The shot, the hit, the rush

the bliss

the nod.

The frenzy and the money moves and the terror of sick.




“Where’d you go?

We miss you so

Seems like forever

Since you’ve been gone…”

The shot, the hit, the rush


The boy who texted poetic

who longs to love a girl who loves him back

Who wants a family

And a home to come home to…

Where are you?

~sja 9/2019


My dog is dreaming

kicking legs and rocking me

while I lie awake

wondering where I failed

Planning where to go from here

how to help you build trust in someone else

because we can repair

but the damage isn’t done

and probably can’t be undone.

You are still valuable

And deserve every possible chance.

And it is my job to say it out loud

in the gentlest possible way

that I can’t help you.

I can’t convince you to do the work.

I’m the mom you turn to when you are mad at yours

which is still an honor.

But I can’t help you

because I don’t know heroin.

~sja 9/2019

A Whole New Life

I started this blog as a kind of exploring place and a thinking space, to examine some of my unpopular feelings about hospitals, medicine, and mental health. I intended to be here in anonymity and to not risk my job.

If I knew more about the workings of WordPress, I would insert a slew of photos of people laughing hysterically.

I left my job of eleven years. It was stunning and shocking and, for a brief minute, shattering, if I am being honest.

Who shall I be, now?

The main reason I haven’t added any thoughts here over the past few YEARS is because I went to grad school, 25 years after earning my undergraduate degree. It would be accurate to say that I was unprepared for that level of time suck. But I was also so, so ready to add to my knowledge base. I had a lot to learn.

I have a new life, and it is beautiful. I am able to help people more than ever. I am able to know people when they are well, and when they are less well. I am able to put all the “heart” that I want into my work, with co-workers who feel like family.

I felt like was seeing a perpetuation of mental illness happening in the hospital, and it made me feel angry and helpless. Was it real? I don’t know. Was it that the responsibilities of my job changed and skewed my perspective? Maybe. I felt less trusted than ever before. I felt less competent than I felt on my very first day. But I also felt like my eyes were opened to a bigger picture – that yes, we could medicate the symptoms of mental illness out of our patients, but what could we do beyond that?

We could not provide stable housing, we did not embrace harm reduction, we had no ability to know patients long enough to offer strength-based treatment, we were in an environment that could not possibly offer trauma-informed care.

All of the above is what I do now. I listen and validate and problem solve with people who ask for assistance. I am the keeper of all the secrets.

I found my people and I found my place.

Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

One of the things I’m going to push on this site is to know yourself. Do the research. Find others that have traits like yours. Investigate how they cope and function. Look for trade secrets.

It’s not that I think it’s necessary to label ourselves, or diagnose ourselves with disorders, or swallow whole the concepts presented by medical psychiatry – not that at all – but it can be useful to know some common terminology of personality traits in order to figure out how other people cope (so maybe we can steal their ideas -grin). And, yanno, it’s nice not to be all alone. Even loners like company, sometimes.

So this is a link to some stuff about Highly Sensitive People: http://hsperson.com/

And here’s a simple quiz:  http://hsperson.com/test/highly-sensitive-test/

HSP’s might also be known as empaths. http://liveboldandbloom.com/08/self-improvement/empath-traits-of-highly-sensitive-person

From the Wall Street Journal…

Why Psychiatry Needs a Therapist


I do find the trend toward making more and more of our population diagnoseably (not exactly a word) mentally ill highly concerning.

Oh you’re sad? We have a pill for that. You have a test or a try out or a date tomorrow and you’re  nervous? We have a pill for that. Have trouble falling asleep? We have a pill for that…

Here’s the thing… humans surviving the human condition are not normal. There is no normal, and no one should strive to fit into some set ideal of what normal is.

Live your life. Take care of yourself. Try not to hurt anybody else. Be happy.

If you’ve got it in you to do more than that, to build something, create something, help others – awesome – go for it. If not, and you’re happy with who you are and what you do, call it good. We get one turn here. I’d say doing what we can do to be as happy as we can be as much of the time as possible – that’s what we’re here for.

Is Free Thinking A Mental Illness?

There’s got to be a better way to insert links. I’ll figure it out, but for now, I’m sorry my links aren’t very pretty.  The title of this blog post is actually the title to the article I’m going to link to, and the comments attached to that article are important. They run the gamut from “you people are paranoid freaks and have no idea what you’re talking about” to “right on, I’ve been there and seen this” – and I believe all the people commenting are speaking some measure of truth.

People who have lived with persons diagnosed probably correctly with ODD have an understanding of the disorder as it was meant to be diagnosed, that the DSM-WhateverVolumeWe’reCurrentlyOn is intended to be noting these behaviors in extreme severity.

It doesn’t mean that all clinicians are diagnosing all patients correctly. It doesn’t mean people are not being misdiagnosed every day. It doesn’t mean these diagnosis aren’t being used to control behaviors and thinking patterns that are disliked by the mainstream. It doesn’t mean diagnosis cannot be manipulated and medications used in an attempt to make “weird kids” become “normal.”

And my saying that doesn’t mean the above will ever, ever work, by the way.

And it doesn’t mean that clinicians aren’t encouraged to make diagnosis in order to prescribe drugs, and that drug companies don’t benefit financially from the prescribing of said drugs. Or that clinics and hospitals and doctors and providers don’t benefit from follow-up visits to manage the prescribing of said drugs.

So arguments in comments notwithstanding, I still ask…. is it paranoid or fear-mongering to question the breaking down of “depression” or “anxiety” or “schizophrenia” into lesser diagnosis in order to prescribe essentially the same drugs?

Here’s the link. What do you think?