a short excerpt from the speech.
“Why has it begun to happen in N.C. and elsewhere at this particular time? I think that the explanation is deeper than simply a recurrence of the same old thing. I think it has to do with the increasing migration of individual and institutional behavior from the for-profit sector, in other words the market system, where self-interested motivation, in behalf of corporations and their employees, is not only acceptable but laudable, to the public and nonprofit sectors where naked self-interested behavior is usually inappropriate and often unethical if not illegal.”
I was in south Florida when South Florida State Hospital was turned over to a for-profit corporation. I sat on the governing body both when it was run by the state and when it was run by the corporation. I walked the grounds of the hospital when it was run by the state and also did many trainings there which meant I met both staff and my fellow sojourners living there. I was barely allowed on the grounds after the corporation took it over even though I was a member of their board, but then what can you expect from a company with a primary business of operating prisons. The hospital had felt like a college campus (I do not deny the problems there and I fussed with my usual loud voice about them), but when the corporation built the new hospital it felt like you were going to a place to be locked away.
Has the “migration of individual and institutional behavior from the for-profit sector” changed our public mental health system? Has it caused corruption? There may not be a simple answer, but I am going to give you one. YES!
Some of you may never have seen a three legged stool. Years ago in the hills of Kentucky some people had them in their barns to sit on as they milked their cows by hand. A good public mental health system stands on three legs. Heart. Knowledge. Money.
First, the public system must have folks working in it that have a heart. I have done many trainings and seminars with mental health professionals plus I have been going to them since I was 15 and I will be 59 next month. My calculator says that is 44 years. I always look to see if I detect a heart by which I mean do they see me and my fellow sojourners as people or simply as defective machines to be fixed. I fear the fix-it syndrome more than almost anything else. For me personally, if I can feel any kind of vibe other than a chill coming from the other person then there is a starting point.
Secondly, the people have to have knowledge. We have learned a great deal since 1964 when I first came in contact with the mental health profession, but that does not matter if the person working with me is stuck back in the dark ages. Keeping the workforce updated with the latest and best knowledge is extremely important. It doesn’t happen mainly because training does not bring in dollars. Billing services does.
Thirdly, it can not be done on the cheap. Ever since the powers that be decided to empty us out of the big institutions and start community mental health centers, the public mental health system has lacked the funds to do the job. Yes the big institutions were deplorable, but let me let you in on a secret so is living on the streets when you are so sick you don’t even know who you are. How do I know? Because I have been in that position.
One time in New York City when I was on the streets they gave me a subway token to go to another place for help and I thought it was money. I went into a restaurant to try and spend it. They called the police.
From 1969 when I got out of the Army until 1989 when I started Project Dream Again, I worked in sales, management, and started my own tire company. In 1989 I started a not-for-profit corporation which is still what Project Dream Again is a division of. All my life I have been involved with churches which are nonprofits. My point is I have been in the military (government), for-profit corporations, and nonprofit corporations. The more you bring market system into the public mental health system the more corruption you are inviting and the less likely you will find the three legged stool there.




You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

THE HOLIDAYS ARE COMING AND YOU CAN FIGHT STIGMA OR HELP SOMEONE YOU KNOW UNDERSTAND MENTAL ILLNESS BETTER BY ORDERING NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by Ed Cooper with Patty Cooper . Just go to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members." [From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 18, 2007

SPIRITUAL SUPPORTS

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
[A New Thought Each Day Can Be Found Here As Well As Other Important Info]
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

YOU CAN HELP PROJECT DREAM AGAIN BY ORDERING NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by Ed Cooper with Patty Cooper . Just go to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members." (The book was first published by Dream Again Press in 1992, but it is as relevant today as it was then.)
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Spiritual Supports/ October 18, 2007

I was sitting reading about mountain top removal while waiting on it to be time for my therapy session. Mountain top removal is exactly what it sounds like. They remove the top of a mountain to get to the coal. It is a ruthless method to get at cheap energy so we can go on living our consumer driven lives. It has destroyed many mountains, streams, and valleys in my home state of Kentucky and other Appalachian states.

One day I was sitting on the poach with my wife’s father who died last year and we were watching a train go through the little town of Glen Alpine, North Carolina where I now live. It was loaded with coal. At the time Patty and I lived on a farm in coal country in Kentucky. He remarked, “I don’t see how there could be any coal left in Kentucky because I have been watching them bring it down these tracks all my life.”

