She Thinks She’s a Tree!

“Hey buddy! You have to help me. It’s my wife. She thinks she’s a tree!”, said a man who knocked on the door on the Soupy Sales show. “Then why don’t you take her to a psychiatrist?”, Soupy replied.

“Come on dear,” said the frantic man as he pulled a tree past Soupy’s door.

I joke, but there is a serious problem in our country today with substance abuse and other problems, particularly in Bucks County, PA.

Because the church hasn’t been effectively helping people with problems, and out of desperation, people have been turning to secular psychology and psychiatry. Although churches are starting to offer Biblical solutions to problems, it is still ingrained in us that we need “professionals” to handle big problems.

There is a problem with much of modern psychology and you may as well be the woman who thinks she’s a tree who is just dragged away, as chances are you won’t get the help you need.

This is what I found, as did others with mental health clinics associated with the Bucks County health industry. A couple years ago, I lost my job, my dog, my house and had other problems and I psychologically went on a downward spiral, through a virtual black hole. Some of the problems were a result of my own doing. Nonetheless, although the Salvation Army helped me get on the right track, people there palmed me off to Penndel Mental Health, where I was given Paxil, which made me worse. The cognitive behavior therapy gave me a methodology to work things out, but it wasn’t the cure.

I just heard “The Addiction Network” ad come on again, where a bearded guy with glasses and scrubs makes his spiel and Augustly states “addiction is a disease”, inflecting the word “is”.

On pastor and Christian counselor Jay Adam’s website, the notion of drug abuse, and by extension, mental problems being a disease is addressed:

“Mental Illness

Posted on August 22, 2016 by Donn R Arms

Folks let’s get this straight. The mind is not a physical organ. It cannot have a disease, illness, or injury in anything other than a metaphorical sense such as a sick economy or a sick joke.

Typhoid fever — disease
Spring fever — not a disease
Scarlet fever — disease
Bieber fever — not a disease”

For sure, drug “addiction” has physical symptoms. I know from experience that the dope I got from someone in a lab coat has severe withdrawal symptoms. But my anxiety was caused by my mental attitude, precipitated by my habitual ungodly behavior. I got my anxiety, and depression under control and continue healing as I try to submit myself to God and his ways, fighting my fleshly, sinful nature and get my head right. There is some merit to cognitive behavioral therapy, in that what you think results in subsequent behavior and that it is at least concerned with personal responsibility and decision making.

As one of the characters on Monty Python and The Holy Grail said, “it’s only a model.” You have to fill in the blanks in the flowchart in cognitive behavioral therapy.  After evaluating behaviors/outcomes as a result of thinking, you may want to rethink what you did. The flowchart:

 

I fill in “thoughts” with the right stuff, God’s Word, or at least basing my thoughts on scripture.

The 12 Steps, which was started by Alcoholics Anonymous, is the right stuff. It is faith based. More than 90 percent of substance abuse treatment centers used AA principles and more than 30 percent of referrals to AA came from various treatment centers in 1949.

I recently saw the movie The Untouchables again, which depicted the corruption and degradation of the so-called progressive period. By 1949, our society started healing from the social ills, and I use “ill” as a metaphor.

I personally know people who are incessantly off and on in their attempts to stop abusing alcohol and other substances. This happened to a guy during the early years of AA. He even was treated for his problem by Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung. About a year after finishing treatment with Dr. Jung, the man went back to the bottle. The Doc’s prescription was “a spiritual conversion with a religious group” as he was considered a nearly hopeless case. And with God’s help, he overcame!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Alcoholics_Anonymous

There is hope with God.

Recovery is not instant. In fact, it can take a long time to change bad habits and heal wounds. One bad, sinful problem I’m working on is unforgiveness, harboring resentment against people who grossly wronged me. As the case with any problem, you have to admit you are wrong and allow God to change you. There are people in the homeless and those in need community who, despite concerned, caring people reaching out to them,  continue their bad habits, with is actually besetting sin.

https://www.gotquestions.org/habitual-sin.html

I’ve been trying to help a lung cancer patient who wants to give up and has engaged in irresponsible, destructive behavior. She has, however, made some progress. People who reach out to help people are not responsible for results; just doing the right thing.

The problem with modern psychology/psychiatry is that it tends to treat human behavior like science, the physical world of inanimate objects. This doesn’t work. Contrary to Marxist thought, two different people in the same place and situation don’t always behave the same. This is a materialist view of humans. In fact, I think Marx wrote of “Dialectical Materialism.”

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”  Hebrews 5: 15,16

Fractured Homeless Tales

In my last blog, I compared the way the homeless are portrayed in Bucks County, PA to the Fractured Fairy Tales shown on the old Bullwinkle and Rocky show. The fractured fairy tales are a humorous distortion of traditional fairly tales. Likewise, distortions of the character of the homeless is laughable.

“Don’t talk about us; talk with us.” -slogan a group of homeless folks created.

Awhile back, the crew producing the “AHTN Public Service Announcement Video Shoot” at the Veteran’s Memorial in Levittown didn’t want the homeless around when they were shooting. That morning, a member of “The Memorial Mob”, told me that the county officer from the nearby municipal building told them that the county commissioners were coming and implied that the homeless should not go to the memorial. Later that day I saw a stand for AHTN set up near the entrance to the memorial. That’s when I learned about the video shoot.

The homeless came to the memorial anyway.

I learned that there was pizza, but not for the homeless on this day when there were no community meals. They kept the pizza at another location, away from the homeless.

As the crew that was working on the video about the homeless  walked by the homeless, they completely ignored them, as if they were mannequins.

