Hole in the ceiling where the water leaked from originally…truly my lifestyle issue, as I have an off-the-wall personality that causes holy mayhem in my life and world…mea culpa…

Off-the-Wall-Street: a Journal on To Be or Not to Be Homeless Again–the Stigma Blog and Paying the Price

When I’ve been homeless in the past, I did not have dependents, so it was relatively easy. I could always figure something out and find myself a way to have a roof over my head. So now, I see how tough it is for the women who are domestic abuse victims to make that leap into the abyss without support and finances when they have children.

Is it better to stay and be abused and risk being killed so you can be sure your kids eat? Or is it better to just leave and figure out the money somehow. Not so easy a choice, is it?

Every decent mother wants her children to have a good life, hopefully even better than hers. So I can really understand even better now what it was like for those mothers at the battered women’s shelter where I lived in order to escape my then-husband who hit me. What really made me decide to leave for good was when a policeman showed me a mugshot of when my husband spent over 30 days in jail for beating his mother. So then I knew it was not just me, that it was not just that I was a failure as a wife. He had issues with women–really big-time issues and I was out of there forever.

My then-psychiatrist ordered me to move to the largest city in the State and so to transfer to the battered women’s shelter there. They have more services there and he thought I needed them. I did not come to Montana to live in a big city, but when psychiatrists who can and do commit you to psych wards tell you to do something, you obey. Or I did. I was also obsessed by him which was my addiction to idolatry of men.

So once they told me at the shelter that my time was up and I had to find a place to live right away, I went for the only place I could really afford. My disability money was severely cut because I’d been married and my credit rating was the pits because I had lived with a woman who required that I take a phone out in my name for her. I lived with her after the first time he hit me and I ran out the door.

She did not pay the bill-ever-and so I could not get a phone at all until I paid it off. The place I found to move was a basement apartment in the South Side of Billings and it turned out I lived next door to a meth dealer. Oh joy!

His customers would come and go at all hours and he pounded his keyboards until 3 a.m. sometimes. I’d have a splitting headache from the shock treatments I’d begged to be given because I had this delusion that it would heal me. Wrong!

They fried my brain and I lost executive functioning to a great degree and have never been able to order and organize like I was able to do easily all my life. Another patient had ECTs (shock treatments) and he had gold-star parents that were always doing the best of whatever could be done for him, so I thought, if so-and-so has them, I want them too.

Well he was not so affected by them as was I. He ended up graduating from Notre Dame University after that, so it must have at least not harmed him the way it had me.

In spite of it, I can still read and write decently.. And I still can report, as I worked as a freelance health reporter after it, as well. Ask me to file and go through papers and it’s a real stretch at best, though.

So now it’s crunch time and I live under a manager who must be a Zen-wannabe whose only acceptable home decorating style is minimalist to the point of stark nothingness. I do not know.

I failed the inspection because of clutter, she said. That was after professional declutterers spent the day putting things in order and said they thought it would pass. I do not fault them. I do have to go through boxes of stuff and sort, and I did not want to just toss them as my mother had me do once, including old checks which an enterprising rummager found in the trash and went on a spree. Spending $10,000 at Office Max, this identity thief had a field day throughout town and it took months for me to clean it up.

Mom also had me toss files, as well. I tossed my entire file on Afghanistan because surely I would never report again. I had typed numerous letters to the editors of major newspapers imploring them to cover and fund the freedom fighters to defeat the Soviet Union. This was when I was in journalism school at Stanford. I had a letter from an editor of the Wall Street Journal giving me advice about the tone I used. I wish I still had it. To Mom and to the manager of where I live, that would be just clutter I guess, but to me it was my life’s work.

I am a writer and I have many, many boxes filled with journals I have filled of writing, which is a recovery tool for me. It doesn’t matter if Mom or the manager thinks it’s clutter. To them it is, so fine. That’s their judgment. They are allowed to have it.