Our way of life destroys the beauty of God’s creation and whether we want to acknowledge it or not it destroys a part of our souls. The beauty of nature and its wonders is one of our spiritual supports.

Another spiritual support is our family. Today is the birthday of my wife and my daughter-in-law. It is a special day because these two women are important in my life and I am glad they were born. To celebrate their birth is my honor.

Sometimes we forget to say thanks to the people around us who make our lives easier. Everyone needs a support system. When earlier this year I faced having to have a traditional abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) surgery, these where two of the women I leaned on the most along with my two sisters. They came through for me.

My wife has had to live with the ups and downs of my bipolar illness since 1989 when we got together. My daughter-in-law I call my “worry wart”. Not as a derogatory term, but because I know I can count on her to listen to me and care about what is happening to me. She will worry right along with me and that feels good.

Last night when I came home from my therapy session Patty was at prayer meeting. My sister-in-law sat with me a short time while I just relaxed from having to talk about tough stuff. She was there for me. My step-son had made the trip to the mental health clinic with me.

Some mornings I take coffee and a sausage and egg biscuit over to my mother-in-law’s house and we have breakfast together. We may talk half the morning. The breakfast food is not what is important. It is the soul food I get there that makes the morning so meaningful. Family feeds the inner being.

The friends I made when I lived in Florida keep feeding my soul. When one of them writes and says we miss you, it feels good. One of the women I respect the most from down there wrote “I used to think I didn’t want you. I learned better. You are sorely missed here.” I will not tell you her name, but I will simply say she is one of the strongest people I have ever met. I dearly love her as a person and what she has done for folks like me.

My new church family feeds me each time I am around them. They have embraced me with the Grace God offers all of us. The pastor speaks with me often and I never have a conversation with him that I don’t laugh. For those of you who know me you know I don’t laugh often.

I believe everyone needs a natural support system. The main mission of Project Dream Again is to help the church, other faith communities, community organizations, mental health providers, and individuals come to understand how important a natural support system is to the recovery journey. WE CANNOT DO IT ALONE.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

Monday, October 15, 2007

BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

Being Part Of A Community/ October 15, 2007

The whole thrust of the mental health movement since the 60’s has been to move folks out of institutions into the community. Closing state hospital beds is still the buzz word. Being in the community is the goal. But what does that mean?

Does that mean sitting in some room alone most of the time because you have no friends? Does it mean being able to do very little in the community because you are forced to live in poverty on a disability check? How does a person who has spent months or years in a hospital ever become part of the larger community again?

When I first moved to south Florida in the early 90’s, I spoke out at a public meeting against the idea of closing South Florida State Hospital. Other consumer advocates were mad at me, but I was boiling with anger inside. I was angry at folks who did not understand the anxiety it produced to be told you were going to lose your home. Yes for many people South Florida State Hospital was their home.

I could give a speech to a crowd of 3,000 people, but I was afraid to go shopping for myself or go to a restaurant. I understood fearing the world. Anxiety disorders go along with many other mental illnesses along with paranoia and with the reality of abuse which most of us have suffered at one time or other in our lives. The world is not such a friendly place to us. Being in the community does not have the same meaning for some of us as it does for the people designing the grand plan.

Yesterday being in the community was grand. My wife and I joined the Glen Alpine United Methodist Church. The entire church filed by and welcomed us into the church family. I got more hugs yesterday morning than I have in years. I felt part of a community of faith. What a wonderful feeling.

Then in the afternoon I was invited to speak at the women’s meeting at the Snow Hill United Methodist Church on Mental Illness and the Church. My wife went with me. They had their business meeting then I did my presentation. Afterwards they asked us to stay and share a meal with them. Again I felt part of a community.

I have been locked away on a mental ward. I have lived on the streets hungry and alone. Yesterday, God’s people made me feel like I was part of a community. What a wonderful day.

I got a number of replies to my last blog about how to advocate. Here they are without any further comment from me.