Evidently, talking with the homeless to get first hand information about them, as John Steinbeck did when he visited migrant camps to do research for his novel The Grapes of Wrath, was something they didn’t need to do. They’d rather talk about the homeless than talk with them.

It’s no wonder there are stereotypes about the homeless and resulting hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless.

On other occasions, authorities wanted to shoo the homeless from the memorial. A Bucks County official told homeless people who were properly using the memorial that some people who wanted to visit the memorial were afraid to go when the homeless people are there.

“The Memorial Mob” is a name a guy who used to hang around the memorial to ironically gave to himself and others who frequented the memorial.

Hobophobia is a big reason that much needed shelter for the homeless doesn’t happen. Besides the inadequate portrayal of the homeless in the AHTN video, there are some homeless individuals who contribute to a misunderstanding about the homeless. On occasion, people, who happen to be homeless, are drunk and disorderly at the memorial as well as at community meals.

Most of the homeless who visit the memorial and who go to the community meals are civil. One size does not fit all. There are drunks and druggies in all populations.

Druggies from local recovery houses show up at the memorial, sometimes high and sometimes damage property and generally cause problems. Refugees from recovery houses end up joining the ranks of the homeless.

On one occasion, someone from a recovery house took an American flag out of the ground and placed it on his bicycle. A homeless guy called the local authority, who made the jerk place the flag back where he got it and kicked him out of the memorial. This is the way it should be.

Another stereotype is that homeless people are mentally disturbed. Certainly, just being homeless can get people down, but I would not make a blanket statement that the homeless are mentally disturbed! They don’t need the men in white coats (or men in black) to take them away. There are, however, the county mental health hustlers who chase after the homeless in an attempt to Shanghai them so they can use public funds to pay for their services.

The problem with some of the homeless is simply that the exhibit bad behavior. It’s a matter of character. About 2 1/2 years ago I went off the deep end. The problem was that I was thinking and doing the wrong things, sinful things. I did things I knew were wrong and continued ungodly behavior and fell down what pastor and Christian counselor Dr. Jay Adams calls a downward spiral. It’s like going through a black hole. Scientists say that an object travels at incredible speeds when going through a black hole, but it feels like you aren’t moving. At some point people become calloused and ignore what is right and wrong and just have to crash sometimes to come to their senses. That was the case with me.

Another stereotype about the homeless is that they won’t work. The work “bum” and “hobo” denotes someone who doesn’t work, and probably is a drunk. The word “hobo” originated during the Great Depression. As I illustrated on a previous blog, the case with hobos was not that they didn’t want to work, but they could not find work, a situation created by the progressive government. They even hitched rides on freight trains and went hundreds of miles to find work.

Today, many homeless people work, wherever and whenever they can find work. They just don’t have enough for a place to stay or have trouble finding a place, especially in the tough housing market in Bucks County.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

-Matthew 7: 1-3

500 Miles from Home

“If you miss the train I’m on, you will know that I am gone
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles,
A hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles, a hundred miles,
You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.
Lord I’m one, Lord I’m two, Lord I’m three, Lord I’m four,
Lord I’m 500 miles from my home.
500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles, 500 miles
Lord I’m five hundred miles from my home.”

-Lyrics from 500 Miles, sung by Peter, Paul & Mary

Every time I see the car ad where a couple drives alongside a freight train and the woman daydreams about hopping the train and going wherever the tracks take them, I shake my head. She pictures herself in a boxcar. Her dog approaches and she pats the dog and soon her husband approaches. The vision jumps to the three of them sitting by the boxcar door.

What a romantic view of the world! As a recovering Romantic, I see this fantasy as silly, asinine!

During the Great Depression, people didn’t ride trains without a destination in mind because of a romantic notion. Like today’s homeless in places such as Bucks County, PA, who scout out a place to sleep, people hopped trains out of necessity.

Dreaming about hopping trains or even just, as I did as a teenager, hopping a train for a short distance, is a far cry from the reality of what the hobos went through during the depression. Just past a nursery that abutted my backyard where I grew up were train tracks. Two were for electric freight trains, and ran fast, and one was an old diesel Reading freight line, that ran slowly. On one occasion when I hopped the Reading, it suddenly started speeding up. I thought it might slow down but it kept picking up speed. I jumped, and I partly braced myself with a hand that landed on a sharp rock. I still have a trace of the scar it left.

I got off a lot easier than some of the hobos who hopped trains during the depression. Sometimes they missed and lost legs and sometimes even died! The railroads, much of which were paid for by taxpayers, hired bulls to go after the hobos, who would arrest them and beat them. This is a little like the way today’s homeless are treated when they camp out on public or private land because they have nowhere to go. During the depression, sometimes the bulls killed hobos.

Hobos would hop trains in search of work wherever they could find it, often hundreds of miles away.

Along the way, benevolent farmers who were still in business fed the hungry hobos.

http://livinghistoryfarm.org/farminginthe30s/water_07.html

Many of the hobos were farmers whose farms folded, in large part due to President FDR’s New Raw Deal, which as I illustrated in earlier blogs, favored the fat cats and hurt the average Joe. Likewise, today’s progressives, such as President BO and Shrillery-Killery and Slick Willy Clinton, contribute to homelessness. As I said in a blog awhile back, fight homelessness; don’t vote for progressives.

Today, many people don’t understand the homeless and even view them in a Romantic way. Although they may romanticize about them, they want to keep them at bay.

A term used informally today, hobophobia, the irrational fear of the homeless, is derived from hobos, the forerunners of today’s homeless.

