Guest Post: Guidance in Times of Turmoil by Patrick Bailey #guestpost #addiction #mentalhealth


Matt Collamar - Kindness_Homelessness_Unsplash
Credit: Matt Collamer via Unsplash

It’s been a long and winding road for me in the city where I was raised. The city has pulled me back after each venture away. This road has gone many places and resulted in something of an archeological dig into myself and humanity at large.

Overall, I’ve noticed a consistent thread for those in severe and notable distress in the community. It has continued for decades, having taken on various symptoms over the years.


When the Street People Were Dispatched.


I was in my early teens when the de-institutionalization of psychiatric hospitals first impacted my area of the city. The ‘street people,’ as we called them, appeared suddenly. They had been dispatched by the state mental hospital. Some had not been in the world outside for decades. I can’t imagine what that release into society was like for them. From their outward appearances, it seemed terrifying, upsetting, and disorganized.

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Credit: Provided by Author

The laws had changed. It wasn’t easy to put someone ‘away’ anymore. The world would have to deal with people more directly even if there was something seriously ‘off’ in a person’s thought, emotions, and (or) behavior. Even ‘mental patients’ had rights, and the state mental hospital had to open its doors. More inner-city areas also offered cheaper rent as ‘the dispatched’ arrived in large numbers to find their way in the world. I was an inner-city kid, so I was there to receive these ‘street people’ and many mental patients too.


A Kid Wonders How to Fix The System.


In youthful curiosity, I found the city streets enlivened by these folks. I was curious about them: how they lived, what they did, and why they suffered. I was fascinated by illness, and what caused it; how illness needed to be healed.

I’d seen more than a kid’s share of severe problems by the time the hospital discharged all its wards. Of course, I wanted to heal the suffering; I loved my family. My father’s alcoholism, and then his unnamed PTSD which needed remedying. We all needed a remedy. Undiagnosed depression and mania peppered my mother’s family, taking her off into highs and lows.

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Credit: Ben Hershey via Unsplash

Life wasn’t easy in my house, and it wasn’t easy for the people I saw in the streets. I read the paranoid scrawls on the bus stop bench. I listened to the lady who’d recite the wrongs of the world to everyone and to no one in particular. I worried about the ‘bike man’ who wore a woolen coat as he peddled through the summer heat.

Surely all this madness inside my house and outside of it could be fixed.


Talking Out the Turmoil and Walking Alongside It.


All of these things brought me towards obtaining several degrees and a career. I wanted to know more about how people living on the streets and dealing with mental illness worked and how these conditions could be fixed. I worked in the state hospital that at that time, kept patients for thirty days not thirty years. I specialized in addiction and PTSD. My father was long gone by then, but I found peace with him through my work.

I talked with hundreds of people who lived in turmoil, waking to it every day. I formed relationships with them and walked with them through the most intimate details of their struggles. They came to me for help and guidance; I did my best. Although I had personal turmoil and needed a great deal of help myself, somehow my patients and I did well more times than not.


My Take on the Addiction Epidemic:


My career wandered but no matter where it went, I’ve always come back to working in addiction and trauma. I’ve found these are conditions far more common than most people would ever imagine, and they are almost always constant companions. I believe that if we could heal trauma faster, we’d not have an addiction epidemic.

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Credit: Provided by Author

As many people, I’ve followed news on the addiction epidemic in the U.S. for years now. In particular, numerous persons have a deep concern about opioid use. America and my city have meandered these streets, as heroin addiction has caused a devastation of lives. In my city, we’ve never seen such a crisis, not in all my time in this world.

Heroin addiction is a costly tragedy among those who are addicted, their loved ones, and communities. The economic costs alone are staggering—an estimated 50 billion dollars a year, but the human costs are immeasurable and immense.


“How did we get here? How did my city get here? How does a person end up here?”


As time passes, I’ve watched subsequent addiction and a mental health epidemic arise for the entire city where I live. It has a direct trail back to prescription painkillers and their medical use. Pain management clinics sprung up in and around my city as the painkiller epidemic occurred. Many of those were ‘pill mills’, caused people an addiction to painkillers.

