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Reposted from Virally Suppressed by VelvetElvis

There are no surer guarantors of the extraordinary than a story which is prefaced by a explanation of how ordinary things had seemed in its beginning. Ask survivors of the attacks on the World Trade Center or Pearl Harbor to describe their experience and they will almost invariably comment on how it started out as a day like any other. And yet, the details of those unremarkable few seconds or minutes before the arrival of the catastrophic become seared in their memory—tattooed on the undersides of their eyelids so that they can't help but see them as they try to sleep. We remember these things in part because we hardwired to do so, our brains being designed to experience more cellular activity in the centers for emotional processing during negative events—but also because it provides a necessary contrast from the horror and trauma of what we endured shortly thereafter. It is the light through which we process our own darkness.

I have little doubt that Heath Hodge, a social worker who was the supervisor for the counseling staff of an assisted-living group home for the mentally ill in San Francisco, has an all too acute awareness of the comparative normalcy with which the events of August 7, 2008 began. As he was doing his usual rounds and conducting welfare checks on the residents in the home, Hodge didn't receive a reply from Theresa Sheehan, a woman in her mid-50s who suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder. After calling her name again and not getting a response, Hodge used one of his own keys to enter the room where he found his client lying on her bed with an open book perched atop her face. At first, Sheehan didn't respond to the social worker, but before long she became irate and leapt from her bed—at least, as much as a morbidly obese fifty-something can leap—yelling at him to get out of her room and threatening him by saying she had a knife with her. Hodge didn't see the knife at the time, but he still took all of the necessary precautions, emptying the group home of its other residents and then went about filling a section 5150 form, which is the California Welfare & Institutions Code for involuntary commitment.

5150s are not out of the ordinary. In fact, they're really quite common and, short of a 187—which is the California police code for a homicide—5150s are more a part of the popular imagination than any other piece of law enforcement jargon(1). Involuntary commitments are an increasingly regular occurrence in California and across the rest of the country as police officers are often placed on the front lines of the battle against severe and persistent mental illness in a deinstitutionalized America. Over the past 60 years, the shift from inpatient treatment of mental health issues to often underfunded and insufficient community-based treatment has seen the number of state run psychiatric beds drop from 339 per 100,000 citizens to 14 per 100,000 citizens—the same number of beds per capita as in 1850. As a result, police departments across the country are increasingly being called on as the first responders to mental health crises—a job for which they are often not adequately trained to perform. In some cities, the amount of time that police spend on mental health related cases exceeds that of burglaries or felony assaults, while large police forces like the LAPD have reported spending over 28,000 hours a month on calls related to people suffering from mental illness. In 21st century America, dealing with mental illness is every bit as ubiquitous a part of police life as is issuing traffic citations and answering domestic violence calls, which makes what happened with Theresa Sheehan all the more condemnable.

In a deinstitutionalized America, the police are often the first line of defense in the fight against mental illness (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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Reposted from CareGiving Kos by second gen

Reprinted with permission. Originally posted on LinkedIn by JA Bourke.

Foreword by GreyHawk

It's that time of year - a time of remembrance, and of family. And, gift giving. From the piece reprinted below the fold:

Monday, 24 November 2014 through Wednesday, 26 November 2014, you can download a free electronic copy of Her Final Year: A Care-Giving Memoir. You can take advantage of this regardless of whether or not you own a physical Kindle by downloading a free Kindle Reader app, which is available for a variety of platforms.

We wrote the book to share our stories with others who are undertaking or who have already completed, the caregiving journey. It's currently rated 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon - please take the opportunity to get a copy for yourself or for those who you think would benefit.

Thank you.

If you can, please let others know about the opportunity to get the ebook version of our book for free. And I hope everyone's holiday is safe, warm, healthy, and prosperous.

Thank you.

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Reposted from cabaretic by second gen

I lost the ability to sleep naturally, to the best of my reckoning, about eight years ago. To keep away insomnia, I take a very strong sedative that doubles as an antidepressant. Last night I didn't get much rest because I'm currently withdrawing from another medication, a tranquilizer known to most Americans as Valium. One can't come off of Valium or any of what are categorized as benzodiazepines cold turkey, and yet I've had to because I couldn't get in touch with my doctor.

