Monday, July 08, 2019

DO WE SEE PEOPLE OR PROBLEMS: by ed



I have never gotten a chip for the time between manic highs.  Some would say I am making a mockery of the hard work it takes to earn a chip in the addictions world.  Well, they would be wrong.  I am trying to make the point that bipolar mania is as addictive as any drug found growing in nature or man-made.

I am also saying that as I look back on my life, I recognize that I was addicted to the natural high of mania.  I looked forward to them.  Did nothing to prevent them.  Oh yes, they were destructive to my life.  However, they felt so wonderful. 

My late wife, Patty, finally told me she could not take any more of them.  I started taking medications to try to prevent future manic episodes.  I missed them, but I loved her more.

In our cities, towns, and counties, significant attention is being given to the problems surrounding addictions, but not a lot of attention is being given to human beings and their families.   We seem to have a strategy to deal with the addition but not with the person.  We do not see a person.  We see a problem.

Patty did not see me as a problem.  She knew I had issues that could be solved.  Do we see people or problems?  People are more complex than a couple of their ongoing failures.  It was a homeless wino who kept me fed and alive on the streets of New York City one time when I was too high to take care of myself.

If addictions treatment or mental health treatment ever decide we are people to be treated with real dignity and afforded our full human rights, it will be because they saw us not as problems but as people.  Fully human.  Like them.  With fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters, along with wives and husbands.

Patty always wondered why the people working with me never wanted to talk to her.  I told her, "you humanize me too much."

© Ed Cooper, 7/8/2019, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
    All rights reserved

Thursday, April 18, 2019

A SAFE PLACE: essay by ed


Ed on Sky Bridge, KY


The 18 year old woman from Surfside, FL who had been wanted by authorities since Tuesday morning after allegedly making "credible" threats toward schools in the Denver metro area was found dead by suicide around the base of Mt. Evans.

On March 14th of this year a veteran being held in the West Palm Beach VA was found dead by suicide. He hung himself when he was told he was not going to be able to go home.

Everyone has an opinion about suicide. I am writing about it now because we are coming up on May which is Mental Health month. I have a couple things I want to say before all the words start flying.

If you are a new reader let me introduce you to my expertise on this subject. I have been suicidal off and on for over 55 years. I have had friends and family accomplish the act and friends fail to accomplish it. I failed myself because of poor planning.

I have very strong opinions on the subject. I do not believe the government has any right to lock a person away who has not committed a crime simply because they do not like how their mind works. It amazes how those people who think humans have free will believe that free will should be taken away from those of us who they give a psychiatric label to. How did the state become smarter than our creator who decided we should have free will?

Even if you think something should be done for us poor souls, what makes you think locking us up like criminals is an answer. I recently read an article that said we should not say someone “committed” suicide because that made it sound like a crime and added stigma. The author did not say a word about the stigma that forced treatment adds and the fact that the threat of force treatment keeps many of us from ever speaking truthfully with a mental health professional. Then the Veterans Administration wonders why so many vets do not come to them for help?

My biggest question is why do we hear so much about sanctuary cities and churches that offer sanctuary to immigration fugitives, but we have never heard of either offering sanctuary to a person to keep them from being locked away by the government on a psychiatric unit? This question does not imply I am against sanctuary for illegal aliens. I am simply saying we, people who have been given psychiatric labels, need the same kind of sanctuary.

If folks had a safe place to be they might learn how to be safe.

© Ed Cooper, 4/18/2019, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Patty's Book Available



Patty's book is available on Amazon 
in Kindle edition 
and 
in Paperback. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

MY SOUL IS LIKE A DYING BONSAI TREE: a poem by ed



Lord you can't any longer
     frighten me 
          with the threat of hell
because my soul is already there.

It is empty.
I do not feel you
     or anything else
          since Patty left me behind.

The tears are gone.
     You are gone.
          She is gone.
               I am gone.

Do not tell me it will get better
     when I cannot feel today.
Lord you left with her
     because you were in her.

My soul is like a 
    bonsai tree dying 
    from
         being over pruned
         and not watered.

Lord,
     you over pruned my soul
          and left it dry as a bone
when you took Patty from me.

© Ed Cooper, 2/20/2019
    All rights reserved

Monday, February 04, 2019

IS GOD HIDING FROM ME? by ed cooper

Patty (1946-2018)
Since the death of my beloved wife Patty I have felt like God has been hiding from me.  I cannot feel the presence of God anymore.  I am ashamed because I had a perfect example of how to live a Godly life.

As Patty lay dying in her bed it was obvious that she felt God right there with her.  From the time she was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer Patty said "I just laid back in the arms of Jesus."  Everyone who came in contact with her as she journeyed to her death saw a woman at peace with dying because she believed with all her mind, heart and soul Jesus was waiting for her.  Patty witnessed each day with the way she lived her life to the folks from hospice and anyone else who visited her.

Why now am I not able to follow the path I saw her live so well up to the moment of her last breath?  Is God hiding from me?  The answer to that question is a resounding no.  I am hiding from God.  God has no reason to hide from me, but I have many reasons to hide from God.

God could have healed Patty.
God could have taken me first.
God could have taken us together.

I am too mad at God to want to talk to God.  The funny thing is my mind will not let me play this game.  I know God knows.  Did you hear me?  I know God knows.  I do not have to pray some prayer for God to know everything in my being.  I cannot really hide from God.  God is here even if I do not want to say God is here.