Changing laws closed these clinics, and also resulted in the placement of monitoring systems. The prescribers of powerful pain-management drugs were closely watched. The consequences of this system? These prescriptions were harder to come by, despite countless people addicted to them. Pain pills available on the illegal market were terribly expensive and people suffered.


The Solution? Heroin.


Needles_Hush Naindo
Credit: Hush Naidoo via Unsplash

Heroin became, and still is, the affordable solution to painkiller scarcity.  For every dollar spent to obtain illegal painkillers, heroin packs the same punch at one-tenth the cost. Drug cartels met a need in the population when the prescription painkiller epidemic gained the attention of legislators and the medical boards. Their marketing strategies cut a path straight towards my area of expertise, and into my home city.

There’s more to a ‘painkilling’ addiction than chronic and debilitating physical pain needing to be managed. There is also psychological pain which people are seeking respite from. So, the drug and mental health epidemic is a pervasive one in people’s lives and the lives of their loved ones.

It’s traumatic to watch someone suffer from drug addiction. It’s more traumatic when medical ‘permission’ is taken out of the equation. The pure force of addiction became tangible when those addicted had no choice but to trade prescription painkillers for heroin. Heroin was the only reasonable alternative to prescriptions — if it can be seen as reasonable.


Heroin Addiction.


Moreover, Heroin addiction is a powerful and destructive force that most people can’t fathom unless they’ve experienced it in their daily life. I see it in the streets every day. The street people have changed. They seem to be dying faster, and I say prayers for them as I drive past them on the roads.

If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin or other drug addiction reach out. People can recover, but the right kind of help is crucial. Heroin is more powerful than anyones strongest willpower. Also, people can’t help others experiencing addiction when they can’t help themselves. Nonetheless, friends and family can aid those who can’t help the addicted people they love.

Don’t wait to act; the support of friends and family is crucial to stop the use of heroin and other lethal street drugs.


©Mandibelle16. (2018) All Rights Reserved.

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Music Challenge #30 / Three Line Tales: Poem – Lunes – “Owning that Night” #amwriting #poetry #musicchallenge #3LineTales #MLMM


Thanks to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting #3LineTales. Combining with this week’s Music Challenge by MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie and the song “We Owned the Night”by Lady A.


Credit: Erik Witsoe


We Owned the Night” – Lady Antebellum


Craving skin sticking; recalling hurts,

Owning that night,

Lips dribbling sensuous enthralling words.

*****

You were my electric vision,

Owning that night,

Your purest beauty, stunned alive.

*****

Twirling, wine-wrecked your dress,

Owning that night,

Never forgetting tangled-sheet memories.

*****


©Mandibelle16.(2018) All Rights Reserved.

100 Word Wednesday: Poem – Free Verse – “Wings Broken” #amwriting #100WordWednesday #flashfiction #poetry 


Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting this edition of #100WordWednesday. 

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Credit: Bikurgurl

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She valued it, 

Above all. 

Elaborate China, 

Not pretty or delicate. 

Gaudy-patterned, 

Indigo Wedgewood. 

Peach, gray flowers. 

Frail bone China, 

No value to him. 

Displayed in a cabinet. 

Pieces and —

Place settings, 

Gifted for —

Wedding presents. 

She dusted them,

Each week.  

Paid him no mind, 

Humming hymns. 

Ignored him when, 

He talked. 

She never used to, 

She’d laugh, 

Join in. 

And when they, 

Used the China, 

At Easter, 

Designs of indigo, peach —

Made him sick. 

Dizzying, he wanted to —

Wretch. 

Just as when , 

He saw her, 

With him. 

The one she said, 

She’d forgotten. 

Accepted he’d married, 

Moved on.

But his aftershave, 

On her skin, 

Made him ill,

So he stood, 

Starring at the China, 

She’d taken out, 

To clean. 

Piece by piece, 

It hit the wall, 

Smashing, crashing. 

Splinters of it, 

Drawing blood. 

Until shards of, 

Tacky dinnerware, 

Only remained. 

She screamed, 

Wounded like a fledging, 

Who fell, 

For the first time, 

And couldn’t arise, 

Never again, 

Wings broken. 

