Don’t Ignore Mental Health

There is so much more to mental health than this piece. Don’t ignore the growing epidemic.

The current mental health system in the US is chaotic with the general treatment of unfortunate mental health  patients in America being ignored. Needing treatment is a far cry from getting it. And then there’s the fact that the frenzied system is facing a massive mental health epidemic.

We are finding that many people suffering from conditions cannot find the help they need and are ending up stranded on the streets begging for help. In 2014, it was an estimated that 200,000 were homeless, and 350,000 were incarcerated. It’s unfortunate. Communities tend to reject the serious mentally ill to shelters, prisons and the streets. States have been begging for funding and better training for years.

All of this indicates the journey to substance abuse and violence for comfort.

RibbonI

Mental disorders affect thinking, feeling, mood, or all with each person having a different experience. It is argued that the connection between the underlying causes are genetics, environment and lifestyle are the key to wellness. When it’s brought up, depression, anxiety, panic, schizophrenia and PTSD are usually mentioned. These conditions radiate through America with 1 in 17 people living with a serious mental illness. 50% of these mental disorders begin by the age of 14 rising to 75% by the age of 24. Additionally, coping with stress can create a person’s disorder.

So where could have we adverted the crisis?

A great example would be mental health and teens. 1 out of 5 live with a mental illness developing between 14 and 24. At a time of self-awareness, many teens try to cope with their issues independently sometimes turn to drugs to settle their disorder If the aftermath Netflix’s ‘13 Reasons why’ told us anything, it’s that mental health is still in the dark ages of its causes, actions, and reactions. That alone sheds light as to why those with mental illnesses get the cold shoulder. The fact that normal behavior and the progression of personality during adolescence mimic and mask symptoms makes it all the more critical.

RibbonII.png

Treatment

America has heavily relied on medications for relief from mental illness for generations and generally, the intention is to be beneficial. They influence the brain cells and have brought humans forward from a sadistic past saving many lives. Allowing patients to deal with depression, psychotic episodes, anxiety, and extreme mood swings while living a wealthy life was now possible.

However, many medications hold severe side-effects: memory loss, severe fatigue, isolation resolution, changes in personality to name a few. Ignoring the fact that more that stronger prescriptions is needed in most cases to maintain wellness. It paves the way when it comes to the risks in relieving mental symptoms. Doctors don’t address the underlying issue. Not to mention with rogue doctors exploiting a situation. Many medications are abused to the point when where the current situation begins to leak into many other circumstances.

Like Jail.

It is being shown that many of the inmates incarcerated are suffering from mental problems. The prison system has many flaws. Throwing mentally ill patients behind bars is one of them. It is estimated that 14% of the inmates in federal prisons and 26% in state and county jails met the levels for serious psychological stress. Between the state and county, about 40% were told they have a mental disorder. 31% of those reported a major depressive disorder. Something to think about: There is a higher percentage of females incarcerated with mental health issues. Prescription medication is the common treatment. An overseen issue with the treatment is that many inmates already have addiction issues.

A study in Iowa state prison showed almost 50% of their inmates had a serious mental illness with 29% suffering from substance abuse. 90% is recognized by the 6th year of incarceration and almost all felons were diagnosed while doing their time. Unfortunately by the time all of this happens, the damage is done.

RibbonIII

Suicide

Sadly, those who are subjected to be tortured by their disorder may face their own demise by their own hands. The main risk includes depression and substance abuse. Linkage to this seen as suicidal ideations, social withdraws, mood swings, and reckless behaviors. Sound familiar?

And what happened to patient’s rights?

RibbonIV.png

While issues with mental health policy have progressed it still has ways to go. Patients being discriminated and rights are denied, lack of access to resources, not being able to make their own informed decision, and overcrowded state hospitals has been ground zero to the chaos in treating mental health. 2/3 of children with mental health issues do not have access to care and the criminal justice system just tosses them in jail at the prime age of treatment. For something so important, there a lot of obstacles.

As far as the issues with mental health and prisons, to ignore it is to prove that the function of incarceration isn’t to rehabilitate, but rather, as we thought, just to hold. Can people really say that the proper treatment is provided in prisons? Should we turn our backs? Assume someone else will deal with it? Mental health professionals are still working on progressing the proper way to treat individuals with conditions as they are finding out generalizing may not be the right way to go about things. Is prison or without shelter the place to be to do that?

