Mentally Ill Dying in Prison Transport Vans

This is What Riker’s Island Looks from The Sky

 

rikers island

When I was driving home from my tardive dyskinesia neurologist appointment in Gainesville I read an article that made me shudder. It could be me. Prisoners being driving from one facility to another are at the mercy of untrained people who drive the vans and have more of a trucker mentality. It’s about how many people you can get quickly from one place to another. So they jam the vans, deprive the prisoners of bathroom breaks, etc. When a mentally ill person doesn’t get their meds for three or four days they can decompensate and start babbling loudly or drooling, one person died of Xanax withdrawal.

 

I thought…’It could have been me.’ I’ve been privileged to have good care and avoid the hospital for seventeen years but when my former bff called the cops on me and told them I was suicidal, I was in a holding area very similar to a county jail. A long time ago, the eighties, I had legal problems re my drug habit and went to jail five times, so I know what I’m talking about.

 

The problem is the privatization of public prison and jail systems. These people know how to penny pinch but it’s at the expense of those they transport and their human rights.

A fun story I wrote that just got published on Mystery Shopping

Confessions of a Mystery Shopper

I was once a high-valued corporate spy, investigating customer service everywhere I went by working as a mystery shopper. After a year of luxury brand espionage, I went inactive.

Why would I forgo hitting posh hair salons on the house, free smells, scrubs, and soaps while receiving hand massages? Wouldn’t I miss playing ‘let’s pretend I’m rich and famous’ while being measured for Haute Couture I’d never pick up?

After 22 years of living and working full-time with Bipolar I, I fell into a depression so deep I had to quit a stimulating, high paying job. I applied for disability insurance and was immediately approved. So I’m that sick. Eventually I felt better.

My best friend was a Mystery Shopper.  She took me to lunch at incredible restaurants while chattering about overdue reports for ‘shops’ she’d already done.

She said she’d show me the ropes; warning me about companies selling lists of companies. She said they were scams.

I signed up through the Mystery Shopper Providers of America (MSPA). The MSPA represents both shoppers and hundreds of mystery shopping companies. There are ethical standards both are expected to uphold. There is work outside this network but I was warned it was unreliable. Things like not getting paid.

I registered with five companies my friend said she enjoyed working with. All of them were upscale. Two of them represented restaurants only. I filled out endless personal profile forms. It was interesting to study each brand’s corporate culture and customer service requirements. It was thrilling to spy on their employees and inform on them. I became hypomanic.

There were drive-thru banks, movie theatres, and car dealerships. The shops that paid the most were boring economy hotels that required a weekend stay and a 100-question report due the next Monday. I was so elevated, I just couldn’t stay in one place that long.

My grandiosity got over on me at the ‘just looking’ drop ins. By then, I was beginning to hear things. The handbags all screamed “Take Me Home!”

Once I had to purchase and return shoes on a credit card. I was ashamed. How could I be such a horrible, lowly creature that I couldn’t afford a pair of flats?

What really cost me was equating money with value. If I didn’t have enough money to keep something I wanted, I wasn’t anyone. What a mindwarp.

My last run involved six desirable shops at high-end cosmetics counters. My payment was one hundred dollars per, to be used for purchases I could keep. I was offered a complimentary makeover. While she was touching my face, the saleswoman kept intoning, “You should buy this, your face needs more moisture,” etc.

I dropped over 700.00. Even though I had been compensated 600.00 in cosmetics, I lost 100.00. And that’s not including gas and online time spent on reports for these projects.

This also happened in my restaurant jobs. We were supposed to bring a friend, but they didn’t give you enough for two. Not wanting to seem stingy, I always overspent.

Eventually, I realized I was spinning my wheels, and had racked up five thousand dollars in credit card debt. I went online and deactivated all of my profiles. I made a significant shift.

I see the importance of giving back to the world, leaving something good in my trail. Even though I’m on disability, I want to be a creator, rather than someone who has to buy things all the time in order to feel whole.

I began to write, study nutrition, exercise, make jewelry, and try new recipes from the newspaper to improve my meal planning and cooking. I feel better about myself.

As a person with bipolar disorder with a tendency towards mania and overspending, I don’t need additional triggers. I have friends with bipolar disorder who hit every sale, and have finally stopped urging me to take them there.

About the only time I go to a shopping center is during the holidays or to see some art film that’s not playing elsewhere. I go to the grocery store nearly every day. That’s enough time consumerism for me.

Read the rest of Allison’s posts for IBPF here. Allison has also written for NAMI Not Alone and has personal blogs on WordPress and Tumblr.You can find her on Facebook where she has a closed group to share coping strategies for living with bipolar disorder. 

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Endorphins junk science after all.

So now, it turns out that endorphins were a myth, junk science, the molecule is too large to penetrate the ‘blood brain barrier.’ they are thinking the runner’s ‘high’ is due to endocannabinoids, related to…yes you got it…pot! And endorphins are a natural, fleeting painkiller but they are not the ‘high’ everyone has talked about since the 70’s. What a crock.