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved

Sunday Writing Prompt: Poem – Free Verse – “Lady Hawk” #amwriting #poetry


Thanks to Scribblers Dip of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s Sunday Prompt. P.S, for the purposes of this poem a falcon has cleverly transformed herself into a hawk. 

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Credit: Scribblers Dip – Collage, Quote – Oscar Wilde

———

Lady hawk, 

Brilliant feathers flocked. 

Climbing unfathomable —

Heights. 

Swoops down low, 

Prey cannot run. 

Has no safe place. 

Cannot see —

In pitch blackness, 

Stars guiding, 

Ignoring for —

Threats from above; 

Cause anxiety, 

To triple. 

The solace —

Of illusions, 

Never enough. 

Lady hawk, 

And her sins; 

Indelible, 

Cannot be erased. 

We yearn for, 

We think we’ve forgotten, 

Fondness for crimes. 

Evil inside us, 

A lure; 

Turning Rights, 

To bitter Wrongs. 

Though we think, 

All people —

Have innate goodness;

Rather, I say —

Innately we —

Forever choose,

Crimes, 

‘Neath delicious —

Sinful starry nights. 

It’s only those, 

Who pray 

For alteration, 

We choose to do, 

Well for others —

Where goodness, 

Can be found. 

Not only self-serving, 

Serving others, 

Above all else, 

Not afraid, 

To aid, 

Though we’ve, 

Forever been, 

Put out, 

Into the night, 

Mice running, 

From Lady Hawk, 

For goodnesses’ —

Freely done. 

——–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.  

Music #9 /Photo Challenge: Poem – Blitz – Liabilities Now Shed” #musicchallenge #poetry #amwriting #photochallenge 


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting the last music challenge. Also thanks to NEKNEERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for this week’s photo challenge. 

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Credit: MKA photography

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Lords – “Liability” 

——–

You’re a little much for me, see 

See you’re a liability 

Liabilities are costly 

Liability, that’s you baby 

Baby hurt me so much

Baby left me crying 

Crying in the taxi 

Crying until I reached home 

Home, it’s what I though we had

Home, what’s one broken? 

Broken I’m shattered

Broken, he doesn’t need to know

Knowing me, mistake were made 

Knowing little, he couldn’t handle trying  

Trying to dance in my storm 

Trying not to be poisoned 

Poison, he said that’s what I was

Poison, that’s what he is 

He is poison destructive to me 

He is the maker of harsh demands 

Demands — I only meet my own now

Demands are so tiring 

Tiring, he’s too hard to please

Tiring, he says I’m diseased 

Diseased, he’s the one, making ‘us’ decay

Diseased, the man I knew gone 

Gone amd there’s no more dancing 

Gone, no more love in the dark

Darkness, I’m alone swaying 

Dark and alone, dancing alone

Alone too much for him 

Alone I’m still dangerous 

Dangerous truth: he treats me as a toy 

Dangerous and too boring 

Boring after doing exciting tricks

Boring after our perfect summer

Summer in my heart hurts  

Summer’s turned cold 

Cold eating me alive, 

Cold cause, you’re all gone 

Gone so I’m on my own 

Gone, I accept I’m a liability 

Liabilities must be forgotten 

Liabilities must be shed

Shed so as not to him expose. 

Forgotten so I’m never loved. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Poem – Quadrille – “Condemned” #amwriting #poetry #flashfiction 


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for holding last week’s SPF. 

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Credit: Mike Vore

———

Tenement halls, 

Here they —

Breathed; died. 

Rasping voices, 

Calling  ‘Mom.’ 

Struggling, 

One last breath, 

Wheezing, 

Spirits released. 

Polio, Scarlet feaver, 

Consumption, measles, 

Tuberculosis. 

No matter, 

The disease, 

Many breathed, 

Their last. 

Forgotten, lost, 

Sound of silence. 

Condemned to ruins, 
Now the ruins are —

Condemned, 

Tenements called, 

A prison, 

Too late. 

——-

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Photo Challenge: Poem – Quadrille – “Orange Crushed Tangerine after Nightmares” #amwriting #poetry #dVerse


Thanks to NEKEERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last week’s photo challenge. I’m combining the prompt with the #dverse Quadrille prompt hosted by WHIMSYGIZMO at the Poet’s Pub. The theme this week is storms. 

