My mission has become a haze
In these droning hours—
Grass coated medians:
Another couple hundred miles,
Another tank of diesel fuel,
Another nook and cranny town
Left unexplored by my consciousness
As the gas logo sign posts,
Bat me in the eye
Pillars and bridges are swooping down
With on and off ramps
Leading to livelihoods
That embrace all the homes
That I defy.
Would they ever acknowledge the
Sentence to freedom, the
Wandering, quivering, blues that (I)
Want to leave behind me.
The diesel echoes in and out
Of ominous, overcast
And I will travel onward
And I’m ignoring the reflected
Upon the mournful plains.
This moving truck is full.
I’ve left nothing behind
Except for friends, family and Rimma
Who is so much on my mind.
I remember the rainy night
In her apartment’s hush
When the only light in the world
Was the bulb hanging above us.
Rimma’s foreign accent
Was so far away from home.
Rimma’s beauty was so lonely
Rimma’s life was on the roam
I see Rimma on every horizon
When my heart sits frozen in fear.
And now that I am finally on the road
I have left her behind to find her here.
So I am trying to find Rimma
And no matter what happens to me
I will still see Rimma on the horizon
And be graced by her eternity.
I believe that a powerful dialectic exists when participants study their similarities in psychoses focus groups. Converse to the great opportunities for growth that result when participants genuinely identify with each other, there are often important points of difference highlighted that likewise can lead to growth when nurtured properly.
I have observed that participants often become more aware of their diverse beliefs regarding the causation of their psychosis experiences. I also believe that the causation of psychosis experiences is a natural preoccupation for people who suffer. In fact, this preoccupation is so powerful, it warrants becoming part of the definition of psychosis in the model of treatment I have created.
The issue of whether to take medication or not can be a difficult one. While medication may work well for some, it may do little for others. This syncs with the fact that experiences associated with psychosis are vast and varied. People who suffer are very diverse, and causation remains nebulous.
I believe that causation for each person is a constellation of a series of modalities. I have witnessed how comparing causation theories becomes the spice of life in a psychosis support group. I find support groups for people who experience what is labeled as psychosis to be full of cultural learning that can result in powerful growth and wisdom.
As someone whose been in recovery for fifteen years, I have also witnessed the issue of medication to be politically divisive amongst message receivers or people who experience psychosis. Personally, I am starting to see it more as an element of cultural diversity in which differences can make the support groups I run vibrant and spectacular.
I believe I have a moderate view on this topic, which means it can be hard not to feel under attack in differing circles. My hope in this article is to provide perspectives to help people make their own decision about medication and work together regardless of their views and life experience.
When I experienced two years of psychosis early during my career as a mental health counselor, I was already getting good at managing trauma with my master’s level training. I always been pretty good at being safe for others.
I wanted some of that trauma support when I found myself confined to a ward on a State Hospital. I knew I needed to establish safety with someone but couldn’t find anyone who would deal with me. Instead, no one treated me as though I was traumatized because they didn’t want to reinforce my delusions. This only made the trauma of what I experienced worse. Invariably, hospital workers were punitive and denied anything unjust was happening to me at all.
Because I worked tirelessly and had family support, I was able to return to my career in mental health. I got my psychotherapy license ten years ago and since that time I have worked to create trauma-sensitive treatment to address the needs of individuals who experience psychosis. Here, I intend to convey two trauma-sensitive solutions I have developed, working with people in groups and in individual treatment.
The Challenge of Establishing Trust: Read More
By Corinita Reyes
In the war on drugs, the real targets have not been drugs themselves but on those who live a life in which drugs are ever present. Drugs prove to be a persistent issue in low income neighborhoods, specifically those who have an ethnically diverse makeup. The fact that those affected most by the war on drugs are thought of as “minorities” is no coincidence, it would seem rehab is a privilege reserved only for white affluent people, the rest are sent to prison to serve time for something that is seen as a treatable issue in the medical world. It is hardly a crime to develop diabetes or depression, so why do we treat a mental illness as a crime? It is imperative that we as a country explore how the war on drugs affects low income people of color (POC), its relationship on how mental illness affects low income people of color and why the war on drugs is simply not working. We need to replace the current war with a more sustainable system that supports our citizens, rather than punishes.
