Sunday, January 13, 2019


(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


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


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?
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