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A compassionate discussion about mental health

 
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I'm glad this thread is in the cider press. I didn't see the need for that when I first posted the thread, that was rolled into this one, but something has come up. Decisions have been made based on that. These are my decisions to make, since I'm the one paying for it all. I won't be forcing anyone to do anything, just in case someone wants to get all uptight over that. I will simply make my financial  contribution, contingent on doing as I say.
.............
I think we may have gotten to the root of Sonny's mental condition.

Sonny appears to be a victim of religion. Catholicism specifically. A jungle version, that probably incorporates some of what was going on, in Mindanao, in prehistoric times. He was a normal functioning young man until he joined a bush cult that encouraged members to go up into the mountains on various quests. They were not to eat during this time. He was encouraged to go weeks without eating. Water was also sometimes withheld and they did drugs. Visions and apparitions were considered good things. His mission was to find a white bird, bring it back, and sacrifice it. I'm not sure what that was supposed to accomplish. This group practices crucifixion, self-flagellation, starvation and treks into the wilderness similar to the story of Jesus in the wilderness. Nova's grandmother has been a long-term member of a group like that. She hasn't seen her in five years and isn't sure if she will see her again. They have a mixture of peace and love Jesus stuff, and lots of evil spirits stuff.

Sonny has never been right since his trek. The villagers took this to mean that he had picked up a demon along the way. That's why they killed the pig in front of him, two years ago. The demon was supposed to enter the pig.

 A thinking person might conclude that it could be starvation and drug-induced psychosis. There are drugs that can help with this. During starvation events, the body can consume essential proteins that the brain needs. So we are going to pursue that.

 If he is able to get right in his head, I will make a complete abstinence from religion, a condition of further help with education, housing and everything else. It will not be allowed. It's always going to be a bit of a challenge, because the minute I turn my back on anyone except Nova, they go running right back to the Stone Age.

 I bought him a tablet last year. Sometimes he walked around the apartment chanting things that he saw on religious sites. I'm going to see what I can do, to block religious content on the internet. He needs to not involve himself in any of that. Once he's a self sustaining adult, he can decide if he wants to go back to religion.
 
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Dale, as you continue to learn about Sonny's condition, please keep in mind that it is possible that the event you describe "caused" his entire issue, but it's equally possible that it "triggered" an underlying condition.

Either way, good nutrition involving nutrient dense ingredients and ideally naturally fermented foods that help nutrients be absorbed, will help the brain even if there is an underlying manic/depression condition.

Certainly, I have heard cases of religion being an asset or a liability for different people, but beyond religion, a stable, consistent, secure life situation is critical. Your earlier plans of getting Sonny into controlled housing with a few animals to interact with and care for seems like a good first approach. Since mental illness has frequent ups and downs, I would not push formal education until he's had consistent nutrition, sleep, and a sense of safety. Over all the internet is a fast-moving, sensory stimulating media, so restricting that to calm, specifically chosen sites - possibly informational about animal husbandry for example - is a reasonable approach, as would be to make sure it gets turned off early in the evening.

Situations like Sonny's are frequently complex with many interacting issues. A friend of mine's son kept self-medicating with alcohol or worse because of a combination of low thyroid function and insomnia. When a doctor finally managed to use *multiple* drugs to manage the insomnia, and consistently got a good level on the thyroid, things stabilized and now the man *only* needs the thyroid meds to maintain a decent work schedule. My friend's reaction was to say, "If *only* he'd taken his thyroid meds it would have been fine." I pointed out that the sleep issues were *very* long standing - the thyroid meds on their own probably couldn't fix the problem, and the other drugs were essential to get the brain "reprogrammed" and only then could he be maintained on the thyroid meds alone. I saw the light bulb go on in her brain! She realized that, yes, it took a holistic approach that fixed a bunch of things all at once that allowed balance to be reached. Sonny's been sick long enough, that I suspect a similar holistic approach will be required for any lasting successful outcome.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, nutrition is very important and nutritional knowledge almost non-existent even amongst educated Filipinos. Many believe that rice is very essential, although it's mostly empty calories. There have been many times when Sunny may have had enough calories but it was all starch. I totally understand the trigger thing. One of my brothers allowed his children to run rampant and do drugs as young as 13. They now have what is believed to be a lifelong schizophrenic condition. There's bits of mania in there but it's hard to tell where one begins and the other ends. Nova is the only member of the family who seems to have a good grasp on nutrition and on the importance of being very consistent, with medication, sleep and behavioral expectations. The others are simply into putting out fires when they come up.

We will eventually leave Sonny in the hands of his youngest sister , Isabel. The older sister is done with him.

We tried education 7 months ago and it was a complete failure. Sonny has seen enough failure in his life. That's part of why I want to come up with something simple for him, where he is likely to succeed. Once we get some land, I will put thousands of stakes in the ground and it will be his job to dig holes to a certain depth, for tree planting. It will later be his job to make sure the trees are all watered. Being paid anything will be contingent on survival.

When Sonny is thinking clearly , he has a burning desire to get a job that will allow him to get a motorcycle and to buy animals. I want to provide him with the animals to look after and once he can show that he's stable enough, he will be able to ride a motorcycle that I already own. I'd like him to get good enough at it that he can either become a farm manager for me, or we could set him up with a small acreage nearby. His sister would need to own that land, because I wouldn't want to risk him being duped out of it. Anyone with a condition like his, is easy prey for those looking to take advantage. We were in a small town on Bohol, where a guy living at the market, obviously had mental issues. The culture of this town is not so dog eat dog, as it is where Sunny is from. Everyone at the market gets that man to do little tasks, and they make sure that he is fed and clothed and has other things that he needs. It's amazing the difference in cultures one Island over, or even within the same island. My wife's family have the misfortune of coming from a village dominated by drunkards. We are seeking land in the better places, and I expect that Sonny will remain with us for quite a while. no matter where we go
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yesterday, Nova talked for half an hour, about how Sonny used to be. When she was 11 or 12, she was offered a full time job that paid 1500 pesos a month. About $35. This was far more money than she had ever had. Working 7 hours a day while going to school, paid $0.25 which wasn't enough for transportation both ways and her lunch. So it was tempting. All of them started jobs when they were six years old. Sonny is 5 years older and was working full time, also earning a pittance. He strongly discouraged his sister's quitting school to work full time and he brought them money whenever he could, so that they could eat well. Nova was not to eat anything expensive like chicken or fish at her restaurant job. Instead she was expected to live on rice and whatever she could glean from the tables as she cleaned up the mess. Many times her employer wouldn't give her the 10 pesos she was owed each day. Sonny brought her food and gave her money during five years where she was essentially a slave... He was a top student and an aspiring boxer. He had friends and lots of ambitions for a guy who was raised around people who had seemingly none. Once his mental problems started , he moved back to the village with his mother, and has been with her ever since. Nova wants the old Sonny back , and I have promised to do my best.
 
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I have a slightly different ask for compassion. I have PTSD and am a recovering hoarder. I have friends who have Asperger’s, Lyme disease, and cerebral palsy. All of us have worked very hard to overcome our diagnosis: physical or mental or emotional.

When we have a bad day, universally, people tend to dismiss the issue. Because we cope and cope well most of the time, that does not mean that we always will. When someone around you suddenly seems to turn into a “wimp,”  you might want to ask what’s up, rather than dismissing what they say as overly sensitive, fussy, being wimpy, etc. They may, like my friends and I, have an actual condition that isn’t always obvious!
 