The war on Drugs has proven to be unhelpful because it is a continuing cycle which targets drug addicts. In the article “Drug Addicts As a Victim: A Link to Explore” by Laura M. Nunes and Ana Sani, they write “It is not uncommon in the illegal drug market to find that the individual selling the product, being in possession of large sums of money, is also intoxicated.” (3) This shows that the drug dealer and the drug addict are one in the same. Those who are not drug dealers are still in possession and can end up in prison system. Once in the prison system, they may incur trauma from violence, sexual violence or from isolation that only makes any sort of mental illness they had prior more intense. Upon being released, they now face new barriers from acquiring legal employment to being unable to qualify for public assistance and housing thanks to background checks. Now as they are back to illegal activities such as drug dealing in order to make money, these activities make a neighborhood less safe, “Also, by dint of their lifestyle the drug addict will tend to have much less protection, especially in the form of formal protection from the social control system, for fear that their deviant activity is discovered by the authorities.” (Nunes et al, 4) It is safer for these individuals to deal with violence themselves than reach out to authorities in fear of being arrested. Outside of the US, some of the most dangerous people in the world are the ones who are supplying the drugs to the streets of America. In the article “Winding Down the War on Drugs: Reevaluating Global Drug Policy” by Maria McFarland Sanchez-Moreno, they say “Governments around the world have poured billions of dollars into combating drugs…to pursue, conduct surveillance on, kill, prosecute, extradite, and imprison kingpins and low-level dealers, in source and destination countries alike.” (1) This shows how The US is not alone in these failing tactics against drugs, yet the problem persists not only on our streets, but globally. All of this is evidence that the war on drugs in conjunction with the prison system is a cycle that perpetuates violence and drug use.
The war on drugs has caused a lot of destruction in its wake for families, communities, children and adults. Those affected by the war on drugs are mostly low income POC and this brings us to the question of why. In the article “And Examination of the Self-Medication Hypothesis via Treatment Completion” by Erin Crawford, Matthew T. Huss and Lacey Lagoni. It’s brought up that “…use of illicit drugs, other than Marijuana, increase with unmet need for health care.” (2) This is important because low income POC often have trouble affording the cost of visiting a family doctor regularly, let alone a mental health care provider such as a therapist or psychiatrist. On top of the financial barrier, many in these communities face a stigma in which mental health diagnosis and care are thought to be solely a problem for middle/upper class white people. These issues are brought up in the article “Disparities and the Social Determinants of Mental Health and Addictions: Opportunities for a Multifaceted Social Work Response” by Elizabeth A Bowen et. al, they write “…many members of stigmatized and disenfranchised minority groups tend to have worse health than their more advantaged counterparts” (1) this is important to keep in mind because it disproportionately affects POC living in poverty. This is damaging to these communities, because as stated in the article “Poverty and Mental Health: How Do Low Income Adults and Children Fare in Psychotherapy?” By Stacey Kaltman, Jeanne Miranda and Catherine DeCarlo Santiago, “The rates of poverty are higher among ethnic minority adults and families, with 27.4% of African Americans, 26.6% of Hispanic/Latinos, 27.0% of American Indian/Alaskan Natives, and 12.1% of Asians living in poverty compares with 9.9% of non-Hispanic whites…These numbers are troubling because poverty is associated with poor health and wellbeing for children and adults alike.” When looking at these numbers, it’s important to keep in mind that mental illness directly correlates to income, which in turn correlates to ethnic background. People living in low income and especially inner-city communities are more likely to experience trauma and stress due to money struggles, work struggles, frequent moving, violence ranging from domestic to violence out in the community and discrimination. As a result of this trauma, issues such as aggression, difficulty with school, drug use and trouble concentrating can arise; these issues can impede upward mobility. When this type of violence in a community is normalized, there is no one to talk to and one of the main treatments for PTSD is simply working through the trauma by way of talking, writing, creating or various other therapies. Some symptoms of PTSD can be depression and anxiety, both of which as easily treatable with various medications readily available on the market.
