I’m Back – Still Again

After going from December 12, 2012 until March 6, 2013 without doing a posting, I decided that the only way the blog could get its due was if I posted at the same time each week. I chose Sunday mornings, which was consistently the quietest time of my week. I decided to commit to that until June 30th to see how it went.  And more or less, it went pretty well.  Until, that is, June 9th.

Around that time I was making plans to have my grandson (13) return home.  He began visiting each weekend and I had to drive him here on Fridays, and back on Sundays.  Each of those weekend days was a one hundred mile round trip.  And suddenly the “consistently quietest time of my week” disappeared.  When my grandson came home for good in mid-July, the only “consistently quietest time of my week” came when he was asleep.  And when that happened, I couldn’t stay awake much longer myself.

In September, I finalized his adoption, committing myself – though the judge never mentioned this – to noise, and interruptions for too many years; as well as to my grandsonson or is it my songrandson?  Certainly, the quiet Sunday mornings went away.  Four days before his adoption finalization, I became the new executive director of Family Focus.  With the combination of the two, it finally dawned upon me just how much of my work requires uninterrupted concentration. 

One of the advantages of working at FFAS is that so many of us are based in offices at home.  Yet, some years ago, one of my co-workers actually moved out of her home office and went out and rented an office in the next town over.  I don’t think I fully grasped the fullness of why she did that, until the past few months.  It’s not like I never had kids before, but as the years passed and they grew up and moved out, I unwittingly took on more and more work that requires concentration.  Uninterrupted concentration.  Consistently uninterrupted concentration. I am not a multi-tasker.

School up here starts ridiculously early.  The first class begins at 7am; the bus is at 6:25.  So from 6:25 until about 9 or 9:30, I do have a solid block of time during which I am both awake and able to concentrate.  I have used that time since school began (unusually late in September) to get caught up on much undone business. And as I did so, I began to get very happy: consistent uninterrupted time – for hours – each school morning.  The blog was on my list of things to do, although it wasn’t (obviously) at the top of that list.  But it was moving on up.

And then, my grandsonson – yeah, that’s an accurate description – got suspended from school for behavior that was once considered normal, although even back in the day one had to be called on it, and even punished for it. He brought a pocket knife to school. That is what boys do. As a kid, I did it myself – I used to whittle; and I was a Cub Scout.  Before Columbine, of course.

The suspension lasted for three weeks.  And that only because I hired a lawyer – you can imagine what that cost – to protect him from the 45 days – one quarter of the school year – that they were seeking.  What’s next? The death penalty?

This morning my grandsonson went back to school. Finally.

And I got back my uninterrupted time. Not as consistently as my Sundays once were – given all the normal days off from school, that’s now just history.  But the best I am going to get for far too many more years most likely.

So I am back.  

Still again.

Let’s try Tuesday mornings and see how that goes.  Maybe with some make-ups thrown in on some other days, huh?

Jack

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Ohana

One of our FFAS kids, now a young adult, wrote a poem to open up the evening on Friday night.  His name is David Whitaker. His words just floored me, when I finally got a chance to concentrate on them. It was a wonderful gift for Maris.  And for me. Different words for the same concept: “If Not For You….”

Ohana

“Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind”
I’m going to tell you a story
And though I am no Bard,
This may catch you a lil off guard.
This is a story of a woman and her friend
And the countless lives they set out to mend.
The woman with a heart so big
Love glowed upon her, a gift from the gods
And extreme maternal instincts put her above all odds
For no one could get in her way.
The man, her friend, with a mind so wise
Had skills of the word, for he should be the Bard.
But the two friends had a plan to devise
After life had shown them their calling card.
These two friends took their hearts and mind
To find all the children that were left behind
Any child from any land, far or near
Black or white, young or old, normal or queer
Each child they met
Only erased their doubt
Through worry or fret
Or State backing out
They had to give these kids a home
And that they did.
The two friends found each a family, a good shalom
Many years and many more lives
The love and care in their hearts still thrives
Till this day they’ve worked so hard
So now it’s time to toss that punch card
But before you go, I’ve got just one thing,
Thank you for not leaving me behind.

=====================================

Thank you, David.

Jack

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Bob Dylan Comes Through Again

[Yeah, yeah, I didn’t post last week. I apologize to all who were expecting the once a week posting. So today, I’ll post two, okay?]