Advertisements

Cannabis: Mixing Business and Pleasure

Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

While states like Ohio and New Jersey suffered another night of endless overdoses and opiate arrests, a group of Cannabis leaders and lovers came together to enjoy a great Friday night and the ‘SENSI Night Event.’

Thousands of people, women and men alike enjoyed one another’s company as they laughed and shared information on philosophies, creations and future ideas of the Cannabiz nation. All this and cotton candy!

One thing to mention, this event was completely free. $5 parking charge for the City of Denver and a 3 minute walk was all it took to meet great people, enjoy great music, and learn. Vendors enjoyed each other’s company…while spreading their mission of course.

Julian Marley – Photo Credit: Michael Joseph.

A Botanist from I&I Wholesales approached enthusiasts as they entered the bottom level to discuss his love for his creations. He uses his cultivation for both medical and recreational plant growth and is delighted that he could finally share his concepts with a growing audience.

As new benefits of Cannabis comes to light, leaders have spent tireless nights creating new ways to express them. The night proved many things, but once most pronounced: Cannabis can open doors to business in addition to wellness.

Doctors were raffling off free medical exams to receive the deserved benefits of Cannabis. Across from the medical experts, vendors offered help treating someone’s health without them having to face the stigma still pertinent with judgements and life-changing reactions. Relief from illnesses like anxiety, seizures, and anti-inflammatory issues had been showcased as e-cigs, rubs and delicious food fusions. Businesses used their products to collaborate on ways to keep bringing everyone together.

Thousands of people were raveled up someway in the heroin and opiate epidemic Friday night. Thousands of other people decided to network with Cannabis leaders and broaden their horizon on thoughts alliance of the Cannabis brand. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and just plain ol’ Cannabis lovers. Guess what? It wasn’t just a bunch of potheads sitting on a big couch.

Ignoring National Attention Begets Trickle-Down Effect

PrintBoth money and power have been proven to be devastating together and as they stand alone. Destructive in many areas or life quality. Think about it. After centuries of being told that money does not buy happiness, we actually have valid arguments to prove otherwise. 15 minutes of fame has been a steady trend for a couple of decades. Those in power make life-changing decisions and look where we are currently headed.

And while no one deserves to be violated, those who exploit the two are gaining ground to do so. We ignore it though. Money provides that power to do so and if the justice system told us anything, any indiscretion can be swept under the rug. Just check the world’s history.

It seems that we have no choice as an average middle class citizens to watch it happen and wait for it to hit home. And it’s getting ready to collide.

Of the many areas where money and power exploits both a circumstance and its outcomes, one has gotten a lot of media attention due to the delayed attention of human trafficking issue the world has: sex abuse.

It is said that there is a staggering 30.5% of women and 15% of menPrint experience sexual abuse at some point in their childhood. Most are violated by people they trust. With children, it’s easy to manipulate them into believing if they don’t fulfill this adult’s request, their lives’ will be affected. Make them understand the power of money, you have someone who is willing to make an authoritative figure happy as hell.

So we know it’s there, but why is it so rampant? While minorities seem to be slain over miscommunication, a trend of rich and powerful people have been getting away with sex abuse right in our faces with known children crying out for help. It’s hard to ignore the obvious.

Can I point out that this issue has been in our face the entire time?  It’s allowed because the people who we believe are to prevent it, are enabling it. Let’s take a look at the recent news. Millionaire financial advisor, Jeffrey Epstein was charged with allegedly engaging in sexual abuse with 40 minors.

This man was allowed to plead guilty to solicitation of underage girls serving 13 months and paying restitution. Current Labor Nominee and US Attorney Acosta was afraid of prosecuting him because of his powerful defense team even though he had growing evidence against the man. Have you ever heard of an attorney express fear of a public defender? Police Chief Michael Reiter expressed the fact that he got off easy. I’m sure he’s still enjoying life even with this bump on the road.