CLARK REPLY


Mr. Cooper:
Have read your recent comments concerning follow the money in the N C Mental Health system. In 1983 I retired as career N C State employee from
The N C Department of Human Resources. Since that time I have operated my own business in the private sector dealing with people from all walks
Of life.
I served also as a N C State Senator 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998 serving on the health and human services appropriation committee. It didn’t take
Me very long in starting to pursue the various money trails in the mental health system after I received numerous complaints from mental health
Clients that direct services dollars were going to “bricks and mortar” in lieu of services. I was one powerless State Senator against the entire political
Power structure!
One needs to follow the money trail from the time the mental health reform legislation was introduced which forced the local regional mental health
Entites to dispose of their bricks and mortar empires. A major question in my mind is was this done above board. I think not!
The N C State Senator from Buncombe County who sponsored the mental health reform legislation resigned his Senate Seat under an ethical cloud.
These are just a couple thoughts on my experiences with the mental health system in N C. As the majority of people know the reform has been a
Total disaster.
Regards,
R L Clark
2 Quail Cove Rd.
Asheville, N C 28804
828-645-3548


Mumpower Reply

Mr. Cooper,
I appreciate the continuing opportunity to speak to our failed state mental health delivery system. May I respectfully suggest that after 6+ years of dysfunction, paralysis, and recycled harms, some sense of urgency and action around this issue might be appropriate?
Like yourself, I value the opportunity to cooperate and work with others. If, on the other hand, while doing so we are standing on the backs of people in pain, this cooperative effort might speak more to self service than an authentic concern for those we purport to serve.
It would be my continued suggestion that a recall initiative against the elected officials who have repeatedly failed to uphold their charge with our state mental health system might be a productive action step toward affecting improvements.
Yours,
Carl Mumpower



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 11, 2007

HOW TO ADVOCATE?

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

HOW TO ADVOCATE? / October 11, 2007

I got a reply to my last blog so I wrote for permission to use it in my next blog.
Dear City Councilman Mumpower,
Do I have your permission to use your reply to my blog in my next blog which will be posted on Thursday?
Respectfully,
Ed
His reply was
“Mr. Cooper,
Regarding the continuing harms resulting from the assisted implosion of our state mental health system, may I suggest that a recall initiative against state elected officials accountable for this failure might be one action step toward affecting improvements.”
Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower
Mumpower upholds a private psychology practice in Asheville and serves on various boards and commissions devoted to drug interventions, improving public housing, honoring veterans, and meeting the needs of children. Known for his candor and courage in refusing to step away from hard issues.
Education Background
Ph.D. – Clinical Psychology, Union Institute, 1985
M.S.W. – Clinical Social Work, University of Georgia, 1976
M.A. – Counseling, Western Carolina University, 1975
B.A. – Psychology, St. Leo College, 1974
[From His Web Site www.mumpower08.com]

I don’t know about other advocates, but I have found that in order to get any thing done I had to keep in mind that I was dealing with other human beings just like me. That meant I needed to treat them like I wanted to be treated.

When I started here in North Carolina and then after moving to Florida I built my advocacy efforts around two foundations. Building personal relationships with the powers that be and knowing the money trail.

I am not sure Dr. Mumpower is giving good advice, but I do know our state mental health system is in trouble. So is the one in the state of Kentucky were I just left and the one in Florida were I spent so many years working my heart out.
Let us think a moment. Recall and replace with whom? Would they be better?

The keys in my humble opinion is that too few people really know the facts about the money and that we the consumers of mental health services have not built a strong enough advocacy voice that they know they have to listen to us.

When the first state wide meeting was held to talk about forming the North Carolina Mental Health Consumers’ Organization in 1989, I was there and we thought we were building a group not just for support and education, but to take on the system. Does it?

Only when consumers and family members learn the money trail and organize together with a couple of common issues will you see the state give more than lip service to us.

Not a recall, but be able to make a call because they know you. Not a recall, but be able to recall how they are spending the money and then attend the meetings to see if that is how it is being spent.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

HOW TO ADVOCATE?

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

HOW TO ADVOCATE? / October 11, 2007

I got a reply to my last blog so I wrote for permission to use it in my next blog.
Dear City Councilman Mumpower,
Do I have your permission to use your reply to my blog in my next blog which will be posted on Thursday?
Respectfully,
Ed
His reply was
“Mr. Cooper,
Regarding the continuing harms resulting from the assisted implosion of our state mental health system, may I suggest that a recall initiative against state elected officials accountable for this failure might be one action step toward affecting improvements.”
Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower
Mumpower upholds a private psychology practice in Asheville and serves on various boards and commissions devoted to drug interventions, improving public housing, honoring veterans, and meeting the needs of children. Known for his candor and courage in refusing to step away from hard issues.
Education Background
Ph.D. – Clinical Psychology, Union Institute, 1985
M.S.W. – Clinical Social Work, University of Georgia, 1976
M.A. – Counseling, Western Carolina University, 1975
B.A. – Psychology, St. Leo College, 1974
[From His Web Site www.mumpower08.com]

I don’t know about other advocates, but I have found that in order to get any thing done I had to keep in mind that I was dealing with other human beings just like me. That meant I needed to treat them like I wanted to be treated.

