Bruce Springsteen :- “the wheels can come off a little bit”

Background

Personally, there are a few people I will pay to listen to; as I know they are sharing intimately and not trying to sway.

Bruce happens to be one of those very few people.

Esquire Interview

Bruce Springsteen gets candid about his mental health issues: ‘I’m on a variety of medications’ — or ‘the wheels can come off a little bit’
Link

Bruce Springsteen’s memoir Born to Run detailed his long history with depression — and he’s revealing more about his mental health battle.

In a new interview with Esquire, the legendary singer, who’s wrapping up his one-man show on Broadway next month, talks a lot about growing up the son of a paranoid schizophrenic. Springsteen, 69, also gets candid about his breakdowns — the first in 1982 and another in 2009 — and how he keeps his mental health in line.

Springsteen’s relationship with his father, Doug Springsteen, cast a shadow on him for much of his life. The star got some answers late in his dad’s life, when he was finally diagnosed with schizophrenia, before dying in 1998. His father never told Bruce that he loved him and often sat brooding in silence in their family home. While his father’s diagnosis explained much that Springsteen had not understood, it also made him worry for his own mental health and his family’s.

“I have come close enough to [mental illness] where I know I am not completely well myself,” Springsteen revealed to the magazine. “I’ve had to deal with a lot of it over the years, and I’m on a variety of medications that keep me on an even keel; otherwise I can swing rather dramatically and … just … the wheels can come off a little bit. So we have to watch, in our family. I have to watch my kids, and I’ve been lucky there. It ran in my family going way before my dad.

Springsteen talked about his first breakdown when he was 32. It was the time he released Nebraska (much was about his troubled upbringing) when he was road-tripping with a friend from New Jersey to L.A. On a late summer night, they drove through a Texas town where a fair was taking place. A band was playing, couples were dancing, kids were running around, and The Boss — from his car — watched the happy scene and cracked. He still doesn’t know what it was about that exact place and time that so affected him.

“All I do know is as we age, the weight of our unsorted baggage becomes heavier … much heavier,” he said. “With each passing year, the price of our refusal to do that sorting rises higher and higher. … Long ago, the defenses I built to withstand the stress of my childhood, to save what I had of myself, outlived their usefulness, and I’ve become an abuser of their once lifesaving powers. I relied on them wrongly to isolate myself, seal my alienation, cut me off from life, control others, and contain my emotions to a damaging degree. Now the bill collector is knocking, and his payment’ll be in tears.”

He said the breakdown led him to therapy — and it transformed his life. Not long after this, as he and his wife, songstress Patti Scialfa, were expecting their first child together, Springsteen’s dad came to visit and they had a ground-breaking moment. “You’ve been very good to us. And I wasn’t very good to you,” he recalled his dad saying. (In Springsteen’s show, he called this “the greatest moment in my life, with my dad.”)

In Springsteen’s book, he wrote about a second breakdown soon after turning 60 that lasted three years, which he described as an “agitated depression.” He told Esquire that he never contemplated suicide then or at any other point in his life. However, “I once felt bad enough to say, ‘I don’t know if I can live like this.’ It was like … I once got into some sort of box where I couldn’t figure my way out and where the feelings were so overwhelmingly uncomfortable.” He had “no inner peace whatsoever.”

While he wasn’t hospitalized, maybe he should have been. “All I remember was feeling really badly and calling for help,” he said. “I might have gotten close to that and for brief, brief periods of time. It lasted for — I don’t know. Looking back on it now, I can’t say. Was it a couple weeks? Was it a month? Was it longer? But it was a very bad spell, and it just came. … And it came out of the roots that I came out of, particularly on my father’s side, where I had to cop to the fact that I also had things inside me that could lead me to pretty bad places.”

Springsteen said he never tried to take his life during his weakest moments (protesting, “No, no, no”). Then the interviewer brought up Anthony Bourdain, asking if Springsteen could understand how his suicide could have happened.

