Sunday, January 25, 2009

Using language to separate

Mental illness has its own medical specialty, its own volume of diagnostic codes, and its own vocabulary.  The word stigma is one of the words that is now used in a special way.  The coupling in the phrase “the stigma of mental illness” is pervasive.  Instead of its intended use to eliminate stigma the constant reminder serves to maintain the concept of stigma in the public mind.

“Stigma” means discrimination and prejudice and shame.   The mental health leadership would better align psychiatric disability with other disabilities and use the human rights language that they use.  

Even anti-stigma campaigns maintain the separateness of things related to mental illness by using language to separate instead of to bridge.


She has arrived early, has had time to collect her self and her appurtenances, waits.
The appointed time passes and so does her calm.  Anxiety tromples her peacefulness.  She wonders about often being early, and often giving up her sense of self as the time passes.

She is early in her life, too, having finished, at 64, her life review, is accepting of what she has done, has raveled the loose ends, is a bit bored, a bit patient, a bit nonchalant, wondering what she’ll do for the next expected 20 years.

She thinks about how to calculate how many minutes/hours/days she has spent being early and what the value has been and the learning.  Well, she has never missed a plane!

She waits, early 

She waits.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Healing through diet

In addition to the known or suspected connections between certain foods/diets and certain body and mood reactions, I think that abrupt extensive changes to one’s ordinary diet, such as severe restrictions on categories of input, cause a shock to the system and that within that shock the system can reorganize and symptoms can fade and disappear.  Sometimes that reorganization doesn’t last, and the system reverts to dysfunction and symptoms reappear.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting lost when there is too much input ...

The possibilities for the internet to facilitate outreach and inclusion excite me.  In the US, the new administration is using social networking tools to gather input and allow dialogue.  Except there are thousands of ideas and I have some and have just spent 30 minutes trying to figure out where my input should go and how to actually post.  And then it would be somewhere down around 3000 on a list.  Who would read that far?  And I understand networks are using outreach tools to boost favorite ideas to the top of the list.

So here is this wonderful tool being used to disadvantage outliers.  

I have given up and am therefore here posting two ideas about fiscal economies.  I’d like to be able to submit these formally to the person recently appointed to do a full spending review of budget and spending.  CPO, chief performance officer, is a position covering federal government budgeting and reform.  Nancy Killefer was former assistant secretary of the treasury in the Clinton Administration.  Her boss is White House budget chief Peter Orszag.
First, I think there could be a suggestion program, a bit more formal than commenting on blogs.  Just as there are now mechanisms to comment on, for instance, health care, I'd like to have a place to make suggestions about government efficiencies, ways to conserve and consolidate.  Sometimes end-users of services and programs have straightforward ideas about reducing complexities and layers of bureaucracy.  Submitters of adopted ideas could earn points, privileges, invitations, even dollars.  Or there could be contests between geographic Assembly Districts, which could save the most.

A suggestion that occurs to me is to combine certain letter carrier and census taker functions.  Letter carriers are familiar with their routes, know every residence.  In conjunction with the 2010 census, the Census Bureau is hiring contract workers to verify residential addresses.  It seems to me that letter carriers could be offered a voluntary overtime day and could each do their own route very efficiently.