Mentally Ill Dying in Prison Transport Vans

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.

Antipsychotics at adult dosage strengths given to toddlers.

This is why I read the New York Times. I get mental health coverage that I get nowhere else. Apparently toddlers who throw tantrums or are seriously withdrawn and have other behavioral difficulties are getting atypicals in swiftly, dramatically growing numbers. From last year to this, the numbers have doubled. The database will not release the names of the prescribing physicians. These are usually GPs and they are not trained in psychiatry. Part of the problem is the lack of child psychiatrists in the united states.

Rejections are Regular in the Life of a Mental Health Writer

Part of this is an email I sent my best friend. I’ve submitted stories more places than I remember. International Bipolar Foundation welcomed me with open arms.

Here are two of the places that said ‘No’ more than once.

Marie Claire Magazine regarding two Eating Disorder pieces. I had them on the phone and received four emails expressing interest, only to  be told they had ‘overplayed’ the eating disorder topic, which they felt was only of interest to ten percent of their readership.

The Mighty. I find them to be too self congratulatory for me. “Haaa Haaa, this saying is cool, I won the war!” life isn’t that simple and I think they s**k. I don’t even read their posts.

This one really stung:

“Stigma Fighters” They rejected me twice but when I read their 1000 word rambles, I think it’s a whiny freak show and they are furthering stigma, not fighting it. By the way, they invited me to submit a third time and when I didn’t they blocked my from receiving their posts. I wrote Sara Fader and Allie Burke asking why I don’t get their posts anymore and neither of them replied.. But they sent me a t-shirt.

Did they have an email tracking system showing them that I only read half of their posts?Back then they were sending three a day and I couldn’t read them all, I saved them in a ‘stigma fighters’ folder. I was going to read them……just to be supportive. Maybe it was my comments on the posts themselves, which I did to let the suffering writers know that I had ‘heard’ them, that someone was listening.

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HERES THE GOOD STUFF

The best part of the story is this: I invited myself to write for bphope.com (Part of Bipolar Magazine). I sent two stories and was gently told it wasn’t what they were looking for. I was given the line about ‘we’ll keep your materials and next year..bla bla’ Well, I asked if I could submit again and this time it went well. I’m on a three month trial period of once a month and so far the editor is really nice and supportive.

MORE GOOD STUFF

I applied to another publication two months ago. I heard back a month ago from their content integrator and was given a thirty day deadline to write a story. I gave them two topic choices and they choose “Mindfulness.” I asked for their style manual and it had all this stuff about prepositions, non essential clauses and tautology, which is like saying the same thing twice in a sentence in different ways.

Examples of Tautology: “My first priority is” (it we say ‘first’ we know it’s a priority, right?)

“Depression casts a dark shadow over our perception.” (Well if it’s a shadow, we can presume it’s dark, right?)

The style manual was so above my paygrade that I googled ten English terms, reread Strunk and White and worked for three hours with my mom, going over every paragraph with a fine toothed comb.

We don’t know yet if they like it, and it was really hard upholding their style and grammatical standards and coming up with subheadings so that my topic could veer off course slightly, for example, going back in Mindfulness’s history all the way back to the first Buddists in 300 BC China.

It took at least thirty hours to write this story and it’s a paid position. I don’t yet know what the money is. I’ll let you know on that. It’s probably variable, depending on how you negotiate it and how much they value your work!

Mystery Shopping While Manic part three

I am a person with bipolar disorder and during a period of very high functioning low grade hypomania, I was a mystery shopper. My sponsor in OA had been doing it forever and she taught me how to get in. It’s easy. If you want to know, email me at bipolarbrainiacSFL@Hotmail.com and I’ll go over it with you. I did it for a year and then had a rough experience with the completion of four lengthy reports I had to do over and over due to computer problems on their end. It stopped being fun. I had also done a few Dior Cosmetic counter shops where I was paid 80 bucks to buy something and keep track of their customer service. One thing led to another and I ended up in a Dior beauty class and I bought 700.00 of cosmetics. That kind of behavior could not go on. I went into debt.  One thing though, five years later and their beautiful five color eye shadow palettes are still in my bathroom, being used and I love them. They are 50 bucks apiece. Crazy, huh?

The expensive Dior face creams that promise youthful results are like 400 a jar. Crazy. Yet the mystery shopping made me want to buy them. I didn’t of course.

My next mystery shopping blog deals with restaurant shops. You get paid to go to these high end restaurants and pay attention to the hosts and servers. They pay enough so you can take a friend. In fact, they want you to take a friend.