My boss at Family Focus, Maris Blechner, an agency founder and the sole executive director for almost twenty-six years, has decided that it’s time to retire.  It won’t happen till the end of August, but her staff decided that we wanted to give her a retirement party and to schedule it before summer vacations kicked in.  The party happened on Friday night.

The theme for the party we had decided on months ago, almost as soon as we decided on having the party.  We took it from that wonderful Bob Dylan song, made much more popular when it was covered by the late, and still greatly missed, George Harrison: “If Not For You…..” (The Richie Havens’ version – which I discovered only upon searching for as many versions as I could find is – to my mind – the best of the forty plus that I found, and given Havens’ death last month, has a special poignancy:

I doubt that anybody gave Maris more grief that I did over these years.  There were times I wanted to kill her, and I am sure there were even far more times that she wanted to kill me.  But, as I have said repeatedly, in many contexts, one measures who a person is by the best you have ever witnessed of them.  Not the worst; not the average; not the typical; not the stuff that you hate; not the stuff that frustrates you.  Their best is what defines them.  All else is only human failure to live up to whom we are.

Maris created an agency  – and did what she needed to do to keep  it alive for all these years – whose lifeblood is empowerment: empowerment of her staff; empowerment of the families who come to us to adopt; and empowerment of the kids for whom we transition into families.

At the event, I had to speak – as the incoming director.  I stood up on the stage of this beautiful classy room at Columbia University’s Italian Academy, and I looked out at all the folks who had come to show their respect for and gratitude to Maris, despite the travel advisories, and realities, of torrential rains from the first tropical storm of the season.  And I thought, “Yep, if not for you…..”

You know, if you had a great relationship with your third grade teacher, you might well want to honor that teacher and thank him or her.  But, the truth is that if that teacher never existed, you would still have finished the third grade, and you would have had a different third grade teacher.  It might not have been as good an experience; it might have been even a horrible experience.  But it would have happened.

When my father couldn’t take care of us after my mother’s death, I think every last one of our aunts and uncles stepped up to offer to take one of us.  Every last one.  Good people and I loved each of them.  But it was Aunt Rita and Uncle Frank who changed our world.  Specifically, Aunt Rita’s thinking and realness that changed our world.  The power of “If not for you….” has been very personal for me for a long long long time. And Msgr. Huntington?  “If not for you…” It comes down to the experience of being saved as a person, not just rescued as a student, a nephew, a client, a neighbor, and so forth.  It doesn’t have to be directly – like Aunt Rita and Chris Huntington saved me. It can be by creating an enviornment, a structure, a way of “doing” like Maris has done. It can be by being the support for the ones who can then do it directly.  It can be by creating an agency that gives kids the parents who then change their world.  And as one of the parents there Friday night, Joyce Wilcox, pointed out to me, by giving parents the kids who then change the parents’ world.

Friday night, standing at that podium, looking around the room at so many of the children, many now grown, who had been adopted through us, I was overwhelmed.  One after the other after the other had been children who had been effectively, and disgracefully, written off by the system till we came along, with our empowering placement protocols. We not only got them adopted, we got them adopted forever.  Not a counterfeit adoption in the room.

At one point, from the podium, I began to tease my adult son, Luis, standing up front among all these people. Luis was one of those kids twenty-two years ago. He was referred to us at twelve and we were told he would be dead due to his brain tumor by twenty years old.  All kids with his kind of tumor were dead by twenty.  Did that deter Maris?  Did it deter any of us at FFAS?  Yeah right…..we couldn’t find a family for him, and that’s how I ended up with him.  But now, twenty-two years later, and fourteen years past the predicted end of his life, he was standing there in that room. And I said directly to him, “Luis, it was I who made the decision to adopt you, right?”  And proud as anything, as though the impact on his brain of that still-there-tumor didn’t exist, he yelled up to me in front of all these people, “You got it wrong. I made the decision.” And when I then said, “Okay, Luis, but it was a twenty year contract right?”  he responded, “Maybe for you it was twenty years, but for me it is forever.”  Lots of kids in that room Friday night – grown or not – could identify immediately with Luis’ words that came from his deeply rooted and strongly felt sense of empowerment. Their parents too.  Maris created the protective umbrella under which she and her staff were able to bring that into existence.  All the rest, good or bad, that she did, or didn’t do – all of it – pales by comparison.  No Maris? No Luis in that room Friday night.

