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 

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