Just as benevolent farmers shared their food with the hobos during the Great Depression, charitable people today feed, clothe, and minister to the homeless. In Bucks County, well intentioned people who want to provide much needed shelter for the homeless are derailed by hobophobic government bureaucrats.

Not all the homeless are gypsies, tramps and thieves… Many are there because of circumstances similar to that of the Great Depression.  http://www.metrolyrics.com/gypsies-tramps-thieves-lyrics-cher.html

Where do we go from here? 

The homeless could develop PMS (poor me syndrome). Or they could make the best of their situation and persevere and move forward. Encouragement, which Christians have been giving them, is something the homeless need a lot of.

I just read on pastor and Christian counselor Jay Adam’s website where he discussed the role of sin in one’s mental well being. Dr. Adams explained that not all problems are a direct result of one’s sin, which was the case with Job. However, the way one deals with a bad deck one is handed is what counts. As in the case of Job, bad things happen for a reason. Job came to realize that, obeyed and glorified God and things turned out all right in the end.

You don’t resolve problems by hugging trees or by dancing with the daffodils! You do so by going to God.

“Who provides for the raven its prey,
when its young ones cry to God for help,
and wander about for lack of food?”

-Job 38:41

Wossamatta U Homeless?

“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.  The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.”

–James 3:5,6.

Like other communities today, there are problems in the homeless community. Although in places such as Bucks County, Pennsylvania, the homeless are considered undesirable by some people, unfortunately by some who have influence, and they have gotten an unfair shake, some problems are caused by members of the homeless community themselves.

Bucks County tends to use the one-size-fits-all approach to the homeless and stereotypes them. One stereotype is that all homeless have mental problems. One dubious report stated that 95 percent of the homeless are mental.

The county has been capitalizing of this myth by actively seeking homeless people to sign them up for their taxpayer funded mental health centers, often offering them housing if the climb aboard the Disoriented Express, using their public funds.

Fraud by the county is not the only problem. The problem is that, like all of us, we have fallen away from God’s ways and as a result have unresolved conflicts. According to pastor and Christian counselor Dr. Jay Adams, except for “organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders” most cases of people labeled “mentally ill” are wrong.

Because of false witness, which the Bible clearly speaks against — “A false witness [that] speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”– there has been altercations, some physical in the homeless community in lower Bucks County. A spark of lies has created a wildfire across this community.

Last night I, and others who were eating at a community meal for the homeless and those in need were sickened by the gossip spewed out by a members at the table where I was sitting.   Someone lamented that a guy, who was falsely accused of “ratting out” the locations of homeless camps, being a pervert, exploiting women, etc. was still going to the community meals. Because she, and others who fell in lockstep said so, he should not still be going to the meals.

One of the Kool-aide drinkers said that it’s good the guy hasn’t been riding the free bus run by the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN) to the meals because he “ran his mouth”. Another judgmental person reveled in the memory of the guy getting “tuned up” in the parking lot. One idiot quipped that he should have been tuned up more and that the job should have been finished.

So much anger! Such much hate! So little evidence!

To discover the truth, I did some research. I looked on Megan’s List, which included photos of perpetrators, and did not find him. As to the “ratting out” of where the homeless were staying, I learned that after the group Warming Hearts visited two camps bearing gifts, like The Trojan Horse, the next day or so these camps were raided. I had also heard from a credible source that this group didn’t deliver on a promise to bring gifts to members of “The Memorial Mob”, who hung out in the vicinity of the public library in Levittown.

There were articles in LevittownNow.com about one camp, where it was reported the occupants were given a camper, which could be seen from Route 13. A representative from Warming Hearts was quoted in the article. The article mentioned that, although the landowner let the homeless camp on his property, there were complaints from neighbors. About a year after this article was published, a local district justice ordered the homeless to leave the property. The case was appealed and they were given a stay, but eventually the homeless had to leave.

The homeless who camped in Queen Anne Woods, starting behind the Levittown public library, were ordered to leave. Bucks County Rangers collapsed tents, told the homeless in person and left eviction notices. In an email, Steve Long, Chief Bucks County Ranger told me that the raid was a result of drug use and people with warrants living in the Queen Anne Woods. Steve told me there were complaints about syringes in the woods. I learned that the Rangers had to go into the woods to take someone who overdosed to the ER.

In some cases certain irresponsible individuals in the homeless community  cause everybody the whole encampment to have to leave.  I believe that the guy who has been the object of scorn in the homeless community was overheard offering constructive criticism to this affect.

It’s mostly the druggies, most if not all refugees from the local recovery houses the feds have been pushing down our throats, who have been causing problems for all the homeless.

A close homeless friend told me that everyone was booted from a homeless camp where she stayed because some people abused the privilege the property owner gave them. They were allowed to charge cell phones, but some of them started plugging in TVs and using more electricity than they were allowed.  My friend also said that people (probably druggies) were stealing copper.

I understand that homelessness is tough, and that people are angry and frustrated at their situation. I lived in my car for a few months. My feet and my legs swelled up. The problem is that in this case the anger in the homeless community is misdirected and they made someone a scapegoat.

There have been small victories. A guy who was misinformed that I had ratted him out and who was after me and the scapegoat ended up sitting with us at a community meal, because there was nowhere else to sit. We reasoned together and made peace, all three of us.

Even when there are legitimate gripes, where the homeless are harassed at the Levittown public library, the Veteran’s Memorial, the WIC building, and at fast food restaurants such as Subway, McDonalds, and especially at Burger Kings, they still need to be as cool as possible. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr told blacks, who were harassed during the Jim Crow South, to keep their cool under pressure and act responsibly. They did, and they overcame.