And these kids, if not adopted by the families who adopted them, would not have been adopted elsewhere.  They wouldn’t have been adopted at all.  That is a fact that we all know.  And it gives the words “if not for you” an impact like no others I’ve ever experienced.

To know that you have changed the world for a particular kid, and his parents, forever and for real by the choices that you have made, should make it clear why we chose as our final summing up theme for Maris’ tenure, “If Not For You…..”  The words to the song are not precisely applicable, but they are so close…..to what Maris has given to so many. Including me.

=================================================

If not for you

Babe, I couldn’t even find the door

I couldn’t even see the floor

I’d be sad and blue, if not for you

If not for you

Babe, the night would see me wide awake

The day would surely have to break

It would not be new, if not for you

If not for you, my sky would fall

Rain would gather, too

Without your love I’d be nowhere at all

I’d be lost, if not for you

If not for you

The winter would hold no spring

Couldn’t hear a robin sing

I just wouldn’t have a clue, if not for you

If not for you, my sky would fall

Rain would gather, too

Without your love I’d be nowhere at all

I’d be lost, if not for you

If not for you

The winter would hold no spring

Couldn’t hear a robin sing

I just wouldn’t have a clue, if not for you

If not for you

=========================================

If not for her………..

Thank you, Maris.

Jack

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Annie Who?

Two days ago, I asked my adult (college graduate) grandson if he knew who Helen Keller was, He told me he had “heard of her.”  Then I asked my son with the severe learning problems.  He laughed and said, “Yep, I know who she is.”  I was relieved.  So, I asked him to tell me and he told me that she was part of the joke.  Joke?  “What joke?” I asked him.  And he told me that when someone doesn’t clean something right on his job, the other guys will say, “Who are you? Helen Keller?”  That’s all he knew of her…..This is worse for me than recognizing that the music of my much loved and still listened to Beatles will disappear into history as my generation dies off.

Helen Keller, or more accurately, her teacher, Annie Sullivan, has been a personal hero of mine for decades.  When I was a child care worker, working in the institutions, I used to say that Annie Sullivan should be the hero of all child care workers.  For those reading this who have no idea who either woman is – would such people be reading this? – a quick Google search will tell you plenty.  For everyone else, I am going to assume that we are each familiar with “The Miracle Worker” – the fifty one year old movie, if not the play, or the now 111 year old book that both were based on: “The Story of My Life.”

The NY Times obituary* for Helen had this paragraph: “After Helen’s illness, her infancy and early childhood were a succession of days of frustration, manifest by outbursts of anger and fractious behavior. ‘A wild, unruly child’ who kicked, scratched and screamed was how she afterward described herself.”

Hmm….I wonder how we’d approach the care of Helen today.

Here is Helen’s description of how Annie did it:

“We walked down the path to the well-house, attracted by the fragrance of the honeysuckle with which it was covered. Someone was drawing water** and my teacher placed my hand under the spout.

“As the cool stream gushed over one hand she spelled into the other the word water, first slowly, then rapidly. I stood still, my whole attention fixed upon the motions of her fingers. Suddenly I felt a misty consciousness as of something forgotten–a thrill of returning thought; and somehow the mystery of language was revealed to me.

“I knew then that ‘w-a-t-e-r’ meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, hope, joy, set it free. There were barriers still, it is true, but barriers that in time could be swept away.”

Helen had an awakening.  She had a realization.  She woke up.  She got it.  She changed. She was freed.

And  “In 1964 she was one of 30 Americans on whom President Johnson conferred the nation’s highest civilian recognition, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Can you imagine that award for any of our kids?  I certainly can and hope to see the day.

I am who I am today hugely due to, as I have said many times, the gifts of themselves that Aunt Rita and Msgr. Christopher Huntington gave to me. It wasn’t behavior management or medication or therapy on their parts that helped me.

It was simply teaching me real truths, in the context of loving me for real.

I have had many who cared about me; many who were attached to me.  But these two freed me.

That is what our model needs to be: teaching with the goal of freeing.  If behavior management is needed, fine. If therapy is helpful, good. If medication moves us along that road, then by all means let’s use it.  But those things are not ends in themselves – they haven’t the power to free anyone. Not because those who need them are broken, but because these things are only tools. Tools are needed to build, but they, of themselves, build nothing.