My brother threatened to have all my papers tossed out because they were garbage at the condominium the trust owned for me. Well, some of that “garbage” was my resume and the clips of my articles I had written when a reporter. That was before online archives. I cannot replace them and they are buried in storage somewhere, but it’s worth it to pay for storage for years just so I can one day have them again.

My condominium was a home office and I had lots of files. Garbage to some or clutter or whatever but to me, it is work. It just is.

I do have old bills that need to be tossed and are now in boxes but then the trustee had this thing about not paying my bills unless he had every single receipt. Then when he’d get them, he’d still pick and choose which to pay. So now, I am very adverse to tossing old bills and receipts in case I can get them paid some day.

My own credit cards have quite a lot of charges that he won’t pay, so I do a little bit at a time each month. It’s a miracle I still have any credit rating at all because he has systematically tried to destroy it, so as to have me in his grips. His attorney let it slip to an attorney I took out a cash advance to have representation. I am still paying on that with no end in sight, because of course he refuses to pay for an attorney for me.

Even when I went up against the Archdiocese of San Francisco with my report of sexual abuse, he still refused to pay for an attorney to represent me. Thanks be to God that I found pro bono representation or I would have surely been further abused by the slick attorneys for the Church.

So, that is one of those things. I get people who sit in judgment of me and how I am disabled. Fine. It all began with the priest abusing me. I’ve been disabled since then.

So at least I am alive, as many priest abuse victims killed themselves or are seriously sick addicts. At least I am still trying for a complete recovery, and I have to fight every step of the way for it.

I don’t regret it. Not one bit. People may think I have a cakewalk having a special needs trust and disability money. Well, they are a blessing but also the trustee uses his lording over the money as a way to try to destroy my recovery now. It wasn’t always that way. It began once I started trying to get an accounting. I’ve not yet gotten one that is third party verified, but I won’t quit hoping to have the law enforced for him. It may never happen.

I could be homeless again because now I have a dependent–an equine partner who is a service animal and a senior like myself and I would be homeless in order to be sure he is cared for.

So that is that.

I would rather have my recovery intact and be homeless than have to become someone who is cowed into letting my rights be violated. That inspection was not legal because they did not give 24 hours notice for it. The inspection of the rest of the building was days before and we got notice. I did not get notice I did not pass until after I asserted my rights to have the hole in the ceiling and the mold taken care of and had called Fair Housing. It was after that that I was notified that I had failed the inspection and given 10 days to remedy it. So, I had already given notice. I intend to be true to my word this time and be out of here by the 13th of July.

Having women come into my space and use their judgments to threaten eviction based upon spurious definition of clutter is crazy-making for me. My mother who sexually abused me did the same stuff and did make me homeless the first time. These women are not my mother and this time I can and will get out of here and leave and be free to be the reporter than I still am.

They can decide to kick me out, but they won’t get to because I am already leaving and I intend to leave it completely immaculately and get all my deposit back. I am going to spend whatever it takes to get it up to my mother’s standards. I can still clean once the stuff is gone. And I will do it. It is my recovery work because I am not going to have to perpetually bow and scrape to tyrannical women in order to appease them when they have violated my rights. I paid good money here in rent.

I refuse to live in mold with a hole in the ceiling which may have had mold inside. I have three brain disorders already. I do not need to have my brain burdened by mold because they refused to deal with the issue. So I asserted my rights. I called the authorities and then and only then did they remedy the situation. So now it’s fine. They plugged the hole it the ceiling so there is no mold that can escape. I am 100% fine with that now. And I thanked the manager.

But I lost faith completely in the management and I will leave and go elsewhere, anywhere else because it is a threat to my recovery to continue to live here. I am still a mandated reporter of injustice and I will remain so. I am willing to pay the price for standing up for my rights.

Whether this is of literary merit, matters not to me now. What it is is a report of what I have to do to get recovery not just from addictions but from people who want to penalize me for daring to assert my rights. So, I will live with the consequences of what I did and I will leave, I know not where to yet, but I will be gone when I said I would and the place and space will finally be free of the clutter of my existence and the management will be happy and so will I. Win-win.