Things like this will continue to happen especially if we keep with the criminal justice system aligned to dis-proportionally and arguably illegally prosecute people on such a bias scale. While talented lawyers deserve to be paid for their time, the lack of ability to afford great work shouldn’t be life threatening as well the ability to afford to do so should not buy a get out of jail free card. Anyone convicted of raping their three year old daughter thought to rightfully go free? Then you should ask why an heir to DuPont was put on probation and not on a pitch fork to feed hungry lions. The power of money and the greed behind it, allows it.

PrintThen you have celebrities coming forward as childhood sex abuse survivors in one of the perfect situations to get away with it. Cliché Corey Haim was laid to unrest with extreme signs of the result of what we chose to ignore directly and indirectly: substance addiction, guilt, and other self-destructive behavior. He didn’t go peacefully in the night and he tried to point out the obvious. For every Corey Haim, think of all the unnamed children having their outcry’s masked as mere bad behavior.

Elijah Woods makes a claim that child actors are often preyed upon. The trafficking system is organized and protected. Common denominator if you haven’t seen a pattern: money. They can’t speak as loudly as people with power.

Corey Feldman, Corey Haim’s right hand man and the person who was persecuted for a recent performance corroborated his friend’s claim that he was abused. These children trusted these adults in power. These adults with money. Money that has proven to control outcomes in certain financial favor. Industries with money remained protected by power and those who are victimized remain silent because of their lack of control of ironically, their own money.

These people come out and express their reasons for being silent about their battered and senseless situation and they are disbelieved and called coward for not pressing head on in their cavalry. Ignoring that each step on the way down the rabbit hole of sex, money, and power. Ignoring that children are easily manipulated to believe anything adults say.

And when they throw money into the mix and feel that someone should risk their
livelihood when no one else would hear them cry. Forgetting that the same reason that the abuse was allowed to continue is the same reason why they can’t find peace in admittance.

And to wrap this conversation up in a spiky blanket. We watched Printcelebrities parade in front of us knowing what was going on behind the scenes accepting it because we couldn’t tell for sure. Financially powerful people have been brought up before our eyes and the accusations wind up somewhat normalizing it. So where does this leave our everyday people who are violated behind closed doors?

 

 

Growing Up White

Print
Yes I’m black. To some though, I wasn’t. To some, I wasn’t good enough. No real explanation. Just blanket statements.

Some people spend part of their lives shaping themselves to commit to an already planned out existence. But each step was like a needle to the arm: you didn’t die, but you felt it and you remember what happens the next time you encounter it.

Here’s just one of many stories that left a bad taste in my mouth. The culprits may not have realized, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.Print

Growing up black in a white neighborhood in itself is interesting, but it made traveling outside of it confusing. I already knew that people were called colors that they were in fact not, but outside of the suburbs there were also levels to this said color.

While playing outside on the streets of Ilion Avenue, my siblings and I were always told we talked white. I would see my sister’s eyes bulge like their death was gaining pressure. She hated it more than I did.

I never understood why telling us we talked liked a color and that talking that way should be shameful. But hey, most of them barely left the burrow and always asked to play with my Skip-it so who’s ashamed now?

As we got older Printand more color escaped the depths of a government controlled cycle where only a few were okay with their outcome, the criticizing began to change a little. The preteens have now lived life and could tell me a few things. And now were telling me I wasn’t black enough.

First, I sounded white (ew, I guess is what was supposed to say). Now, for some reason, I wasn’t black enough. Almost like a secret timeline they kept track of for final judgement. Sad, I had no clue I was being tested.

Again, wasn’t sure how I was really supposed to take that. I know how I did take it and have a journal for a year in high school to prove it. But here I was, black, sounding white, not being black enough.

Skip ahead to adulthood. After years and years of being told  I sounded like the wrong color, and my color was not enough to be a part of the color group, I was now beiPrintng told the color I was supposed to be and sound like was no longer the latest tea.

That tasted like shit.

A long monologue about love, and many of us got the cliff notes: “You’re too loud, angry, and independent.”

I don’t care who you love, just don’t beat down someone else to justify it.