“Well, I had a very, very close friend who committed suicide,” Springsteen replied. “He was like an older son to me. I mentored him. And he got very, very ill. So, ultimately, it always remains a mystery — those last moments. I always say, Well, somebody was in a bad place, and they just got caught out in the rain. Another night, another way, someone else there … it might not have happened. They were ill, and they got caught out in the rain. … I don’t know anyone who’s ever explained satisfactorily the moments that lead up to someone taking that action. So can I understand how that happens? Yes. I think I felt just enough despair myself to — pain gets too great, confusion gets too great, and that’s your out. But I don’t have any great insight into it, and in truth, I’ve never met someone who has.”

 

Listening

  1. Bruce Springsteen
    • Bruce Springsteen – One Step Up with Lyrics
      Link

 

 

Patrick Kennedy :- A Common struggle

 

Books

A Common struggle, Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried

Prologue

“Amy and our young children are what keep me on my spiritual journey of recovery and hope.  In fact, they are probably the only reason I am still alive.  They remind me every day of our most underappreciated treatment for these illnesses: love and faith.

They also remind me of the biggest reason to fight for mental health parity.  My own children are at considerable genetic risk, just as I was, of developing mental illness and addiction.

Which means that they can, and must, be part of the first generation in American history to have their brain diseases treated like every other disease.

Our children must be part of the first generation for which routine doctor visits includes a “checkup from the neck up”.

My goal is to change the way we talk about mental illness and addiction in this country, move the conversation from a painful existence debate to a more useful and forward looking discussion about proper diagnosis and care.

The sad truth is that while we still have so much to learn about the brain, most patients don’t even benefit from what we already know.

More than half the people who have been diagnosed with any mental illness do not get treatment at all.  It is time to for this to change.

My hope is that by writing about and exposing the worlds I get to visit, I might be able to make your journey less isolated.

These struggles are much more common than most people realize, but too many of us still face them alone, if we face them at all.

That isn’t necessary, it isn’t healthy, and it isn’t how any of us want to live our lives.

I believe more than ever than ever, that we have the power to change the world for people who have mental illnesses and addictions, and for all of those whose lives are touched by these brain diseases – which is to say, all of us.

In fact, I have bet my life on it.”

 

 

Videos

  1. CBS This Morning
    • Patrick Kennedy shares secret family struggles in “A Common Struggle”
      Former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy writes of his own mental illness and addictions, but he also looks at his parents’ problems with alcohol and his mother’s depression. Kennedy believes his father, Ted, suffered from post-traumatic stress after two of his brothers were assassinated. Kennedy joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss why he decided to reveal the Kennedy family secrets.
      Published on :- 2015-Oct-5th
      Link
    • Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy, Sen. Ted Kennedy’s youngest child, has a new memoir that digs deep into his long history of mental illness and addiction. It is a story other family members did not want him to tell. His brother, Ted Kennedy Jr., called it an “inaccurate and unfair portrayal of our family.” Kennedy joins the second hour of “CBS This Morning” to discuss why he co-wrote “A Common Struggle.”
      Published on :- 2015-Oct-5th
      Link
  2. Maria Shriver
    • Architects of Change: Patrick Kennedy & Maria Shriver
      Published On :- 2106-Jan-13rd
      Link
  3. NBC News
    • Addressing addiction in America
      Link
    • Inside America’s Most Opioid Addicted County | NBC Nightly News
      Ohio’s Montgomery County is now the per-capita leader in overdose deaths. NBC’s Jacob Soboroff went there to speak to residents whose lives have been upended by the crisis.
      Published On :- 2017-June-19th
      Link

 

Poorna Bell – Dear men, this is what the women in your life want you to know ….

 

 Picture

Interview

  1. ‘My husband was a secret heroin addict’
    Link

 

Story

Link

I used to be married to a wonderful yet complicated man named Rob. He worked as a science journalist, we had a house and a dog, and one day we planned to have children. He also suffered from depression since he was a child, and developed a formidable opiate addiction as a means, I believe, to self-medicate that illness.