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Wed Dec 31, 2014 at 11:16 PM PST

PSA #1: Depression

by Unknown Quantity

Reposted from Unknown Quantity by second gen

``We got rid of her!''  Years later, I can still hear it.  And it still makes me cringe.

This particular class was full of White males, with one lone female student.  Because of their schedules and the time this section was offered, it was mainly composed of engineering majors, which back then always meant male students.  But the course was required of several majors, so I'd get the occasional non-engineering student taking it with them if they couldn't fit another section into their schedule.

It was early in the semester, maybe the second or third class meeting. I was preparing to begin my lecture when I noticed the headcount seemed low.  I asked, ``Who's missing?''

A student volunteered, ``That girl's not here.''

Then from the back of the room I heard, ``Yeah, we got rid of her!''

I knew it was said in jest, but I felt a familiar knot in my stomach that persisted through the weekend.  So the following Monday I began class with a discussion of what had been said and why it had disturbed me. Most of them didn't get it.  But one young man turned around in his seat and pointedly told them, ``Look around you!  Do you see any females in here?  Any Blacks?  Anyone but White guys?''  I don't know if we made a difference, but I seem to remember a quiet descending on the room.

That was the genesis of my Public Service Announcement for my classes. I usually wait until near the end of the semester, when students have gotten to know and trust me.  It's not an easy thing to do, but as I've refined it over the years, I think it's become meaningful to them.  I am going to lift out part of it to present below the lovely orange croissant.  It's difficult because some of the context will be missing, but I think it's important at this time of year to talk about the subject of depression and suicide.

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Reposted from Virally Suppressed by second gen

This past summer, I was being a good twenty-something and flossing my teeth with one of those tiny flosser-thingies with the handle on them when the floss caught itself in a little gap between one of my molars and the well-worn filling that lived there. I tried wiggling the floss out all nice and gentle, but it wasn't budging, so I did the sensible thing and started vigorously yanking the little floss stick up towards the roof of my mouth. In a matter of seconds, the floss had been successfully dislodged and was so generous as to take the filling and the back half of my tooth with it. Like any self-respecting young man with a decent pain tolerance and no dental insurance, I proceeded to act as if nothing had happened. Cut to roughly a month later, and I'm a sleepless, nervous wreck who is popping ibuprofen like a proper junky and pouring clove oil into the place where my tooth used to be to cut the pain.

Eventually, I decided to bite the bullet and go in to get the tooth taken care of. I didn't have a regular dentist, so I decided to head to this place on the outskirts of town that was open on Sundays and advertised crowns for $599. The dentist's office—ingeniously located next door to a sweets shop—was remarkably modern, with all sorts of automated x-rays and rotating do-dads to examine your teeth and was staffed by a very pleasant group of dental assistants and receptionists and the like. After filling out all of the requisite paperwork about my medical history and (lack of) insurance, I was brought back into a little kiosk with a dentist's chair, an assortment of menacing dental equipment and a flatscreen TV that had been equipped with Netflix and was playing an episode of That 70s Show. This was undoubtedly the second coolest dentist's office I'd ever been in, falling behind the pediatric dentist I saw in my youth who had stand up arcade game versions of Donkey Kong and Popeye to play in the waiting room.

A few minutes later, the dentist came by to introduce himself to me and to go over the rather limited options I had if I wanted to save my tooth. The dentist, a 1st generation immigrant from Turkey in his early fifties, was exceedingly nice and also seemingly desperate to convey his familiarity with American culture to his younger patients, if him addressing me as “my bro” and “my brother from another mother” are any indication. However, despite this unorthodox and borderline inappropriate bedside manner, the man came off as genuine so I didn't think much of it. Going over my paperwork, the dentist nodded and muttered to himself, not seeing anything he deemed out of the ordinary until he got to the section where I had listed what medications I was taking, at which point he wrinkled his brow and a wave of confusion came over his face.

