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.

Sunday Writing Prompt: Poem – Rictameter – “A Story of Change” #amwriting #poetry #MLMM


Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting the SWP, a collage prompt.


Credit: MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie


Twisted,

Fractured due to —

Difficulties life wrought.

Damage cracked; leather skin, lips torn,

He aches for sleep, to wash, and renew himself.

To slay his hideous demons,

They haunt him, every step.

No rest, he’s too —

Twisted.

*****

Life once,

Satisfied; free —

For him to chose his trails,

To beam in personal glories.

Life’s pinnacle, his wild dreams, finally,

Found fruition; until he fell,

Soul keening in ash.

No desire for —

Life once.

*****

Vivid,

Morado hues;

As yesterday’s wrongs haunt;

No escaping his palled fears.

Thinks he can’t measure up as he once did.

Bitter life’s high-points cost him dear.

Voice silenced, will fading;

Ashamed; his pain,

Vivid.

****

Balance,

Distorted as —

He slurps canned food, silver —

Cutlery from his Nan, most sold to live.

Survival his concern, laughter gone;

He’s wilted, rose petals of dust, a ghost;

No will, no path, hope to —

Restore life’s old,

Balance.

*****

To God,

Man weathered prays,

Forgetting God hears, listens —

To fervent Hail Mary’s, begging for —

A chance, an opportunity.

To find life beyond dusty roads, his bike;

Seeking grand possibilities.

To have life flourish once,

More, reaching to —

To God.

*****

Sweet rain,

Soaks him fast.

A shower well needed,

He’s determined for renewal.

Trims off his wild beard, foam heals;

Now, his plans are clear; he blossoms.

Back home she’s thrilled; he’s here —

Returned; her own —

Sweet rain.

*****


©Mandibelle16.(2018) All Rights Reserved.

100 Word Wednesdays: Poem – Italian Sonnet – “Living Small Dreams” #100WordWednesdays #flashfiction #poetry


Thanks to Bikurgurl for hosting this week’s #100WordWednesdays.

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Credit: Jessie Williams Via Unsplash

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Deep night and the darkness should seem mean, 

But in day time light exposes, reveals. 

The tranquil night holds me and conceals, 

I’m finding that black pitch, it redeems.

Souls in the day ashamed of life’s greeds, 

Broken, lost, but I’m more than what I seem. 

I’m like you, I have fond hopes and wild dreams.

More basic, I just want to have life’s needs. 

Water, food, health insurance, no delusions. 

Meds so I’m like you, not fearing night screams, 

Not having nightmares on cold streets mean. 

A homeless woman, battered, unseemly, 

Wishing for small things, a roof and hygiene. 

Wishing you’d help, want out of here, achieving —

Life where I don’t struggle but live small dreams. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Three Line Tales: Beat Feet – Life Of A 1950’s Woman  #amwriting #3LineTales #fiction 


Thanks to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting #3LineTales. 

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Credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash

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I’m anti frantic today which is a wonderful, that man at the department store was really laying on the apple butter; I almost went ape, I’m a married woman you know. At least the ankle-biters are all in school now and I don’t have to deal with their bash ears, but I need to beat feet so I can meet the ladies at church, we’re having some used clothing sale of clothing in good condition to raise bread for the homeless. Some reporter from the paper is here too writing a book and he took my picture by the Reverand’s truck; I wish he’d beat feet, I’m a busy woman. 

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Please see Fifties Web here, for all definitions of the fifty’s slang terms used (in bold). 

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©Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved. 

Friday Fictioneer: A Step Towards Home #flashfiction #amwriting #fiction


Thank you to Rochelle Wiseoff-Fields for hosting FF.

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Credit: Shaktiki Sharma

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Maryanne frequently found herself on the Greyhound bus travelling here, there, and everywhere. She didn’t understand what triggered the travelling gypsy in her, but she felt when she found what she was searching for, she would finally have a place of her own. She would find a decent job, have a car to drive, and most of all, have people to love in her life. 

As if on que, a stray dog yipped and walked out of the alleyway nearby. While she waited an-hour-and-a-half for the bus to Raleigh, Maryanne decided the dog was indeed homeless and picked her up gently. She brought the startled mut on the bus pulling into the station and named her Betsy. 

She was Maryanne’s first step towards finding a home

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“I Wonder” – Kelly Pickler

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Sunday Photo Fiction: Poem – English Sonnet – “Desolation Of The Flames” #poetry #flashfiction #amwriting #music


Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting SPF.

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Credit: A Mixed Bag

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My teary eyes on the buildings below, 

Keeping careful watch o’r those homeless souls.