In May 2015, he took his own life, unable to see a future in which he wouldn’t still be fighting his illness, unable to reconcile what he thought he was versus what he believed a man should be.

In one of his last messages to me, he said he couldn’t live with being bankrupt, an addict, mentally ill. This speaks heartbreaking volumes of how he saw himself at the end – someone no longer valuable to society.

He had forgotten his huge intellect, his stunning ability to name any species of bird or plant he came across, his kindness, generosity, friendship. His immense capacity to love, which came without conditions or limitations.

As a man on the cusp of 40, he struggled with a lot of things other men do – being a good partner, making money, one day being a dad – but more often than not, those worries were kept hidden beneath a veneer of nonchalance, jokes and ‘everything’s fine’.

However, he would always be the best listener and advice-giver to anyone who needed help.

Men are more likely to develop addictions than women. If you are a man, the thing most likely to kill you, if you are under 45, is yourself. And yet we don’t seem to knit together all of these things to figure out why this is the case.

The idea of self-medicating your own illness to the point of death is preferable, it appears, to asking for help. Because admitting you can’t do it alone goes against the expectation we have for you as men: that you are supposed to fix everything, do everything and deal with your darkest worries in silence.

In an attempt to make sense of Rob’s death, I wrote a book called Chase The Rainbow, which is part memoir, part journalism, to give context and make sense of what is happening to our men.

As part of my research, I spoke to Alistair Campbell who campaigns for awareness around mental health, and to end stigma. He said simply that if a person was still here, then anything was possible. And if they weren’t, then nothing was possible.

What I am here to say, on behalf of all the women in your lives, is that we don’t want your silence. Your silence, quite literally, is killing you.

It shouldn’t have to take a death for anyone to realise this. It shouldn’t have to take a number as terrifying as that suicide statistic to make us really examine what we need and want from our men.

What we need from you isn’t your ability to take out the rubbish or mow the lawn. Or be stoic and silent in the face of adversity. Or even be the breadwinner.

What we want from you is to still be here. Because if you are here, then we have a chance of changing things, and if you aren’t, then all we can do is build on your legacy. It seems unthinkable that the future of boys and men are built on the bones of others, but until that number goes down, it will keep happening.

I remember asking Rob a lot, if he was okay, because he didn’t seem to be. And nine times out of ten, he insisted he was fine. The truth would only emerge when he had reached a situation of such desperate proportions, I wondered why his real emotions always only came out after paying such a high price. He lost his house, dog and eventually, me.

I don’t think I ever truly understood his shame or his loneliness, and I wish he had given me the chance. When I asked him once, why he couldn’t talk to me until it got really bad, he couldn’t articulate it. He just said: “I… can’t.”

He kept convincing himself he could fix it all and I would never have to know about the real extent of his problems.

I don’t think he ever understood what I wanted from him; what any wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend wants from any man in their lives. We don’t want perfection. We don’t expect you to have it all figured out anymore than we do. We don’t expect you to never make mistakes, or never feel sad, small, vulnerable or lonely.

The parts we tend to love most about you are not your rough edges, or your ability to keep a stiff upper lip. It is your softness, kindness; your ability to trust us with your hearts; to cry in front of us. These are not failings because they make you more than a man: they make you human.
We do you a disservice by writing you off as simple and straightforward. You grow up in the same world we do, and yet we paint you as emotionally one-dimensional. You are complex, your waters run deeper than we can imagine. If we are capable of softness and strength, then why do we imagine you aren’t?

The story I love most about my father is that he wrote poetry for my mother when he worked long shifts at A&E. The thing I loved most about Rob was his habit of placing flowers on my bedside table while I slept so I would wake up to the scent of freesias.

The women in your lives love you for a thousand reasons. I doubt any of them has anything to do with your ability to carry heavy things. We don’t expect you to only share your successes, your power, your strength. We need you to share your pain, your fears, your worries.