The lower Bucks County homeless community needs to heed the eighth commandment: “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor,” as well the other commandments.

The homeless community, like the rest of us, especially myself, needs to listen to God and trust and obey Him. This is the way to peace.

Do The Hustle, Not!

While places for the homeless to sleep in Bucks County, PA is shrinking, Bucks County is recharging it’s efforts to shanghai homeless people to bring them into the taxpayer funded nuthouse. Code Blue, the overnight shelter for the homeless during cold weather started, and so did the hustling. At least two of the mental health hustlers showed up there.

Since the first exploratory visit to a homeless colony, agents have been trying to lure homeless people to places such as Penndel Mental Health Center. Like manure, they are all over the place — at the Levittown public library, Code Blues, tent city evictions, tent city visitations. I even noticed one of the hustlers at Stand Down for Veterans!

The mental health clinic has a monopoly, a captive clientele so to speak, just as environmentalists have agreeable constituents, rocks and trees. One of the clinic’s modus operandi, and what is pushed at the door, is medication.

“If I did drugs, I could find a place. If I was an alcoholic, I could find a place. If you’re just on hard times, there’s nowhere to go.” said a homeless man about to be evicted from an encampment, as reported in philly.com in May 2012.  And one mental health hustler was reported there.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-02/news/31519830_1_homeless-tent-city-homeless-count-homeless-enclave 

In my last blog, I wrote about a 27 acre village in Austin, Texas created to house 250 chronic homeless. It has what people need, including a garden, a link to jobs, a movie theatre, and a chapel. Very important is the chapel, which does a better job with helping people with mental, spiritual problems than secular mental health centers.

Starting in 1970, a revolution started with pastor and counselor Jay Adam’s book Competent to Counsel where Dr. Adams argued that the church is better equipped to handle personal problems that is secular psychology. A blog on Worldview addresses this subject: “Modern secular psychologists often speak of mental illness. Yet many Christian psychologists deny the existence of a large proportion of mental illnesses. Jay Adams writes, ‘Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all.’ “

According to Dr. Adams, “apart from organically generated difficulties, the ‘mentally ill’ are really people with unsolved personal problems.”

http://www.allaboutworldview.org/christian-psychology-and-mental-illness-faq.htm

So what is it? A place created by concerned Christians who help people become self reliant and are presented the gospel or the secular mental health folks doing the hustle. http://www.songlyrics.com/van-mccoy/the-hustle-lyrics/

“Do it, do it, do it

Do the hustle…”

http://www.songlyrics.com/van-mccoy/the-hustle-lyrics/

The Hustle should be played whenever a mental health agent enters a place.

They’re Coming to Take Me Away!

Recently, a homeless person told me she is offended at the idea that all homeless people have mental problems. I suspect one reason for that is the stereotype people have of homeless people, an element of Hobophobia. (The extreme and utter fear of hobos, or the homeless. This is usually caused by the lack of exposure to the homeless throughout the world. A dose of homelessness is an easy cure to Hobophobia.)  Another reason is business, public funding, especially for Penndel Mental Health Center, Penndel, PA whose snake oil salesmen canvas more aggressively than Jehovah’s Witnesses.

One particular snake oil salesman from Bucks County, PA, who has been known to show up at tent cities and is almost a fixture at the public library in Levittown, PA, offered me housing if I would submit to being labeled a mental patient — that I was so messed up that I could never work.

This, as I told the man, would be fraud. This is also economic protectionism, by giving an institution an unfair advantage.

For sure, I’ve had problems with anxiety, depression, pent up anger, etc., but I’m no lost cause. I’ve taken this to God and have had help from my Christian brothers and sisters. One place I’ve found help, as I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, is the peer-to-peer 12 steps program held Tuesday nights in Levittown and Saturday nights in Newtown.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/ 

If you need help to work out problems, I’d highly recommend this program.  It’s free and all that is needed is your time and attention.

What is wrong with the mentally ill? The term “mentally ill” has become part of the way we talk about people with major problems. Some experts, however, don’t think this is an accurate term. They don’t think that people with mental problems should be labeled as being ill.  For them, “illness”, such as the flu, is caused by a virus. They ask what is the source that causes mental illness.

Is mental illness an implant from a space invader?  Hummmmm…

Some experts think that addictions are a disease. In a sense, they are right. Some people may have genes that cause them to crave more of something, such as alcohol. Problems can result from giving in to urges such as these.

The problem is controlling your addictions. This is where a program such as 12 Steps can help.

The first step is to admit you have a problem. A recovering addict recently told me that the inability to overcome an addiction is a result of weak mindedness. He also said that the only way to have the strength to overcome the problem is to have God intervene.

Mental problems stem from sin. Sometimes we have mental problems because of our actions; other times it’s just a result of original sin. In either case, God can help.

We all have flaws. Consider the “T” in the Calvinists’ TULIP:

T – Total Depravity

“Humanity is stained by sin in every aspect: heart, emotions, will, mind and body. This means people cannot independently choose God. God must intervene to save people.”

Sin has affected people in different ways and degrees. Many people with problems with are not taken away on the disoriented express, although, as I mentioned, some mental institutions will lure people into their roles who don’t need their services.

As I’ve mentioned before, psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Jung related a story where, when “an intelligent layman” visited an insane asylum with him, the layperson remarked that the people he saw were like everyday people, only with problems that were greatly magnified.

People have problems when their thoughts and actions are not in sync with God’s precepts.