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Jennie Little wrote:
When we have a bad day, universally, people tend to dismiss the issue. Because we cope and cope well most of the time, that does not mean that we always will.


YES!! Pie for you for that!
I try to tell people this all the time. I am one of the people who looks fine, usually copes well (I just don't go out on bad days if I can help it) but when I'm not coping, I am NOT COPING, and I know I coped yesterday, and maybe I will tomorrow, but help me with this today, because I'm not stable today. I have physical issues that often trigger the mental overloads, and so sometimes it's obvious when I hurt physically, but there's little way to tell when I hurt mentally. I try to tell people who I am around "help me on those days" but it seems they don't remember that request on the days I need it most, and those are the days it's hardest to ask.

I'm not sure how to communicate to people I'm around how to tell, and what to do, in a way they will remember.
 
pollinator
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Yeah, I'm one of those too, when it happens. With me, it's anxiety. It causes me to stop breathing normally, such that I don't exhale all the way. Before I know it, I'm hypoxic, my face is numb and twitching, and I'm  on my way to unconsciousness, whereupon I start breathing normally and wake up just fine.

But normally, I'm a rock. I am always pleasant and helpful, and I always want to do whatever I can to make everyone happy. With me, it's been suggested that I suppress everything to get that done, and it turns into stress and anxiety for me.

When I have a run-in with my anxiety demon and have to tell anyone about it, the reaction is usually somewhere on the spectrum between vaguely disinterested surprise and disbelief. That latter usually makes me angry enough to chase away the anxiety, although my body also does this thing where anger, passion, and excitement sometimes all get interpreted as anxiety, so fun.

-CK
 
Jay Angler
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Please don't take this the wrong way - but they talk about "card carrying dyslexics" and I know that some deaf people *literally* used to carry a medical card that said in effect, "I am legally deaf, I do not understand you," to hand to police etc if there was a problem.

Have any of you that have what's medically referred to as "an invisible disability" tried having a card or fridge memo that says something like, "This is one of those days we talked about - just help!"
That doesn't mean the people around you will get it any better, but at least maybe they'll not add stress to the equation by criticizing what's not getting done?

 
Jennie Little
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Jay that sounds like a great idea, if you have any warning. I hadn’t thought of it. I can and will get a card made, but...

I don’t always have any warning. I have a friend who was raped on a carpet of a particular color. Most of the time, she just goes by things that color, sometimes it triggers her.

I talk about my PTSD events as being like a jack in the box, you know it’s going around, but not when it will jump out at you. Sometimes I don’t know I’ve been triggered until I’m in the midst of reacting inappropriately. My PTSD started at 3, and like the Nam vets who’re stuck on that battlefield, i get stuck in little kidness. It can be damned embarrassing, I’m over 60!

If I have warning or know I’m having a bad day, yeah, I stay home. But sometimes you can’t stay home and sometimes whatever happens when you’re out triggers the response.
 
Jay Angler
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Jennie Little wrote:

I don’t always have any warning.

I hear you Jennie and it must be incredibly frustrating, and at times very scary. Triggers aren't like simple light switches, they're like the annoying 3 way switch for a motion sensor light someone installed on our property - the reaction depended on the time of day, whether the garage switch was in the up or down position, and whether the hallway switch was in the up or down position - my husband was the only person who seemed to be able to get the thing to do what we wanted it to (and *not* do what we didn't want it to do) and he's an electrical engineer. The human body is far more complex and doesn't come with an owner's manual. Simple things like how much sleep you got last night, coupled with your body fighting a virus, coupled with an unexpected noise raising your hormone level, to any number more factors can make the difference in a moment.

So I totally understand and recognize that there are no simple solutions and rarely any "cures" - just different ideas to try to cope the best you can, and to try to have hope that things will at least stay manageable. Also try to hang on to the idea that there *are* other people out there who may not live with your challenges, but they believe you, and they genuinely hope that you keep trying.
 
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I'm hesitant to post this because it's in regards to my neighbor.  He, seems to me, to be a hoarder.  He has his reasons, and I'm on good enough terms to tell him to his face that he is a hoarder (only because he accuses everyone around him (his wife, his son, his two daughters, ME!) of being bipolar!).  It's all in "jest", but you know the saying....  
I used to talk to him pretty regularly, but not so much anymore.  We're on good enough terms, but he's really upset me with one of his latest purchases.  It's a big mobile home that I can see right over my fence.  Now, I'm a huge proponent of being able to do whatever you like on your land (within reason), but he is at that limit (in my opinion) where he seems to be out of control.

He's been acquiring washers and dryers for the last several years, and now his one acre lot directly behind me is a junk yard of washers and dryers.  He also collects anything else he can possible get his hands on, and lets it rot in the yard behind me.  There's a lot of good usable stuff!  I'm kind of jealous of some of it to be honest, but it just sits there unused for some reason.  He doesn't seem to be able to let any of it go (he does resell the good washers and dryers, but there are hundreds of units that will never be sold, and just sit.......probably mosquito and rat homes (seriously though, I don't really have any problems with rats or mosquitoes so I can't actually say that's a problem).

Ironically, he's recently started hoarding wood chips!  Yay, I've been a good influence on his obsessiveness.  I gave him the number to the guy I get my chips from and he's been having them dumped off regularly for the last few months.  I see him and his daughters carrying loads across the street in wagons to his other property diagonally across from me (he owns three residences in town, and they're all overflowing with "stuff" mostly washers and dryers.  

I don't like his recent purchase of the mobile home, because it looks right into my yard, and his teenage daughters hang out in it with their friends, and it's just awkward to me to have someone looking right into my yard while I'm working back there.  I personally struggle with social anxiety, and my yard is my sanctuary.  I can fake being social for work, and if I'm talking to a neighbor, but for some reason my preference it to be completely alone.  It's not healthy mentally, I know, but it is what I prefer.....my point being that "I get it.".  Every person I have ever met has had some kind of preference it their behaviour.  Some are desirable, some not so much, and some are just downright not acceptable and they need medical help.
I know I should plant a border of something along the fence (I'm actually thinking about planting a bunch of sunchokes against the back wall), it's just the point of it all.  
The worst thing is, my yard was elevated by a couple of feet by the previous owner, so I can actually look into his backyard from an elevated position!  I'm a total hypocrite for complaining about their being able to see into my yard!!!  I know.

I feel as though this needs pictures to illustrate what I see every single day.  If it's inappropriate to post pictures of a neighbor's yard, feel free to remove them.  I mean no harm in posting them.
This seems like it's just a rant, so no problem if it gets deleted.



Screenshot-2020-02-20-at-6.49.53-AM.png
Don't think I need to point out who I'm talking about. That's a one acre lot. pic is 2 years old, there's more now.
Don't think I need to point out who I'm talking about. That's a one acre lot. pic is 2 years old, there's more now.
Screenshot-2020-02-20-at-6.50.40-AM.png
Here's across the street. 1/3 acre lot.
Here's across the street. 1/3 acre lot.
IMG_20190927_164116902_HDR.jpg
This is what I see directly from my yard. Just normal standing level.
This is what I see directly from my yard. Just normal standing level.
IMG_20190927_164148898_HDR.jpg
I want to use the spiral staircase he has for????? lol
I want to use the spiral staircase he has for????? lol
IMG_20190927_164124443_HDR.jpg
The mobile home where the kids hang out at. 4 years ago, this was a completely empty lot.
The mobile home where the kids hang out at. 4 years ago, this was a completely empty lot.
 
