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December 25, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness.
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All homeless people are always painted with the same brush.  Portrayed as hapless, singularly unhappy individuals who are anxious to join the rest of humanity, they are, so it goes, just dying to live like the rest of us: in a warm home with their loved ones by their side.  In some cases of mental illness, nothing could be further from the truth.

Imagine living in your own fantasy world 24/7.  The only difference between that fantasy life and immersion in your own virtual reality video game is that with the fantasy life, it never ends, and it doesn’t matter where your physical location is.  The pull of that fantasy world is so strong that your physical location means nothing.  Whether you’re in the dead of winter with no warm clothes or in a heat wave with no air conditioning, nothing matters except for what’s going on in your fantasy world.

In my case, I was a Mermaid with powerful friends.  Able to generate my own energy (enough to power a large hospital) I had no need for electricity.  Fish, dogs and cats talked to me. And I had as close personal friends some of the most powerful people in the world.  Bill and Melinda Gates, Oprah Winfrey, the Dalai Lama were only a few of the people that hung on my every word.  I talked with ghosts and had ESP (extra-sensory perception). God personally laughed at my jokes. All of this was mine. And it was just as real as the Christmas tree in your living room.

Why would I want to change anything?  What could possibly be more exciting than the life I led inside my head? Absolutely NOTHING.

What changed for me, and put me on the road to recovery, was involuntary commitment.  That was the difference between living on the street and being reunited with my family and friends.

So remember: not everyone wants to leave the street.  And sometimes it will take involuntary commitment to change a person’s mind.

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Mental Illness: Brain Function Impairment December 19, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness.
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The tainted reputation of the age-old term “mentally ill”, used to describe people with brain functioning impairment (BFI), has added to the burden of suffering caused by the malady itself.  Creating a new, more accurate category encompassing all brain functioning impairments, everything from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia, is a partial answer to changing the negative perception of bipolar disorder and other terms currently branded “mental illnesses”.

One of the most fascinating points of brain functioning impairment is how criteria in the health spectrum are defined as either “physical” or “mental”.  For example, migraine headaches, although technically a BFI, are considered part of the physical health rather than mental health spectrum. This is because the manifestation of that BFI is physical pain in a specific locale.  In general, if you can perceive the manifestation of the injury in physical form (cuts and/or bleeding from blunt trauma to the head) or “feel” it at a specific location (migraine headache), then it’s thrown into the “physical illness” category.  If you can’t see a direct physical manifestation of the disease, then in most cases it’s deemed a mental illness.  If the change to BFI is implemented, this perception of mental versus physical illness would change as well, since one of the points of the re-branding is to challenge the illogical way that BFI is categorized.

Re-branding the current term “mental illness” to the more accurate description “brain functioning impairment”, will go a long way towards solving our stigma problem. We can reposition the impairment term as the politically correct term, and phase out the awful connotations of the old term. At a minimum, rebranding will go a long way toward forcing the general public to change its perception of people with BFI.

For example, imagine how differently a news story would play out if the news media were forced to use the more appropriate and accurate description.  “Joe Blow, affected with Brain Functioning Impairment, is a suspect in the murder of Jane Doe” would certainly go a long way towards stamping out the intolerance and embarrassment engendered by the mental illness misnomer. Encouraging the use of the re-branded term BFI would put the proper emphasis on the impairment as the cause, rather than the murderer’s sinister moral bankruptcy.

Forcing the marriage of illnesses like Alzheimers with schizophrenia by putting them under the same umbrella in the general public will give schizophrenia a better, more socially acceptable reputation, softened by its close relationship to other brain functioning impairments.  It would be simply one of a spectrum of disorders people suffer from, instead of a “stand-alone” mental illness experienced by abnormal people.

Combining “mental” and “physical” illnesses will give “mental illnesses” more research dollars because the synergy of all BFI’s together will be a huge number, encompassing a tremendous portion of the population. As the general public finally discovers the magnitude of the problem, more research money will become available to all BFI’s. There’s power in numbers.

Please join me in pushing to effect this change by actively working to encourage and persuade major organizations like NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Illness) -info@nami-eastside.org (WA) or info@nami.org (National) and DBSA (Depression Bipolar Support Alliance – info@dbsalliance.org- to become a front-runner in our re-branding effort.  It won’t be easy but it will be well worth the effort.

Mental Illness and God December 11, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness.
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While I was psychotic, I had the most amazing conversations with God.  Out of those conversations, He revealed a new set of “tenants” to me. To me only, as far as I can tell.

The first tenant was that rather than destined for Heaven or Hell, it is not that simple. We are all on the same continuum, and “death” in this lifetime is really just movement from this physical body to the next  “body”. This lifetime is just part of a continuum, and not the end of us.  Far from it. Death is not the final destination. In fact, our ultimate destiny is to meet up with everyone else and become “one” with the universe.

When I asked God to explain Himself to me in terms that I could understand, He laughed.  He said that it would be difficult to explain Himself because He exists on so many more levels than we can perceive through this body. We’re trying to get Him to give us information that we’re not equipped to handle given our current limitations.   To understand Him requires vastly more senses than we possess here and now.

When I begged for more specifics, He told me this:  Imagine a giant Mother Ship which represents our entire soul.  Then we have the current lifetime, represented by a drone. We only have complete access to the Mother Ship after death, but we have a new drone in each lifetime. During our various lifetimes, our experiences are obtained via these “drones”.  The “drones” operate as their own complete system in the dimensions we live in, and knowledge of the Mother Ship is wiped from current memory during our lifetime.  Not really wiped, but the drone and Mother Ship only maintain complete contact with each other directly after death. Once we die, our  “drones” download our experiences to the Mother Ship.  Only upon our death does all of the information get translated from a drone to the ultimate individual soul.  Our drones are connected to the Mother Ship by a thin cord, for the most part invisible to us while we’re here because we can’t totally perceive the dimension it’s in.