When I started here in North Carolina and then after moving to Florida I built my advocacy efforts around two foundations. Building personal relationships with the powers that be and knowing the money trail.

I am not sure Dr. Mumpower is giving good advice, but I do know our state mental health system is in trouble. So is the one in the state of Kentucky were I just left and the one in Florida were I spent so many years working my heart out.
Let us think a moment. Recall and replace with whom? Would they be better?

The keys in my humble opinion is that too few people really know the facts about the money and that we the consumers of mental health services have not built a strong enough advocacy voice that they know they have to listen to us.

When the first state wide meeting was held to talk about forming the North Carolina Mental Health Consumers’ Organization in 1989, I was there and we thought we were building a group not just for support and education, but to take on the system. Does it?

Only when consumers and family members learn the money trail and organize together with a couple of common issues will you see the state give more than lip service to us.

Not a recall, but be able to make a call because they know you. Not a recall, but be able to recall how they are spending the money and then attend the meetings to see if that is how it is being spent.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com

ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Monday, October 08, 2007

A PLACE TO FIND GRACE

PROJECT DREAM AGAIN HOMEPAGE
www.projectdreamagain.com
RESOURCES
[Being on this resource list does not imply their endorsement of this blog. The writer Ed Cooper is fully responsible for the content of this blog.]
www.mentalhealthministries.net
www.pathways2promise.org
faithnet.nami.org.

A PLACE TO FIND GRACE /October 8, 2007

Folks called to say that Oprah was doing a show on bipolar disorder. My first thought was what more do I need to know about the subject? I have been living with the disorder since I was a young man, but I watched part of her second show. Patty Duke made an appearance on it along with a family obviously in much pain from the fact one of the family members is a person with a bipolar disorder. The show to me was more sad than informative and certainly was not entertaining.

Over the years I have caused the people who loved me a great deal of pain. My parents both died still wondering if I would ever get my life together. My two sisters have spent endless hours worrying about me. My wife worries when I don’t get enough rest if I am headed into another manic episode. Mental illness takes a toll on the family of the people with mental illnesses. That is simply the fact of the matter.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has support groups for family members all across this country, but too many families still suffer alone and in silence. Some faith communities have outreach programs to families and to people with mental illnesses, but far too few. The truth is most families and most people with mental illnesses do not know where to go to for support.

Peer support is wonderful because you are with people who have the same issues as you do, but it is also limiting. A natural recovery path also includes what I call chronically normal folks. When building a support system one can’t look only to peers or to mental health professionals or even to family. The support system must be broader.

A lot of us and our family members look for spiritual support. Building a spiritual support system can’t be done in a vacuum. It takes a community. A faith community. Each week my church becomes more important to me in my recovery journey. The people at the Glen Alpine United Methodist Church have welcomed me. Their Pastor, David Duncan, has gone beyond what any pastor or minister has ever done to make me feel welcome and wanted in their fellowship and it feels good to be part of a faith community. I wish that as we begin Mental Illness Awareness Week all my fellow sojourners had what I have. A place to find grace.
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
ORDER NOW: You can now order the 2007 Special Edition of the 136 page book “When Even the Devil Deserts You” by going to the ORDER NOW page at
www.projectdreamagain.com
The review in the NAMI Advocate in 1993 said this about the book "Living with and caring for a person with a mental illness does not necessarily lead to a direct understanding of the experience of mental illness itself. It does not automatically tell you what to say or what to do that would be kind or helpful. For this reason I find the new book, When Even The Devil Deserts You, invaluable. The book features many vivid descriptions and an occasional touch of humor. The author has a remarkable ability to understand and describe not only his own experience, but its impact on family members."
[From the book review done by Carol Rees]

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Random Thoughts

Random Thoughts/ October 5, 2007

After the blogs about the North Carolina mental health system I got the most responses I have gotten since I started writing this blog. I want to share on of them with you. I got her permission to do so if you were wondering. This came in from Jana who works in south Florida.

