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Stand Up And Be Counted

“Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights, Get up, stand up, don’t give up the fight” Peter Tosh / Bob Marley

Collectively we are standing at the precipice. The world is going to move on forward, the question is will we plummet or will we fly? 

Counting photoToday I got a break from my nonstop duty of watching my wife Sylvia. So I went down to the library and chilled out a little. I did a little bit of writing and I did a little bit of reading. I was hanging out outside when my friend Jean came by. She invited me into an AARP (American’s Association of Retired Peoples.) What I was impressed by was the organization.

The whole atmosphere was friendly where people interacted in a pleasant way. There seemed to be a fraternal bound and a genuine bond of love between the people. I would imagine there were about a hundred people in attendance but it could have been more. They conducted some local business as the speaker got prepared. The speaker was a lawyer and she started going into things I was trying to avoid thinking about so I cut out early.

But the whole idea is that the group was organized. That they had a framework of functioning. They had a system where they could do greater things together and support one another. The mentally ill community needs to get its act together and organize. A well-run union or an organization is very powerful. Together we are greater than the sum of our numbers.

But the question is where do we want to take our state or our country? So as a member of the mentally ill community let me throw out some ideas. While I am no longer ashamed to be mentally ill I want our community to diminish in size. Prevention and early intervention are key. Furthermore, we must use techniques that do not involve medicines. I firmly believe that my years of using psychotropic medicines made me dependent on them. I say this with surety because of my experiences with quitting taking the medicine. When I first got sick I could go a long time without getting manic. Now I could probably only go a few days.

Many young children are coming down with autism and other diagnoses. I think it imperative that some methods be employed that do not utilize medicine. Medicine is great if it is needed. Also, medicine shouldn’t be a long term solution. Every effort should be made to limit the use of the chemicals as they have adverse side effects. We need to kill the easy fix for a better fix.

The youth, in general, need more invested in them. I recall that in high school great attention was paid to the promising students. I recall the top students having private classes. My philosophy is just the opposite. Instead of accelerating the elite we should help the slowest. Without a doubt, the teacher to student ratio must decrease dramatically. We need to attract devoted and talented teachers so the pay must rise. Of course, this will cost a lot of money, where will it come from?

I pray that one day that we will eliminate the entire military budget. It should be a long term goal of the United States. Presently we spend more money on the military budget then the rest of the world combined. Furthermore, the military experience creates a lot of harm to the mental health of the soldiers that served. Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers fill the ranks of the homeless. By eliminating war and the armed forces we would both save money and reduce the population of the mentally ill. Furthermore, if we invested in our youth the prison population would go down as well, bringing additional savings to our society.

But how do we go from here to there? The key to any successful movement is the same, vision, dedication, hard work, perseverance. We must act locally while always keeping the long terms goals in mind. I don’t pretend to have all the answers only a glimpse of the solution. But I do know that if nothing is done, that if good people don’t act and stand up for what is right, this Earth will go through some very bad times. We are moving in the wrong direction, it’s high time to turn the tide.

Part of a grassroots movement, like the one we need, is the intimacy and connection between the workers. In transforming the world one is transformed. I have documented my story of humanity and mental illness in my memoirs “More Than The Madness”. Please buy a copy.


Photos by squarerootofftwo,

Stand Up And Be Counted

John Kaniecki

John Kaniecki is a full-time caregiver for his wife Sylvia. He is a published writer and works with the Church of Christ. John has lived with bipolar for over thirty years and has been hospitalized nine times, three of which were committed. John has chronicled his life story in his memoirs "More Than The Madness". Also of note is John's book of poetry "Murmurings Of A Mad Man" which are poems written about being committed in Graystone Psychiatric Hospital. John believes in the power of words to change the world for the better. His website can be seen here. His books can be seen on Amazon. You can visit his personal blog "Turn A Page Or Two" here.

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APA Reference
Kaniecki, J. (2019). Stand Up And Be Counted. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 13, 2020, from


Last updated: 1 Apr 2019
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