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wow. that`s a lotta stuff.
You`re lucky you don`t have dengue or other mosquito-borne illnesses to worry about. Neighbor stuff is so hard, and hoarding is even harder. It is a fire hazard, a public health hazard, etc, but you have to deal with the guy and his kids looking at you.
A good friend of mine had a sunbathe-in-a-speedo party in response to a jerky neighbor looking into his yard. It ended with them in court, multiple times, not advised. I think sunchokes are an excellent idea, as soon as possible (probably grow faster than anything else.... do they stay in the winter?)

(as for the hoarding. my mother accumulated 35 years of crap and I had to help her get rid of it to sell her house. I am probably the only kid she`ll listen to, and I still had a heck of a time convincing her and there were lots of angry words, even though I tried really hard. And yet she listened to me, if it were a neighbor i probably would have been shot. You`re in a hard position. if the kids don`t see a problem, there`s not much you can do besides call the health department, and then deal with the consequences. I`d be planting things ASAP.)
 
Pearl Sutton
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Joshua: I vote for a good fence with rowdy vines. Whatever climate you are in, something grows fast and amok. And maybe he has stuff you can make the fence out of.

Personally, if it were my neighbor, I'd be asking him if I could have the stuff he can't use, and do things I want out of it, I'm a reuser type. I'd LOVE a bunch of the panels off those appliances to make garden beds etc... and I'd have begged for or offered to buy that spiral staircase the minute I saw it!! I'll trade you neighbors, I'll take yours, you can have the one I have who sprays chemicals and mows the grass obsessively to 2 inches high. :D

In the end, if I want to be free to do what I want on my property (like garden where I want to) I feel I need to accept other people's choices too. And my choice includes rowdy vegetation so we don't have to look at each others choices. My last home I had bamboo along all my fence lines, I had a very private place in the middle of a tight packed neighborhood, I'm with you, I like my privacy, people wear me out mentally. And in the end, it's MUCH easier to change my reaction to people than to change them.

:D
 
Tereza Okava
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Pearl Sutton wrote: maybe he has stuff you can make the fence out of.


that is an excellent idea, and since you say you`re on good terms it also opens the door to a discussion where you can even turn the tables completely. If he's clever he'll get it, if not it doesn't matter, because it gets sorted the same way.
"Neighbor, you have anything I could use to put up a fence and have some vines climb up? I noticed that Becky and her friends are hanging out there in your mobile home and I would hate for them to think I'm watching them, but you know since my yard is higher they're sort of right in the line of vision. That way they can have their privacy."
Of course, you're talking about your own privacy.
 
Jay Angler
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Joshua Bertram wrote:

This seems like it's just a rant, so no problem if it gets deleted.

Sometimes the first step to solving a problem is to find a safe place to rant. You aren't the first and you won't be the last - the trick is to rant politely and nicely!

Tereza's suggestion about turning the tables is excellent - if the neighbor feels you're helping to make his life better, that's always a good thing. Maybe he'd even let you plant some stuff on his side of the property line?

The important thing here is really identifying how the neighbor's behavior is impacting you as this will help to make sure that the changes you make will actually solve the important issues.

Have you considered suggesting to the guy that if he separated the metal out, he might actually get money for it if he can fill a whole metal recycle bin with it? To some degree, I agree with Pearl that it would be nice to actually get useful reuse ideas going. I've heard of people using the washing machine tops with the doors as chicken pop doors for example. (I've got one in storage and I already know where it will go if I can get the run built, although I admit will be a "duck pop-door".) Maybe put  the idea over in the Ungarbage Forum https://permies.com/c/ungarbage and see if we can generate a bunch of ideas that will help move some of the problem? (laundry tubs can make great planters?) That said, if his tendency is to collect until there's no more room for his collection, finding useful things to block the view or planting stuff "for him" that blocks the space you have to look at, might be a better long term solution!

Hang in there!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Oh, making a post in upcycling is an excellent idea! Make sure I know about it if you do so.
One of my thoughts is you are computer literate, maybe he want's to sell stuff on ebay and wants a computer person to work with! Win-win there.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Joshua: I vote for a good fence with rowdy vines.
Whatever climate you are in, something grows fast and amok.
And maybe he has stuff you . . . .  

*********And in the end, it's MUCH easier to change my reaction to people than to change them.**********

:D



That says it all.

Cup o' chai for Pearl.
 
Joshua Bertram
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BEFORE I ADDRESS ANYONE SPECIFICALLY, thank you for the comments and advice!  Wow, I wasn't expecting much in the way of replies, but the advice, and compassion for the problem has been much appreciated on my part.  Thank you.

I will try to elaborate more in specific replies.  


 
Joshua Bertram
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Tereza Okava wrote:wow. that`s a lotta stuff.
You`re lucky you don`t have dengue or other mosquito-borne illnesses to worry about. Neighbor stuff is so hard, and hoarding is even harder. It is a fire hazard, a public health hazard, etc, but you have to deal with the guy and his kids looking at you.
A good friend of mine had a sunbathe-in-a-speedo party in response to a jerky neighbor looking into his yard. It ended with them in court, multiple times, not advised. I think sunchokes are an excellent idea, as soon as possible (probably grow faster than anything else.... do they stay in the winter?)

(as for the hoarding. my mother accumulated 35 years of crap and I had to help her get rid of it to sell her house. I am probably the only kid she`ll listen to, and I still had a heck of a time convincing her and there were lots of angry words, even though I tried really hard. And yet she listened to me, if it were a neighbor i probably would have been shot. You`re in a hard position. if the kids don`t see a problem, there`s not much you can do besides call the health department, and then deal with the consequences. I`d be planting things ASAP.)



Tereza
Lol, yeah, no mosquito problems here in the desert, although I confess to having had made some habitat for them in my own yard before!  I don't claim to be perfect, not even close.  As far as fire hazards....well, in the summer, the wood chips in my yard are probably the most flammable thing around.  So it's hard for me to point a finger (even though I am totally doing that in this post!!) at him for it.

It's tough with hoarders and I can sympathize .  My grandparents house was almost condemned by the city of San Jose nearly 30 years ago.  I never had any relationship with them, but I did help my dad for a couple of days throw stuff in a dumpster at their house.  It was awful.  Cat poo in the cupboards (they had over 30 cats living in their house), absolute filth everywhere, narrow walkways surrounded by clutter.....I'll never forget it.  They were crying about the clean up.   They thought they needed all of the "crap" they'd collected.  It was pre-television about hoarders, but it was every bit like that show.  Years later, my grandmother died in a cross walk pushing a shopping cart filled with aluminum cans she'd collected (which both my grandparents apparently did every single day/night).  A driver hit her accidentally in the night.  
So, again, "I get it.".  Both sides of my family suffered from mental illness of some sort or another, along with my mother.  
I don't claim to understand human behaviour, or why the behaviour is what it is.  I just see it, good or bad, or interesting.

Wearing a speedo wouldn't affect this neighbor in particular.  He's a "Burning Man" fan.  He's also taken his kids there!  They've seen it all.  He actually invited me to go on several occasions, although I don't think he's gone in the last few years.  Not that I'd do that anyway!  lol  

Planting things ASAP is what is probably the best advice, and route to take.  I'm not going to call to report him.  


Thanks for taking the time to respond!

Josh




 
Joshua Bertram
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Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Pearl Sutton wrote:Joshua: I vote for a good fence with rowdy vines. Whatever climate you are in, something grows fast and amok. And maybe he has stuff you can make the fence out of.

