Working to end the stigma and discrimination of mental illness.

Blog: Exhaustion by Jessie Close

I’m writing this the day after the presidential election.  No matter who you voted for I bet you’re tired!  I’m fortunate to not live on the east coast because those people went to bed REALLY late.  Today is re-grouping day whether you go to work or work at home.

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking in a local town, Livingston, Montana.   Several of my long time friends will be there and I’m nervous!  I couldn’t figure out why I am so nervous until I realized that most of my friends have never heard me speak.  They’re the friends that stuck by me when I was sick, the friends who crowded my hospital room when I developed a dangerous reaction to one of my psychiatric drugs.  One ex, who is Calen’s father (Calen is our son), will be there to hear Calen speak.  I’m hoping that my last ex isn’t there as I talk about him in my speech.  It’s beginning to snow so perhaps we’ll get a blizzard and the whole fundraiser will be cancelled.  However, it takes a lot of snow to keep a Montanan home!

I was just in Atlanta at the Carter Center with my sister, Glenn.  We had so much fun!  Rosalynn Carter is one of my most favorite people.  She is tiny and speaks in a very low voice that’s difficult to hear with my hearing loss but she is a mighty spark for mental health and has helped grow the fire that’s under so many people working to have mental illness accepted as an illness, which it is.  This symposium focused on the stigma of mental illness.  Elyn Saks was there, a woman with schizophrenia who wrote a book called ‘The Center Will Not Hold’.  She is amazing and I was so happy to meet her.  There were many groups represented as well as ours, BC2M.  I was honored to be there.

I brought a puppy with me, Spot.  He was going with Glenn at the end of the conference.  A family up in Maine were his designated people.  I had him for two weeks in Montana, where he was born, before flying to Atlanta with him.  He was probably the cutest puppy I’ve ever known, which is saying a lot.  His eyes are perfectly round and they sparkle.  He weighs 4 pounds!  But never mind all that – he was puppy wild and I was so tired by the time I got to Atlanta I began feeling dizzy.  On the last day there I got so dizzy that I had to abandon Mrs. Carter and go lie down.  Spot played with numerous people at the Carter Center who had so much fun with him.

I didn’t realize until that particularly exhausting trip that my home, as long as I’m traveling the way I do, has to be a quiet sanctuary.  My three dogs are 6, 8 and 10 and know my routine well.  In fact my 6 year old Uno just came to tell me that it’s dinnertime.  They’re housebroken, they have their own little routines.  Snitz, who is 8, usually comes with me as my Service Dog but she had to stay at home because of the puppy.  It’s easy for the woman who house sits for me to take care of these three.  I realized also that I have three children, 2 boys and a girl which is the same configuration of my dogs.  I’ll leave it at that – a pack of three.  I’m happy I had Spot with me for 2 weeks as now I know I can’t handle a puppy anytime soon.  And for Spot, he has two little girls to play with now.  All together a very satisfying trip.

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