The big issue with getting treatment is that is trial in error, both in regards to medication and the mental health providers who write prescriptions. Just because a doctor or psychiatrist has gone to medical school and earned a doctorate does not automatically mean they are a good doctor or the right doctor for any given individual. When getting diagnosed and receiving treatment for mental illness, it requires a relationship built on trust and mutual respect between a patient and a provider. For PTSD, the main treatment is simply seeing a therapist weekly. When a patient is able to see a therapist weekly, they build a relationship and a foundation of trust which helps with diagnosing what is wrong with a person and helps them to open up and explore what traumatic events may have been overlooked and dismissed because it has become normalized in a community. Unfortunately this kind of treatment requires a team of professionals from a therapist, to a psychiatrist, to a regular family doctor, all of whom ideally are seen on a regular basis. For many living in poverty, this is just not feasible as the majority of their health care comes from clinics where it is almost impossible to build a relationship and have a routine checkup with the same physician every time. This is exactly where these issues go overlooked and dismissed as just a part of life because these physicians have heavy loads of patients who all experience similar levels of trauma. It’s difficult for the physician to spend too much time assisting a patient with navigating the confusing system that is mental health care, let alone for them to talk to a patient often enough to diagnose them with a mental illness that would call for a referral.
These problems left untreated help to fuel the war on drugs in that these people end up getting incarcerated due to the trauma they are living with in their daily lives. Once they are released from prison, it is difficult or impossible for these people to find jobs or even places that will rent to them. They have the choice of going hungry and being unable to support their family, or dealing drugs. Drug dealers are not the problem, they are simply the symptom of a problematic symbiotic relationship between the war on drugs and the prison industrial complex. The prison industrial complex serves as a catalyst for an increasing mental health crisis in America as they have become a replacement for psychiatric hospitals. There are many realities within a prison that can create mental illness such as violence, sexual assault, and solitary confinement. Once someone starts dealing drugs, it’s inevitable that there will be police intervention eventually, and the cycles continues. Those who are paying customers are consuming because they are missing hope and love in their life. When living in a community where a large portion of the population is in and out of jail and another large portion of the population is dying of drug overdose and yet another large portion of the population is dying of violence running rampant due to the war on drugs, one can only wonder how anyone would not end up with a mental illness as a result of trauma.
When considering addiction, we must keep in mind these copious amounts of trauma that affect those living in poverty. Addicts are not criminals, they are victims and should be treated as such. We need to offer them support and safe spaces where they can heal and begin their recovery. They need to stop experiencing violence in their homes and streets which is directly tied to the war on drugs. There are feasible solutions to these difficult issues in America if we only approach it differently. By considering drug addiction yet another illness that is present in low income communities, we need to focus on improving the mental health of our citizens. This would begin by shifting the money spent on the war on drugs over to funding for mental health care centers, specifically in low income and urban communities. This would include the tax money spent on drug task forces, militarized policing, and incarceration of those in possession of drugs. In these mental health centers, it is important that the staff reflects the ethnic makeup of the communities they reside in as best as possible, so as not to alienate patients. Some of the services these centers would provide might range from individual therapy, psychiatric care, support groups, after school programs, and addiction rehabilitation. They would be less like a hospital and more like a place for the community to come support one another and be supported by mental health professionals.
