What’s with the pleasantries?

So. I’ve been having a hard day today, and have been pondering something. Why do when you see a friend you ask how they’re doing, when you really don’t care? I’ve run into countless people today, and have noticed some things:

-When they ask how you are doing and you say “good” the person in question nods and walks away.
-When you say “OK” they say “just ok?” and then go on with their lives.
-I never say anything else in response.

So, why do we feel we have to ask how people are doing? I propose we come up with better, more witty small talk and not ask rhetorical questions.

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NAMI MASS’s Annual Conference

Hello,
I went to Massachusetts’ annual NAMI conference, and hopefully some people will find their way onto this website from the cards I gave out. I’d be flattered if you left a comment so I can see how many of you guys actually checked this out.
~Patricia

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You Will Forever Be My Hero

Experimenting with both acrostic and rhyming. Like it?

You will forever be my hero.
Over mountains.
Under skies.

Will you let me admit that
I really need someone to
Love? And, will you let me admit that I
Love you? That I will love you now and

Forever?
Over mountains, under skies,
Round bends and despite cries?
Every day I wake
Very tired and alone
Every day I wake
Really, my mind is blown.

By the time I reach reality
Everyone else knows I’m weird.

My state is one of insanity
You’re everything I’ve feared.

Hero, tell me, are you?
Every day or every night?
Round mistaken turns and bends
Oh, we both will be alright.

~Patricia

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Anyone here due to the PPAL conference?

I went to a conference today, and had a blast. I met a lot of people, some who bought my book and some who took a card that should have gotten them to this site. Anyone here from PPAL? I’d love it if you’d leave a message.

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They quoted me!

I was sitting at a table today, and spouted off a quote about DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) that everyone promptly wrote down, so I decided it should go here. Here goes:
DBT keeps you alive in the moment. CBT keeps you alive in the next.
~Patricia Larsted

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C is for Crazy

The most offensive name anyone could ever (and has) called me is “Schizo.” I don’t hide my disability, but I find that term to be terribly rude. Another bad one is “crazy.” I’m not crazy. I’m not a threat to society. I am me.

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Hoping to be a guest blogger

PPAL is a program in my state, and is short for Parent/Professional Advocacy League. They have a website with a blog that occasionally has guest bloggers. I wrote this, hoping to be the next guest blogger. Hope you like it!

Identifying with Disability

I went to a therapeutic high school. I was surrounded with people identifying as having a mental illness. There were others who heard voices. There were students on the asperser’s spectrum. There were bipolar kids, depressed kids, and kids with all kinds of other mental illnesses. We didn’t really talk about them. We all knew everyone’s name. We all knew at least something about everyone. We were all sort of friends.

The most important thing about a therapeutic high school is the milieu. Once a day we have group, which is a class in which you get together with eight other students and a clinician and talk about issues in the community. We also had access to a clinician any time necessary. I was in with mine once or twice a day, and always found myself in the nurse’s office with a headache. I was okay with missing school, even several days in a row. I cared about class and getting all my work done, but I was fine with being in the nurse’s office or my clinician’s.

I knew college was going to be different. I couldn’t have fathomed, however, just how different. My first college experience was going on campus at the local community college and talking to the disability department. I hadn’t promised that I would go to this school, but they wanted me to make an accommodations list anyway, because my IEP (Individualized Education Plan) would not follow me into college. They asked me to come into a conference room to talk about the different accommodations they can grant. Okay. I can do this. “Come on, Dad!”

“We just want you. You’re eighteen and soon to be a college student. An adult.” Wait. An adult? This was my second time being an adult, not counting all the forms I had to sign telling my supports that they could legally talk to my parents once I turned eighteen. The other time was when I got sent to the adult ward of the hospital at age sixteen. I wasn’t ready to be an adult at that point. Was I now?

My IEP said that I would be in a therapeutic school, have excused absences due to hospitalizations and appointments, have contact with a clinician as needed, and have extra time to complete assignments. These aren’t things that colleges offer. Wait… what? How will I get through the day without a clinician? What if I need to be in the hospital? What if? How?

I decided not to go to that college. My next stop was at the local state university. I loved the atmosphere. I talked to disability there. They also didn’t have the milieu of my therapeutic school, but they were nice. They told me I could ask my professor to sit in the front row. I could take my tests in a different place. If it was okay with my professor, I could listen to music while taking an exam. Also, they would help me figure out which classes to take, with the right professor and the right level for me.

So, I don’t have excused absences. I’ve been in college for two years, and only missed three days due to illnesses. I haven’t had to go to the hospital. I can’t leave class for a clinician. I still can go to disability or the counseling office between classes, and that’s enough for me. I don’t have extra time on projects. I usually finish my homework and term projects far before the rest of my classmates.

Through identifying with disability I have empowered myself to live my life as a college student. If I can do it, anyone can. I suggest that students from therapeutic schools identify with the disability department on their campus, and with their help and support realize that you can excel.

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PPAL Poem

Every other week there is a program near my home called YAYA, which is short for Young Adults and Youth Advocacy. We get together for an hour and a half and talk together and learn about life and advocating for ourselves. A woman came and talked to us about SATs, and another came and informed us about City Year. Sometimes we just play board games and eat pizza. It’s pretty cool.
YAYA, along with several other youth groups, is run by the Parent/Professional Advocacy League, which is having a conference in a couple of weeks. I will be selling my book at the conference, and wrote this poem about PPAL.

I thought I was alone.
No longer in that high school
Only fifty students.
All sort of friends.

I thought I was alone.
Now in college
Thousands of students around me
But no friends.

I thought I was alone
Just turned nineteen
Darkness prevailed.

I thought I was alone
Maybe meadows
But no flowers
All crying
No hope.

I thought I was alone
But I found others in YAYA
Young Adults.
Youths.
Advocating.

I thought I was alone
Still a teen.
They talk about TEAMA.
Teens.
Educating About Mental Awareness.
Educating.
Maybe I’m not so alone.

I thought I was alone.
But they helped me find HOPE.
They helped me find me.
They’ll help you find YOU.
Or TEAMA.
Or YAYA.
Or HOPE.
I know I’m not alone.
And PPAL told me this.

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Impossible?

“It’s only impossible if you stop to think about it.”
-Pirate Captain from Pirates, Band of Misfits

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Soup Cans

I was going through some old notebooks and found this. Kinda inspiring. No idea when I wrote it.

Soup cans:
You can tell
From the outside.
Labels don’t lie.
“Chicken Soup”
Always means
The same thing.
You can pick
And you can choose
Just based on the label.
Just based on the appearance.

People:
You can’t tell
Without talking.
Without knowing them.
Appearances can lie.
Experiences can lie.
Wearing black
Doesn’t mean
I will act a certain way.
You have to taste
Every person
To know
If you like them or not.
You can’t just guess
By what they look like
Or how they dress.

Friends:
Can be
Sweet, sour
Best, worst
Old, new
Lost, found,
False, true
You and your friends
Could be mirrors
Or could be opposites.

Soup cans:
Labels don’t lie.

~Patricia

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