The novel Leave of Absence is set largely in a behavioral health center/hospital, a fictionalized version of one I stayed in. TEAM COURT One day, Penelope (struggling with schizophrenia) and Oliver (struggling with major depression and PTSD) were attending a group session. As part of an activity, Oliver was asked, “If you could invent one thing that could make the world a better place, what would it be?”
SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND
It’s an important question. So much so that Google once held a contest challenging the world to invent something that, in their minds, would make the world a better place. My own (unsubmitted) response to Google’s call was this: To make the world a better place, I’d create an in-someone’s-shoes machine. Here’s how it would work: in any interaction with another human being, especially, but not necessarily, one of conflict, each person would step into the machine. Maybe it would look like a giant shoe. Bo Jackson Maybe it would just be a box. But either way, the people would step inside and be given a perspective of the conflict from the other person’s point of view. Navy Midshipmen Jerseys They’d learn from an empathic perspective why the issue is important for each other. There could even be a larger machine for group conflicts. When we seek first to understand rather than to convince, argue, or judge, something wonderful happens. Air Jordan 11 Retro We begin to see the humanity in each other, and we begin to treat each other better.
MISUNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS
Sometimes, when someone lives with mental illness, he or she is treated as someone “off,” someone who is defective. I myself have experienced this. Upon learning that I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and had spent time in a behavioral health hospital, I had friends turn away, an employer change his mind about my ability to work for him. Daniel Fells I’ve heard similar stories from countless people. It’s tragic, but in most cases, I don’t think it comes from anybody trying to be “bad.” Rather, it comes from a lack of understanding. I’m certainly not excusing those people who shunned me during my times in and out of the hospital and after they learned about my diagnosis. I think, though, that they were reacting to misinformation and preconceived notions about psychiatric care, mental illness, and traumatic brain injury. Xavier Musketeers
UNDERSTANDING MENTAL ILLNESS
Hence, my in-someone’s-shoes machine. What does it feel like to be another person? I don’t have the technical know-how to actually invent such a machine. Air Jordan 4 Cement Yeah, like I could even do anything other than grab a shoebox and exclaim, hey, it’s a box and it held shoes! However, I am doing everything that is actually in my power to understand and to encourage understanding and empathy. Parajumpers Femme New Arches I live the principle in my own life, and I try to show what it’s like to live with various mental illnesses. I do this by writing novels whose characters live with mental illness or have someone in their lives with mental illness. Leave of Absence is a story of two people attempting to survive mental illness and life in a behavioral health hospital. My Life in a Nutshell: A Novel is the story of a man struggling with debilitating anxiety disorders, and Twenty-Four Shadows tells the tale of a man named Isaac, his alters, his wife and son, and his best friend as the all respond to Isaac’s new diagnosis of dissociative identity disorder. Losing Elizabeth, a middle grade book, shows adolescents, parents, and teachers the negative effects of toxic, emotionally abusive relationships. UGG Classic Short In a way, these novels are in-someone’s-shoes-machines.