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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
Consumer Behavior Religion & Politics

Drugs Should be Free!

By Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin

So now we’re calling drug addiction a “mental illness” and forcing people on it to go to rehab. Fuck you, I’m not mentally ill for being a recovering addict. I mean I guess calling it mental illness is better than throwing us all in prison to rot for years; call it whatever you want. Not that being a person with a mental illness is a bad thing, but it should be noted that homosexuality was once considered a “mental illness” and that’s an insult to the LGBTQA+ community. Now, I’m not equating addiction with being a member of the queer community. They’re completely two different things, and addictions can definitely cause problem, but the list of addictions out there are endless, and some are legal but equally or even more destructive (such as consumer madness that’s totally wiping out our planet). But no one calls shopaholics “mentally ill” unless they sometimes suffer from mania.  I don’t have schizophrenia either. My siblings and some neighbors and a few others just thought I was some malingering druggie radical with ambitions to be in a leftist militia. Well, I wasn’t malingering actually, but I did do drugs for a while because that treated the chronic fatigue and pain, and I just might have had enough energy to achieve my big dreams of joining a leftist militia and helping to abolish capitalism. But I WASN’T malingering. I couldn’t work due to pain and fatigue. I was forced to face my limitations. And I fucking HATE facing my limitations. I’m a dreamer; there’s millions of things I’d like to do. Like founding a nonprofit that does D.I.Y. video work, D.I.Y. desktop publishing, D.I.Y. acting, D.I.Y. management, D.I.Y. EVERYTHING. But I was backing off from making any commitments out of fear of taking on too much and overdoing things, especially after reading some of the literature on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & Fibromyalgia. But doing nothing was boring and it was totally depressing, so I tried drugs. Call my condition before drugs and sometime later post-drug use depression or somatoform disorder if you want, but don’t call it a fucking MENTAL HEALTH disorder. Don’t call it a behavioral health problem either. I find that equally offensive. It’s like saying there’s a problem with my behavior while at the same time telling me we live in a free fucking country! No, you’re only allowed to misbehave if you’re wealthy and get slaps on the wrist for your workers dying from unsafe conditions and oil leaks that destroy the environment, or for being a white supremacist that terrorizes the Black, LatinX, and Native communities. Fuck you!

Anyway, I’m not doing drugs now. Believe it or not, drug use isn’t allowed in my building or in my state (unless you call marijuana a drug, which still isn’t allowed in federally subsidized low-income housing due to federal law conflicting with state law (but don’t get started on state’s rights because that argument was once used by former slave-owners in the South bemoaning their “right” to enslave others).

Someday I’ll live in a housing unit and a state that allows drug use. And they won’t force us into treatment either and call us fucking “mentally ill.” So long as we’re not cooking meth in an apartment building and aren’t hurting anyone or guilty of gross abuse or negligence, including that of negligent abuse of babies in unchanged diapers, what’s the problem? Oh, and most of the violence that comes with the drug scene, is due to drugs being criminalized in the first place. Drug dealers are afraid of going to prison, so some of them murder narcs and rats, and anyone they’re suspicious of.

As far as most other drug-related crimes go, such as stealing and robbing to get money to pay for drugs, those problems would all go away if drugs were legal and free. And if you want to get treatment, that should be free too! Yeah, obviously if you’re not changing your babies diapers you should have your child taken away from you. If you’re beating up a partner because of your drug use, they should abandon you. I’m telling you though, that a lot of “behavioral issues” related to drug use is due to it being criminalized with a punishment of imprisonment, which by the way, due to an unfair criminal justice system targets ESPECIALLY Black, LatinX, and Native men!

Categories
Drunkcast Show The Privacy Invasion Collection

Snitches & Spies

Myra Sue St. Clair Baldwin, Sean P. McKelvey, and Orion Moon of The Deep End Northwest discuss snitches and spies.

Categories
Consumer Behavior Drunkcast Show Religion & Politics The Privacy Invasion Collection

Drunkcast #2: “Potcast” Podcast

The Deep End Northwest… is a blog covering life, politics, and social issues such as anti-theism vs. religious supremacy, disease, hunger, global climate change & the environment, peace & war, capitalism vs. socialism, big business & worker’s rights, homelessness, mental illness & privacy issues, drug addiction, art, racism, reparations. LBTQA+ issues, gun rights & responsible ownership, legalization & decriminalization of recreational drugs , and more from a leftist perspective.