Thursday, July 27, 2006

Goin' Back

I just got back from my trip to MN. I captured so much footage, it will take two videos to cover the highlights! The theme of this video is children and pets. I was surrounded by both everywhere I went. It was great! The soundtrack is a rare pre-Queen recording of Freddie Mercury. He must have been in his early twenties when he recorded it. Very vintage sounding. The kids in the video are Jodie's girls, Emily and Sarah. Also featured are Ellis's babies, Logan and Parker (the MN Twins), and their big brother Evan. I have watched Evan grow up on the videos Ellis sent me, but this was the first time I got to meet him! Very special weekend :o)

I hope everyone is doing well. I love hearing from you!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Psychiatry is not a real job!

This was the video EM, Sue, and I took the afternoon Miracle and Sam died. We were mostly letting off steam and laughing until it hurt. We had cried enough that day.

This is also the video that will be the first in our new project. I will post the blog link here when I have it ready, and I will be cross-posting to both blogs (so you won't miss anything).

This project will be about mental health recovery. We will be dispelling the myths surrounding mental illness. We will be blowing the minds of some people (who I will not mention here). We will be using podcasts and video to speak out about the oppression our peers face every day because they have a "mental illness".

We have all been told we were hopeless. We have been in the back wards. We have seen and experienced agony that most people can't imagine. There was a time when we had no voice. That time is over. We now have the Internet!

We'll be doing interviews with leaders in the mental health consumer/survivor movement. We'll be making fun videos like this one. We'll be making serious videos, too.

The doctors said we were incurable. They drugged us up. For some, it helped. For others, it made things worse. But psychiatry is the only profession that can force patients into taking powerful drugs that they know are making them worse.

It's not all doomsday, though. We DO recover. Some of us are cured! Many of us are simply artists who live and think outside the box. All of us have immeasurable potential. My hope is to get the message across to everyone who cares about the truth.

So that is the project in a nutshell. The idea came to me at 3:00 in the morning, and I've been obsessing ever since. I feel so driven to do this. I want to bring more people in, too. With this project, there is room for anyone who wants to speak out about mental health recovery.

This blog is quickly becoming a mish mash. Bring it on!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Death of a Miracle

This morning I realized that I had not told you anything about what happened to Miracle, so that's what this post is about. It's a sad story.

Monday I was in a rush to meet EM and Sue. I had woke up that morning at 3:00 AM with an idea for all three of us, and I couldn't wait to share it with them. I said my goodbyes to Miracle and Angel, and spent the day with EM and Sue talking about my idea (which I will share later). Sue was grieving for her cat, Sam, because she would be put to sleep the next morning. Sam was her best friend of 15 years. EM and I did all we could to comfort Sue and help watch over Sam to keep this beautiful cat as comfortable as possible on her final night.

I came home later that evening and immediately looked for my birds. I don't cage them, which is probably the stupidest thing on earth, but I can't STAND to see my birds caged. This stems from all the years I spent in psychiatric hospitals, often locked in a tiny room called "seclusion" for being "bad." Once I spent a week in one of those rooms, and that was enough for me to think about how birds must feel in a cage. I am probably wrong about how they feel, but I just know I can't stand to cage my birds! So I have trained Angel over the last ten years to keep herself safe when I am gone. Angel had been "mentoring" Miracle (who never spent more than an hour in a cage -- and that was to take him outside), and Miracle was following Angel everywhere, mimicking everything Angel did.

I came home and saw Angel right away. But Miracle was missing. I looked and looked and could not stop looking. I was in a panic. After an hour or so, I realized the only place I hadn't looked was behind the refrigerator. The adrenaline rushing through me allowed me to pull the refrigerator away from the wall with amazing strength. That's when I saw Miracle. I thought he was okay at first and just waiting for me to find him. I was SO HAPPY he was okay! But when I picked him up, he was limp and barely able to move.

I laid him on my bedside table and watched over him all night. Every time he moved, I would wake up from my twilight sleep and tell him I loved him more than anything in the world. I honestly thought that if he made it through the night, he would recover. I also knew of the possibility he would not make it. He was so tiny.

That was a long night for both me and Sue and EM and Miracle and Sam. I didn't call EM or Sue that night, and I hadn't planned on calling them the next day. I knew that EM and Sue were putting Sam to sleep, and I didn't want to take away from Sue's experience.

In the morning, I moved Miracle to a towel at the bottom of his cage. I checked on him every few minutes. I could tell that, even though he made it through the night, he was still dying. That's when I told him to please go. I would be okay. Angel would be okay. His suffering was too horrible to allow to continue. The phone rang right at that point. It was Sue. She immediately knew something was wrong, and I cried for the first time since it all began. I don't remember what I said except, "Miracle is dying!"

The next thing I knew, both EM and Sue were on their way over. I went to check on Miracle again, and he had just died. His little body was still warm but Miracle was gone. The phone rang again right at that point. It was Sue telling me they were on their way upstairs. It took them maybe 5 minutes to get here from EM's, and Miracle had died during that time.

The three of us cried together for what seemed like hours. It probaby was. I'd lost all sense of time by then.

We wrapped Miracle's body in his towel, and we buried him in EM's yard. The hardest part was carrying him in the towel to his grave. I am still crying over that one. He was just a baby, for godsake! He was supposed to have a good, long life! HE WAS MY BABY!!! HE WAS MY BABY!!!

I went home to be with Angel for a while, and then the three of us got together later that afternoon to shoot video at a Home Depot parking lot, of all places. I'll be posting that video within the next few days. It was an amazing day, one that words really can't describe in a blog or anywhere else. The implications of that day, the day when our beloved pets died within a couple hours of each other, the day we all grieved together, are beyond description. Something very tragic and beautiful happened for all of us. There was a shift within each of us. We all felt it. We also have a new friendship we'd never had before with each other. Nothing is more precious or sacred. I need to quit writing. There are no more words beyond what I have written.

Thank you, readers, for finding love in your heart for a baby white dove named Miracle. He will be dearly missed.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Little Five Points

My friend E.M. lives at Little Five Points. How awesome is that? I love the bohemian aura surrounding the area. This video is a bit different from my others. Maybe a bit more artsy fartsy.

E.M. caught the same video bug I have! So we went out yesterday just to capture video scenes that we could later edit into something meaningful. This was my edit. I'll point you to E.M.'s when she is ready. Right now I'm in a rush to get this posted before I leave. I'll write more later!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Back from Iraq!

Brian is back from Iraq and was discharged from the military! Brian is my nephew, Jody's son, and he just turned 22. Jody and her hubby just re-finished their basement, and this was their first party that extended to the basement. It was actually like having many parties in one house. Every room in the house was filled. Jody always throws the best parties, and this was no exception.

As for Brian, he just wants to have fun. I don't blame him one bit! I'm just glad he's home.