“Fluoxetine...buproprion...lithium...” he said, tapping the paper with his pen in time with his recitation of the medications. “Why are you on these?”

I was taken aback. A non-psychiatric medical professional had never asked me why I took the drugs I took before, especially not a dentist. What the hell did it matter to him why I took them?

“Ummm...I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, panic attacks and generalized anxiety disorder.” I told him.

“How long have you been taking these?” the dentist asked me.

“Wow...uh, the Lithium I've been taking since I was 17, so, a decade now. And the other two I started back in 2009.”

“A decade?" he said. “Shouldn't you be better by now?”

Shouldn't I be better by now? Had this guy lost his damn mind? At first I wanted to jump out of my chair and go on a 3 minute-long tirade about this man's complete and utter lack of professionalism and his troglodytic understanding of mental illness, but something stopped me. This guy wasn't being purposefully insensitive...he was just ignorant. After all, it's not like he got much of a primer on mental health when he was in dental school. Better to just let it go.

“I am better now,” I told the dentist. “But if I want to stay better, I have to keep taking the medicine.”

“So, you're not going to come in and shoot the place up or anything?” he said, with the impish grin of a  9-year old who said a very funny, naughty thing.

“No,” I told him. “I think you'll be alright.”

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Reposted from sreeizzle2012 by second gen

Up until recently, I was stuck in 10 years with intense depression with alternating periods of wellness. I didn't realize I had it.

Undiagnosed Asperger's syndrome for 25 years and growing up in an alcoholic family environement for 18 year leaves deep wounds from judgement and stigma from all angles.

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Reposted from Richard Lyon by second gen

Once again we are all caught up in an incident of seemingly senseless violence. This time it is right in the middle of the highly charged political debate and protest over police violence. There is much focus on the mental condition of Ismaaiyl Abdula Brinsley who killed two police officers seemingly selected at random. He apparently has a history of "mental instability". As with other cases of relatively indiscriminate violence many people want to say that a mental illness was the CAUSE of the violence. That is something of a platitude that is easy to accept because it is a horrible event for which we have no other logical explanation. However, there is not a lot of scientific evidence to base that on.

There is a Latin phrase that is very useful for discussing this issue. Post hoc, ergo proptor hoc. This refers to the assumption that because event A occurs prior in time to the occurrence of event B, therefore event A is the cause of event B. The mere sequence of events in time is not adequate proof of cause and effect.

I have diabetes. I am very definitely a non-violent person. Most people would not expect there to be any connection between these two aspects of my being. Yet with a quick Google I found this case of a man with diabetes who was convicted of a multiple murder. Did his diabetes cause his violence? Probably not and most people don't need to be convinced of that.

It is estimated that about 40% of the US population has some form of mental illness. Much of that is anxiety and depression. There is a much smaller number of people with major psychotic disorders, something less than 5%. The vast majority of people with a diagnosed mental illness do not commit acts of violence. They do face challenges and difficulties in their daily lives that are related to their medical problem, but they are not violent. So if we are not ready to attribute other medical problems as the definite cause of violent behavior, why are most people willing to equate it with mental illness?

Every society has forms of sanctioned "legitimate" violence. Responding to what appears to be an obvious threat to your own life in one of them. Police and military are legally authorized to use violence under certain conditions. We seldom attribute those forms of violence to mental illness, even when we consider a specific instance of it to have been unreasonable. There are of course people who enlist in various revolutionary causes and are prepared to use violence which may also result in their own death. They don't have state legitimacy, but we generally tend to think of them as ideologically misguided rather than mentally ill.

Mental illness seems to be a convenient label to pin on violent behavior for which we don't have a readily available pigeon hole. I worked in the field of mental health for a number of years and I know from experience that trying to communicate with people with major mental disorders can sometimes be stressful and confusing. It is understandable that such characteristics make many people reluctant to interact with them if they are in an acute state. However, equating that with dangerous and violent behavior doesn't stand up to reality in most instances.

