Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#Baltimore #BlackLivesMatter #MentalIllness: Are Black People Allowed To Have Bad Days?

 Natasha McKenna

I was thinking about Baltimore.

Unfortunately, due to privilege of the police who murdered Freddie Gray by breaking his spine, for whatever reason, Gray ran from them making him suspect to be hunted and lynched for killing like that.

If Gray had nothing to hide, he would not have to run. Of course, why are their police pursuits anymore with all the communications and camera surveillance technology that is available? He could feel he could have ran somewhere and hide, but walking into a house with a warrant sound more justified by law than breaking his spine and killing him. 

But these purposes of this blog, the questions remains: Maybe Gray just had a bad day and felt like exercising. Maybe he did snatch or steal, I don't know, but his life is not worth what he stole. Can't people who don't hurt others just have bad days and try to get out to regain their breath? For Black people, I guess not.

As for the young lady in this image, Natasha McKenna - she had a serious mental health condition. When anyone who is dealing with a serious mental health condition, there will be BAD DAYS. It takes a mountain to move to manage when days go tough. Somewhere those people, they have a brevity of clarity and feel (and say to themselves) "I can get through this..." and they get outside to do what thing they want to do, like run a simple errand, i.e. buy food at the grocery store.

Seriously, I fucking know. It takes EVERYTHING in the world for me to get out and calculate how to hand stupid people, some in authortarian positions for me not curse their dumbasses out today, just to get some eggs at the store where I live. All I have to do is cross the street to get to my store and "GTFI and GTFO". The mental games I have to do on bad days include: not looking people in the eye, staying humble, razor-sharp focus, ZERO DAWDLING, don't mumble shit to myself, nod my head as passer-bys that get my attention, and when necessary questions are asked the answers are limited to "Yes/No" sometimes +/- smile and no chit-chat. That is how it is where I live. That is my community. That is why I HATE that place. These mental exercises exhaust me and yes, I've told my psychiatrist this is a problem for me. Of course cultural competency in mental health is absent, so he hasn't a clue of what to tell me.

The other issue is you don't say the same thing to a diabetic, or someone physically disabled. This isn't about physical ableism that is encountered because individuals that have those challenges may have some similarities but many a different set of issues than those who have mental health issues alone.

However, for her condition: How do you continue to make it everyday when you know you have a medical condition and just one day, it goes bad for you that you might lose your life?

The other issue is you bottle those nasty thoughts so much so you stress out your system and it causes other chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, stroke, Parkinson's, etc.

Mental illness is not treatable by imprisonment. The illness itself is a prison. Research is working hard to find how to remove the illness and let the person be free to be themselves. If recalled correctly, Natasha had schizophrenia and some days, like other neurological illnesses (Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, etc.) are harder to manage solely by medications than other days. A comprehensive wellness plan needs to be managed, monitored and practiced that is tailor-made to each person.

Guess what? In current mental health systems that is absent at this time. It's is not that is cannot be done and people don't know how to do it -- it's more like there aren't enough trained and licensed professionals to do it. And unlicensed, peer trained is not enough. We need another way.

What is Natasha just did not have that bad day? Would she still be alive?

What do I do to get through it and run my errands?

I should have been exercising all along. But I think for her case and her community, that was not the environment. For my case, I do have an environment. Another issue is the health of the community that many city planners in some enlightened areas (Portland, Oregon and San Francisco, California) endorse the walkability of the community. Seattle in some parts do endorse that, and actually I live in an area that does, I think that is what keeps me alive. But I think Natasha McKenna did not have that. Time. And none of us have enough of it. Dedicate a time that it takes to do a fucking errand with an action plan. It's that serious. If it takes me 4 hours to buy eggs at the store, then guess what, it takes me 4 hours to buy eggs at the store. Do I feel bad about that? No. I got over it. Rushing fucks with my mental health condition. I stopped rushing. Moreover, I don't pack 50-eleventy other tasks I want to do with out a practice training round. I just stopped doing that. It is not worth for me to have a breakdown in the grocery story and 12 eggs that took me 4 hours to gear up to do it. But see, I can do that. MOST people work and have children they have to manage. So for those of us that have really BAD DAYS, action planning with a strict schedule so the scattered thinking doesn't occur HELPS for like 60% of the time. Then, always, always, always have contingency plans. Like no eggs at store A... Maybe try "Egg Whites", maybe try Tofu (firm), Maybe say no eggs! What about you need the eggs to make a cake, perhaps there's time to buy that cake? Whatever it is, just get over the fact your plans failed you and move on. Mindfuless helps with that. Cursing out the grocery store clerks about not having eggs is just...So not worth it. Sometimes a short commentary to yourself to help you get through the little irritations like that keeps you going. A meme works. Something, because dying over 12 eggs because you had a breakdown in the grocery store and the police were called, there's no need for that escalation! These police don't care. There are procedures. But they are not trained in mental health anything. What are they there for? Maintain the community to organized citizenry conduct. The politicians are to run the community and legislate for the community. Justice is there to uphold the laws. But lately they've been nickel and dimeing citizens for revenues. Well maybe that process is going to have to stop and property tax revenues need to increase. Yeah, that's sucks, but guess what, I'd pay for peace and peace of mind. I don't want to have a breakdown in the middle of the grocery store over eggs, but you know what, if I was allowed to have that pity party temper tantrum for 30 minutes or so, it would give me peace of mind that I would not be dead because of it by the police. And it is not right that I had a breakdown, I'm an adult, and I try to do all I can to keep myself straight, but sometimes, I have a bad day. About the only thing I can clock accurately is how long I give myself permission to have my breakdowns. I can't predict them, but when I do, I know how long I'm going to tolerate that bullshit I deliver to move on and do it in a safe-space (like my bathroom where I can get that shit outta me. I made that promise to myself... Perhaps a bracelet of safety-card for mental health with a WRAP? IDK?