This alone will not get rid of the violence that comes with drugs, that is more related to the war on drugs itself. First, with the mental health centers in effect, we will need to shift these urban battlefields back into communities. All drugs will be decriminalized and there will be facilities where people can use and exchange needles safely and takes drugs while under the supervision of health professionals. At these facilities, there will be social workers who are specifically trained in handling drug addiction. These social workers can help any patients who want to get help by referring them to rehab and other services at the mental health center. These social workers will serve as a bridge between the two and will be familiar with the staff at the mental health center and assist with scheduling and meeting doctors, as these simple tasks can be the difference between someone with mental illness getting help or being too overwhelmed to pursue help on their own. Once someone who was once addicted has completed the rehab program, there will be either government funded jobs or a stipend program to help get recovering addicts back to work and rebuilding their life. To be responsible about legalizing all drugs and creating these mental health centers, there will be a part of the funding for these centers that goes to a media campaign promoting the centers and public service announcements that explore the effects of drugs such as meth and cocaine. Drugs classified as psychedelic drugs will be legalized for medical use and study. These will be available through a psychiatrist for a therapy session in which you are accompanied by a psychiatric professional in order to explore repressed memories and have an in depth therapy session. Micro-dosed LSD can likely be prescribed by a psychiatrist for depression. Both of these methods would be studied in depth before being available to the public, and legalization would be a way to open this door. Cannabis will be legalized for medicinal use ranging from seizure medication to depression. The taxes collected from all legalized drugs would go right back into paying for the studies and the anti-drug campaign.
By offering mental health and income solutions to the community, the need for drugs will begin to diminish and those who are still addicted will not be criminalized, resulting in a safer, healthier community for all. If the war on drugs is not working as it is, who benefits from not trying out a new system? It only causes further damage to low income communities if we continue as we have been. As of right now, the U.S. is taking a regressive approach to drug use which has proved unfruitful time and again. If we can only help our citizens, we can improve the wellbeing of our country. If a government is not there to support its citizens, it has failed.
Bowen, Elizabeth A. And Quenette L. Walton. “Disparities and the Social Determinants of Mental Health and Addictions: Opportunities for a Multi-faceted Social Work Response.” Health & Social Work, vol. 40, no. 3, Aug. 2015, pp. e59-e65. EBSCOhost
Lagoni, Lacey, et al. “An Examination of the Self-Medication Hypothesis via Treatment Completion.” Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 19, no. 5, Oct. 2011, pp 416-426. EBSCOhost, doi:10.3109/16066359.2010.525332
Nunes, Laura M and Sani, Ana “The Drug Addict As a Victim: A Link to Explore” Journal of Drug Addiction, Education and Eradication Volume 11, Number 3-4 Nova Science Publishers, Inc.
Sanchez-Moreno, Maria McFarland “Winding Down the War on Drugs: reevaluating Global Drug Policy” Harvard International review
Santiago, Catherine Decarlo, et al. “Poverty and Mental Health: How Do Low-Income Adults and Children Fare in Psychotherapy?.” Journal of Clinical Psychology, vol. 69, no. 2, Feb. 2013, pp. 115-126. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1002/jclp.21951
Be a Buddha! This request isn’t odd!
In Mahayana Buddhism one can become a Buddha, saint, angel, or Demi-god,
By practicing good deeds & eradicating evil deeds,
Moving the will of heaven then on to heaven succeed,
Inspired by the divine I give you a piece of my mind,
Good thoughts, speech, and actions is good karma, it’s good to be kind,
Results in good luck, good fortune, & destiny,
No fool to blood guilt let no devil get the best of me,
By slander and defraud,
The enemies of god are flawed,
I pay homage to Buddha Amitabha Namo Amituofo,
The blessing of Buddha contains more than 7,000 good deeds,
Now this is something you know too,
The bible says a profit is one who is heavy in deed
& faith without works is dead,
Actions and speech follows the thoughts in your head,
Don’t be a sinner forever its bad karma to eat animals that are dead,
Though its what comes out our mouth that defiles us bread,-dren,
Not what we put in, don’t be a gangster and wind up in a cell,
Bad thoughts, speech, and actions leads to bad luck, misfortune, and fate burning in hell,
My wishes are women, weed, and video games and for you to be well,
What are you willing to go to heaven for have integrity truth tell,