Some people have trouble handling problems on their own, but they don’t necessarily need to be institutionalized. Pastor and Counselor Jay Adams found that most people in nuthouses don’t need to be there.  http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography 

Overcoming problems such as addictions can be a lengthy process. It often requires lifetime maintenance, the same way I need to apply medication to my feet to fight fungus for the rest of my life.  Accepting Christ as Savior is a good start, but being molded more like Him is a lifelong process, known as sanctification.

Being human, we still will mess up, but God will help us get on the right path again, if we submit to his will.

What’s important to help people with problems, including addictions, if finding the right place — where they have the best opportunity to recovery.

I started to fall into the same trap as those who stereotype the homeless, by not distinguishing the quality of different recovery houses in Levittown. Like the homeless, they are not all bad.

Some neighbors near the Levittown recovery houses have complained about problems from the houses, such as the clients running around the neighborhood raising a ruckus. Some of them have become a virtual Lord of the Flies.

I recently met someone who runs a recovery house who pointed out that he runs an orderly house, where there are rules and borders. Unlike some institutions, it’s not just a business but a mission. The guy told me the neighbors don’t even know it’s a recovery house.

We need to find the best ways to help people using the free market concept. A good example of this is school choice, where the parents, not bureaucrats, choose the school. Contrary to the public school teacher’s union’s spin, school choice does not aim to put public education out of business.

According to a pro school choice website, public schools improved in areas where parents had a choice where they can send their kids.

The county government should just accommodate  institutions  where people get help, not run them. Like parents of school children, people should have a choice.

The homeless are not all mental cases. One size does not fit all.

It should not be “all aboard” the disoriented express for the homeless. They and people who genuinely care about them should have some say about what train they ride. I for one prefer the train that’s bound for glory.

One of the things we learn in the 12 Step Journey program is that a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity (step 2).

They’re coming to take me away ho ho he he ha ha
to the funny farm where life is beautiful all the time, and I’ll be happy to see those nice young men in their clean white coats
and they’re coming to take me away ha ha

You thought it was joke and so you laughed, you laughed when I had said that losing you would make me flip my lid, right? You know you laughed, I heard you laugh, you laughed, you laughed and laughed and then you left, but now you know I’m utterly mad…”

They’re coming to take me away. Not!

http://www.metrolyrics.com/theyre-coming-to-take-me-away-lyrics-lard.html

Get Them Homeless Moving

Get Them Homeless Moving (parody of the western series Rawhide theme song)

 

Moving moving moving

Get them homeless moving

Get them homeless moving

Rawhide

Why are they hesitating?

Why are they excogitating?

Public funding is the ends for our drive

 

Moving moving moving

Get them homeless moving

‘though they are disapproving

Rawhide

No need to understand them

Just rope and dope and brand them

Take them to the clinic bye and bye

 

Moving moving moving

Get them homeless moving

Get them homeless moving

Rawhide

A head shrinker is awaiting

with drugs to placate them

Public funding is the ends for our drive

 

Move ’em out

Shove ’em out

Lure ’em out

To the Penndel Mental Health Center

Rawhide

YA!

 

There has been some progress with the challenge to move the homeless out of the woods, where some of them, mainly refugees from the recovery houses, caused problems near the public library in Levittown, PA.  Although a few of them have been able to work out a deal through Penndel Mental Health Center to get medical treatment and a least temporary housing, there remains the quid pro quo for these people to use the services, through public funding, with the center.

This is somewhat like those people who hawk timeshares by inviting you to a free meal. After the free meal, the hosts, unlike the community meals for the homeless, expect something in return. At the very least, to sit through a high pressure sales pitch.

Nobody canvasses the homeless neighborhood like the salesmen from the Penndel Mental Health Center. From early meet and greets at tent cities, at tent city evictions, at the Levittown Public Library, Code Blues, ad infinitum ad nauseam, they are there. To adapt lyrics from an old Beatles song:

You don’t even have to call

And I’ll be there

People need choice and should decide for themselves (although advice and solid analysis is OK) whether it be where they send their kids to school, if they need treatment and if so, where to go, etc.

I don’t understand why housing and mental health treatment are linked together, in pork barrel style.

In Bucks County, we need place for people to live who have just fallen on hard times.

Holy synthetic demand, Batman!

What’s twisted, is the recovery houses, which are run like the asylum in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, are protected by the federal government. Yet because of hobophobia, it’s hard to develop vacant buildings in neighborhoods for the homeless because people don’t want them there. The recovery houses bring problems. Here live people who choose to be slaves to their addictions, and are often a public plague. Different kinds of people are homeless; they are a less homogenous group than are people in the recovery houses.

Recovery houses are more of a threat to public order than are shelters for people who just need a place to live.

With all the access to the homeless Penndel has, with help from the government, it’s easy to think that that this August institution is the only game in town.  It’s not. Representatives from Penndel Mental Health Center showed up at the Salvation Army where I volunteered. I was going through a rough time  and people from the Army referred me to and encouraged me to go to the center for help.

At some point, I found a free counseling group that helps with a host of problems, not just addictions.

http://12stepjourney.com/

Fraudulently recruiting people, for a mental health center like Penndel Mental Health doesn’t just occur just in Bucks County, PA.

Pastor and counselor Jay Adams cites a case where it was discovered that people sent for evaluation for mental illness were falsely diagnosed. In an experiment, six people, who were as sane as you or I, were labeled schizophrenic and one was classified as manic depressive. The experimenter found that no one was turned away as a malingerer or faker. After the person who conducted the experiment announced to the institution that he would check the intake records again, many people were turned away from the institution as malingerers.  http://www.nouthetic.org/the-physician-the-pastor-psychotherapy-and-counseling

As is the case with the much of the mental health industry, medication tends to be a quick fix for problems at Penndel Mental Health.

