Never a patient

I was never a patient of the Milwaukee Behavioral Health Division. I was never assigned to a psychiatrist or assisted by either the Community Support Program or the Targeted Case Management Program. I have never been hospitalized anywhere. as such I am somewhat different from my feel peer support specialists. My mental health support has come via the Veterans Administration although I was never a patient at one of their hospitals. Nor was I in combat that would help to explain the way that I used to behave.

There has always been some other explanation about why a young man managed to graduate high school despite experiencing depression. This young man took several years to finish college but was able to persist. And even after becoming a somewhat older man when bad things presented challenges including homelessness, h understood that through his own effort he could eventually free himself and get back to the vision that he saw as a young man.

There is a reason why I am referring to myself in the third person. I wanted to explain the distance I feel from some of my co-workers. I look ahead in this phase of my life to finding a peer support specialist who has experienced the things I have not gone through to work in our agency. It is because mental illness is so ill-defined that we need to do this. We need persons with a variety of backgrounds to guide their peers. I sit here listening to John Coltrane as I write this and I know someone from a completely different mindset will be agreeing with me. Someone who is not African-American  and has had children will say hey is talking about me. I’m not killing you softly with my words but hoping to bring you alive.

I believe that this is going to happen and the Flying Spaghetti Monster will guide my steps. Happy lasagna to you who will our next great certified peer support specialist.



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