When I started out on this journey-to reintegrate back into my community as a productive member I had never heard the word reintegrate. I had a quest and that was to understand why my mind was not doing what other peoples mind was doing. Or at least that’s what I was thinking. You see, I had these strange thoughts-repetitious thoughts about what people were saying about me, why people did not like me and just about any nonsense thought. Although it does not seem serious when I put it down on paper-at the time I could not live stable, I moved from place to place and from job to job. Still you might be saying “that is not that unusual” but coming from a society that judge by where and how you live; where you work, what you wear, what color you are and even what your body shape is, in a mind that is already unbalanced those type things can become overwhelming. So at the age of 48, I was at the end of my rope or my mind. I had been locked up three times, a almost sure stop for the mentally ill that has not come to terms with the fact that a brain illness can be treated just like many other illnesses. Are you sure you want to talk about this? After reading this blog, you may gain an understanding–mental ill does not mean you cannot live in main stream society, it does not mean you run around with knifes and sticks to hurt people, it simply means there is a chemical imbalance in the brain and that can be treated with or without medicines–but most importantly it can be treated! Just like many different illnesses, some people experience very severe symptoms, while others may only experience mild symptoms for example: people with type 1 diabetes have very different symptoms then those with type 2 diabetes. And they are treated according to the symptom. The same can be done for the mentally ill, like myself.First I sought treatment at my local mental health clinic and then I began to educate myself about the brain. I returned to school so I can help in blazing a trail for other mental health consumers.
For most of the 20th century, the accepted policy in the United States was to segregate individuals diagnosed with mental health illnesses in psychiatric hospitals that would manage all their needs, from housing to clinical care. Beginning in the 1960s, however, policies towards mental health consumers began to change, reflecting changing attitudes nationwide towards the rights of mental health consumers on the one hand, and the rising cost of institutional care on the other.
Since then, institutionalized settings have been rejected in favor of a spectrum of residential arrangements that reflect the continuum of care required by mental health consumers: some are dependent on caregivers to meet their basic daily needs, some need access to transportation, some depend on supplemental income and still others are gainfully employed. Current perspectives among the mental health community therefore call for integrated community living that allows for varying degrees of individual self-sufficiency and self-determination. (Transforming Local Communities, Inc. 2007)
As I continue on my trail, I hope to help other mental health consumers by; inviting them to comment on this blog, to use some of the ideas and tools that I will add to this blog. To visit their local mental health clinic or personal care doctors. To help stamp out the stigma of mental illness by “living well.” To help me build New FoundMinds by writing about what is needed to make supported housing a community.