How I Met My Mother

It wasn’t that long ago, I met my mother. So at that point she was very new to me. Everything I had wondered finally became apparent as she stood before me.ma2

To be clear, my mother has been in my life, all my life. But the mother I knew was the disciplinarian, the one who always had to be right. The one who always was able to ground. I was the standard kid, always wondering mommy could never understand me among the barrage of children she always had around. And I could never understand why it was so hard to get me everything I wanted, anytime I wanted…and the bones I kept breaking cost a lot.

familyI went into my teens thinking the same way. I couldn’t wait to be an adult and swore my mother didn’t appreciate the point in her life she was at. She had the ability to do what she wanted! And yet she made it a point to always interfere with my life. This time only trying to tell me what to do. What did she know? Her life was easy. She was an adult that could make decisions for herself.

majojo

This feeling followed me, as it does many teens.

Until I made it through my 20’s. It was at the end I met my mother.

tk jar

I have no kids and my 20’s were anything but easy. It made me wonder how someone could do it with kids hovered around them?

 I enjoy being around people but love the fact that if I wanted space, I could easily close the door and tell everyone to leave me alone…I remember as a kid having to sleep on the floor next to my mother because the twins had already got comfortable on the couch she was sleeping on. And forget about sleeping in on Saturday. Too many kids needed her.

jojojar

College was successful, but not without its challenges. I struggled but managed to graduate in a timely manner…My mother always talked about school and how she couldn’t wait to go back and finish. And with a bunch of kids, you bet she tried. But I also remember my mother having to halt her future a few times to put her kids in front of what she wanted. Because what she desired the most was for her kids to be successful. At 40 and after multiple times putting her family before herself, she did it.

Success all around!

kimjojo

Flashback to 18. I was finally an adult and could do whatever I wanted. No longer would my mother hold the fact that I was a child over my head. I could do what I want. And I showed her that I could.

11130257_10203310683241729_5880904550415971640_n

Bad move on my part. And when it was time for me to realize it and ask for help (in the form of tears), she embraced me and welcomed me back home without blinking. I was no longer a child, but I was still HER CHILD. No complaints, no ‘you should have’, just love and encouragement. It was that kind of support that got me through college. She also did this while raising my youngest sister.

jojojava2

But I still didn’t realize it then.

During their 20’s, most people begin to really realize what it means to be an adult. Sick is no longer an excuse and the world will move forward without you. Life does not turn out the way you expect but instead of pouting, you must accept it and move on…I could go on forever, but we’re all adults.

jarrett and jojo

Being an adult reintroduced me to a mother I really never knew. A mother who would sacrifice, her time, space, sanity, money, love, life, and her worth to make sure her children had every advantage they could to get as far as they can. She did it so gracefully, I never even noticed. Even as adults, she is ready with open arms to help each and every one of the children on her long list…whenever we are in need and there are 5 of us, not including those she helped support throughout the years.

jojojava

She does this while working. She does this with lack of sleep. She does it sick. She does it while sad. She does this while dealing with her personal problems. She does this without making her children think they are a burden.

And she does this because she wants nothing but the best and brightest future for us. She continues to do it everyday.

18865_462001840234_7800811_n

There are a few things I could argue, but relative to the mother she was, is, and will be, I’d just sound like an ungrateful little bitch.

kim win

I may never know what it feels like to completely put what I thought was my future on hold to secure someone else’s, but I do know when someone does it right.

Print

I see a lot of great mothers out there, but always know in my eyes, I have one of the highest standards in my head. I have every right. As crazy as my siblings and I are, and though some of us once began to steer towards the path of stupidity, there is nothing you can say that would shed darkness on my mother’s children. We wouldn’t be who we are without her.

tknavy

So for those  who think it’s OK to ignore your children, make them feel terrible when they make a mistake, ignore signs of problems, act like doing a little extra is too much for you (children know), choosing other relationships over ones with your children, or feel that just because you did the minimum to raise your children you’re the greatest mom around, I have another word in my head…come look for it.

jarrettbatman

LOST

Print

Its been said that the explanation of what happens during a seizure is difficult to speak of and I couldn’t  agree more. Severe ones you forget most of it, but the moderate ones can linger inside a head like a dream you HAVE to remember. While I can’t say exactly what happens, I can definitely try to  give a description.