Karma is changeable yet permanent don’t soul sell,
Fulfill your destiny and become perfect for life is fleeting,
Be beloved by god and heaven become a celestial being,
Judo: the will of heaven be moved with your heart,
So you can be blessed and lucky as I express myself with this art,
I used to pick up thousands of cigarette butts at and water the park,
Fertilize from dawn till dark,
Plus I believe in Jesus. I’m a melting pot of religion
Like America. It’s good karma to defend your country,
Bad things aren’t suppose to happen
I chant Amituofo to keep demon & devil from among-st me,
So join the light side,
The right side,
& live not with pride,
When your good you don’t have to look over your shoulder or hide,
The bible says that by the law you should abide,
Honesty is a virtue with the deceitful don’t ally,
Bear no false witness they call it snitching & it glides,
Or set sail, you’ll regret your sin’s when your burning in hell,
Live straight and narrow like a train on a rail,
Don’t be lazy, you’ll never succeed if you don’t fail,
You could be black, white female or male,
I wrote this to motivate you to make your story an extraordinary tale,
By becoming an extraordinary person on your destiny don’t bail,
try not to turn down your blessings your suppose to be lucky for being good,
Discern the origin of cause effect and you’ll find enlightenment like you should,
Becoming a Buddha was the best decision I ever made and I really wish you would, too,
Retire on top after your heavy in deed grew,
Seek justice I could talk about it till I’m blue,
That’s why I love the curse of Allah its just it only effects the wicked,
No harm to the innocent no one gets afflicted,
When it comes to celestial beings I’m rather addicted,
The miracles, the virtues, the parables from the gifted,
Worship god and all those in heaven,
Become a V.I.P of the afterlife, and change life’s like a reverend,
If you curse someone with magic and their innocent it returns seven-fold,
Constantly working to become a better person even when I’m old,
Anger leads to pain, pain leads to the hell realms were its not cold,
Have love don’t hate be slow to anger like god so I’m told,
Jesus is lord & to be Christian is to be Christ-like so onto profits I hold,
Anyone can change their destiny are you in or will you fold
Anyone can become a Buddha they come in all forms.
One man killed 32 people before becoming a Buddha– against sin I warn,
Made a vow never to litter so to the earth I’ve sworn,
And hopefully through this verse another saint be born,
Read Liao Fan’s four lessons to changing destiny.
Written by Jamal Muhammad, the Buddha!
Psychosis is an antiquated word that leads to huge misunderstandings that play a large role oppressing a larger and larger portion of the population. For the past nine years I have run professional focus groups, going through the process of listening, exploring, reflecting, writing, seeking feedback and rewriting to get a better definition of psychosis.
Defining Psychosis, the Mainstream Way:
I remember using the mainstream definition as a young professional during the job I used to get me through my Master’s Program. Wondering how I was to connect with people who had delusions and voices that I clearly didn’t experience with my neurotic, highly-medicated self, I filled the white board with a list of labels and complicated words I was proud to be able to define. It was my college education that got me the job, and this was one way I could use it to be useful.
Hallucinations: reports of sounds (voices,) visuals, tactile sensations, tastes, and olfactory sensations that others do not experience
Delusions: “an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational . . .” In spite of the “preponderance of the evidence”
Disorganized Speech: Frequent derailment or incoherence): Word salad, tangential, or circumspect speech
- Attention Problems
- Flat affect
- Social Withdrawal
- Sexual Problems
The Errors of These Ways:
Life has taught me that the mainstream definition, as such, does little to depict what it feels like to have a break from reality. Indeed, not understanding this can cause a supporter to make things worse even when they have the best of intentions. Indeed, miscommunication, pain, and strained relationships often result once a sufferer has a break.
It’s true that a plastic rimmed hat
That cost me ten cents at a thrift store
Is sitting on my head;
And it’s true that they gave me
A free plastic trash bag
To covers some of my
Old five and dime store clothing display;
And it’s true I might have taken the bus;
When it didn’t look like rain this morning;
And it’s true that it would have been
Ten miles home, or four miles to the mall
By the time the skies opened
And dogs and cats nailed down upon my face;
It’s true that already have an interview suit
In another state
That my father wouldn’t send to me
When we fought on the phone earlier today;
And it’s true I have an interview on Friday
And it’s true that I have the money
On my card to pay;
And it’s true that I don’t have enough money
To pay four more months’ rent stay;