Thoughts of persecution are a feature that the popular imagination often latches onto. Such thoughts are not entirely unique to people with psychotic disorders, it becomes clinically significant as a matter of degree and how it is situated in a reality context. Most of the people who do exhibit such thoughts in a fairly extreme form never actually go out and act on them in the form of violent behavior. Their existence alone is not sufficient reason to predict violence. So the notion of people with mental illness as a group that poses a significant threat to the world around them is pretty much a popular myth.

There is always the call that wee need to increase the budgets for mental health care to prevent violence. I would certainly would support improved mental health services because there are a lot of people who could be helped by it that aren't getting it. However, I doubt that would do much to prevent violence. The ability of psychologists and psychiatrists to accurately predict who will in fact commit acts of violence is very limited and generally not very reliable. There is also the legal problem of what to do with someone who could become violent but hasn't done anything to break the law. Preventive detention and prior restraint face serious legal hurtles.

People have long seen other people who exhibit what they consider to be strange behavior as a threat. At various time they have been seen as being possessed by evil spirits. We have made some progress in our understanding of such problems and have some forms of useful treatment available. However, we do have fixes and cures. I doubt that mental health has much prospect of coming up with a solution to the problem of violence since it's very meaning is embedded in the structure of society. Violence only becomes a problem when it takes a form that the society doesn't tolerate. We often lack consensus as to just where that line lies.        

Reposted from Bill Berkowitz by second gen

With every new mass shooting in this country resulting in casualties, people with mental illness are singled out for blame. While access to the United States' mental health care system is woefully lacking, the proliferation of guns and the ease with which anyone can get them - a central cause of mass shootings - is typically swept under the rug.

Two years ago, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fatally shot 20 children and six adults with his mother's Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The nation was shocked, saddened and outraged. If there were ever an opportunity for the implementation of some very basic, common sense laws controlling guns, that was the time.

Read the full story below or at

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Fri Dec 12, 2014 at 04:09 PM PST

Stealth PTSD

by detroitmechworks

Reposted from detroitmechworks by second gen

I'm in therapy.  It's a great feeling to finally be getting better.

However, there's something I'm finding out that really bugging me.  For those who don't know, I'm an Iraq war veteran.  I served with the 3d ACR in Iraq during their 07-09 deployment.  Which means that I was present during what was later called "The worst of the Sectarian Violence", however you want to make a euphemism of that.

The thing that I find is that while I would occasionally have symptoms of mental illness, what is most horrible is the things I didn't see.   The little niggling things that affect your daily life but you don't acknowledge.  What I've come to think of as "Stealth PTSD" because it flies under your awareness, but is still just as effective in ruining your life.  

(More on this on the flip)

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Reposted from KosAbility by boatsie
It took the death of my father to free me from a lifetime of emotional abuse as the daughter of a narcissistic mother. To open my eyes and swim away. To save myself from drowning.

At first, I experienced one of those 'pink cloud' periods. Out of her sphere of influence, I was liberated. Powerful.  Invincible.  And I sailed on that cloud for a month or so. Until  my first EMDR session. The ensuing flood of memories. The vibrantly real visions of flailing, submerged, for safety, alone in the middle of a pond whose ice was too thin to bear the weight of even the frailest of the fragile.  

It was then that I realized the true pain had just begun. Pinpointing the root of my problems involved ripping wide open poorly healed wounds. Recracking bones. What emerged was the wreckage of my life.

Everything became a trigger. There was no still point. Except in yoga. In meditation. In carrying around the book and studying each day The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  It is this immersion into the spiritual which is saving me. Repairing my wounds. Reconnecting me with my soul.

My light bulb moment first occurred last year, when my new pdoc, just ten minutes into our 15 minute session, said "I knew right away what your problem is. You have PTSD. I saw it the moment you walked in the door."

Imagine that, after over 20 years of treatment for Major Depressive Disorder!

True, I had immersed myself years before in studying narcissistic mothers. I had done all the reading back then. The Gifted Child. Trapped in the Mirror. Codependent No More. I had gone through periods of No Contact. Limited Contact. But years of treating the symptoms with medication, with sliding through life saddled with the stigma MDD had diverted my attention from the true issue. Had kept me 'coming back for more.'