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Credit: NEKNEERAJ

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Drowning in puddles, 

Forgetting undertow, 
Choking up waves, 

Coughing salty water. 

Betrayed by thirst, 

Middle of nowhere. 

Threatening typhoons, 

Weeping salt, 

Soul forgotten.

The nightmare’s, 

Encompassing, drowning, 

Until you awake. 

Orange crushed tangerine bleeds;

Vivid dreams cracked. 

Dawn rescuing,

Stranded heart beats. 

Birds on power lines,  

It’s glorious morning,

Just breathe. 

——–

©Mandibele16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer: Poem – Wrapped Refrain (2) – ” Bye Bye American Pie” #amwriting #poetry #flashfiction 


Thanks to Priceless Joy for hosting FFftAW.


Credit: Sunayana MoiPensieve


 

He sings the song, he knows so well, “American Pie” resounds,

A story “a long long time ago” the lyrics found,

On the lips of those passing by,

Throwing coins for memories sighed,

Thinking of “the day the music —

Died,” a plane crash in history mused.

Brought into the present, the “music [that] makes [him] smile.”

Singing talent innate: “Bye, Bye Miss American pie.”

———

He sings of the “good old boys . . . drinking whiskey and rye,”

Of the day they thought “this would be the day that” they’d up and die,
He breathes life into Rock and Roll,

Thinks music can save “mortal” souls.

His sonorous voice knows he has —

No luck; but he’ll sing for the past.

For “Miss American pie;” she drives her “Chevy” to the dry —

Levy;” all passing, know the lyrics “the day the music died.”

——

He’s a hit, his voice similar to Don McLean of past,

He drives home the point as if it were shards of sharp glass.

As history occurred, passed,

“Dirges in the dark” that collapse.

Of forgotten heroes, music lost,

Of times forgotten, with cost.

Singing for the “kings” and “queens” who walk on by, listening,

He sings the song he knows so well “Bye Bye . . . American pie.”


Don McLean – “American Pie” 


Wrapped Refrain (Form No. 2), created by Jan Turner, carries some similar aspects as her Wrapped Refrain form, with further advanced techniques. It consists of 2 or more stanzas of 8 lines each, with the following set rules:

Meter: 14, 14, 8, 8, 8, 8, 14, 14
Rhyme Scheme: a,a,b,b,c,c,d,d

Refrain rule: In each stanza, the first 10 syllables in the first line (incorporating a phrase) must be the last 10 syllables at the end of the last line (line #8).

Please see Shadow Poetry for more information.


©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

Photo Challenge: Poem – Free Verse – “A Nightmare of Ink” #amwriting #poetry #nightmares


Thank you to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting the his week’s Photo Prompt chalkenge.

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Credit: Reylia.deviantart.com

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She holds the flowers teaming with a life force all their own, 

Knowing the ombré blue blossoms will escape; 

Flutter into the world carried on the wind, 

Pettles and fluffy white seeds blown across the land. 

Messengers of hope and artistry, a beauty undefinable. 

Her hands tightly grasp the stems, no thorns to prick errant fingers. 

She can’t let go, however, she she tries, 

Hands entrapped on rough stems holding too hard. 

So rigid are her hands, blood comes forth, 

The pressure of her grip too intense;

With great thought, he watches her, observes her reactions, 

She doesn’t understand why he’s hurting her; she needs help. 
She’s dressed in her navy dress and in life he loves it, 

In her dream, he picks at the fabric of her sleeve in disgust. 

Mumbling to himself, then struck with a thought, 

He’s found a thin fluted vase in blue to match her flowers. 

She doesn’t conprehend the symbolism or the reason, 

When ink he pours onto her flowers from the vase. 

He stains her hands until they appear black, 

The flowers are ruined and slicked with ink like oil. 

The streaming ink is everywhere, 

Her beloved smiles at her, he chucks her chin and winks, 

Takes the flowers and places them in the vase. 

The ink is all over her hands and arms;

Hers and his, and he’s laughing. 