Off-the-Wall-Street: the stigma of speaking truth to power (6-18-20)

When I felt called to write a blog on stigma, I ran it by the Opinions Page Editor of a major newspaper in my area who knew me from my days as a mental health advocate and also knew I had written for a local, competing weekly as a health reporter. She won national acclaim as a reporter for her coverage of mental health issues.

She thought it was not a good idea because of the stigma of having a severe mental illness in small towns in Montana. So she advised against it.

I did take her advice into consideration, but I forged ahead anyway because I felt called by a Power greater than myself to do so. She thought I could be ostracized in the small town where I now live and be an outcast.

I already am an outcast, as one who could find no barns where I could board my horse who is legally a service animal in the city I used to live. That is because I was a person who the former director of the mental health center said was the recipient of the worst stigma against a psychiatric patient he has ever seen.

He was my psychiatrist, as well. He had seen a whole lot in his many years at the largest city in the State of Montana.

It was he who ordered me to get a new horse after my former equine partner perished in a horrendous barn fire and I was blamed for it. That ended me up in the State Psychiatric Hospital, as I was committed in part based upon false testimony from a man with quite a rap sheet. I cannot speak to why he said I was hiding in his barn, all I knew is that I was not hiding. I was there to try to find my horse. He has a history of methamphetamine use and production (as he later told me) which can make even sane people become psychotic. So maybe he was hallucinating. I cannot say. Maybe he was just lying, because he can do that, as well. He is by his own admission an alcohol abuser, but it matters not. They were determined to commit me, although I was not a danger to myself or others. And they did.

Lesson learned, in truth because I did then have a lived experience. I was fully cleared of the allegations, and no charges were ever filed. None whatsoever, but the damage was done.

So when the psychiatrist later demanded I get another horse, that was not an easy prescription to fill. He said, “I want you to get another horse. There is nothing we can do for you here that can help you as much as Jack (my equine savior who died and was a treatment team member on my treatment team at the mental health center) helped you.” So, when a psychiatrist who has you committed and so fulfilled one of my worst nightmares–being committed to a State psych ward–gives you an order repeatedly, you do it. After all, he too was in the Army as was my father, who was also a doctor and whose voice could make the family dog cower in the corner with fear. I learned to obey.

Now I needed to find another place for my new equine partner to recover from two fractured legs and bone infection surgery and I could find none. So I ended up in a small town elsewhere and moved myself and him.

The trustee of my special needs trust refused to pay for a place for me, so I applied on my own to subsidized housing for seniors and the disabled. I qualified but it was not my first choice, but evidently a Power greater than myself had a plan, as well, in this move.

I would experience stigma here but not because of my psychiatric afflictions. I was told by a former neighbor that another neighbor had spread rumors about me that I was in a cult. So that was a new one for me, but what the hay, no experience is lost upon a writer, as my first journalism teacher taught me.

Now I know what it’s like to speak truth to power, and to be tried by fire of another sort. Just as my parents kicked me out of the house and made me homeless the first time when I raised my voice to her, so I know that to challenge authority I must be willing to pay the price or I ought not to open my mouth or write another word.

So when I broke my wrist, falling on the ice on the handicapped area of the slick sidewalk outside the senior housing where I now live, I wanted to use the experience to get back to work, not to sue, as other residents said they would if they were me.

I took a class on fall prevention at a nearby clinic and the Occupational Therapist who taught it was excellent and very informative. She said she would speak to the manager of the place where I lived and tell them of a product that could be applied to that place on the sidewalk to prevent another fracture by another resident. So she gave the manager that information as well as the owner of the building. They declined to follow her recommendation. I do not know why.

I had assumed it was expensive, but I did not know. So I asked her to send me a copy of the information myself so I could write about it, maybe for a senior newspaper in order for others to benefit. I stated to the manager the first time I met her, that it was my goal to go back to work. And so it was and remains.

I did not see myself as being a reporter again because the industry is in freefall and even top reporters are being fired left and right. The thing is, I still remain with that skill set.