It was only after that visit with the pDoc that I began researching Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD), defined as "a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape. "

PTSD, in contrast, results from single events, or short term exposure to extreme stress or trauma.

For me C-PTSD involved emotional abuse, physical violations of personal boundaries, entrapment , long-term objectification, exposure to gaslighting & false accusations,  long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull, splitting or alternating raging & hoovering behaviors.

The consequences? Hypervigilence, hypersensitivity, inability to trust, feeling deformed, defective. Unworthy of being loved. Isolating. Adrenal fatigue. Chronic sleep problems. Battlling and overcoming addictions. Inability to hold onto a job. Incapable of true intimacy. The list goes on. And on. And on. I read the symptoms and there is nary a one I cannot relate to.

My NM succeeded time after time in reeling me back in, keeping me entrapped in an obsessive need to 'get it right this time,' to find a way to correct the misconceptions she had about me, to redeem myself for being such a failure.

But I was a failure the moment I was born. How can one correct that?

There were times like this most recent period,  during the last two years, when I thought I had succeeded. When I was able to swoop in and work magic as she and my father battled major illness.  I felt loved. I flew back and forth to the East Coast maybe seven times for extensive stays in hotels near their home. For hospitalizations. Doctors visits. Setting up home health care services. We all thought my mother would die first.

But it was my dad who lost his battle with cancer. Just four days before his death, while I was supervising hospice and home nurses and battling with doctors to issue the right cocktail of meds to relieve my dad of his suffering, she struck out with an attack of such deluded vengeance, I came this close to a psychotic break. When my dad needed me most.

That was the end for me. I told her the next morning I would be staying until he died. And I flew back home the day after his funeral.  

My mother's self absorption, her inability to express love, her preventing me from forming any close friendships, her adeptness at triangulation, her severe punishments which often took the form of weeks of being ignored, the continuous lack of consistency between what she said one day and the next, the radical shifts in reality between when one went to bed in the evening and awoke in the morning. The false accusations.  It was always me causing the problems, the drama, the family rifts.
As I see it, some of the most damaging episodes of dealing with my my mother in my life happened after I ended my first period of no contact. My daughter was perhaps two. I recall phone conversations when my mother said such horrible things I experienced emotional traumas so intense they manifested as inflicted physical wounds.  

• Feeling like someone had pulled the earth out from under your feet: A short time sober and emerging (unbeknownst to her) out the other end of a psychic break,  she told me she had been disappointed with me since my senior year in high school - I looked down to see if I still had legs.  
• Feeling as if the top of my head had exploded: she said I had no right to have a child so soon after getting married when we weren't financially set -  I reached my hands to see if my head was still there.
• Feeling as if l had been stabbed in the heart: I was the only girl of all 23 cousins who was a failure -  I looked down for the knife, the blood.

In the three months since my dad's death, I had been in limited contact mode. I was calling her once a week. And then, a few weeks ago, she said something so hurtful and vindictive, I looked down to see if my wrists had been slit. I continued to look down at my wrists, on and off through the day, for a week afterwards.  As I write this I notice I look down again.

Today, I am in my 12th day of "No Contact." And as much as others may view me as a horrible daughter, for my own survival 'No Contact' must define my status until she dies.  To be "No Contact" means to allow no contact from her, either. To avoid all contact with people she may use as messengers of actions she is taking to hurt, discredit and paint false pictures about me.  

Trauma and Your Lost Self: How To Heal the Pain

A lot of the literature on PTSD or CPTSD  cues you to think back to the person you were before the narcissist entered your life. I entered life through the birth canal of a narcissist. I know no other self.
One way to work with the pain of what you miss is to lessen the distance between you and what you love/value. Try this:

    Ask yourself, What do I miss most about my past self or who I imagine I was or could have been if trauma hadn’t interfered?
    Make a list of as many answers as you can think of, i.e. “I miss feeling connected to my past self.”
    Identify what value each item represents, i.e. the value is “connection”.
    For each item on the list recognize (by writing it out) why that value is important to you, i.e. “Connection is important to me because ….”
    Identify how you can give yourself an experience and sense of that value today. Brainstorm new types of experiences (or recreate old experiences that are available to you today) so that you create an ongoing program of bringing what you value about the past into your present. Do this weekly or even daily.