The problem with modern psychiatry and psychology is they treat as “mental problems”, as though it is a medical problem, using medication. There are physical problems and spiritual (moral) problems. The psyche community came up with a third category, a non-organic, non-moral category. To quote Jay Adams:

“But it (the psychiatric community) knows nothing about a ‘mental illness’ category, in which a non-organic bug of some sort creates a non-organic problem which has to be treated non-organically under a medical aegis, though there is nothing medical about it. What is peculiarly medical about someone telling how to live with grandmother? ”

Dr. Adams further indicts the mental health community.  “There is a mess out there in psychiatry. Zilboorg, in his two volume history of psychiatry, concluded: ‘The field is in disarray, just as it was at the beginning.’  I agree with him that the field is in disarray, but I disagree that it is just as bad as it was at the beginning.”

Counseling people is a mission, not a business. In some cases, such as found in Bucks County, PA, it becomes monkey business. To quote Chuck Berry it’s just “too much monkey business, too much monkey business, too much monkey business for me to get involved with.”  https://youtu.be/5b2w_nJLuvw

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Give Me That Old Time Religion

“If I did drugs, I could find a place. If I was an alcoholic, I could find a place. If you’re just on hard times, there’s nowhere to go.” said a homeless man about to be evicted from an encampment.

http://articles.philly.com/2012-05-02/news/31519830_1_homeless-tent-city-homeless-count-homeless-enclave

In the words of W.C. Fields “Ah yes, seems we’ve been here before.”

I’ve heard this lament more than once since I started hanging out with the homeless in lower Bucks County, PA about 1 and ½ years ago. Here, it’s getting harder for people who lost their jobs and became homeless  to find a place to stay. For various reasons, homeless people have to pack up and leave places they call home.

The mental health industry is capitalizing on the homeless problem.

Interestingly, Allen Johnston from the Bucks County Department of Mental Health was nosing around the tent city, soon to have no vacancies, trying to see how much business for the local mental health centers he can drum up.

“I want to see how many people are interested”, he said. Allen mentioned Penndel and Lenape Valley Mental Health Centers. There was no mention of places for these poor people to go, as the man said, “if you’re just on hard times…”

Since the early meet and greet expeditions to homeless camps in Bucks County, at least one representative from Penndel Mental Health Center tagged along. People from this organization frequently hawk their business at Code Blue, the overnight emergency shelters during cold nights and at other venues.

Recently, I talked with Allen  about finding much needed shelter for the homeless in Bucks County. As was the case in 2012, there is a long waiting list for the local shelter. When I started to discuss this need, he said that there is a problem with housing first, and he explained that people need to solve their addiction problems first. Allen completely evaded discussing the problem of people who simply need a place to stay, who have no need of mental health or similar assistance.

I understand that Allen is working for an industry that has a government monopoly in Bucks County, and he must follow its agenda and be the industry’s conduit, unlike myself. As an independent blogger, I’m free to speak my mind. I have called out politicians, a librarian, some homeless advocates, the Salvation Army, the mental health industry, and even individual homeless people and try to expose problems and offer constructive criticism. I also praise things I see as good.

I try to tell it like it is.

And my call in this blog is the local health industry’s tactics smacks of crony capitalism. For those of you in Doylestown, this means that politicians give their friends an unfair advantage over any competition by using their office. This is also an example of economic protectionism.

In Germany, Kava, often drunk as Kava tea, was banned based on a study which was later found to be flawed. Here the government protected the pharmaceutical industry from competition. Kava is an herbal, natural relaxer of the mind and muscles.  I’ve found that it works well.

If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you’ll know that I’m a free market guy, who believes that individuals, not bureaucracies, should make choices for people.

I’m all for school choice, where, instead of our tax money going straight to the school district which assigns a school, parents get to pick the best school for their children. This works much like food stamps.

For the homeless in Bucks County, Penndel Mental Health Center is just about the only game around. They try to attract customers by offering housing.

I was bamboozled into using the services of Penndel Mental Health after I was devastated and fell into an emotional pit, suffering from chronic anxiety and depression after I lost my job and my dog and having engaged in destructive behavior. I was about to lose my house.

After intake at Penndel, a doctor prescribed Paxil to help calm me down. Instead of being my deliverance, it had a strange resemblance to a cat named Frankenstein (to adapt some lines from Sam Cook’s old popular song).  My hands started shaking a lot. The doctor told and another so-called mental health care professional told me there’s a break in period. This went on for months. I had the doctor cut the dose in half, but there were still problems. I decided to stop using Paxil and not try any other drugs.

I did some research and found that dark chocolate has the same stuff as Paxil, serotonin, that fights anxiety and depression and other maladies. There is no withdraw from dark chocolate, although it can be addicting. I actually suffered withdraw from Paxil when I decided to go cold turkey and ended up in the emergency ward.

I started seeing a therapist at Penndel Mental Health Center. He used cognitive therapy, where the patient learns to control his thoughts in order to control behavior. I wasn’t told what to believe, but found the cognitive therapy was just a methodology to resolve problems.

Shortly before I understood the cognitive therapy techniques and didn’t need to continue “therapy”, I stopped seeing the doctor, who mainly prescribed drugs. When I told the therapist I wished to end the sessions, he told me that I wasn’t supposed to do therapy unless I was on drugs — that is drugs legally prescribed by the doctor.

I moved on after my experience with Penndel Mental Health Center.  Actually, I continued my relationship with God, fellowshipping with other believers, reading the Bible, praying, etc.  In the free market of ideas, I found that, as others have shared, my ultimate hope for healing is the Lord.

