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Friday, February 8, 2013

Fond Farewell

I have now been working on and creating this blog for just over 7 months. And I am deciding it is time to bid a fond farewell. This blog was my very first ever writing project. In fact I hardly would have considered myself a writer at the on-set of this project. Writing the now 252 articles for Breathe has been one of the greatest experiences I have ever come across. I have come to see myself in a new light from emerging as I have through publishing Breathe. I would like to take this time and space of my last article to thank my readers.
You have all given me new hope. Writing has become the cornerstone of my daily activity. And without all of you it would not provide me with the sense of purpose that it has. I can now see how much good can come from the harsh and difficult circumstances that have been thrust upon me. My work as an advocate for others who are mentally ill will continue. And I am not going to stop writing either.
I have 2 local magazines in which I will have columns.They both have on-line locations so those of you that are interested may continue to read my work. The first of these 2 publications I will write for on a semi-annual basis. It may be found on-line at tomorrowsbuilders.org. The other I will be writing for at least once a month and as much as weekly. It may be found on-line at vermontviews.org.
I hope that in addition to this blog and my 2 columns that I will one day write a book. I would have never had enough belief in my own ability to say that I would do anything like writing a book 7 months ago. I owe this blog and all of those who have faithfully read my articles for that. And so I will use the last words that I will publish on this blog to again say thank you and goodbye.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Question of Sexuality

In my adolescence I ran with a fast crowd. In my close circle of friends some of us swore to only having one night stands. I remember stories of friends having sex behind dumpsters. And I myself had a sexual encounter in an alley. I was still even in that time taken back by how sexually inhibited most people were.
Time went on and I began to feel more and more awkward expressing my sexuality. This is as I found more and more that others were more guarded than I had expected. I can remember many occasions in which I expected relationships I had developed to move along more quickly than they had. My preconceived notion of how people would interact sexually was starkly different from what I experienced.
My awkwardness around my sexuality grew over time and was compounded by my symptoms of schizophrenia. In my early 20's I withdrew from the world I lived in. This was largely due to paranoia but may have been in part due to a feeling of separation from myself to my peers. I was by that time in my life very confused about how people interacted with each other. And why I was so different from everyone else.
I have since my early 20's had very few sexual encounters. And I literally have not had one steady girlfriend in that time. I have in a way been cast aside by society. I have come to be just as guarded and inhibited as the people whom I never really understood. I wonder how much we are all alike. And how many others out there can relate to this story. One day I may know how others feel on this matter of sexuality. However, today it is still a question I have that is left unanswered.

Friday, February 1, 2013

My New Cause

This being my 250th blog article I would like to share with you what the process of creating this body of work has taught me. It is that if you are diligent in your effort to share something positive with the world you will create opportunity for yourself. I have not always been one to believe ruling forces in the universe that provide for mankind. And I am still a skeptic anyway. What I do know is that people value and appreciate efforts that are made to serve something greater than we are ourselves.
As a direct result of publishing this blog I have begun speaking publicly. I will speak next in Vermont's capitol to our legislators. And in telling a friend of this event including the subject I intend to speak on my friend's friend gave me a helpful tip. The subject I will speak on is the state of mental healthcare in the corrections system. The tip was of a nation wide magazine that is about prisoners and their cause. I am hopeful my story of going from being incarcerated myself to speaking to legislators will be published. My advocacy work is now just beginning and the best is yet to come. I am sure.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Dad

I can still remember my first time fishing quite well. My dad took me out one morning to a nearby river. I had asked a short time before to get my first fishing rod. My dad purchased two rods one for him and one for me. I was already an outdoorsy kid and was very interested in wildlife. It was only natural to begin fishing at that time.
We went to the LaMoille river just below the local dam. I cast my bait out and waited and waited. I ended up waiting for hours to get my first bite. I was eager and yet frustrated. And finally all my patience was used up. I cried and said I wanted to go home.
At that time my dad encouraged me to cast my line out just one more time. It was on that cast that I caught my very first fish. It was a hefty small mouth bass. It tugged on my line so hard; I almost couldn't hold on. It was one of the most thrilling experiences I have ever had. It wouldn't have happened if my dad weren't there for me.
That one last cast was all it took. I can think of many times in my life that my dad was there to encourage me to make one more cast. In all my times of doubt and remorse my dad has been there. He has always encouraged and supported me. My recovery would not be possible without him. Thanks dad.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Making A Change

On March 15th I will be in Montpelier to speak to Vermont's legislators about mental illness. I am very excited about this opportunity. I will only have a short 5 minutes to speak. There will however be a luncheon afterwards. I think more importantly than what I will be able to convey in just 5 minutes is that lines of communication will open.
The fact is that Rome wasn't built in a day. And I can not right the course of mental health treatment in just 5 minutes. I will hope that this opportunity will allow me to continue my advocacy work that I have started with this blog. I will look to begin communicating with others who are involved with mental healthcare at the state level.
I will share with these legislators my opinion that to improve the present system we need volunteer services. These services need to be provided to inmates as well as to the homeless and patients at hospitals. We could especially benefit if members of the peer community volunteered their time to help those who are most in need. It is time that we as a community make a change in how mental illness is addressed.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Was Lost

It was about 1 1/2 years ago now that I was last incarcerated. My freedom was taken away; what was left of my once promising life looked bleak. This would be the third time I was locked up for more than a weekend. There are too many others like me. There are men and women whose ability to make reasonable decisions has been compromised by a mental illness. And they suffer in jail do to these illnesses.
I remember the day that I first felt free again. It had been a little more than a year since I had first been locked up in June of 2011. And I did have some freedom prior. It was however on this day I got to go on my first unsupervised excursion. I left the group home I stayed at and went on an hour long jog. I am not sure I have ever felt better in my life.
I want to be a living example of what can be done with a person who is lost and without hope. I want to show the world that we need not turn our backs to those who suffer as I did. I have turned my life around in just 1 1/2 years. There are many out there who similarly to me can do good in the world. And can make themselves into better people. I want to carry their torch.

My Political Career

I began smoking at the age of 14 or 15. My friends and I would congregate after school at one house each day and smoke. My friends all smoked cigarettes while I smoked my cigars. This time was very important in my self-created delusional world, that I lived in later in life. I believed that at one point this group of adolescents that I associated with received phone calls from Bill Clinton and Saddam Hussein. They each were behind our "attempt at greatness."
This perception of us as young men attempting to be great men by congregating to smoke made sense in my delusional world. I perceived all world leaders to have a soft spot for cool people. These world leaders grew up in my world associating with famous entertainers and athletes. and they fashioned themselves as very cool. And so they showered praise on us young men for our rebelliousness.
I was already known for being a smart person amongst the very wealthiest of people. This was in part why we were selected out of all the 14 and 15 year old adolescents to be praised for smoking. It was a big break in my illustrious political career that I had fabricated in my mind. My career was marked by my stance against the presence of weapons of mass destruction. I even held a summit in Burlington, Vermont to argue against WWIII.