Coming to recognize the truth – not all truth now, but simply the relevant truth – is what frees people. All people. Including and especially our kids. Annie Sullivan is the model.  Not psychiatry, not psychology, not social work – tools all, but tools only.

Helen Keller was the incredible beneficiary of Annie Sullivan’s belief in Helen’s wholeness.

I hate to see that witness lost to history.

It remains too real.

Jack

* [http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0627.html]

**[http://www.biography.com/bio-now/anne-sullivan-the-miracle-worker-20761491]

 

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Arrogance and Some “Helping” Professionals

I was reminded this past week of two very painful life changing events in my life, that led to wonderful changes in my thinking pretty much immediately.

The first was the death of my mother, forty seven years ago yesterday.  She was killed early in the morning in a (single car) car crash.  My father, who was driving, was hospitalized.  It fell to Aunt Rita and Uncle Frank to inform us kids. Some time between the crash and our alarms going off to get us up for school, they came over to wake up my fifteen year old self, my almost fourteen year old brother, and my ten year old sister.  They told me first, and then my brother, as we shared a room.  Then one of them, Uncle Frank I think, was going across the hall to tell my sister.  I begged them not to.  I remember that Aunt Rita’s response to me was simply that they had to, but I also remember her being surprised by that immediate and non-thinking reaction on my part.

Years later, I became a foster parent to my first three kids, brothers, eight, ten, and twelve. They had a fifteen year old brother who was in Children’s Village. Some months later, I heard through the grapevine that that boy had been referred to the foster home department.  Immediately, I reached out to the foster department and told them that I wanted him here with us.  They refused.  They told me that I had “too many kids.”  I was shocked, and horrified.  I fought. Ultimately, without telling me, they went and asked him if he wanted to come live with me.  He, of course, said no.  And with that, they closed it out, perfectly sure of themselves. When I asked them if they had told him first that I wanted him with us, they said they had not.  I begged them to let me talk to him and they refused. I said to them, what else could he have said to them but “no” when he had experienced me taking his brothers and essentially abandoning him (I had known him for many years)?  I said to them that he needed to hear first hand from me that I wanted him with us and that I had gone to get him the second I learned that he was being referred to a foster home.  Only then could you trust his “no.”  They refused.

When he was eighteen, I adopted him out from under them anyway.  But for those in-between three years, he lived with believing that I didn’t care about him.  (I couldn’t tell him because he had to live within the agency with those folks till he was eighteen.)

That behavior on the part of my caseworker, and her boss (significantly to me: neither had kids) is my definition of arrogance.  My intended behavior towards my sister that night my mother died, was also arrogance.  Not in the “overbearing” definition which I have been accused of many times in my life, but rather in the sense of “presumptuous claims or assumptions.”

Many years ago – decades now – my boss in my last job accused me of being arrogant.  We had a long discussion about it and he came back to me and said that upon further thought, he decided that I was “abrasive.”  And I said, “absolutely.”  He was surprised how immediately I had accepted that.  I told him that abrasive is always in the mind of the “abrased.”  And that most often it was the truly arrogant who felt that I was abrasive as I went after their “presumptuous claims or assumptions.”

Out of my experience with my son came two rules at Family Focus: one, adults go first – always.  And two – every decision we make about one of our kids or one of our families has to pass “the forty year test.”  How, we are required to ask ourselves, will this decision  I am making, impact this child or this family forty years from now, when I am long gone from this position, and maybe from this earth?  That arrogant caseworker and her boss didn’t stop to think that by me adopting the three brothers, the fourth brother would be a part of our lives, one way or another, forever whether they agreed with it or not. And how would that look to the boys: that three got one life, and the fourth, a very different life.  And that then becomes the starting point: will this be right in the long term. Not “too many kids.”

Out of my experience with Aunt Rita that night, came my recognition that I wasn’t trying to protect  my sister – there was no protecting her after all – but rather trying to protect my own feelings about her devastation and my need to respond to it.  With Aunt Rita’s words, I realized that I was being stupid: my sister “had to know.”  But only later did I realize that I was really being arrogant.

I had – and have had for three weeks now – a responsibility to speak to a fifteen year old kid about some stuff that will impact her life from today until at least forty years from now.  But the powers-that-be, afraid of the current behavioral impact on her of what I have to say (all of which is affirming and empowering so I don’t even get that) have forbidden it.  Exactly what I would have done to Aunt Rita and Uncle Frank, had I the power to keep them from talking to my sister that terrible and life-changing night.  So was my thinking forty seven years ago incredibly mature and years beyond my age? Or are the current powers-that-be thinking like a fifteen year old, and a very arrogant one at that?