It is just who I am to speak truth to power when I feel called to do so. I do not do it lightly because I know there is often a very high price to pay.

Now I am facing another eviction due to clutter, although a professional declutterer spent the day here and thought it should pass inspection. I guess that the standards here are higher ones.

Or maybe it is that I said I might write an article about the sidewalk treatment. Who knows? I have not done so. But I found the photocopied pages the Occupational Therapist sent me. The cost for the treatments she recommended? It was a range of $29.00 to $115.00, but labor was not included because the non-slip paint had to be applied. So I guess $29.00 may be too steep a price to pay to prevent a broken hip or worse.

Who knows the reason why the professional’s advice was not heeded? Maybe it was not necessary, but a neighbor who is 86 years old almost fell at the same spot after my fall. She was one who said she would have sued.

So I guess maybe the $29.00 is too high a price to pay to prevent a fracture–or not. Maybe it is just a management decision based upon other priorities. Are they wise or not? I know not.

All I know is that I have already been at work here. I am a mandated reporter of sorts, still. I am compelled by my conscience to speak truth to power. And I am willing to pay the price, whether or not I am eighty-sixed. I may get the chance to experience the eviction process because no experience is lost upon a writer and the standards here are high.

Game on. Keep tuned for an update. I have a feeling court may be in my future….

(time spent on this blog: a little over one hour, so not very fast still)

Off-the-Wall-Street: A Journal of Madness (March 19, 2020)

All of a sudden, China’s threat to withhold pharmaceuticals becomes very personal. Zyprexa has been the White Knight to the rescue for me for many a year. The State of Montana spent a lot of money to have me committed to the State Hospital in Warm Springs so they could give me 10 milligrams per day of the white magic and lock me up.

I had gotten so incredibly out of it that I regressed to the point where I lost my ability to know I needed medication. I got there by an attorney deciding it was a good time to try to take down my recovery. And he did.

I own my part. I really do. And I have done everything I possibly can think to do to make sure I never go down that road again. I have not, thanks be to G-d.

I still made men the gods of my idolatry after that but not to the point of my relapse. It is written, I will no longer live to the lusts of men but to the will of G-d. So that is what I am attempting.

The night before my monthly appointment with my psychiatrist, I knew I needed to take Zyprexa. And I did. And it was the perfect amount because I was functional the next day. Dr. S. thought I showed good judgment in the amount I took, which is all PRN. I was taught to titrate by Dr. D.C. and I have taken Zyprexa for a number of years. It’s not my first rodeo.

What Dr. S was most concerned about was whether I had tried to contact my dear brother, the trustee of my Special Needs Trust. No. No. And No! I was manic, not psychotic at that point. The idea is not to get to that state because he said it has proven not to be wise and that the trustee is detrimental to my mental well-being. Yes, indeed.

So, the entire world is in upheaval and no one cared to do anything to help me get the trustee to abide by the law of the land and the trust, so I very much doubt anyone will care to now. It’s okay.

I am learning that some things are impossible to change and I have to learn radical acceptance. So I am just practicing non-violent non-cooperation with injustice. That is what I am doing, but I do still get to write about it.

It doesn’t matter if no one reads this, it is like a Tibetan sand painting that will all wash away and disappear forever.

I was afraid I was going to become homeless once again because the trustee submitted fraudulent documents to the manager of an apartment that is subsidized by the federal government. She knew right away it was not correct. My side of the street is alright because from that time I have not cooperated whatsoever with the trustee. He has complete free will to do whatever he wants. And no one will stop him. No one cares and I get to learn radical acceptance.

I am glad Gov. Bullock did not get to be president because if his management of my case is any indication, it would not be good for the country. His employee, an adult protective services worker utterly failed me and another woman who lived here who also had a brain injury but hers was from cancer surgery and was worse. We both lost our ability to organize from the brain damage and that was used to get her kicked out in the Montana cold.

