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The Privacy Invasion Collection

Mental Health Consumer Educators @ E.W.U.

In this video, I explain what all consumer educators for Eastern Washington University’s Occupational Therapy Program do to help educate their students and destigmatize mental illness for their students.

Myra St. Clair Baldwin, Consumer Educator for E.W.U.

Transcript:

Hi everyone, my name is Myra St. Clair Baldwin and I’m a Consumer Educator for Eastern Washington University’s Occupational Therapy Program.

The E.W.U. Occupational Therapy program put together a panel and Q&A session as part of an eight-session program in which eight people in recovery from mental illness, including myself, will be working with students in the program.

When I arrived at the orientation classroom, the instructor’s assistant gave us some paperwork to fill out and sign, which I completed. Then we learned more about what we’d be doing. The sessions last about two to three hours each. The next two sessions after the panel discussion, three students who I’ll be working with the rest of the quarter will be practicing doing an assessment on me, which should be interesting. So long as I don’t have brain fog from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, then I believe I’ll ace any cognitive tests they give me. I’ll let you know later how I did. The panel discussion and Q&A itself was in front of an audience of about 30 or 40 students. The two sessions following the assessments are in the Spokane community, at the locations of our choosing. I plan to show the students I’m working with the Huntington Park, down by the Spokane River, behind the city hall for one session. For another session, I plan to show them a subsect of downtown, starting with the apartment building above Boo Radley’s novelty shop and Atticus Coffeehouse, where I thought I was spied on. I will also be showing them the bus plaza and the construction for the new downtown library, letting them know what amazing features the new library is going to have, which will include a video recording studio, a music recording studio, and a broadcasting studio, all of which will be available to be checked out by the public. I may get to do this job again in future years and might book a tour with the students of the new downtown library after it reopens, as that would be exciting! There’s a couple more sessions after that, including a session about completing a discharge plan and ending with a presentation the students give that we’re invited to. I plan to wear my t-shirt for mine & my partners’ blog “The Deep End Northwest” to one of the assessments as well as to the student presentations, in the hopes that the students will decide to take a peek at our blog out of curiosity.

After the orientation, we were escorted to the classroom where the students were. It was a small classroom, but the class was jam-packed. There wasn’t one empty desk. I went first, so I could get it done and over with, as I was anxious. This ended up being a good idea, because it freed me to listen more intently to the other panelists, whose stories were powerful. Although I knew most of them, I wasn’t familiar with their stories. Even though I was nervous, I think I did all right. Not perfect, but I don’t have a lot of experience yet on stage, so my talk wasn’t bad, considering. I ended up having to catch my breath a few times during the speech, but I wasn’t as anxious as I had expected.

After we each spoke, there was a Q&A. I managed to make the students laugh a couple of times, which reminded me that I sometimes have a sense of humor, which is what helped me survive the alleged privacy invasion that I endured. After the questions, the instructor said we were free to do a meet & greet with the students, but I was dying to go pee, and blurted out “I…I gotta take a leak!” That made the students laugh. There’s a backstory to why I now say “I gotta take a leak” rather than “I need to use the bathroom” or “I gotta go pee.” I’ll save that story for another day.

It’s really cutting edge what the instructor is doing, having some of us in mental health recovery work with the students. It helps humanize mental illness for the students. It’s an invaluable and cost-effective way for the students to “get it.” We each get paid $300 for the full contract. It was the instructor’s idea back in 2007, and there’s only a few universities now doing it. She’s presented at conferences and tried to sell others on how cost-effective it is and how it helps destigmatize mental illness for the students but hasn’t gotten a lot of buy-in yet. Perhaps in time, more universities will implement similar programs.

Categories
The Privacy Invasion Collection

E.W.U. Speech for Occupational Therapy Students

Featuring Myra St. Clair Baldwin, Consumer Educator for E.W.U.

Transcript:

A couple of weeks ago, I gave the following speech to a classroom of Occupational Therapy students at Eastern Washington University, to whom my mental health history and medications were relevant. I will be working with three of the students for the remainder of the quarter as a consumer educator. Since I gave the speech, I’ve decided to wait until spring to participate in the writing group mentioned.

May I present…the one, the only…Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin (that’s me)!