Throughout many lifetimes, the “drone” transports information to the Mother Ship.  As this information is downloaded, the Mother Ship gets further along in its ultimate destination, which is reunification with God.

Some people try to short-circuit the limitations of this lifetime with drugs. While they do indeed get a sense of this “oneness with the Universe, they are stymied by their ultimate lack of ability to perceive the entire experience. Again and again, they return to drugs to try to recapture that feeling of one-ness, missing the lesson occasionally because they’re trying to cheat their way out of the classroom.

I asked Him to explain ghosts to me. He said that a ghost is simply a drone that doesn’t want to let go of that lifetime.  Eventually, the ghost “gives up the ghost” and returns to the mother ship, either after waiting for some specific person to join them or after coming to terms with their predicament. There are no ancient (10,000 year old) ghosts.  Eventually, they all come to terms with their death and move on to the next stage

Ghosts can be seen by some of us but not all of us. Just as some of us have better sight than others, some of us have better access to the areas of our brains that process ghost perception than others.  Ghosts aren’t able to inhabit the exact same dimensions in death as they are in life, but there is some cross-over of dimensions. Ghosts can pop in and out of some of our current dimensions but the can’t go forward with their progress to God until they download to the Mother Ship. This only occurs when the ghost is ready to move on.

Prayer is truly talking with God (not to God), but there is no need for a middle-man in order to talk with God.  You have direct connection with Him if you will only stop and listen. That listening is done via prayer or meditation or anything that stills the body and mind so the soul can find its way to God.

We are all God’s children, and we’re all headed towards the same ultimate reunification with God on all levels of dimensions.  With each incarnation comes more data for the drone to upload to the Mother Ship.   Many times we revisit the same situations in different physical bodies, always on a search for more information.  The only way we can get more information is through new physical bodies uploading to the Mother Ship.  Physical in this context means something entirely different than the usual definition, since the physical bodies suggested are in different dimensions than the ones we are in now.

Occasionally, we will get an inkling of our past physical bodies, when a particular feeling about a certain point in history brings up strange emotions given our current physical body.

In my case, God allowed me to “see” one of my past lives as a completely different life form on a different planet long ago. Perhaps millions of years ago, I was loved by another of my species, and I spent my time as a sort of blue slug. This picture was presented to me in my mind by God, to prove the point that we’re all very old souls. Again, I can only perceive this data through y current physical body, so the memory is incomplete.  There are dimensions that I operated in during that lifetime that are closed to me in my current body.

In  yet another lifetime, my past was presented in more current terms.  Five hundred years ago, I was a young maiden living in a warm climate on a large island on this planet.  When I thought my beloved was in love with another woman, I took my own life, drowning myself in the ocean.

More currently, I was a black slave in the civil war years, tied  to a small sweltering cabin, where my job was to make babies for my master to sell.  I was routinely raped by a large strapping black man, and I met my demise when I was left without water during a heat wave.  Forgotten, I died of dehydration.

Make what you will of all of this.

Mental Illness and Homeless People December 11, 2010

Posted by Crazy Mermaid in mental illness.
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Walking the streets of Seattle this afternoon as my husband and I shopped for Christmas gifts, I scanned the face of every homeless person we passed, trying hard to remember the faces of the numerous number of homeless people I shared three weeks of my life with while I was hospitalized at Fairfax, a mental hospital, over two and a half years ago.

Did any of the faces look remotely familiar? Would I recognize anyone if I saw them? Are they still alive? In Jail? Dead? Whatever happened to them?  I would love to have run into any one of them today, to  ask how they’re doing, and  if there’s anything I can do to make their life more comfortable for them.  What would they say?

Edie, the little cherub looking woman who looked much younger than her 52 years- where is she now? Is she warm and safe? Is her schizophrenia finally under control with medication?  Did her boyfriend, who visited her in the hospital, marry her like he said he would after her illness was under control? What color was her bride’s dress?

How about Michael, the strapping young bipolar man who taught me that each tear tatoo around someon’e eye symbolizes the life of someone he took.  Michael had, in other words, murdered three people. And he so badly wanted to kill his older sister when he was released, which was going to be very, very soon.  Did he kill her? Does he now have 4 tear tatoos?

What of Tonya, the twenty-something depressed Samoan woman?  Each day she was there, she told all of us in group therapy how badly she wanted to kill herself. Even on the day she was released from the mental hospital, she was still saying that. But they released her anyway. Her bed was needed by someone else, this time with insurance to pay the exorbitant price of commitment. Did she succeed in killing herself? I put the odds of her “success”, if you can call it that, at around 85%. Is she buried somewhere in an unmarked grave? Or is she one of the many people who simply stepped out onto the train tracks, not having the guts to actually swallow the pill or pull the trigger themselves? Is she still alive somewhere? I very much doubt it.

Does Terry, one of the most colorful personalities, still think she was from Saturn? Does she continue to speak gobbledygook to people, claiming that it’s the language of her planet?  Is her bipolar disorder and schizoaffetive disorder under control?  How many times has she returned to the mental hospital? It had been 3 times in her 30-something life when I left. Is it now 4?

If it wasn’t for the terrific support system of my friends and family, as well as the wonderful care I continue to receive from my psychiatrist and my mental health counselor, I would be out there on the streets with them.  I was one of the lucky ones.