Readers discuss mental health and public safety.
From Surviving to Thriving
Re: “Misguided By Voices” (Cover, April 10): I appreciated the excellent article by Georgia Perry on survivors of mental illness. I consider myself not just a survivor, but a hard-won “thriver” of mental illness. At 37, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder with a two-month-old baby and toddler in tow. Devastated by the stigma against bipolar, I founded the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance of Santa Cruz County in 2010 to find others like me for support. As a mental health advocate, I was invited to join the International Bipolar Foundation's Consumer Advocacy Board as their only member who represents alternative mental health issues.
My passion has grown to provide natural resources to those living with bipolar, depression and anxiety challenges. With the assistance of our local CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) community, I'll be facilitating a free women's peer group in mid-May: “Hopeful and Naturally Healing Support.” Please email [email protected] for information on the support group.
Will Do This, Won’t Do That
Re: “Misguided By Voices”: Georgia Perry did an outstanding job highlighting the realities of mental illness. I have had to make it my life's work to get to the bottom of my disease, because the alternative had clearly been suicide. It took years of intensive soul searching to accept my limitations without judgment: “I can do this, but I can't do that.” And inevitably, the things I can't do are the activities that touch the trauma nerve, sending me into convulsions of panic attacks, temper tantrums, and self destructive behaviors.
Now I carry around a little folding wheelchair in my mind just to remind myself that I am not a deviant; I am just disabled. Keeping my head just high enough above water to participate in my own treatment and make my own decisions, as well as my own mistakes, was key for climbing my way out: “I will do this, but I won't do that.” And with the right help, my functionality is improving on a daily basis.
“The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.”
Name Withheld By Request
Truth About Safety
Lately, I have heard a lot said about public safety. There have been workshops and speak-outs and petitions and print media galore. But unless we embrace one fundamental truth about public safety, we will never truly achieve it. And that truth is: law enforcement alone cannot make our community safe. It takes individuals and groups and nonprofits and city government, both at the council and agency level, and the faith communities each doing their part to support the law enforcement effort to make our city safe.
When we as a community come together in this basic understanding, we can begin the work of making our homes and our neighborhoods and ourselves safer. In this case in particular, it really does take a village.