“They will never fix it. We, the "broken" ones, have to find ways to heal. And as we do, bring others along. I'm with you: They will never do it. I'm tired of asking them to. After all, what's in it for them? Not even a decent paycheck any more. So, we'll do what we've always done: appeal to He who Himself was broken, and does heal, truly heal, from the inside out, and use whatever they've got that might help.
God help them for saying one thing and doing another. All of us are the children of one God, who does not look kindly on his children mistreating his children. They will have to answer.
Jana”

I guess I don’t have anymore to add on the subject. She said it very well.

I don’t know whether any of if have been reading the “On Faith” discussions hosted by Sally Quinn and Jon Meacham on washingtonpost.com, but I find them very interesting.
This is what their site says about “On Faith”

“Religion is the most pervasive yet least understood topic in global life. From the caves of the Afghan-Pakistan border to the cul-de-sacs of the American Sunbelt, faith shapes and suffuses the way billions of people-Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and nonbelievers-think and act, vote and fight, love and, tragically, hate. It is the most ancient of forces. As Homer said, "All men need the gods." Even the most ferocious atheists find themselves doing intellectual battle on a field defined by forces of the faithful.”

The most interesting piece was posted the other day. I will not try to quote the entire argument because I am not sure I even was able to follow it, but here is a short quote from the piece.

“It is easy for religious faith, even if it is irrational in itself, to lead a sane and decent person, by rational, logical steps, to do terrible things. There is a logical path from religious faith to evil deeds. There is no logical path from atheism to evil deeds. Of course, many evil deeds are done by individuals who happen to be atheists. But it can never be rational to say that, because of my nonbelief in religion, it would be good to be cruel, to murder, to oppress women, or to perpetrate any of the evils on the Hitchens list.
The following quotation from the Nobel prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg has become well known, but it is so devastatingly true that it is worth quoting again and again: “With or without [religion] you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.”
(Richard Dawkins has been the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford since 1995. The "On Faith" panelist did his D.Phil under the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist Niko Tinbergen. After two years as an Assistant Professor of Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, he returned to Oxford in 1970 as Lecturer in Animal Behaviour and a Fellow of New College. The British evolutionary biologist is noted for his writings defending evolution. An atheist, his latest book is The God Delusion(2006). He is the author of eight other books.)

The most interesting thing about it to me was that this time it was not us they were blaming the evil acts on. No mention of mental illness being the cause of evil. What a relief.

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.projectdreamagain.com

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Suicide and the Family

Have you ever had a loved one commit suicide? The question is always why did they do it or did I fail my loved one in some way?

Suicide is a major, preventable public health problem. In 2004, it was the eleventh leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 32,439 deaths. The overall rate was 10.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. An estimated eight to 25 attempted suicides occur per every suicide death.(NIMH) That means that lots of families are touched each year in this country either by a member committing suicide or attempting to.

For Christians it becomes a problem not only of feeling the loss of the loved one, but dealing with the issue of the person’s eternal soul. The truth is that folks should not underestimate the Grace of God. Family members who have lost loved ones to suicide need to hear the following words. They come both from Jewish texts and Christian texts.

Behold, the arm of the Lord is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear" (Isaiah 59:1). The loved ones who are left in grief can take comfort from knowing "it is not the will of the Father that any of these should perish" (Matt. 18:14). We have the promises, "He does not deal with us after our sins, nor requite us according to our iniquities" (Psalm 103:10) and "My Father is greater than all...and no one is able to take them out of the Father's hand" (John 10:29). In the face of these great mysteries, we can assure ourselves, "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" (Gen.18:25).

When you read the risk factors below you will begin to understand that we are not talking about sin. We are talking about an illness. The Judge knows that. Men and women here on this earth may not, but the all knowing Creator and our final Judge does. He will do right. In my humble opinion I find nothing in the Bible that says folks will go to hell for acts caused by an illness. My Bible tells of Jesus healing the sick not sending people away to eternal damnation.