The homeless community has problems, other than not finding a “permanent” home. Some of the people, like people outside the homeless community, need someone to talk to. A homeless advocate, who recently moved to Arizona with her family, tirelessly ministered to the homeless. She relentless counseled those with alcohol and other problems. On one occasion, a woman was crying in the Levittown library. The advocate counseled her and helped her resolve her problem.

This advocate still helps the homeless in lower Bucks County from afar.

Other caring people have talked with the homeless, in the Levittown library area and at the community meals that local churches graciously host. The hosts have been sitting down at the dinners with troubled people and have been informally counseling them. On one occasion, one of the volunteer hosts sat and talked one on one with a homeless person.

Counseling people is a mission, not a business. 

About 1970, pastor and counselor Jay Adams started a revolution in the church.  Dr. Adams championed the idea that the church should not relegate it’s mission to help people with problems to the secular mental health industry. If the problems are deep, he explained, it’s all the more reason for the church to handle them.  http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography

The only basic difference between homeless people and people who have a dwelling is that they don’t have a home.  Period.

There are, however, some practical problems for people without walls. People are evicted because the property owner builds something on that space, sometimes because neighbors get nervous, and on some occasions because the homeless create problems and attract attention.

Recently, a guy who is getting to know the homeless recommended that the community clean up its act, including cleaning up all the trash some people left. In areas of lower Bucks County, most of the problems are created by druggies, many who have been thrown out of recovery houses.

Like other members of the homeless community, these people need help.

Some friends and I are trying to find more shelter for the homeless in Bucks County. One of them suggested that we create an office and direct homeless people where they need to go. This is an excellent idea.

One place I’d recommend for people with any addiction problem, who don’t need immediate detox, is the 12 Steps Journey Program I’ve been attending. Attendance waxes and wanes, but yesterday we could barely fit everyone at the table. Praise the Lord!

If more people start coming to the meetings, we’ll just add another table to the circle we sit around. We will make sure the circle is unbroken.

http://www.12stepjourney.com/

Given the choice between secular psychology and Christian faith, I pick Jesus.

You Cannot Save Everyone

Although I, as a human, with feelings of humanity, like to see people stop their destructive behavior, and I try to help them with this, some people are hell-bent (and this is where they are heading) on destroying themselves.  It’s like seeing some fool paddling a kayak about to go over Rapids that drop as abruptly as Niagara Falls.

This makes me as crazy as The Three Stooges at the mention of Niagara Falls.  “NI AG RA FALLS.  Slowly I turned, step by step…”

I just saw a photo by Bryant McGill that someone posted on Face Book that reads:

“You cannot save everyone

Some people are

going to destroy themselves

no matter how much

you try to help them.”

Recently, two drunks I know were kicked out of homes because of chronic drunkenness.  They had plenty of warnings.  One of them is homeless.  The homeless drunk had been drinking on an off yesterday.  He and other drunks continued a quarrel that had started the day before, only other people were added to the blow up.  I suggested making a video and sending it to Jerry Springer.  Maybe he would invite the people on his show.

Last night one of sober people in the congregation audio recorded the ruckus and played it back to the perpetrators to let them know how they sounded.

Some of the drunks last night messed up their glasses, and one of them received a summons for falling asleep drunk in the street.

In the words of the old folk song:

“When will they ever learn?

When will they ever learn?”

My friend who had a drug problem but then got a job and I believed got straight, which I reported in my last blog, fell back again, according to word on the street.

Addiction to smoking is also destructive behavior that, no matter what you do to try to stop some people on this destructive course, they still insist on poisoning themselves. I’ve been taking a friend for treatment for lung cancer and helping to feed her, as she looks like what author Tom Wolfe calls an “X-ray” person, and have been encouraging her to drink Gatorade.

Recent results from a CAT scan showed that the chemo was successfully fighting the cancer.  Yet she continues to smoke!  At the treatment center, I saw people who got treatment in the chemo room just outside the building smoking!  I felt like approaching them like a drill sergeant and yelling “what kind of stupid are you?”

My friend’s doctor’s assistant told her that smoking under minds the cancer treatment.  She told me I should continue to tell my friend to stop smoking, as will she.

I’ve been keeping my friend’s food stamp card to make sure she doesn’t trade food vouchers for money for cigarettes.  Still, when she’s not bumming cigarettes from friends and even perfect strangers, she scours the ground and ashtrays for used butts to smoke.  And when someone gave her money, she bought cigarettes with it.  On one occasion, when she started using found money for food, she lied and told me she was out of money and bummed money from me.  Later that day I found her standing in a store line to, what else, buy cancer sticks.

Addictions become so strong that addicts lose their moral compass.  One drug addict boasted “I am the King of the panhandlers.”  On one occasion, he panhandled at a community meal from another homeless person! Yesterday he was in a local laundry where he panhandled.

Earlier on with my informal ministry with the homeless, I tried to help some alcoholics I befriended with their addiction.  They went off the deep end, especially two of them.  One of them took the attitude of Walt, the high school chemistry teacher in the AMC series Breaking Bad, who, once he learned he had cancer, started acting irresponsibly, and started making drugs and helping to push them.  The other one, a well educated woman with whom I occasionally had interesting conversations and at one point thought I was in love with, kept stealing, lying and manipulating as result of her character flaw that created such a drunk.

On one occasion, when I was trying to counsel the Breaking Bad character, when he was physically and figuratively outside the homeless gang I hung out with, one of them yelled out “Jeff, don’t waste your time with him” and added that there are other people out there who need help and are more receptive to it.