I cannot run God off with my anger or by saying God is not here.  I know because I watched Patty journey until her lungs would not take in air any longer and her big heart kept on beating and then finally stopped.  Even in her death she was a witness to the loving grace of God.

I can stay in my agony or acknowledge God.  


Matthew 11:28-30 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

28 “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Maybe there is some wisdom in these words if read and understood.  Team up with Jesus?  Carry the load with Him as a team as you learn from Him.  Grief is a massive load, but a team would make it lighter just as Patty as my teammate made the world so much brighter.  I am not sure of all the steps to team up with Jesus because I know it is more than just getting wet in baptism, but it might be worth an attempt to find out.


(Lost my editor so please excuse any mistakes)
© Ed Cooper, February 4, 2019, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
    All rights reserved

Sunday, January 13, 2019

I AM FORCED TO LIE TO MY THERAPIST: an essay by ed

(me before I got old)

There have not been many times in my life that I truly wanted help from the mental health system.  Truthfully,  I cannot think of a single one.  I could use help now because of the heart breaking and soul shattering pain of the death of my precious friend and wife Patty.  People say I must go on.  They say it will get better.  They use words like recovery as though grief was an addiction.  I want to scream when folks ask me how I am doing.  I am not "doing." I do not even consider this living.

In a conversation with a friend the other day my friend said she had never experienced depression.  I was not as kind as I should have been because I began a long and not very quiet speech about the fact she knew everything about depression because living with deep abiding grief was no different than depression because they both had the very same results on the mind, body and soul.  The difference being that there was not a medication that was likely to do much for deep abiding grief.

That is why I wish the mental health system was not set up against us.  It forces us to lie to the mental health professionals trying to help.  If I am too truthful I risk being locked away on a unit in a hospital behind doors I do not have the keys to.  How can this be true?  Because the state has decided it can declare "parental rights" and ownership of anyone deemed dangerous to self or others or just "too mentally ill" to make good decisions for themselves.

You may think this sounds right.  May I remind you that in both the Jewish and Christian traditions the Creator gave humans free will.  If my Creator did not retain "parental rights" how did we ever come to believe the state had the right to declare it was OK to lock a 70 year old man up who had not committed a crime simply because the state didn't like the state of my mind?

The result of this absurdity is that I am forced to lie to my therapist at a time my therapist might be able to offer real help if I could be real with my therapist.  The laws allowing forced treatment prevent that.  All this means I am left with partial help and since there is little chance the laws will be changed I will never be able to be myself with my therapist.

© Ed Cooper, 1/13/2019, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
    All rights reserved 

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

A HEART THAT BEATS SO COLD: a poem by ed




Why do you grieve for a man
who would ask you out for breakfast
and then take you to a motel
with a sign on it for a free breakfast?

Why do you go on in such pain
when it would be so easy to end
a soul that never sees the sun
and a heart that beats so cold.

Don’t speak to me of some
higher noble purpose as the reason
you were left behind to suffer alone
without the one who made you whole.

Even if that were so
you do not believe it
and it gives your soul
not one small bit of solace.

The truth is you will not
be whole again until
he takes you out on another
wild man adventure in the heavens.

© Ed Cooper, January 9, 2019, Stoney Creek, TN, Appalachia
All rights reserved

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF TO COMMUNITY

Patty Cooper (October 18, 1946- November 18, 2018)

I am republishing this blog first published in January 2008 because Patty strongly believed both in the individual and the community.

FERTILE INNER SELF/ January 3, 2008
Bobbie Ann Mason, a native of my home state of Kentucky, has a character (Emmett, a Vietnam vet) in her book In Country say “If you can think about something like birds, you can get outside of yourself, and it doesn’t hurt as much. That’s the whole idea. That’s the whole challenge for the human race. Think about that. Put your thinking cap on Sam (a teenage girl). Put that in your pipe and smoke it! But I can barely get to the point where I can be a self to get out of.”
Being a self sounds simple enough, but is it really? We all are being something, but when I look around me most people seem to be trying to be like each other. Others are totally absorbed in either their jobs or their kids. I am not sure they even know who they are. Do they have an identity other than their work or through their kids?
You can find tons of stuff written about community now days. In fact, I write about it here often. It is important, but you can not become a strong member of a community if you don’t know who you are. A strong community is made up of strong selves.
You may ask how can that be. Don’t you have to give up self when you enter a community or a marriage? Only if you are entering a cult or marrying a control freak. Let me ask you this. Did Jesus when he came into the world community stop being Jesus? Did Moses have a strong self as he led the Hebrew people out of bondage? Did Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. have strong selves as they advocated for the freedom and rights of all people?
I understand and have written in this blog about the importance of community. Nothing I am saying here changes that. The point here is that individuals are the building blocks of communities and the stronger they are the stronger the community will be.
Trauma, especially early and prolonged childhood sexual trauma, can damage the ability to form a concept of self. The stigma of psychiatric labels can also make it hard to develop a sound self. There are other social, psychological, genetic, and spiritual factors that get in the way. Developing a strong inner self is not simple nor is there a single pathway one must take. However, let me leave you with this thought. Is not the safest and wisest place to plant and grow your fruitful and fertile inner self in the loving arms of our Creator?
You can reach me directly at edcooper@projectdreamagain.com