“What are the risk factors for suicide?
Research shows that risk factors for suicide include:
depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders). More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors.
stressful life events, in combination with other risk factors, such as depression. However, suicide and suicidal behavior are not normal responses to stress; many people have these risk factors, but are not suicidal.
prior suicide attempt
family history of mental disorder or substance abuse
family history of suicide
family violence, including physical or sexual abuse
firearms in the home, the method used in more than half of suicides
incarceration
exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, such as family members, peers, or media figures.
Research also shows that the risk for suicide is associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, including serotonin. Decreased levels of serotonin have been found in people with depression, impulsive disorders, and a history of suicide attempts, and in the brains of suicide victims.
If you are in a crisis and need help right away:
Call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.”
(NIMH)

You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.projectdreamagain.com

Friday, September 28, 2007

NC MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM?

If you remember I quoted Carl Mumpower, a member of the Asheville, NC City Council, in this blog on September 21st in which he wrote these words in an op-ed piece for the Asheville Citizen-Times, “It ended with the abandonment of earlier promises and a bungled transition to a state-funded hybrid system morphing a safety net into a mineshaft.”

Being born in Eastern Kentucky in coal country I know the dangers of a mineshaft. They kill coalminers each year.

I have written before about the death here at the state hospital in Burke County were I live. This appeared Monday in the Morganton paper.

“Broughton losing millions
By Sharon McBrayer
smcbrayer@morganton.com
Monday, September 24, 2007
Morganton - In an effort to restore $1 million a month in Medicare and Medicaid funding at Broughton Hospital, the state is stepping in.
Staff supervision and training are top priorities, said Dr. Michael Lancaster, Dempsey Benton and Mike Moseley, all with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services.
Medicaid and Medicare funding was pulled on Aug. 25. The decision came on the heels of a patient's death on Feb. 1 and another patient's injuries on Aug. 19. “

MINESHAFTS ARE DANGEROUS PLACES TO BE GIVEN TREATMENT? You had better hope you never need them.

Actually, I am trying to be kind. A few years ago in South Florida when writing about deaths at South Florida State Hospital I called them murders. When another person sits on the chest of a person until they are dead you tell me what it is.

The folks up here are smarter than the folks in South Florida. I sat on a number of boards down there including the board of South Florida State Hospital. Maynard Taylor, a Burke County Commissioner, asked me to apply for the board of the Mental Health Services of Catawba County which now is the entity that hands out the state money for both Burke and Catawba County. They call them Local Management Entities. I did not make the board. Patty who had been the state director for PAIMI in Florida thought I would make a good member of the PAIMI advisory council here in NC. I did not make that either. So the fact is I am free to say what I want which is the way I like it as all of you who know me know.

One of the lead stories in the Asheville Citizen-Times on September 25th was about the NC Mental Health System?

“By Leslie Boyd
LBOYD@CITIZEN-TIMES.COM
September 25, 2007 12:15 am
ASHEVILLE - In a system where the catchphrase is “no closed door,” people with mental illnesses are finding no door at all, say frustrated providers of mental health services.
Agencies are closing or losing therapists, social workers and psychologists as a crushing load of regulatory changes push costs well ahead of reimbursement rates.
Amid the tumult, people like Patrick Diraffale, who has bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder, are placed on waiting lists or told to go to an emergency room or agency that deals with patients in crisis, places that might be able to offer real help.
Diraffale was told last week he would have to wait three months for an intake appointment at a local services provider after being hospitalized for six days. He is out of medication, and has been told to use the “coping mechanisms” he was taught in the hospital.”

My question is can they find any gold down in the mineshaft? Our new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services appointed by Gov. Easley on September 5, 2007 had been Chief Deputy Secretary from January 2001 until February 2007 at the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources. Maybe he can find the gold!!!

My father has been dead a number of years now. He was a pastor and a teacher/principal. One of the things we discussed/argued about was his contention that a good teacher could take any textbook and teach any subject even if they did not know the subject. I said I did not believe it. Likewise, I don’t care how good a man or how good a manager Secretary Benton is I want to know what he knows about Health and Human Services. I want to know what he knows about mental health the system that has become such a mess.

Who will fix it? No one. Why? Because it will never be funded to the level that is needed and they will never come down out of their ivory towers and ask the real experts.



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.projectdreamagain.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

TRI-POLAR SPIRITUALITY

Professor of Pastoral Counseling David Augsburger spoke about some of the concepts of his latest book, Dissident Discipleship, in a "fireside chat". This was the second in a series of these gatherings, sponsored by Fuller’s Office of Alumni/ae and Church Relations, designed to offer alumni/ae and friends the opportunity for discussion and dialogue with a Fuller faculty member in a more intimate setting.