Personally, if it were my neighbor, I'd be asking him if I could have the stuff he can't use, and do things I want out of it, I'm a reuser type. I'd LOVE a bunch of the panels off those appliances to make garden beds etc... and I'd have begged for or offered to buy that spiral staircase the minute I saw it!! I'll trade you neighbors, I'll take yours, you can have the one I have who sprays chemicals and mows the grass obsessively to 2 inches high. :D

In the end, if I want to be free to do what I want on my property (like garden where I want to) I feel I need to accept other people's choices too. And my choice includes rowdy vegetation so we don't have to look at each others choices. My last home I had bamboo along all my fence lines, I had a very private place in the middle of a tight packed neighborhood, I'm with you, I like my privacy, people wear me out mentally. And in the end, it's MUCH easier to change my reaction to people than to change them.

:D



Yes, absolutely, Pearl, rowdy vines!  The biggest, best growing plant in my yard is a Lady Banks Rose (white).  It can be seen in the satellite photo up against the house.  Its canopy looks like a huge tree, but its a sprawling evergreen rose vine on top of a pergola.  Probably two of them would be enough to block out everything in a few years time.  I only wanted to plant food back here though!  lol  I started a grape vine against the wall last year, but I think it got a disease and died (not to mention almost half the year it would be dormant anyway).  I think the rose is my best bet.  They love it here.

So, yes, good advice about using some of his stuff to build my own stuff.  HE OFFERS ME STUFF CONSTANTLY!  It's actually annoying to me (because I'm also mentally challenged!!!, lol).  I don't/won't  take things from people.  I think that's why he constantly offers it, he knows me well enough to know I won't take any.  He certainly isn't giving much of anything away to anyone else.

I have to give a bit more background about this neighbor.  He has lived on this street his whole life, he is a descendant of Mormon pioneers.  His sister lives in the house to the north in the sat photo of his smaller lot, he lives full time in the middle, and his brother lives to the south.  He has tons of relatives all over town.  None of his relatives will speak to him.  They don't wave at him, when there's a get together, he isn't at the event.  Other people in town don't seem to want to have anything to do with him.  He has personally told me this.  He thinks they're jealous of him for some reason, that's what he's told me.   There's a problem with him more than the hoarding.  All of that being said, he's been nothing but nice to me.  He is very controlling, though.  When conversing he has a habit of steering things off the topic at hand, and diverting toward what he wants a person to hear.  He is also really into personality typing people, and has tried to get me to listen to audio cassettes (yes cassettes) about personality types, and how to deal with different personalities (not my kind of thing).  His wife has told me he's incredibly manipulative with people.

Anyhow, I don't want to "enable" him to get more stuff.  Again, Pearl, he's got some really great stuff I could/should be using.  In one of the pictures you can see a stack of square metal tube pre welded into perfect size raised bed planter frames!  Oh man, I would have loved to have used them for the planters I just framed out of wood!  and yes, using the appliance sheet metal would have made the perfect siding for them!  He suggested to me years ago that I use them for it.  So, maybe this is more about my struggles with my own mental flaws, but it's still on topic!  :)  
I won't even buy anything from him.  Nothing.  
Ha, ha.  The day he brought that staircase home, I soooooo wanted it?  I have no reason for one, but yeah, it's a cool find.  It's the one thing I told him I wanted (jokingly), funny enough, he's never offered it to me?

OH!  another reason I've been stubborn about planting along the fence line is that HE TOLD ME I SHOULD do it.  That bugs me he told me to do it.  I'm super stubborn, so I've been reluctant to do it, but he wins (yes I perceive it that way), when I plant a screen.  Meh, it's all pretty comical.  :)  We're both kind of competitive, and we both think we're smarter than the other.  hahahahahaha  Beahviour, it's just funny.  :)

He sprays tons of ? to kill cockroaches and foxtails on his side of the wall.  Everyone around here sprays poison.  It sucks.  It might not be a good trade.  :)

I agree with you about the privacy, and definitely about the being worn down by people.  If I had more water, I'd have a tropical garden with 30' tall bamboo walls!  I already use too much water as it is now.  The plan is to move to some acreage "somewhere" in the next few years.  I just don't belong in the city anymore, and this place is growing at unrealistic rate.  

Thanks Pearl, good suggestions and ideas.  I'm seriously going to plant the roses in the next couple of weeks.  Having written this down, I can see it's my problem to deal with.  I still dislike that I have to "fix" his mess.  







 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 386
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Jay Angler wrote:Joshua Bertram wrote:

This seems like it's just a rant, so no problem if it gets deleted.

Sometimes the first step to solving a problem is to find a safe place to rant. You aren't the first and you won't be the last - the trick is to rant politely and nicely!

Tereza's suggestion about turning the tables is excellent - if the neighbor feels you're helping to make his life better, that's always a good thing. Maybe he'd even let you plant some stuff on his side of the property line?

The important thing here is really identifying how the neighbor's behavior is impacting you as this will help to make sure that the changes you make will actually solve the important issues.

Have you considered suggesting to the guy that if he separated the metal out, he might actually get money for it if he can fill a whole metal recycle bin with it? To some degree, I agree with Pearl that it would be nice to actually get useful reuse ideas going. I've heard of people using the washing machine tops with the doors as chicken pop doors for example. (I've got one in storage and I already know where it will go if I can get the run built, although I admit will be a "duck pop-door".) Maybe put  the idea over in the Ungarbage Forum https://permies.com/c/ungarbage and see if we can generate a bunch of ideas that will help move some of the problem? (laundry tubs can make great planters?) That said, if his tendency is to collect until there's no more room for his collection, finding useful things to block the view or planting stuff "for him" that blocks the space you have to look at, might be a better long term solution!

Hang in there!



Jay, this is a good, safe, place.  I appreciate it, and the good people on it.  My sincere apologies for more than a few of my posts on here.  Wrong place to say what I've said.  Sorry, I'll try to respect the house and the people who live in it when visiting.

So this guy is kind of like Tom Sawyer painting the fence.  He'd love nothing more than for me to come over and plant for him.  He'd throw out a chair, and enjoy the show.  He's manipulative, kind of a passive aggressive manipulation if there is such a thing.  I think it's best to keep my distance.  Maybe that's just my being paranoid, but I'm pretty sure.  It's games.  This is why I think nobody likes him in town.  He tricks people into doing things.  I learned when I first moved here about this behaviour.  
He saw me working on my car one day, and asked if I knew how to do brakes.  I told him yes, so he asked me if I could show him on his truck.  So, I went over, and he watched me install brakes on his truck.  hahahaha  He must have been quite amused.  Since then, I've seen how mechanical he is, and disc brakes are about as simple a thing as there is.  Fool me once, shame on you......I wasn't fooled twice, and don't intend to be.
Now, that being said, I do give him extra tomato, pepper, basil, etc. starts every year for the last few (and probably this year as well).  Like I said, we're on pretty good terms, but I just can't see working for him.  He's smart enough, and capable enough to do what he needs to.  He's gardened his whole life, whereas I'm relatively new to it.  He used to help farm the land my house sits on when he was a kid.

He has tons of ideas for what he can do with the washers and dryers.  He's told me he wants to make fire pits out of the washer drums, planters, he's made tool holders and ............ he's an inventor.  He seems to like having stuff, and keeping it though.  This is the hoarding part of the mentality (I think).  There's an attachment to stuff.  It makes no sense to me, but he's well aware of scrapping it or utilizing it, or selling it.  He just keeps acquiring more, it's a pattern.  It's a sickness (in my opinion).  It seems to me to be beyond reasoning with him about it.  
I consider myself to be very understanding of people's "quirks", just because of my own.  