And since the sky is filled with fire and with smoke.

Praying, keep careful watch o’r forlorn folk.

If we die in fire, keep us together, 

Flames swirling higher, stairs filled with smoke, soon –

Rising farther into the night sky bright, 

Watch flames burn stronger, apartment alight. 

I see fire, fire in our whole home; Such fire

I can’t even breathe; I see fire, can’t respire.

There’s fire hollows my soul, blood curdling free, 

All smoke, no breeze, hope they’ll remember me. 

And if we should die tonight, we’ll both burn, 

Raise glasses of wine, ’till we don’t feel spurned. 

Calling Lord Father, prepare us as thee will, 

Watch the flames burn our home, neighbours heard scream. 

Confined in building blocks, enclosed, we’re remains

No fireman came, desolation it stays

——

Based off the lyrics by Ed Sheeran’s song “Fire” from The Hobbit movies. I played with the lyrics for this prompt. 

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“Fire” – Ed Sheeran 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

Three Line Tales: Quotes – Service: Helping Others #quotes #amwriting #3LineTales


Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for hosting #3Linetales. 

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Credit: Mike Wilson

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This could be a seedy hotel sign. This could be a sign at a gas station. The word “service” could and can mean a lot of things, some good and some not so good. But since it is Thanksgiving here in Canada this weekend I thought, the meaning of “Service” should be to help others and be thankful for what we have. As such, these notable quotes from Goodreads reflect these values: 

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1. “The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” – Barrak Obama

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2. “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done; we will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” – Mother Teresa

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  3. ” I don’t want to live in the kind of world where we don’t look out for each other; not just the people that are close to us, but anybody who needs a helping hand; I cant change the way anybody else thinks, or what they choose to do, but I can do my bit.” – Charles de Lint

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved. 

#OctPoWriMo – Day 5 – Blitz Poem – “Sharp Is the Knife” #poetry #amwriting


Day 5 Prompt: Sharp

“When I first think of something sharp, pain comes to mind but then I think of an A sharp or a B sharp. Of course there are sharp turns, sharp angles and “He’s looking sharp.” and let’s not forget, sharp as a tack and look sharp.” 

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http://www.emptyseats.wordpress.com

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Not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
Not the brightest crayon in the box. 

Boxes need opening with sharp knives.

Boxes, trapped in our boxes, locked.

Lock it up tight. 

Lock it or else 

Else in the morning you’re to blame

Else, you’ll lose your job, what then

Then you don’t know

Then you can’t tell

Tell nothing because

Tell nothing they say

Say you’re not bright

Say you’re a bit dim

Dim as shadow

Dim as a dark room

Rooms, you’ve not one your own

Rooms are nothing, you’re vagrant 

Vagrant wandering needs people 

Vagrant wandering seeking close

Close enough, no one will steal

Close enough, no one will think

Think you’re more than homeless

Think you’re more than a mistake

Mistaken once, but you’re capable

Mistaken once, but you’re smart

Smart, can you appear that way

Smart, most people aren’t

Aren’t life smart

Aren’t more than book smart

Smart, who cares when you’ve no food

Smart, who cares when you’re so cold

Cold eyes of people staring

Cold hearts of people cracking

Cracking your bubble 

Cracking your safety zone

Zone of space around you

Zone of personal space

Space is all around you

Space, there is too much of it

It, means a place you can stay 

It is a place called home

Home, needs a job to pay for 

Home, lost because you weren’t sharp

Sharp is the knife that cuts in life.

Sharp is the knife that cuts in life.

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The Blitz Poem
“The Blitz Poem, a poetry form created by Robert Keim.
This form of poetry is a stream of short phrases and images with repetition and rapid flow. 
Begin with one short phrase, it can be a cliché. Begin the next line with another phrase that begins with the same first word as line 1. The first 48 lines should be short, but at least two words.

The third and fourth lines are phrases that begin with the last word of the 2nd phrase, the 5th and 6th lines begin with the last word of the 4th line, and so on, continuing, with each subsequent pair beginning with the last word of the line above them, which establishes a pattern of repetition. 

Continue for 48 total lines with this pattern, And then the last two lines repeat the last word of line 48, then the last word of line 47.
The title must be only three words, with some sort of preposition or conjunction joining the first word from the third line to the first word from the 47th line, in that order.
There should be no punctuation. When reading a BLITZ, it is read very quickly, pausing only to breathe.” 
Please see Shadow Poetry for further information. 

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Apologies, the whole bolded text above should be indented but my WordPress App is misbehaving. 

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©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Deserved.