Now with the coronavirus, they are going to need an Adult Protective Services worker who actually shows up and does his or her job (and doesn’t block my emails and not return my phone calls as the worker does). I hope to be long gone before everything hits the fan here, but I may also expire here. That is not my desire whatsoever, so I am going to make whatever time I have left count for something.

I get very litigious when manic. I just do. And even if they decide to lock me up, which will be more difficult now that I have LegalShield on autopay, I get even more troublesome for the powers-that-be. Just ask the attorney at Warm Springs. I kept him busy and was not very nice as I developed an antagonistic relationship with attorneys in general after the other one took down my recovery.

Oh well.

Live and learn.

I am not in the slightest bit interested in being romantically involved with any man, ever. That is the gift that attorney gave me. The experience was so bad and the results so wretched that it is a deterrent extraordinaire. I know about my shrewishness and it takes a saint to deal with me–or G-d or Thoroughbreds with their huge hearts.

Today is St. Joseph the Worker’s Feast Day. At least I am working as a recovery writer. That’s something. And I am working on my recovery because I have to in order to stay out of institutions.

St. Joseph the Worker, I am going to work at recovery cooking more now, because the Daniel Cure is helping. It is written, this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting–and this madwoman needs it. I can pour it onto the page instead of acting crazed.

The pharmacist knows I am compliant. So does my doctor. And I am practicing social distancing–like that is a problem for me. Ha! That’s been my life here in the tiny town where I live. The number of hours I have to do just to tread water and have recovery is unbelievable. I literally don’t have time for chit-chat. I just don’t.

I am a really driven woman. I was driven mad by a priest who decided I was fair game but I can put that in the past. I found, once again, peace in the Catholic Church so that is my “win.” I can’t say I will ever be able to be Catholic. I don’t think like one. At all.

It’s alright. I am still a reporter, albeit a handicapped one.

Eli Lilly, thank you for Zyprexa!





Off-the-Wall Street/a Journal of Recovery: Beware the Ides of March (March 15, 2020)

I would never have guessed that the heirloom jewelry I sold to pay for a shelter would have turned out to have been sold in vain. The shelter was not ready and never was built and my family never forgave me.

It forfeited any right to my mother’s significant jewelry by what they saw were irresponsible actions on my part. I was not to be trusted with the family jewels quite literally. Or anything else. Everything had to be managed by the sane sibling.

Ah, well. Thirty years ago today were we advised to go into our shelters. Since I did not have one, I slept that night in my car, a Mitsubishi Mirage L, that I called Mel.

Everyone was fine, including me. I remembered my mother’s lessons on how to dress for the cold and sleeping in a Montana winter outside was no problem.

Some afterwards bemoaned their fate and the fact that nothing happened. What we were actually taught though, is that prophecy is given that prophecy may fail because it is heeded. Nineveh is the example. People repented and so disaster was averted.

Interestingly enough, the intelligence community was baffled at how we knew to go underground when the threat of nuclear war between India and Pakistan was considered likely that very day.

Now we have a pandemic virus and shelters are not the need of the hour. Social distancing is, and today I remembered the lessons learned from three decades past.

I had completed a macrobiotic cooking course for cooking in shelters previous to that Ides of March 1990. Today, I made a macro-survival meal for myself and offered it up to the Ancient of Days, who gave the menu to the Prophet Daniel.

Grains, beans, greens and veggies are the recipe for success in recovery now. I remember Brother Lawrence and how he Practiced the Presence of G-d and wrote of it.

I cannot say who will survive this viral threat but today I am grateful that I remembered my lessons past. I have castigated myself for not being macrobiotic as defined by Michio Kushi because I still have disorder in my place.

I have been cleaning though, now. I’d relapsed into disorder after cleaning really well when I went back to the Catholic Church. It seems it must trigger my disorder, literally. It’s my co-dependent ways that make me feel it is my duty to absorb all the bad vibes of a family as a way to heal it. That never worked. And it just makes me crazier and unable to function to take care of myself properly and no one else is going to do it. Also, I was given the assignment by Father Patrick Collins, an Irish exorcist, that I am to write. And that goes by the wayside after I try to go back to Mass.

