Archives for April, 2011
Yesterday, in my Leadership in Society class, the second last class of the term, my students discussed change. Our discussion was based on an assignment I had given them. A written assignment. But their real ideas and feelings tend to come out in live conversation. When they engage. Disatisfaction with the status quo... They're pretty unhappy at the campus where I teach. It's small. Formerly an insurance building. Never meant to be a college campus. That's what they want to change. Transform it. Give it some spirit. Some sense of community. They have no place, other than a cavernous cafeteria in the basement, to gather in the flesh. Together. Face to Face. Not just online.
"I think I'm going to sleep on this." That's my mantra, my abiding bromide when I'm grappling with a problem, a dilemma, a puzzle with no apparent solution. Late at night, I never function well... My natural optimism darkens. My ebullience dulls. My doubts overshadow my hopes. I begin to wonder if what I'm doing is what I should be doing. If my judgment is sound. If I'm thinking clearly. If I can trust my instincts. So, I stop cold and turn off all the electronics and the electricity and go to bed. Sometimes, I cannot turn my thoughts off, so I take a drug for anxiety to soothe me to sleep. That pill works, as does the rest. I awaken refreshed, with a magically transformed view of the dilemma that had driven me mad the previous night. That's how I feel right now...
A self-determination story... Copeland, WRAP's founder, has a dramatic recovery story beginning with her mother, Kate, who was taken at age 37 to a mental institution in the late 1940s. She was diagnosed as incurably insane. Her doctors told her family to forget about this once vibrant and accomplished woman — she would never get well. Doctors were wrong... Kate began improving. Her mood swings became less severe. Several hospital personnel took a special interest in her, encouraging her to talk. They listened to her and for the first time in her life, Kate felt emotionally supported. With the help of one psychiatrist, she started what was probably the first-ever patient support group called the Mental Health Fellowship. She was able to organized her fellow patients and disrupt the program. So much so, that she was discharged after eight years. She reclaimed her life and lived actively and well until she died of a stroke at age 82.
Last evening, Julie, a regular commenter here at Coming Out Crazy sent me a notice from The Centre for Building a Culture of Recovery. She alerted me to a workshop this Saturday, April 9. I would like to attend, but cannot. "It's a WRAP"... However, I heard the keynote speaker Stephen Pocklington a few years ago at a conference on "International Recovery Perspectives: Action on Alternatives." Here's what I recall about his presentation called "It's a Wrap." At that time, Pocklington was the executive director of The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery in Chandler, Arizona, founded by Mary Ellen Copeland. A new direction... Now, he's branched off on his own and started a new organization called Well Beyond Recovery, Tools and Ideas for Welcoming Change.