Awards: The Disability Award

Melinda Sandor at Looking For The Light  blog nominated me for this award; she is a dedicated blogger and activist and was one of my first Featured Bloggers.

Melinda is also the driving force behind the blogging collective, Survivors Blog Here.

When I saw the name of the award my first thought was, ‘an award for being disabled?’ but based on the nominees it’s clearly an award for people who strive to transcend their disabilities and give meaning to the pain. It’s an honor to get this award. Thank you, Melinda.

The rules are to display the award badge, answer the questions, choose your own nominees, and develop your own set of questions. Melinda’s questions are so practical I’m going with hers.

Advances in Brain Imaging
Fig. 2. Example of reduced regional cerebral glucose metabolism in the anterior temporo-frontal cortices in a patient with dissociative amnesia.

Melinda’s Questions:

What was the first sign of your illness?

My first symptoms appeared when I was a child and found the name ‘Antonio’ scrawled in my schoolbooks. I was confused about my age, name and gender, which set me apart from the other children.

What is your worst symptom and how do you cope with it?

The symptoms of depression and dissociation affect memory and concentration, which makes it difficult read and write.

I often go back to a published post to discover typos and glaring gaps in logic. I cope by writing shorter pieces and relying more on photography and abstract designs for creative expression.

I’ve also stopped judging myself when I find mistakes in the work I post, although it’s frustrating to discover a flaw I would definitely have noticed a decade ago.

As for reading, I do a lot of reading I can’t remember.

This is even true of my work.

I often think I’m reading another bloggers post for the first time and discover that I’ve already liked and re-blogged it.

It’s confusing and frustrating.

What one thing about you has changed because of your struggles?

I miss reading and writing longer, more complex, stories, but I’m learning to be patient with myself, and to set more realistic timelines for achieving goals.

I am more compassionate toward other people.

What words of advice or encouragement would you give to someone else suffering?

I’m changing the last word from ‘suffering’ to ‘disabled’, because suffering does not have to define life with a chronic illness.

My advice is set goals and let go of the way you defined success when you were healthy. Give yourself plenty of time to complete those goals.

Never compare your achievements to the achievements of people who aren’t ill.

Learn new skills and practice them.

I knew absolutely nothing about photography when I became permanently disabled. I still know nothing about photography. but I’m better at it.

Name one good thing that has come out of having a chronic illness.

Now that I have the right diagnosis and treatment, I have a better understanding of the forces that shaped me as a child, and a better understanding of why I made certain self destructive decisions as a younger man. I’m forgiving because of it.

The Dissociative

What one thing do you disagree with that is widely accepted as true about your condition?

I obviously disagree with the idea that Dissociative Identify Disorder doesn’t exist. If I go to a shrink and tell her I think I have other personalities and the craziness of it is wrecking my life, I expect her to believe I believe they exist and to treat me accordingly.

I wish the United States had mental health system  that wanted to treat the brain’s mind.

If you could change only one aspect of your illness, what would it be?

Some days I get sick of feeling like I’m running in place. I want the illness to go away.

Name the one thing that works best for you for symptom relief.

I get relief from photography or throwing myself into a project. I also try to eat properly, exercise, and get a solid night’s sleep.

Based on your experience, what is one thing that you would tell someone newly diagnosed with chronic illness?

Learn as much as you can about your illness and become your own advocate.Why did you start blogging?

I started blogging to advocate for better medical treatment for people with mental illnesses.

The blog began to shift focus in 2016 and is now more focused on  art and politics., but I haven’t forgotten my roots.

My nominees

Most of the disability bloggers I know have gotten this award from Melinda.

My two nominees for this award are Dream Big, Dream Often and Jason
at Opinionated Man.

My questions for them are the same as those asked of me.

Check out Stacy Chapman’s award post at Fighting with Fibro

‘The Dissociative’ (c) Rob Goldstein All Rights Reserved


Being Alive is Not the Same as Having a Life

A homeless young man is confused and responding to hallucinations on Market Street,  San Francisco.

He loudly threatens those around him until he collapses in an intersection.

The police arrive.

An officer asks him to sit on the curb.

The young man is so distracted by hallucinations the officer has to help him find the curb.

The officer asks him if he is going to hurt himself or anyone else.

The young man distractedly says no.

The police drive off and the young man rolls back into the intersection.

He suffers from the lie that mental illness is a choice and those who have it deserve to suffer.

Where have I seen this kind of ignorance before?

Oh, that’s right! Gays–

50 years ago, the people of the United States universally believed homosexuality was a mental illness and homosexuals deserved shame and incarceration.

When asked why someone would “choose” to be homosexual in such a punitive culture the response of many prominent psychiatrists was “masochism.”

Their reasoning was that only a masochist would “choose” to be homosexual in a world that hates them.

Therefore, the homosexual derived masochistic pleasure from the reactions of others to the choice of his “disgusting” sickness.

Jump forward fifty years and now we have a society that tortures people with Schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses.

Being alive is not the same as having a life.

To have a life one must have a brain that can reason.

Homelessness is unfair and inexcusable in a nation as rich as the United States.

Conservative assertion: Life is unfair.

Reasoned rebuttal: That’s why we make civilization.

 

Meme found o0n Twitter regarding mental illness
1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness

 

(c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2017

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Change is Coming; Our Bodies, Our Choice!

Change is Coming, let’s liberate our healthcare from greedy and corrupt profiteers!

PatientsRightsAdvocate.com

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Momentum is building within the chronic illness community and as the numbers reach epidemic proportions we are rapidly becoming the majority and becoming a formidable voting block as well.

As patients we are taking our health into our own hands and insisting upon the respect and dignity we deserve in forging our own path to wellness…and on our terms. As we become more and more educated the traditional medical hierarchy is increasingly proving to be outdated and non-applicable given the current state of affairs.

This is our life and our body that we live with 24/7. The doctor who treats or fails to treat can go home and turn his mind to other things, whereas whatever treatment decisions are made will follow us, the patients, when we return home. These decisions and the orders or lack thereof surrounding them often determine our level of relief or suffering. Our doctors, (while…

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