Maybe one day I will be healed enough, but now I am really trying to go back to work. My goal at Vocational Rehabilitation is to be a recovery writer. At least today, just for today, I did not go to the party they had tonight where I live that had alcohol and sugar snacks. I did not try to spoil their “fun” but I am grateful to have recovery from those addictive substances that would put me into the psych hospital. The last time I had to be committed, it all started with my having fruit-juice sweetened cookies. I went into a mania and eventually was locked up. I have a fructose intolerance as diagnosed by a blood test and it seems that it affects my brain functioning.

I have been 31 years sober from alcohol and that too is a blessing, although not my drug of choice. Being in a treatment center for the mentally ill homeless brought me a new way of life. A macrobiotic cooking class put on by a church teaching center was my moment of a personal peace, truly a gift.

I hope to pay it forward, but for today, I remembered to beware the Ides of March and stick to recovery. Others have their paths, but I have mine. They have free will. We have been asked to have social distancing and I have obeyed. And I am working to keep my own side of the street clean as recovery teaches. In the Self-Healing Cookbook, it recommends brown rice, lentils and dark greens to help find order and organization and to strengthen the lung and large intestines, which ought not to hurt in keeping the coronavirus from destroying my lung functioning. At least it is better than partaking of sugar which tanks immune functioning for hours after consuming it. So no matter what my future holds, I am grateful that I accomplished my goal of being a recovery writer.

I remember when I did not think I could go one day without ice cream and trekked to Baskin-Robbins in the middle of a blizzard and fell on my butt in the icy parking lot. I still got up and went in and chowed down. I also remember when I had been eating well for a bit but then binged on a coffee ice cream shake from the same 31 Flavors spot. Then I went right into a manic psychosis from the caffeine and sugar and had to be committed to the psych ward. For a long time, if I had the craving for that binge food, I would call to mind exactly what happened then. Now, by G-d’s grace I do not crave that stuff, because of the blessing of macrobiotics.

I heard someone say that they’d rather die than eat bird food. Well, actually millet is quite nice with oats in a morning cereal. And I choose to live, which for me, is a recipe for success.

“God bless the whole world, no exceptions,” says a refrigerator magnet…I think I’ll stick to that…



Off-the-Wall Street–a journal of a non-violent resistance to abuse of trust (March 2, 2020)

Thankfully, I can now find my way to freedom from money drunkenness through non-violent resistance to injustice and abuse of trust. When the trustee submitted fraudulent documents to the manager of the federally-funded housing place I live, I knew that was the end. And so it is.

I have no contact with the trustee and he can pay or not whatever he wants. It is all in his hands. Whatever he wants to do, he is free to do.

I just refuse to cooperate in this fraudulent scheme. That’s all.

He listed the expenses which are demonstrably false. And I won’t take part in it any more. No one cares on this Earth and that is fine. They don’t have to. I do not expect anyone to do anything. Why should they?

No one cares to stop the trustee from violating the law. Not one person. So he will.

And I am done, completely.

End of story.



stigma blog: on discernment

Pope Francis said, according to Father Bart Stevens recorded in a homily, “Open your heart to the Holy Spirit to discern what the will of God is.” For Father Bart, this is not correct.

The Holy Father Pope Francis has my vote on this approach, though. St. Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church, wrote of the Interior Castle and indeed, that is where my King resides. It is not easy to discern these days and I truly like the “Marian Option” as described in a book by that name in taking the holy rosary to the culture.

The new rosary that is worn as a bracelet and has an electronic recording of some sort is an example, as is the SoulCore movement of praying the rosary while doing stretches and core exercises.

I envision SoulCore taking Europe by storm as a way that the body-conscious European culture can re-embrace it’s roots and have churches used for this kind of prayer which is also a physical workout.

Maybe also the Daniel Fast cuisine of plant-based whole foods can also be served to all as a way of prayer and fasting.