The only question that matters is how their arrogant decision will impact this teen “forty years from now.”  Not whether I will shake her world today.  Even if they were right about my shaking her world today – which they are likely not.  This teen is entitled to a conversation with me.  And she will get it.  Perhaps not till she’s eighteen and free of them and their arrogance and power, like my son became.

And this posting this morning will serve as evidence to her then that I wanted to talk to her now.

Hmm….this blog has it’s benefits for me far beyond any I had originally thought of……

Humble Jack, the Abraser

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What If We Are Wrong?

I came home late yesterday afternoon from the annual adoption conference up in Albany. One of the workshops I went to was run by Wendy’s Wonderful Kids (WWK), a non-profit arm of Wendy’s set up originally by Dave Thomas himself to promote adoptions of the foster kids in the country who have no one.  It was, of course, all about their success – their tremendous success actually.  The leader of the workshop was prepared, knowledgable, and articulate.  So I asked her the question that I have not been able to get an answer to since Family Focus decided a long while ago that we were not ready to partner with this program.  While she was unable to answer the question either, she did give me the name of a higher-up in the organization that might be able to, and I will follow up for sure.

The question is: what happens when it doesn’t work?  How do you protect the child –  the mulitply-betrayed child, by definition (or he/she would not need to be part of the program) – how do you protect the child when all these extensive, personal (they look into the child’s background to find folks who know/knew the child) and “aggressive” (to use their word) means to find a family don’t work?  What does that do to the child who now knows definitively that there is nobody, even among all the people he/she has ever known, that will become family?

And then there’s the question of funding.  WWK now partners, we were told, with at least one state government, whose funds will allow them to hire 50 child recruiters.  Each recruiter is expected to carry about 20 cases.  That is a thousand kids.  And that opportunity for those kids is mind-blowing to us in the field.  It is wonderful.

But those of us in the field, older than say 25, know that government money comes and government money goes for reasons that too often have nothing to do with the value of the programs being defunded.  What happens to those 1000 kids who will be in various stages of this program, if (when?) the state government pulls out?

So I will go to the person at WWK who might be able to answer these questions.  But I am pretty will sure that there will be no answer.  Because nobody thinks like that.  Aunt Rita (Happy Mother’s Day) would say that nobody thinks, period.

I was very very lucky as a teenager to be in a high school that confronted us with the big questions of life very early.  Talking about “ends vs. means.” would not have been out of place in my school from the ninth grade on.  From today’s perspective it would appear to be a fantasy educational experience.   But it was – lucky for me – very real.

The entire WWK workshop on Friday inevitably led me to thinking about ends and means.  The obvious “end” or goal of the public adoption programs at Family Focus, like all such adoption programs, is to find families for the children who so desperately need them.  But we long ago decided that in dealing with kids who have experienced such deep consequences from the failure of the adults – many different adults (and coming from well-intentioned adults doesn’t change the experience)  – that it was our responsibility to protect those kids even – no, especially – from our failures.  We decided that a successful adoption program required us to be successful for these kids even when we failed in our goal of getting them adopted.  Absurd talk? Confusing?

It’s actually pretty simple. It’s where my high school’s question of whether or not the “ends” justifies the “means” comes in.  We recognized that if our processes for getting these kids adopted, at least, empowered the kids, they would be better off for having dealt with us, no matter what the outcome.  Their experience of themselves would be forever changed, even if they ended up not getting adopted.  To go through our processes would be to make decisions, not to have them made for you; it would be to have your “no” respected, not opening the door to adult harassment: “C’mon, this is better for you; don’t throw away such a great opportunity etc.”; it would be to experience the protection of having your boundaries defined and protected without being “guilted” into anything.  Empowerment, which erases victimization, became our means to adoption.  Or did empowerment become our “end” and adoption our “means”? Who cares?  We can argue that in philosophy classes.  Meanwhile, we empower.

Our “Chocolate Milk Club,” by the way,  becomes our protection from defunding.  The income that comes from the monthly dues, will allow us the fiscal means, at least for cash ourlays, to finish out any case we begin.  Of course, that also requires a staff so committed to the value of empowerment that they would finish the work on any case for free.