Picture This

It’s a normal adult day. You wake up already with things to do. Nothing drastic, just normal personal and work-related tasks. Don’t forget the daydreaming thoughts you have in between. On the way to work, you feel the thought of forgetfulness pecking. You can’t figure out what it is, but the feeling is just lingering in the back of your mind.

The day is set. You know exactly what needs to be done and how it will happen. Confidence is your best friend.

But that feeling of forgetfulness is still massaging the back of the head. Refusing to let it get to you, you keep pushing through your day allowing your personal thoughts to cycle through as you progress.

Then It Happens.

Now in this part, you need to picture your brain as a your ‘mini you.’ A separate entity that controls itself and important parts of you.

We’ll call ‘mini you’ ‘Change’ for the time being.

Change sees everything you do, hears everything you do, does everything you do…most of the time. Without Change, while you will still be able to function, you will not function properly as Change controls a good amount of your mobility and processes.

Change has now decided she now wants to get to the bottom of that forgetful feeling. She decides to head back without alerting and goes as fast that she can, hoping to get back before you realize she is gone.

Unfortunately, as Change speeds to the back of your head, it sends all your thoughts into a spinning disarray and it isn’t until she turns around does she realize the chaos she caused. Thoughts, ability to complete basic functions, and fear are now swirling around the inside of your head and in the distance, Change sees physical you stuttering through normal processes, stumbling to gather thoughts, unaware that the thoughts are now out of control.

As Change begins her path back to the front your head to reconnect, pushing pass the thoughts speeding around her, she is able to peek through the swirls to see physical you confused, scared, and lost. Change feels that as well as the spinning begins to take its toll on her balance. She now becomes a part of your chaos equation as you are caught between focusing on what you are physically doing, what Change is visually seeing, and what you are mentally feeling. One of the visuals is physical you struggling to be normal again.

You’re lost. Change is lost searching for you, and all you want to do is zero in on SOMETHING.

But everything is still spinning and Change still has a distance to go.

My Dream

My Dream smudge

I have encountered a dilemma that started a short while ago. Although this dilemma may not seem like a problem to most. I have a temporary job, quite a comfortable one in fact, writing content for an eCommerce site launch. It’s close to home, I am able to dress comfortably, and currently don’t even have to commute the 2 miles to work.

Now if you know me, you know that convenience plays no part in my life pursuit however, at this stage in my life it’s necessary.

I’m getting tired of waking up in strange places being told where they found me.

I have seizures that started not too long after my 30th birthday shocking myself and those around me. I don’t have them enough to get assistance, but just enough to cause chaos around me every once in a while.

Enough to force me to give up my car keys.

Enough for me to constrict my career search.

Enough to piss me the fuck off.

Maybe one day I’ll tell you the story about my journey to accept my seizures, but for now just know that the unknown trait in this condition has forced me to second guess every decision I need to make. Just this week I was forced to make a decision that could potentially kick me back quite a few steps if the correct choice was not made, but my opportunities were great and would send me soaring in the right direction.

But prior to being confronted with this scenario, one night, as I slept, I had a dream that really disturbed me. In this dream, I had woken from my sleep and decided to go downstairs. I don’t know why as it seemed too dark for me to be up already. As I hit the last step and turned left, I saw that my front door was wide open and the only reason I could see anything was due to the street light shining in my doorway.

Was someone in my house? I felt fear, but not for my life. More like uncertainty. The door was wide open but the darkness stopped me from stepping towards the door, towards the light. I just awoke in shock. My dream was so simple, yet frightful.

I was so conflicted, yet felt so safe thinking about the wide open door.

Back to the story.

The job I am currently at while temporary, allowed me to work from home eliminating the need to call a $700 ambulance if I collapsed on the job. I was safe from embarrassment and an overnight stay at the closest hospital.

Three choices.

Two will force me out of the corner of my study, dressed, and mingling with the rest of the world again.

Two will allow me to work part time at my current job allowing me to save money.

Two will allow me to catch up on these unfortunate bills.

Two will lead me to venture back out into the open, hoping my seizures will wait until I got home.

So was the dream telling me something? Are all my doubts just based on the unknown? Should I have walked through that door? Is it safe out there?

We’ll shall see soon because I left that door and that darkness in the dust.

How would the world survive without the entertainment of me?

Print