The premise of his Dissident Discipleship book, Augsburger explained during the gathering, is that there are three poles of spiritual orientation: mono-polar, bi-polar, and tri-polar. Mono-polar spirituality, the first step, “is an opening of the soul, the beginning of soul-making. It seeks a spirituality that discovers the sacred within, the holy in nature, the numinous mysteries of one’s inner depths and their connection to the universe.”

Bi-polar spirituality, Augsburger went on to describe, happens when the God of our own creation and celebration dies and we encounter a God who is sovereign and truly other—“who stands above all human manipulation, beyond our strategies of control.” Moving into this phase can be a shattering kind of death experience, he said, when we can no longer say “my God is my own.”

Tri-polar spirituality, he said, occurs when we realize that love of God cannot be split from love of other. Love for God and neighbor, two aspects of one and the same love, become inextricably united. “It begins in the radical, subversive walk of living out love without conditions, exceptions, exemptions; it ends in following the ultimate dissident exemplar, Jesus, who said: ‘A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you.’” (This is From Fuller Theologically Seminary’s Web Site)


Being raised on a mission field in southern Africa service to others has been part of my life since I was a kid. In fact, I was mad at my father for the amount of time he spent on his work which left no time for me. More about service later.

The mono-polar spirituality may really be the hardest for me. It requires that I look within my own soul and I don’t like to look there. I don’t seem to have any trouble looking at others and finding their flaws, but to take a good long look deep within myself is very painful.

One day as I was walking along a beach in California when I looked down and saw a tiny flower growing. It was growing in a place I could not see how it was living and the funny thing was I never even see big flowers much less small ones. . I had left a seminar to take that walk and seeing the tiny creation of God it was the beginning of a journey. The next time I looked into my soul I saw a tiny light in the darkness of my inner being. By beginning to see the world around me I began to see inside myself.

Bi-polar spirituality is simply being willing to hand over to God what is already His. Now Bipolar has a different meaning to me. It means my illness. It means going from depression to manic highs. It means having to take medications every day. Here it means coming into a relationship with the Creator after having found the light in the darkness of your soul.

Tri-polar spirituality is more than service. It can heal the pain of your own soul. Gandhi taught service to others not just as a way to build a nation, but as a way to get people to see each other as neighbors and live in peace with one another. Jesus taught service to others not just as a way to heaven, but as a way to bring a peace beyond all understanding to one’s soul.

Helping others will get you further along the recovery path than anything else you can do. Tri-Polar Spirituality is one of the main keys to recovery.



You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.projectdreamagain.com

Saturday, September 22, 2007

HOUSEKEEPING

HOUSEKEEPING ABOUT ED’S BLOG/ September 22, 2007

I need to cover a few things about my blog.

First, it will come out twice a week. Tuesdays and Fridays. I write it mainly as therapy for myself, but from the number of emails I get apparently some of my readers get something out of it too. For that and for my readers I am grateful. Thank you for taking the time to share my thoughts with me and feel free to reply to anything you read in the blog.

Secondly, I need to make clear that I thought Councilman Mumpower’s op-ed piece was right on target. It was a long and powerfully written piece and I feel he is an advocate for those of us with disabilities. It may have been unfair of me to pick a single word such as victim out of his piece and write my blog around it. I would encourage you to go online to the Asheville Citizen-Times and read his entire op-ed piece. I think the points I made about victim hood are valid and I wanted to use the quote, but maybe I did not make clear how strongly I agreed with the points his piece made.

Thirdly, a loyal reader brought to my attention that I keep using the phrase “mentally ill” rather “people with mental illnesses”. This was not the person who called me on this before in such an angry tone. This reader did it in kindness and maybe I can remember it better because of the tone that was used this time. I go deaf when I am yelled at, but this reader was not yelling. He was simply making the valid point that “the phrase ‘the mentally ill’ has no person in it.” Well if I am trying to get the world to see us as fully human then my language must reflect that. I promise to try to do better and I thank this reader for his gentle approach to helping make this blog better.

There is a SPECIAL EDITION of my book “WHEN EVEN THE DEVIL DESERTS YOU” being printed. It will be available from Project Dream Again sometime after the 1st of October. This new edition is dedicated to Cassy Edwards and Roy Dale. I will let you know how you can get a copy soon after the first of the month.

You can reach me directly at eecoop_2000@yahoo.com
HOMEPAGE: http:// www.geocities.com/eecoop_2000/ed.html

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