My Home is a Sanctuary

My partner’s family sought asylum in the United States
when he was a child

The rebels held his family at gunpoint and marched them
out of the country.

My partner spent a week at the mercy of men who
threatened to shoot them dead.

His Father was a doctor who treated their wounded.

His Father told the rebels that if they harmed his family
they would have to kill him.

The soldiers needed a doctor so the family survived.

My partner became a U.S. citizen years ago.

He proudly votes in every election.

Because of Trump, my partner is now afraid for his family.

Because of the racists who support Trump my partner must
worry about random violence when he leaves the apartment.

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

I promise that as long as these words stay on the Statue of Liberty, I will give sanctuary to all who come to the United States to find a better way of life.

Photograph of a drawing of our lady if Guadeloupe sheltering San Francisco
My Home is a Sanctuary


(c) Rob Goldstein 2017 All Rights Reserved




20 Ways to Live with ICD-9-CM: 300.14, 300.15

What is life like for someone who lives with and loves a man who is symptomatic with severe Dissociative Identity Disorder? (ICD 9 code 300.14,  300.15)?

My partner and I had a frank conversation about the stress of  living with me after a joint session with my therapist.

My lack of memory and the fear provoked by descriptions of incidents I can’t remember is “triggering “and causes a switch.

I cannot describe what I cannot remember.

If Kaiser were doing its job, my partner would receive a weekly call from my case manager so she could understand the true scope of the illness and make more accurate safety assessments.

The online Merk manual describes Dissociative Identity Disorder as follows:

“…chronic and potentially disabling or fatal, although many people function very well and lead creative and productive lives.”

With proper treatment, many people do go on to lead creative and productive lives.

I intend to be one of them.

I need a treatment team that includes an intensive case manager who understands the importance of sustaining my family system.

When I told my partner to call my Kaiser case manager when he has
fears he said, “Why? They do nothing. They blame me!”

We decided to work it out for ourselves.

  1. He cannot cure the disorder, but he can take part in the healing.
  2. Getting better sometimes means more symptoms.
  3. When he feels resentment, take a break.
  4. Denial is normal but destructive.
  5. Everyone changes when a family member is engaged in psychotherapy.
  6. Love the person, even as you hate the symptom.
  7. Discrimination against the mentally ill is real — it only seems invisible because it is accepted.
  8. He may find it empowering to become more active in the politics of mental health.
  9. He always has the right to say no.
  10. Mental health professionals have varied degrees of competence, integrity, and commitment.
  11. He is not responsible for enabling the failures of the nation’s Behavioral Health System.
  12. I am a patient, not a consumer. There is a difference. Never forget that.
  13. It is OK to be angry when it makes you effective.
  14. You and your family member’s case manager should be in weekly contact, especially during a crisis.
  15. It is important to have boundaries and set expectations when speaking with care providers.
  16. The current suicide rate of 20% among people with PTSD related psychiatric illness is based on what’s happening to real people.
  17. A mandated hospitalization is NOT the worst thing that can happen to someone with a mental illness. It’s not the cheapest either.
  18. When it comes to safety, don’t take no for an answer.
  19. Never let your family member go to the hospital alone. Patients receive better care when the staff knows that someone is looking.
  20. Your family member’s illness is also an emotional trauma for you. If you decide to stay and take part in the treatment, you will need your own supports. 


Facts About Mental Health Care: the suicide rate is the highest in thirty years
Facts About Mental Health Care

Update: My partner now attends a monthly joint session with my therapist.

Image and post (c) Rob Goldstein 2014-2016 all rights reserved