Saying how difficult ink is to remove from one’s skin, 

So he cradles her face and he kisses her long, 

But then she awakes in her dream, 

To permenant ink stains all over her face and hands.

He smirks at her, walks away no care for the ink staining him. 

The moon gleams in the sky and it rains — buckets of tar black ink, 

Caressing her body, covering as sludge, dripping and spilling. 

What value is ink if she has no pen’s cartridge to put it in? 

She’s not able to use it to write. 

The world around is flooded by this precious commodity, 

And when she finally awakes for real, all is forgotten. 

Yet, the hands she holds up to the sunlight, 

Are stained dark black;

She’s tattood in the memory of a dream, 

Nightmares and reality never giving way to truth. 

—–

©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

 

Photo Challenge:  Fiction – That Could Still Be Us #amwriting #fiction #relationship 


Thanks to NEEKNERAJ for hosting MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge this week. 

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Credit: NEEKNERAJ

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Twilight fades and darkness overtakes the sun. It’s difficult to see at night in the winter when there isn’t much snow. Those glistening piles such as frozen clouds, usually manage to catch the moon’s radiant glow. But tonight the only light outside is a crescent moon and far above, the glimmering stars. 

The lights on the dashboard flicker on and I gaze at you behind the wheel, humming softly to yourself as you continue our drive in an ink dark night. I can see from your face you’re exhausted.

“Please let me drive for you? At least a couple of hours so you can sleep, Tye?” 

You roll your eyes at me in the relative darkness in the inside of our car, “You don’t drive well enough. You only drive to the grocery store and a short distance to work. You don’t have experience driving on icy highways at night, Cara” Tye looks at me waiting for me to respond. 

Finally I peep, “When I took my drivers lessons, we drove on icy snowy highways. I drive all around the city,” I inform him. “Highways aren’t my favorite but you’re falling asleep at the wheel and I can handle driving until we reach Red Deer. The roads are deserted and I’m going to be driving straight and making sure I stay a good distance behind any other vehicle I come across.” 

Tye nods and bites his lip. I can tell he has no energy to argue with me. “I do need the sleep badly. When we get to Red Deer let’s stop and stay at a hotel for the night, okay Cara?” I smile at Tye in agreement and watch him pull the car over to the side of the highway to trade seats wih me.

I start to drive and at first I can see he’s a bit frightened for me and frankly so am I. But eventually Tye realizes I can keep up the speed on the highway and that I’m driving well, keeping my eyes on the road. 

At one moment I feel the car wiggle and slide over an ice patch but I pump the breaks and I drive the car without incident again. I wonder if he noticed my dangerous slip, but peering to my side I see Tye is sound asleep.

My poor guy, I think running my one hand through his hair as we reach Red Deer. I park the car near a decent hotel. The Best Western appears newer and well taken care of. Tye rubs his eyes when I gently shake him awake. 

When we are finally in our room I shower and I’m surprised when he joins me. “So, we’re talking again I guess? You’re not mad at me anymore?” I ask Tye. 

He holds me from behind, curving his body into mine and sighing in my wet hair. He kisses my cheek, “I don’t want to fight with you Cara. I want us to us again. I don’t like that your ex kissed you, but I thought about it the entire time we’ve been driving home from the mountains. You didn’t initiate the kiss and your friends said the same thing. My buddies agreed with them too. The whole situation made me so angry, I can’t even explain it.”

I nod and rest my head back on Tye’s bare shoulder, “I would never, you know that? But I can’t explain things to you if you won’t communicate with me. We could’ve solved this back in the mountains and skipped the tense ride home. I didn’t mean to make you jealous. I punched my ex for hitting on me after you went back to the hotel still foaming at the mouth,” I say with a proud smirk. 

Tye strokes my cheek and kisses my lips, “Punched him, hey? I’m so happy to hear you did. I wanted to more than punch him before I cooled down. It’s all forgotten, Cara. But I think we could both use some extra distractions just in case.” 

I giggle and turn around so I’m flush against Tye, “Okay, let’s completely wipe our minds clear of the past couple of days.” 

The night became one of our most memorable nights together. 

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“That Could Still Be Us” – Keith Urban 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.