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Reposted from Electronic America: Progressives Film, music & Arts Group by JekyllnHyde
On September 1, 1939 the armed forces of Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland with overwhelming force, lightning speed, and unprecedented ferocity.  World War II had begun and the term "Blitzkreig" would enter our vocabulary along with all the negative connotations it implied.  More than two decades earlier by August 1914, the idea of total war between great industrialized nations had already arrived with a vengeance. After one thousand, five hundred and fifty one days of intense fighting and almost nine million dead, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year 1918, the guns of war would finally fall silent.  World War I had come to an end but not before an entire generation of European men had been lost.  It was a brutal and destructive war - one whose global reverberations are felt even to this day.

This diary is not a comprehensive history of World War I.  It only explores some of the themes from that senseless war and the response of a few poets directly affected by it.  I first posted a version of this diary on Remembrance Day in 2012.  Every year I try to improve upon the diary.

Dulce Et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of disappointed shells that dropped behind.

GAS! Gas! Quick, boys!-- An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And floundering like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

Death doesn't always have the last word.  What eludes the living - be it fame, fortune, or some other form of notoriety - is often only apparent after they have departed this good earth.

Wilfred Owen eventually came to be revered as one of the great British poets of World War I. In what is probably his most famous poem, he describes the futility of war and appalling conditions he experienced while surviving chemical gas attacks in trenches as a soldier during that most brutal of conflicts.  The poem's title was inspired by a line in one of the Odes of the ancient Roman poet, Horace. The Latin phrase Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori means "how sweet and fitting it is to die for one's country."  Even a cursory reading of the poem makes it obvious that an indignant Owen strongly disagrees with Horace and vigorously challenges that misguided notion of personal and imperial glory that Horace later came to be associated with.  

Owen had defiantly mocked the idea that there was honor in dying for one's own country. Ironically, that is exactly what he ended up doing.  After a stay at Craiglockhart War Hospital in late 1917, Owen returned to France to rejoin his military unit.  One week before the war would end, he was caught in a German machine gun attack and killed in action on November 4, 1918. On the day the war ended on November 11, 1918, the sound of church bells in Shrewsbury, England signaled the coming of the long-awaited peace.  At the home of his parents, the doorbell rang and a telegram informed them that Owen had been killed the week before.

Only 25 years old at the time of his death, Owen had planned to publish a collection of war poems in 1919.  In the book's preface, he had written

This book is not about heroes.  English Poetry is not yet fit to speak of them.  Nor is it about deeds, or lands, nor anything about glory, honour, might, majesty, dominion, or power, except war.  Above all I am not concerned with Poetry.  

My subject is War, and the pity of War.  The Poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next.  All a poet can do today is warn. That is why true Poets must be truthful.

The haunting music in the above video is composer Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings."  It was first performed in 1938 by the NBC Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Arturo Toscanini in front of an invited radio studio audience in New York City.  One of President John F. Kennedy's favorite pieces of music, it was played on television upon the announcement of his death on November 22, 1963.  You can read a draft of the poem that Owen wrote while recuperating from shell shock at Craiglockhart War Hospital, near Edinburgh, Scotland in 1917.


When Will American Troops Return Home from Iraq?

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Reposted from StargazerNC by second gen
"I am a crazy person" button.  Mental Illness Awareness.
This blog post is intended to address the stigma, prejudice, and discrimination which persons with mental illness face in everyday life.

In my own personal experience:  I have personally experienced at various times a lack of understanding of my feelings from family, friends, co-workers, and even church pastors.  

I was hospitalized at a local psych hospital about 20 years ago, and I asked my pastor to visit and to add me to the church’s prayer list.  He refused to do so, saying it would set a precedent, and that most people “like me” would not want the congregation to know they were in the hospital.  The pastor’s reaction to my request created a new source of shame for me, so I soon found a new church home.  

I believe this is not an unusual case scenario of what the stigma of mental illness can produce.

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