The first question we have for any and every successful program we see is “how do you protect the kids when your processes fail?”  Your 70% success rate really doesn’t mean much to the other 30%.  Or your 90% success rate really doesn’t mean much to the other 10%.  Even your 99% doesn’t mean much to the other 1%.  If you don’t see that, we must be very wary of your “means”  no matter how good your “ends” look, even to us.

Covering for one’s inevitable failures always requires asking, and answering, this question: “What if we are wrong?”

Happy Mother’s Day.

Jack

 

 

 

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Is What I Have, Who I Am?

I began the week by being told by a psychiatrist that when it comes to mental illness, I am “naïve.”  He told me that I do not have the same belief (or words to that effect) in mental illness that I do in physical illness.  As he was talking I kept saying to myself: “yep, yep, yep, that’s true, I don’t.”  He was clearly missing the fact that I am proud of that conviction.  I don’t deny the existence of mental illness, but the unspoken context is too often “permanent damage.”  And even if that were true, the deeper, and key, context always seems to be that damage to the psyche is the same as damage to the person. Folks don’t talk that way, of course, but they don’t NOT talk that way.

To wit:  “He has cancer” or “She has heart disease” or “I have diabetes”.  The cancer, heart disease, or diabetes is not identified as the person.  On the contrary, the person has these physical conditions.  But watch with mental illness: “He is schizophrenic” or “She is bi-polar” or “I am an addict.”

There is some overlap, of course: “I am diabetic” or “He has post traumatic stress disorder.”  But mostly, it seems to me, the language of our culture says that we “have” physical illness, but we “are” mental illnesses.  Interestingly, despite the apparent truth that lifestyle choices bring on many physical illnesses, we seem to recognize that they could happen to any of us precisely because they exist outside of us as people.  However, mental illnesses, being something that folks “are” could not happen to us because we “are not” schizophrenic, or bipolar or an addict.

Once we move from “have” to “are,” the personhood of the person in question simply disappears.  I am not saying that this is taught.  I am saying that it is the reality of how we speak, and how we think, and therefore, how we respond, far too often, to the person who “has” a physical disease but “is” a mental one.

In the field of foster care adoption, it is this thinking that allows folks to give up their already adopted children, rather than focusing on solving the problem of living with or at least relating to these very difficult children as their parent.  Within their social circles, I can’t imagine an adoptive parent getting away with telling folks that they gave up their child because he had heart disease, or because he had diabetes, or because he had cancer.  Such people would be looked upon as disgusting and shallow folks.  But giving up a kid who doesn’t relate to us as we expect, or want, or understand?  A whole different ball game.  All we have to do with our friends, our families, and ourselves even is to tell a few stories of the behaviors of these kids – perhaps their coldness, or their apparent consciencelessness, or their dangerousness, or even their abusiveness.  Then, everyone is with us and we can give our kids up fully justified and supported by our people.  Of course, we have already first given up, and very slickly so, the idea that they are “our” kids.  That’s what allows the rest.

Yet, every regular old parent has dealt with any one of those pathological behaviors in their regular old children: when the children were two years old.

At Family Focus we are currently doing a retrospective of what we have learned over the 25 years of our existence.  It is a lot.  But in looking at that very long list, I have been trying to figure out what is the most important reality that we have recognized. It is probably this:

A normal reaction to an abnormal circumstance appears abnormal, while an abnormal reaction to an abnormal circumstance appears normal.

“Appears” is the operant word here.

I don’t deny that “mental illness” exists.  But I insist that there is a person, exactly as worthwhile as me, existing beyond that illness, just as there is a worthwhile person existing beyond any physical illness.  And I don’t, and won’t, trust any psychiatrist who doesn’t make it clear that they recognize and respect that.  Hell, I don’t trust any person who doesn’t show me that same recognition and respect for that core truth.  Which, of course, comes back to this core truth: there is nobody who is better than anybody else.  As people we are each exactly equal in the dignity and respect we are each entitled to.  And that is true despite any behavior we exhibit, or any illness  – physical or mental – that we have.

Jack

P.S.  For an example of a trustworthy psychiatrist, one who gets it, and shows that he gets it, one into whose care I would easily leave my children or grandchildren, or yours for that matter, please look up Dr. Bruce Perry and his wonderful book with the very revealing full title: “The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog: What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love and Healing.”

 

 

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