Yeah, I will suggest to him to start utilizing it somehow.  He's actually been emailing me the last couple of days about politics (trying to rile me up, lol, and again, I don't fall for it) so I might steer the conversation over in the direction of encouraging him to start profiting off his collection.  Maybe he'll be motivated.

Thanks again Jay!  Always appreciate your input, and I'm trying to hang in there.  Like I said before, writing this all down, and talking about it actually has helped me progress on the matter.  I'd been stewing over it, and I didn't realize it.  It's been a relief to get it off my mind.  





 
Tereza Okava
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We're glad to have you here, Joshua!

Reading your response earlier, I can see how the approach we were thinking of is not going to be good. I also have some people in my life who are give-an-inch-take-a-mile and.... sigh. Life is hard enough as it is without feeling like the doormat.
It sounds like you're trying to be the good neighbor (that maybe should be in capitals) despite everything. I think that's a good thing.
(pics of the roses?)
 
Pearl Sutton
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A random thought about planting the roses: Awesome, yes, I love rowdy roses! They will take a bit of time to cover it. If you are in the desert and have enough water for a rose, you can do a fast screen of morning glories where the roses are growing slower, they'll cover it NOW, and the roses will catch up in a year or two. Morning glories will cover anything fast :) If you don't want them possibly reseeding invasively, green bean vines are fast growing climbers and food (and shade!)
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 386
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Tereza, thanks.

I think a person who was more outgoing, and more "helpful" could have a better go at helping my neighbor to realize some of his areas that need attention.  I am not that guy, though.  It's just not in me to go out and do that kind of thing.  More power to those who are like that.  

Pictures?  I am a sucker for posting pictures.   I love this rose, even though it only blooms for a few weeks in early spring (should be in full bloom in a couple of months).  I really should have planted grapes because it kind of sucks having shade year round.  I had no idea what I was doing at the time.  This rose was actually the first plant I ever bought along with the two desert willows that I planted at the same time.  I had no idea it would grow like it has.  Amazing.  There's one in Tombstone AZ that is the largest rose in the world.  https://www.azplantlady.com/2019/05/an-up-close-view-of-worlds-largest.html

Screenshot-2020-02-21-at-9.20.44-AM.png
Planted in 2013. A one gallon nursery bought plant.
Planted in 2013. A one gallon nursery bought plant.
PANO_20140810_153756.jpg
A couple of years later, and I started training it to make an arch to the pathway.
A couple of years later, and I started training it to make an arch to the pathway.
IMG_20140810_154144.jpg
More training.
More training.
IMG_20150330_103756.jpg
In bloom a few years later.
In bloom a few years later.
IMG_20200221_085127596_HDR.jpg
Taken this morning.
Taken this morning.
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This morning. Two years ago it was half way up the roof of the house, and I cut it back. I'll have to do it again soon.
This morning. Two years ago it was half way up the roof of the house, and I cut it back. I'll have to do it again soon.
 
Joshua Bertram
Posts: 386
Location: St. George, UT. Zone 8a Dry/arid. 8" of rain in a good year.
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Pearl, I'm totally going to do the (heavenly blue) morning glories!     I just happen to have a large baggy of seed I bought a couple of years ago.   ;-)

Great suggestion while the roses grow.  They'll only have afternoon sun until they get over the wall (the wall is on the east side of the house).  I like that idea better than the sunchokes.  

Thanks!
 
pollinator
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So I have a LOT to say on this subject, two years out from severe trauma plus having dealt with severe depression with the occasional psychotic episode for over 20 years.
What I have learned in the past year and a half, mostly from a support group of peers who have been through similar trauma, has been extremely empowering. PTSD is not a mental disorder in the sense that we commonly think of mental disorders; it involves the entire body. The neural paths that were altered during the trauma in order to survive, that are now functioning in maladaptive ways; the limbic system pumping out massive amounts of adrenaline at any given startle response; the part of your brain that decides which sensory information is important, which sights, sounds, smells and sensations are benign and which signal danger, is in total confusion. In PTSD the feedback loop that helps the body to reduce stress hormones back to normal levels, is broken. It's 24 hour fight or flight mode. It takes a heavy toll on your entire body, including of course your mind. But a lot of the things we can do to help our body recover, are actually physical rather than talk therapy, especially in instances where the person cannot remember the trauma. During a flashback the rational brain literally goes offline... the rational brain alone is not enough to talk our bodies down.
Anyway I can recommend the book "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel Van Der Kolk to anyone suffering from PTSD, anyone living with a person who suffers from it, and anybody who's really curious about neurology, trauma and healing.
The first thing to understand for anyone suffering this way, is that you're not alone. A lot of people have the same symptoms, and a lot of people spend decades recovering or carry it with them the rest of their lives. But there absolutely are ways to heal. To teach your body that the threat has passed, that you are not helpless anymore, that it is okay to relax.
FYI the book does recount some horrible stories that will be triggering to a lot of people, but the insight into how PTSD forms and how to work towards recovery are valuable enough to me to push through it, although I am still on page 83. It was recommended to me by a lovely librarian in my support group.
 
Sarah Koster
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Trauma that forms PTSD is inescapable, unavoidable. The body's fight or flight response has been thwarted; adrenaline and other stress hormones remain elevated long after the threat has passed. (Months or years after.)

Depression is a black hole inside of me. It appears as an emptiness, but in fact it is full to bursting yet constrained and confined, crushing in on itself with unfathomable force; as a black hole sometimes explodes streams of gamma radiation, so my sorrow and despair can explode in bursts of rage and overwhelming, paralizing agony. I have gathered up all the pain, sadness and rejection of my family and taken them for myself from a young age; and yet while their suffering multiplied into mine, they were not relieved of their burden.

I felt that if I could only swallow up all of the pain and sickness into myself, I could neutralize it. I could purify it and make all the dysfunction disappear, letting only love remain. But it remains in me, poison; and it remains in those I drew it from, poison. Clearly my early notions of sin, sickness sorrow and brokenness of heart, were born of a desire to heal but lacked any understanding. I hurt myself and sacrificed my own wellbeing for nothing. But somehow, even contaminated, jaded and broken, I still feel like I must be a super hero.
 
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The real hopeless victims of mental illness are to be found among those who appear to be most normal. Many of them are normal because they are so well adjusted to our mode of existence, because their human voice has been silenced so early in their lives that they do not even struggle or suffer or develop symptoms as the neurotic does. They are normal not in what may be called the absolute sense of the word; they are normal only in relation to a profoundly abnormal society.

- Aldous Huxley

I just saw this quote on Dr. Bergman's latest video this morning and it reminded me of this thread. I have also noticed sexism plays an immense roll in mental illness. If a woman has some issue, people brush it off as, "Well, she's a woman, what do you expect?" This can only be expected to make someone suffering suffer more. And I feel men get it even worse. If a man has an issue, even something as simple as mild depression, he is anathema. Especially when it comes to relationships. Look at any dating website. Look at the descriptions posted by women of what they seek in a man.