Hello everyone! My name is Myra St. Clair Baldwin. I have a bachelor’s degree in Humanities from E.W.U., am a former AmeriCorps Vista project coordinator for SCC, write for a blog, attend the Evergreen Club, and have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, PTSD, ADD, anxiety, plus chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia and/or somatoform disorder and have chronic insomnia. In the past I had a problem with depression that manifested as sadness and later as anger. I still have issues with anger sometimes from the PTSD, but most people wouldn’t know it, unless they see my Facebook posts in which I lash out at some family members who I believe out of ignorance spied on me and subjected me to psychological torture for suspected drug use (and indeed I had been taking drugs for a few months), as well as suspected malingering. The real or imagined spy operation eventually led to my diagnosis of schizophrenia, which may be a misdiagnosis. I believe family, former neighbors who wanted me out the apartment complex for being a so-called “nuisance neighbor”, apartment management, the maintenance guy, and some family members of my controlling ex-husband were all involved in the alleged spy operation. I actually have a blog named “The Deep End Northwest” which includes a page with posts about the spy operation or schizophrenic episode, named “The Privacy Invasion Collection”, in addition to some pages discussing some leftist-leaning socio-political issues and mass consumerism.

I take Neurontin for Fibromyalgia and anxiety, Prozac for Fibromyalgia and depression, Risperidone to help with hypomania (which I started taking due to the Schizophrenia diagnosis and continue to take for hypomania), Amitriptyline to help prevent migraines, Xanax to help me sleep, Montelukast for hay fever, Flonase & Cetirizine to help with allergies, as well as Thera Tears and some kind of eye drops. Occasionally I take Sumatriptan for migraines.

I am currently attending the Evergreen Club through Frontier Behavioral Health in which I do unit work in the business unit such as working on some of the PowerPoint presentations, Facebook posts, and phones, plus I am involved in committee work. Additionally, I attend social activities with the Supportive Living Program (which I prefer to the social activities at the Evergreen Club) and am receiving counseling through Frontier Behavioral Health, in which we’re going to be focusing on systematic desensitization to prepare me for public speaking, engaging with the greater community, and pursuing a lengthy court battle with the potential for negative publicity as I intend to pursue litigation against my alleged spies. Although I was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a couple of counselors at Frontier Behavioral Health and a few friends believe it’s possible I really WAS spied on. I’m extremely terrified of suffering under the stress of a lengthy court battle as well as the stress of any negative publicity I might receive. I also plan to start attending a couple of groups at Frontier Behavioral Health: one for anxiety and one on emotional expression & reflection, called “Rise Up!” based on the book “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown, PhD and LMSW.

I’m currently working on preparing a case report in which I’ll be sharing my whole story as well as laying out circumstantial evidence to present to a legal team in the hopes that they will further investigate my case and help me bring my alleged spies to justice as well as help me receive substantial compensation for months of illegal spying in my home along with psychological torture as they said a lot of cruel things to me. The alleged privacy invasion lasted for quite a few months.

I am an aspiring writer and speaker and started attending a few writing group sessions on Zoom available through Spark Central Library, a nonprofit library in Spokane. Now the group is meeting in person, and I keep skipping out on it, due in part to my anxiety as the last time I was in group it triggered my anxiety and my muscles got really tense and knotted up.

I plan to begin sharing my story of recovery through the Evergreen Club to civic organizations in Spokane for the Public Relations committee, in hopes that some civic organizations will speak well of us to area businesses, as we need to gain additional transitional employment positions in the community to be in compliance with Clubhouse International standards. This is important because Clubhouse International provides us with our accreditation. Others from the Evergreen Club will be sharing their stories to civic organizations as well. Systematic desensitization, including speaking to occupational students here at E.W.U. should help with my anxiety about speaking and sharing my personal story with others and further help prepare me for the fight of my life in court and in the public arena.

One of the committees I’m on at The Evergreen Club is the Social Justice committee. This provides me with meaningful work, and providing meaningful work is a key component of Clubhouse International, of which The Evergreen Club is part of. Furthermore, I have a history of civic engagement in the community. In the past I helped organize Service-Learning fairs for SCC as an AmeriCorps Vista project coordinator and sustainability-related events for the SCC Hagan Center for the Humanities. I resigned due to severe pain and fatigue, and it was a few years later that I experienced a real or imagined spy operation that left me feeling traumatized and led to my diagnosis of PTSD.