When these friends with addictions started heading towards the ash heap of history, I emailed a friend at the Advocates for the Homeless and Those in Need (AHTN), which also help the homeless, and told her how saddened I was that these people would not turn around.  She responded that when she first started working with the homeless she thought she could change the world but came to grips with reality.  She told me that you can’t make them change and all you can do is show them God’s love…

There’s a guy in the circle I’m in who is practically going out of his mind with alcohol fueling it.  He was treated and made a profession of faith but then started slipping.  A few months ago, when he sat next to me on the AHTN bus he said “Jeff, I need a follow up” of his treatment.  Recently, I sat next to him at a community meal.  He shared he felt there was no hope.  I told them there was an introduced him the concept of sanctification.  I explained that when you come to Christ and confess your sins and get right with God, this is only a start.  And I shared my story about overcoming hopelessness.

God continues to work with you to make you more like Christ, perfect.  Perfection was only achieved in this world by Jesus.  By studying the scriptures, praying, and fellowshipping with other Christians we grow in God’s grace and become more like Christ.

Jay Adams, pastor and counselor, said that Christians have mental problems because sanctification either slows down or even stops, and the key is to, as the apostle Paul wrote,  use the Bible for “disciplined training in righteousness” to keep us in sync with the one who wrote the book on how to be right human beings.  http://www.nouthetic.org/about-ins/our-faculty/8-about-ins/6-jay-adams-biography

I attend the 12 Steps Journey Program to help me with my pent up anger, anxiety issues.  Like my friend, I was about to give up hope until I returned to the Lord, and followed up with this program.  http://www.12stepjourney.com/

All we can do is to try to send people on the right path, as does Evangelist in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress http://www.ccel.org/ccel/bunyan/pilgrim.html   and become God’s ambassadors.

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”  — 2 Corinthians 5:20.

We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place

“We’ve got to get out of this place

if it’s the last thing we ever do

We’ve got to get out of this place

Girl, there’s a better life

for me and you”

-Eric Burdon and the Animals

These are the sediments of many homeless people.  In fact, it could be their theme song.

Some sleep in their cars, some on walkways with padding and blankets, and others in tents in the woods.  The latter group is pestered by bugs and animals.  The homeless who are out in the elements are challenged by the elements — they try to keep warm and dry.  Bedding , their food and their shelters get wet, and so do they sometimes.

And there’s the authorities, who sometimes evict the homeless from their sites.  Sometimes raids are precipitated by some bad apples causing problems, so everybody has to pack up and leave.

There’s also the ambulance chasers, representatives from Penndel Mental Health Center, who went on what became recruitment missions when they accompanied other members of the lower Bucks County, PA community when they went on a meet and greet with the homeless.

There is more vacant property in Bucks County, PA than there are homeless people.  After much discussion, ad infinitum, ad nauseum, about using this property to house the homeless, nothing has been even been started!  I think a reason for this is that the Bucks establishment wants to keep people dependent, and the homeless are perfect for this.  They are viewed as an underclass, who need mental help.  And Penndel Mental Health Center is there to tap into government subsidies, for customers who are almost as agreeable to this service as rocks and trees are to be the constituents of environmentalists.

Like much of the mental health community, the Holy Grail to solving mental health issues at Penndel Mental Health is medication — legal drugs.   When I talked with a representative from Penndel Mental Health, the rep initially asked if I was willing to take medication.

Although I wasn’t homeless, like Captain Hook, I was taken in by the representative’s welcome grin.  I was really messed up at the time.

I recently quit using the Penndel Mental Health Center.  First I stopped taking medication, and then I quit my therapy.  The therapist implied that I shouldn’t be getting therapy because I wasn’t taking medication.  Evidently, this was a package deal.  It’s like buying a 45 rpm single record back in the day, when if you are only interested in one of the songs, but you get both.

The psychiatrist didn’t even determine if my problem was organic — if it was biological, medical, before he prescribed Paxil.  I don’t believe my problem is organic. Evidently, he believes that medication is the sine qua non for treating people’s problems.

When I considered pursuing help through a secular mental health clinic, I was egged on by friends at the Salvation Army Community Center church.  One of them remarked that I was like a rag soaked in gasoline ready to flare up.  So I needed help outside the church.

Referrals to the psyche world from the church has been common for decades.  Pastors have found that after they sent members of their flock to the shrink, however, that they were returned to sender, a  damaged package, address unknown.

But this is changing.  As pastor and counselor Jay Adams says, “There is a new kind of person to whom you may refer people. It is someone who doesn’t try to play shrink, who wants to work with physicians and can be of great help to these people who need counseling rather than medicine. I refer to the new breed of ecclesiastical cat that is prowling around much of this country today.”     http://www.nouthetic.org/the-physician-the-pastor-psychotherapy-and-counseling

Besides getting myself more in touch with God and his Word through resources at the Salvation Army, Christian literature, the Bible, fellowship and prayer, I’ve been attending a Biblical based 12 Steps program, modeled on the original 12 Steps program started by AA.    http://www.12stepjourney.com/

One of my brothers in the program told me, when I was using Paxil, that I would not need medication once I got my life in sync with God.  Since stopping the Paxil, I’ve been taking the advice of the new breed of ecclesiastical cat and have been working out my problems by following the counsel of the Lord.  As was pointed out in my 12 Steps Journey program, the healing process is slow, but it’s the only sure fire way of getting out of this place in my head.

It will lead to a better life for me and you.

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.”  -Luke 10:27, King James Version.

One way to show love towards thy neighbor is to contribute to helping the homeless in Bucks County, PA find shelter. http://www.gofundme.com/lq6sfc  You have the option of skipping the ad after a short wait.