Some people are emotionally strong, and some people are emotionally weak(these are poor terms, I know, but I don't think there really are any good terms to describe it). It takes both sides working together to make the best possible world. The strong eschew the weak, but the rare few who choose to embrace them find that they are rarely weak at all; indeed they have the strength of legions. For adversity builds strength, and does it not stand to reason that those who face the most adversity should be the strongest of all? Their strength cannot be seen, because it is bogged down and hidden by the burden they carry alone. If someone were to accept them, help them, and even dare to love them, and use their strength to share their burden, it will often be repayed several times over. Look at all the great poets, writers, singers, artists: how many of them had issues? But these  mental issues are inextricably linked to the art they produced. People who are emotionally strong are needed to be the rocks, the anchors to keep the world running, but it is the emotionally weak who have the ability to make life worth living. I am always reminded of the movie Bladerunner, specifically the "Tears in the Rain" monologue. "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe..." I often feel pity for the strong people who can't feel the depths of emotion that some do. But then, they also don't feel the pain. Everything is a trade-off. In the end, we are all the same. Just imagine what the world would be if both sides worked together!
 
Jennie Little
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I found my strong, compassionate partner. I am blest and I know it.

There are other factors which affect how society treats someone with issues. My dad had money, not a huge amount, but more than enough. When people saw me in boarding school, eating prime beef, shopping at high-end department stores, they decided that any of my mental health issues must be minimal.

People are people. See “the Kings Speech” — money, status, power does not change victims into non-victims.
Staff note (Pearl Sutton) :

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_King%27s_Speech

Historical movie about a king who stammered

 
Pearl Sutton
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And then's there's the flip side of what has been mentioned about how how society treats someone with issues: I had severe physical illness ignored because of my mental issues (most of which turned out to be physical issues also, but that's a different story.) I'd go to the doctor to say "this symptom is very bad" and he'd say "seen that psychiatrist lately?" Since he had no easy answer for my pain, he blew it off as part of the mental problems. The physical pain plus frustration at being not heard added to my stressors, and made the psych stuff worse. Which came first?  The two of them were flip sides of the same coin, as one increased, the other did too, which increased the first, rinse and repeat.....

I wonder how many people out there who are "mentally ill" are physically ill but because it's not an illness that can be treated in a 10 minute doctor visit with one prescription, get tossed into the mental category. How many others have fallen through those cracks in the system that I fell through for over 15 years?

(Rant:  And when I decided I wanted to change things, get off the meds and see what was actually going on under all the side effects, and drugs treating the side effects, I was fired as a patient for non-compliance. I complied for years and it made me worse, worth trying a different tack. My sheer stubbornness is all that kept me going through 2 years of hellish withdrawals by myself. That and I was not going to prove right the doctor who told me "The next time I see you will be in the suicide ward at the local mental hospital." how supportive.  :P   end rant)

How many people are falling through the cracks of the medical system, and society's habit of looking at surfaces only, and not causes. Part of what I like about permaculture is we look at the deeper causes of things. I'd love to see more medical people who look at the world like that.  
 
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Jordan Holland wrote: Look at all the great poets, writers, singers, artists: how many of them had issues? But these  mental issues are inextricably linked to the art they produced. People who are emotionally strong are needed to be the rocks, the anchors to keep the world running, but it is the emotionally weak who have the ability to make life worth living. I am always reminded of the movie Bladerunner, specifically the "Tears in the Rain" monologue. "I have seen things you people wouldn't believe..." I often feel pity for the strong people who can't feel the depths of emotion that some do. But then, they also don't feel the pain. Everything is a trade-off. In the end, we are all the same. Just imagine what the world would be if both sides worked together!



Interesting that you brought up "Bladerunner", one of my faves....and written by Sci-Fi icon Philip K. Dick, who had prescient insight into the human psyche and social direction in his writings.  Probably no mistake that so many of his works have made it into film or miniseries in the past decades.   No doubt overly simplistic, but my go-to paradigm for what I feel was human society at its best was to be found in the various small indigenous tribes around the world.  It seems many of these  did a better job of accepting the variety of human expression within their ethos and cosmos and valued those differences for what they brought to the whole.  Warriors, shamans, visionaries, those with special sensitivities all had a place as long as it did not threaten the balance within the tribe.  Somehow to me, that encompassed best your state of "Just imagine what the world would be if both sides worked together!".  Perhaps the power of that draw can be seen in Benjamin Franklin's quotation that "No European who has tasted savage life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.”.  Possibly some insight to be garnered from that observation.....    As an aside, I think film director Ridley Scott who brought Bladerunner to the screen has done an equally fine job bringing the Alien/Prometheus storyline to the fore.  Underneath so much of which is the subtext of "Who am I/we and where do I/we belong?..."
 
Sarah Koster
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Pearl Sutton wrote:And then's there's the flip side of what has been mentioned about how how society treats someone with issues: I had severe physical illness ignored because of my mental issues



Dude, one time I went to the hospital because I was having a severe asthma attack and it wouldn't calm down on its own. I had taken a shower hoping the water vapor would soothe my lungs, and then not brushed my hair. I hadn't been able to sleep so eventually just went to the hospital to get a breathing treatment. Not only did they NOT treat my asthma attack, they pink slipped me (labeled me as a danger to myself and forcibly kept me in the hospital to be "observed") because I "looked disheveled" after almost dying and not being able to sleep.

Unfortunately, instead of having tribal physician/medical people who have a rich oral history and intimate knowledge of natural pharmaceuticals in the surrounding environment, who know the people they're treating and interact with them on a daily basis. We also have much more complicated ailments because of all the toxins and bizarre experiences we're bombarded with in modern society. SO much physical contact with plastics, rigorous school and work schedules, repetitive activities that our ancestors never had to endure and a plethora of microbes that used to be geographically isolated. Our immune systems and bodies in general are bombarded continually with chemicals, stimuli, physical stresses, biological materials and types of radiation that were not in play when we evolved or were created, whatever line of thought you fancy.

And on top of it, medicine is now practiced primarily for profit.

But... at least in America we have and ATTEMPT at mental health treatment. Things are changing. We no longer lock people up permanently in glorified prison wards for having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (Although we do lock a lot of people in actual prisons because of substance abuse related behavioral problems.) Electrocuting peoples' brains is no longer standard treatment. Some doctors are realizing that our minds are an integral part of our bodies, and vis versa. Something that the medicine men and women and shamans have known all along.
So as much as we are in an age of burgeoning new knowledge, we are also in a dark age of medicine, having lost most of the knowledge and wisdom that was preserved for thousands of years through oral tradition. Thankfully we still are able to preserve some of that knowledge. But I guess in a sense we humans are victims of our own species' success. Not the only victims, heh.
Some places like Japan for example, there's little to no mental health treatment available for most people. There are a lot of suicides and people who lock themselves up in their rooms or apartments and don't come out for years. If they ask for therapy or to see a doctor about these issues, there's a tendency for their family to discourage them ("Don't embarrass us!") and they may be ostracized by classmates, co-workers etc. They still have the cultural assumption that mental health problems are a problem of will or character, and emphasize the importance of not causing trouble for others, to the point that people suffer so much on an individual basis that it very negatively affects their society as a whole. I think it's a holdover from the period of fascist military rule that culminated in Japan's involvement in WWII; anyone dissident was killed in the years leading up to that (and there were many fantastic scholars that were dissident!) so even now the emphasis is on tow the line or be totally ostracized. Anyone who struggles or stands out tends to be psychologically abused by basically everyone else.

