I have been reflecting on this past year which included some very dramatic changes. I moved twice, and took on two new jobs. I had a brief romance that taught me a lot.
Five consumers of the agencies where I was working passed away which I took personally.I helped arrange and attended the farewell of one person where I worked. One person died a few weeks after I had left the the agency but I can see him as though we had spoken yesterday. One person who I believed was about to die suddenly hung in there, which taught me about the human spirit.
I became more involved in the mental health system, by taking a position in “the belly of the beast”, the Milwaukee Mental Health Complex. I was briefly a part of discussions with people who had a lot of grievances with the Mental Health Complex.
I became a payee which was horrible. One of my friends at work warned me but I did not listen. And speaking of work, I went from usually being in the minority to being in the majority. To be honest I think a lot of my co-workers at one agency said, who in the hell is this character? And what is his position? The ground work that that was supposed to be done had not been laid to prepare them for me. I had trouble getting along with many of them partly because they are younger than me. Now I can truly say I like most of them. And I can understand the others. We have shared cupcakes, which is most important. I an certain that at least a few of them are consumers.
I went through my usual shifts in behavior resisting meds, and then taking them once more. Oddly, the biggest change came when I started taking Vitamin D. I have gotten more energy from those little pills than anything I have ever used. I wonder whether meds deplete your body of of Vitamin D. But something fairly dramatic has taken place since I was prescribed Vitamin D by my nurse practitioner. This is very curious and wonderful so I am grateful this has happened.
The mental health system as I have experienced it focuses a lot on meds and my co-workers seem pretty knowledgeable about the impact of different meds on people. I don’t do any of that and I am rarely involved with med delivery. I have read articles that cite studies saying the meds are not as important as relationships so I focus on relationship building. I need people to understand that the people they have been struggling with are probably the ones with whom they need to develop relationships.
Alkl of this leads to Nia, or purpose. It seems I have learned about my purpose during the years I shifted from my previous occupations as grantwriter, librarian, or childcare administrator. What is most common is that I have been a listener in all of these professions. To reflect on one’s purpose is to understand why you are there. When people ask me things that are outside of my purpose, it is easy to refuse them. I say “that’s not why I’m here.” And they either become curious about this slender, grayhaired African-American or they walk away. I believe I was placed inthis position to be a practitioner and a member of a group to help reform the system. Don’t ask me why I know this because you would translate my message into something deeply religious or spiritual, which I am not.
All I know is that I cannot rest until I have fulfilled it. I hope that you who are reading me will find your purpose. And that sock that has gotten lost in the drier. Happy Kwanzaa.
- Kwanzaa 2012: Day 5 – NIA (wtpdiaries.wordpress.com)
- Nia: A Reflection on the Purpose Driven Life (habariganiamerica.com)