Never Too Late

Meet more of Karen Kleis

Karen Lee Kleis


In my post yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve been experiencing a bit of a writer’s block lately. So this morning I decided to start a new project as a way of unclogging the creative pathways. A week or so ago, I came up with the idea of doing a series of self-portraits with something written to go along with each one. The goal was (and is) to give tangible form to parts of myself that tend to remain at least partly veiled. My queer self, for example, is given free expression within the fictional and poetic realms but not so much outside of those. My masculine and feminine selves are often at least somewhat obscured by a layer of what is socially expected. And so on. By creating the self-portraits, I hope to push myself beyond those boundaries.

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People Like Me

I recently met a man who worked as a nurse at a psych hospital at which I was a frequent patient.

This man and I briefly reminisced about our roles as patient and care provider and he said, “I didn’t like the way you were treated.”

I knew what he meant.

As funding for public health vanished my experience as a patient changed.

Chronic doesn’t means that you don’t get better.

Chronic means that the timeline for recovery is longer
and fraught with setbacks.

A serious mental illness can take years to learn to manage.

After privatization people with Chronic Mental Illnesses
were accused of malingering and squeezed out of services.

It didn’t matter that I wasn’t malingering.

It didn’t matter that I was misdiagnosed.

I recall that a nurse looked at me during a treatment group
at the hospital and said,  People like you are the reason, then
she caught herself and stopped.

She was going to say that people like me forced the system to sell itself out.

The worst symptom of the chronic illness is the one that induces counter-transference hate.

The man who had worked at the hospital where I was a patient said the staff hated me because I’m smart.

He said that they didn’t understand how someone so smart can have a chronic mental illness.

I sighed.

Professionals should know better.

Their hate replicated the animosity of my first day of school.

I already knew how to read when I entered the first grade.

Everyone, especially the teacher, hated me for it.

I was that little Jew Boy which meant that I had no right to be
smarter than the real white kids who were Christian.

That was the first day of the daily beatings.

I still don’t understand why being smart is bad.

And I will never understand how people who work in behavioral health
don’t know that intelligence does not prevent mental illness.

(c) Rob Goldstein 2016


You think you invented a Time Traveling Machine. When in reality, it is a teleporter. Your first stop is the Renaissance…fair.

This is a great little story

The Raw, Refreshing Writings of Roderick Wills

Original Prompt

Before turning my creation on I take a step back to appreciate it’s beauty. No-one else would think it beautiful, all it looked like was a box with a lot of exposed wires surrounding it. A few of these gave off periodic sparks but this was in the design. Everything was positioned just so-especially the hula girl on the control panel.  

I had just successfully invented the very first time machine.

Should I call the news? I’d always wanted to be on the news for one of my inventions. But wait… What if it didn’t work? I’d better give it a test run before showing anyone else.

Shaking slightly with the excitement of the moment I typed a few commands into my tablet to send it back 7 years in the past and watched as the device began spinning slowly. Picking up speed gradually, after a minute…

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I Hate Having a Mental Illness.


I hate having a mental illness.

I hate the stifling everyday management
of it.

The realization that everything I want is mine
but for this stone thrown in my path by fate
or my Mother or that inexplicable genetic
variable that
has nothing to do with either.

I hate having a mental illness.

I hate the fear and shame.

Of knowing that friends leave because of
a quirk that causes me to say things
too personal or too cutting.

Of the cognitive dissonance of an adult body
and a child’s spirit that
doesn’t understand
the limits of time.

Of the shrinks, the bewilderment and
the inability to
know the difference between
and malice.

I hate having a mental illness.

I hate it with the passion of this
that tomorrow I will awaken
and be healed.

RG 2015

mhwgmember2015Blog for Mental Health 2015