When I spent some time with a lady with multiple sclerosis, she was really revved up about some research about the blood-brain barrier. She thought that it was the perforation of the blood brain barrier that allowed particles normally excluded from the brain, to enter into the brain and totally ravage the glial stuff on her neurons by inciting her immune system to cause inflammation. Gliation basically being the coating on neurons that facilitates communication via stuff like seratonin and all those other things scientists pretend to understand. I've been taking methyl-b12 for years, I noticed it really helped with my cognition in like 2009 or so. Methyl folate can help with gliation of neurons. SO even though dead neurons cannot be replaced.... neurons that have compromised gliation, can be helped by restoring the gliation.
 
Jennie Little
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Pearl Sutton wrote:How many people are falling through the cracks of the medical system, and society's habit of looking at surfaces only, and not causes. Part of what I like about permaculture is we look at the deeper causes of things. I'd love to see more medical people who look at the world like that.  



This is one of my "hot buttons"!

Mostly, I'm okay, mostly. But the days I'm not, as you (Pearl) said to my original post here, I'm not. And there's nothing I can do about it that I haven't. What I'd like is for folks to look less at the surface or obvious. I got PTSD at 4. I got diagnosed at 45. It took me 10+ years with help to get to where I wasn't in emotional pain all the time, or running from the pain, or trying to hide it.

My life, by comparison, is wonderful! But I have bad days (Doesn't everyone?) and because of my preexisting condition, my reactions become inappropriate, or can, quickly. I can't stop it; my body is in survival mode, full-stop panic.

A while back I realized the stigma wasn't on my side at all, unless I bought into the shame that was always heaped on me. The stigma is outside. I know why I act like I do, even if I don't see what I'm doing when I'm doing it.

 
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Sarah Koster wrote:
Dude, one time I went to the hospital because I was having a severe asthma attack and it wouldn't calm down on its own. I had taken a shower hoping the water vapor would soothe my lungs, and then not brushed my hair. I hadn't been able to sleep so eventually just went to the hospital to get a breathing treatment. Not only did they NOT treat my asthma attack, they pink slipped me (labeled me as a danger to myself and forcibly kept me in the hospital to be "observed") because I "looked disheveled" after almost dying and not being able to sleep.

...

But... at least in America we have and ATTEMPT at mental health treatment. Things are changing. We no longer lock people up permanently in glorified prison wards for having bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. (Although we do lock a lot of people in actual prisons because of substance abuse related behavioral problems.) Electrocuting peoples' brains is no longer standard treatment. Some doctors are realizing that our minds are an integral part of our bodies, and vis versa. Something that the medicine men and women and shamans have known all along.
So as much as we are in an age of burgeoning new knowledge, we are also in a dark age of medicine, having lost most of the knowledge and wisdom that was preserved for thousands of years through oral tradition. Thankfully we still are able to preserve some of that knowledge. But I guess in a sense we humans are victims of our own species' success. Not the only victims, heh.

Some places like Japan for example, there's little to no mental health treatment available for most people. There are a lot of suicides and people who lock themselves up in their rooms or apartments and don't come out for years. If they ask for therapy or to see a doctor about these issues, there's a tendency for their family to discourage them ("Don't embarrass us!") and they may be ostracized by classmates, co-workers etc. They still have the cultural assumption that mental health problems are a problem of will or character, and emphasize the importance of not causing trouble for others, to the point that people suffer so much on an individual basis that it very negatively affects their society as a whole. I think it's a holdover from the period of fascist military rule that culminated in Japan's involvement in WWII; anyone dissident was killed in the years leading up to that (and there were many fantastic scholars that were dissident!) so even now the emphasis is on tow the line or be totally ostracized. Anyone who struggles or stands out tends to be psychologically abused by basically everyone else.



I just want to share my experience living in both countries. Sarah, it's because of stories like yours of involuntary hospitalization that I never could admit psych symptoms to an American doctor. Even all my postpartum depression screening questionnaires, I filled out "correctly" to avoid conflict with medical staff. Not to mention the potential cost of seeking psych treatment.

The US is a big place and varies by state and even by hospital of course. While Japan is not as big, there is still huge variation even by neighborhood in the culture surrounding mental health. While some families still care more about what their neighbors think than the health of their own family, I would say it's getting more and more rare. Most people younger than say 40 are happy to break from tradition. Mental health care is pretty normalized. It's commonly mentioned positively in the media. Most people I know don't hesitate to mention their mental health visits. They aren't embarrassed to talk about the time they got depressed and quit their job etc.

Doctors are held in very high regard. If a doctor says you are depressed and need x time off of work or other accommodations, most people and businesses are happy to comply. The younger generation is totally on board. Older folk are more like you describe, but I would say they are likely to change their minds based on a doctor's advice or a documentary on NHK.

Toxic work environments are technically illegal, but it's hard to get people to actually stand up for themselves and report. It becoming more and more common to change workplaces and even careers. Harassment in the workplace is a hot topic in the media as well. It's more and more common to keep kids out of school if they don't want to go. Alternative schools are popping up here and there. I think it's actually easier to keep kids out of school in Japan because there is no attendance requirement, no truancy consequences. As far as I know, the US requires attendance or an approved homeschooling curriculum and such. Correct me if that's changed.

Mental health treatment is available to anyone, anywhere. *EDIT: Seeing a psychiatrist is covered, but talk therapy, counseling, CBT, etc. is not covered by national health insurance. See a couple posts down for details.*  They just have to go. Some clinics will pick you up if you need. If you are embarrassed, you can go to the next town where no one knows you. National health insurance is available to everyone and accepted anywhere in the country. All medication is covered. There is a monthly cap on how much you have to pay. Cost is not a barrier for anyone. No referral is necessary, just go to the doctor you think you need. You don't need to convince a primary care physician that you need a specialist, you just go to the specialist.

My experience with Japanese doctors has mostly been positive. They have listened compassionately and never dismissed anything I've said. Of course, I read up on the doctors I choose, so of course there will be some doctors who are not so great...There is no in-network bullshit, I can go to the qualified doctor that's 50 miles away without any insurance problems. And I could likely get there without a car using pubic transportation.

Suicides and hikikomori (staying inside) are issues for sure and complicated. I don't think it's for lack of access anymore. There is still some stigma depending on where you are or who you are with. But if families were found to deny medical treatment, they would be charged with abuse and neglect. I have seen it on the news a couple times, but it's not the general culture anymore.

I am correctly diagnosed and treated thanks to a Japanese doctor. I never have to worry about the cost of medication for the rest of my life. I, even as a foreigner (granted I speak japanese), have experienced less barriers and more compassion in Japan than I ever did in the US. Sorry to jump on your post, Sarah, I just didn't want anyone reading to be put off Japan.

I'm fortunate to have found a very open minded village with new residents coming from all over with new ideas. We kind of joke that our village attracts people who couldn't take the mainstream culture and want to live in peace and heal the earth. The only difference to consider would be that sometimes drugs that are approved in the US take some years to then be approved in Japan, so anyone coming to Japan with medication should check on that.

 
Sarah Koster
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Amy Arnett wrote:
Mental health treatment is available to anyone, anywhere. They just have to go. Some clinics will pick you up if you need. If you are embarrassed, you can go to the next town where no one knows you. National health insurance is available to everyone and accepted anywhere in the country. All medication is covered. There is a monthly cap on how much you have to pay. Cost is not a barrier for anyone. No referral is necessary, just go to the doctor you think you need. You don't need to convince a primary care physician that you need a specialist, you just go to the specialist.

My experience with Japanese doctors has mostly been positive. They have listened compassionately and never dismissed anything I've said. Of course, I read up on the doctors I choose, so of course there will be some doctors who are not so great...There is no in-network bullshit, I can go to the qualified doctor that's 50 miles away without any insurance problems. And I could likely get there without a car using pubic transportation.

Suicides and hikikomori (staying inside) are issues for sure and complicated. I don't think it's for lack of access anymore. There is still some stigma depending on where you are or who you are with. But if families were found to deny medical treatment, they would be charged with abuse and neglect. I have seen it on the news a couple times, but it's not the general culture anymore.

I am correctly diagnosed and treated thanks to a Japanese doctor. I never have to worry about the cost of medication for the rest of my life. I, even as a foreigner (granted I speak japanese), have experienced less barriers and more compassion in Japan than I ever did in the US. Sorry to jump on your post, Sarah, I just didn't want anyone reading to be put off Japan.

I'm fortunate to have found a very open minded village with new residents coming from all over with new ideas. We kind of joke that our village attracts people who couldn't take the mainstream culture and want to live in peace and heal the earth. The only difference to consider would be that sometimes drugs that are approved in the US take some years to then be approved in Japan, so anyone coming to Japan with medication should check on that.


So maybe the documentary I watched was outdated or just incorrect? It stated that therapy is not covered by health insurance, is very expensive and that there are not enough therapists or doctors trained in psychiatry to be able to treat most of the people who need it. Maybe my source of information is just incorrect? That would be very encouraging. I actually want to go WWOOFing in Japan (I got my degree in Japanese, but I'm still not fluent, how lame is that?) but my concerns about persistent depression and PTSD and potentially being unable to cope have held me back. (And now the virus and such.) I assumed I would just frighten people. My teachers never gave me that impression, in fact I felt a lot of warmth from them and a very deep connection with them, but they were Japanese expats living in the United States.

Like you I just lie on certain questions whenever I'm getting any kind of medical care. If I tell them I have to talk myself down on a daily basis, or that I fantasize about my death and bodily decay in order to stop panic attacks, they'll invariably put me on a useless 36 or 48 hour hold, which means I'll be in a strange place with lights on and strangers milling about and I won't sleep, which lack of sleep will cause me to become psychotic. So it's better to just lie because they don't know how to differentiate between ideation and intention. "No no doctor it's okay, I don't want to kill myself, I just don't want to be alive." But I refuse any meds because they make my symptoms worse so they give up and let me out eventually.
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:
How many people are falling through the cracks of the medical system, and society's habit of looking at surfaces only, and not causes. Part of what I like about permaculture is we look at the deeper causes of things. I'd love to see more medical people who look at the world like that.  



75%. That's a good approximation of how many are falling through the cracks. In the US, 75% of people have a chronic disease from which they will never recover, for which they are most likely taking several prescriptions and will take them indefinitely until they die. 55% of children have a chronic disease from which they will never recover. At current rates, by the year 2050(?) one third of children will have autism. I would say the floor of our modern medical system has more cracks than boards.
 
Amy Arnett
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Sarah Koster wrote:
So maybe the documentary I watched was outdated or just incorrect? It stated that therapy is not covered by health insurance, is very expensive and that there are not enough therapists or doctors trained in psychiatry to be able to treat most of the people who need it. Maybe my source of information is just incorrect?



Do you remember the name of the documentary?

Ok, I had to look up if therapy was covered, because I have only gone to the psychiatrist at a hospital (which is a whole different vibe than a US hospital). So you are correct that talk therapy and counseling or NOT covered by national insurance. Although, "expensive" in Japan is about $100 per hour with sliding scales offered based on income and need. Google says that is about the national average an insured American would pay in the US, with a lot of variation I'm sure. Most of the Psychiatry clinics I looked into in my area had same day openings. First time patients might need to schedule a new patient session, which might require waiting for an opening. The first time I went some years ago, I waited three days for new patient eval., and more recently (living in a less populated area) I waited three weeks. I was advised to go to ER if I couldn't wait. The ER has always been a pleasant experience as well (aside from whatever injury put me there), but I haven't gone to ER for Psych symptoms so don't know how they would handle it. I know it is very hard to involuntarily hospitalize patients. To summarize: Psychiatry is covered, like evaluations, assessments, diagnoses, medication. Psychology is not covered, like counseling, talk therapy, CBT, mindfulness sessions etc. "Covered" means the patient pays one third of the cost up to the monthly cap which varies by income. For me that is about $25 per month for a twice a day med, and about $20 a visit (now every 3 mos.) to check in with the psychiatrist.

That would be very encouraging. I actually want to go WWOOFing in Japan (I got my degree in Japanese, but I'm still not fluent, how lame is that?) but my concerns about persistent depression and PTSD and potentially being unable to cope have held me back. (And now the virus and such.) I assumed I would just frighten people. My teachers never gave me that impression, in fact I felt a lot of warmth from them and a very deep connection with them, but they were Japanese expats living in the United States.



Not lame, it's hard to become fluent without immersion!

I looked around a little for therapy services in English. There are some based in Tokyo that offer phone or online sessions geared toward helping foreigners living in Japan. As far as I know, the border is still closed, but when it opens again, as long as you wear a mask, you aren't scary. If you mean scary because you aren't Japanese, they are generally more scared of having to speak English than of you as a person. You'll notice our very chill workstay, which needs updating, linked in my signature, wink wink ;). I'm happy to talk about parts of life in Japan that you're worried about or just want to know more about!

Like you I just lie on certain questions whenever I'm getting any kind of medical care. If I tell them I have to talk myself down on a daily basis, or that I fantasize about my death and bodily decay in order to stop panic attacks, they'll invariably put me on a useless 36 or 48 hour hold, which means I'll be in a strange place with lights on and strangers milling about and I won't sleep, which lack of sleep will cause me to become psychotic. So it's better to just lie because they don't know how to differentiate between ideation and intention. "No no doctor it's okay, I don't want to kill myself, I just don't want to be alive." But I refuse any meds because they make my symptoms worse so they give up and let me out eventually.



I told my Japanese psychiatrist basically this, and how I was uncomfortable asking for help in the US and that I had symptoms since puberty. He was noticeably sad for a second. He acknowledged my symptoms were of severe depression and anxiety, but thankfully picked up on the root cause being ADHD, which never would have occurred to me. So for me, treating the ADHD reduced the depression and anxiety symptoms to almost zero. He never considered or mentioned hospitalization, and neither did the other one some years before who only treated my depressive symptoms.
 
Tereza Okava
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Things change over time, and thank goodness. My husband and I both had some unpleasant medical experiences in Japan....30 years ago. Lots of changes since then, even the last time I was there to visit family a few years ago my sister in law was in the hospital and it was nothing like I remembered.
I could say the same for when I was a kid in the 70s in the US (I have memories of being strapped down on a "papoose board" to get stitches, for example, I'm pretty sure they don't do that anymore!).

Sarah, if and when you do go, there are definitely resources. The US consulates in Japan participate in the consular volunteer program (formerly consular wardens). There are local folks (Americans usually, but not always) in each region who volunteer to assist US citizens and it's a great way to find English-speaking services, or navigate normal life as you're there. I'm a consular volunteer for my district here in Brazil and we're often asked to help find resources like this.
There are also the helplines to help you find services- I worked for Tokyo English Lifeline when I lived there, and I'm glad to see it is still going strong. Even if you're not in the Tokyo region you can call and they will send you in the right direction for a resource closer to you.

(I hope you get to go! I've lived everywhere, man, as they say, and while I enjoy where I'm at right now I do miss Japan dreadfully. I was in the country and the city, in a few different regions, and it was a great place to live.
 
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