Because for those of us left behind, who have lost our men, there is not a day that passes when we don’t wish they were here. So we could tell them that those expectations are not realistic, that no one can hold all of their worry and concern inside, and that’s not what we want from them anyway.

What we want, above anything else, is but the sharpest of wishes: that they were still here.

 

Treating Tasla ( by KAREN DE SÁ – San Jose Mercury News)

Forward

A heartbroken story of family or lack thereof.

 

Story

Story by KAREN DE SÁ
Photographs and video by DAI SUGANO 
PUBLICATION: AUGUST 8, 2016

Link

Pulled from a neglectful home, Tasia Wright remembers the terrifying loneliness of growing up in foster care in Southern California.

There were frequent visits with psychiatrists, and when she met with Dr. Eliot Moon, she remembers getting a sweet, a prescription and being sent on her way.

“I just went to his office, took my piece of candy and let him tell me what medication I’d be on,” recalled Tasia, who said the doctor would tell her the treatment was for “bad behavior.”

“He didn’t ask us why we did what we did, or anything like that.” She felt like “it was set in stone. He has to put you on a med.”

Now 27, Tasia is sharing the story of her emotionally fragile childhood under the care of one of California’s highest prescribers of antipsychotic medications to foster children — the latest installment of the Bay Area News Group’s ongoing investigative series “Drugging Our Kids.”

A new investigation of the prescribing habits of 1,280 doctors and nurse practitioners, published Sunday, showed Moon was among a select group: 120 psychiatrists who were responsible about 50 percent of the time when a foster child received antipsychotics. The powerful psychiatric drugs often come with debilitating side effects for children.

Tasia was 6 when social workers wrested her from a single mother with drug problems. The little girl arrived at the Hillsides residential group home in Pasadena, with a nurse noting in her files that Tasia “appears bright, answers questions, smiles. … Says she has no aches, pains or problems.”

She left the group home 13 years later, morbidly obese, with Type 2 diabetes and medication-induced tremors.

Ties to drug companies

Moon saw Tasia in her teenage years, from 2004 to 2009. In the ensuing years, Moon stood out among psychiatrists who treated California foster youth from July 2009 to July 2014, according to a database of state Medi-Cal benefit claims obtained through a public records request by this news organization. He ranked among the highest prescribers of multiple antipsychotic medications, drugs approved mostly for adults with schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders.

 

The 46 foster children for whom Moon prescribed two or more antipsychotics for two months or longer accounted for a startling 6 percent of the youth who received a similar treatment statewide over the five years the news organization examined. The drugs, especially in combination, place youth at high risk for obesity, diabetes, extreme lethargy and irreversible tremors.

And Moon was among a handful of the state’s highest prescribers who played a role in helping drug manufacturers research antipsychotics and other psychiatric drugs. From a remote region in the Riverside County city of Wildomar, Moon runs Elite Clinical Trials, a firm sponsored by 13 pharmaceutical companies.

Despite a reporter’s visit to that office, along with months of repeated calls, emails and a certified letter, Moon did not respond to questions about his dual roles as high prescriber and drug industry researcher, or his treatment of Tasia.

His firm received $1.2 million in research funding in 2013-2015, according  to the government’s website of drug company disclosures. Elite Clinical Trials is listed on another federal government website as a study location for 25 industry-sponsored trials on mental-health drugs, including 19 that involve children and adolescents.

According to medical records she shared with this news organization, Tasia was prescribed 23 different psychiatric drugs by three psychiatrists, including Moon, while she lived at Hillsides. Moon and Elite Clinical Trials accepted payments from the manufacturers of five of the seven psychotropic drugs he prescribed her: Clozaril, Topamax, Neurontin, Ativan and Zyprexa.

Hillsides CEO Joseph Costa declined to discuss Moon, one of his center’s five treating psychiatrists. But in a written statement that did not address any specifics, Costa described Hillsides’ “medication support” as just one part of an integrated treatment approach, which he said is based on evidence of effectiveness, proven research and measurable outcomes.

“Children are also informed of the medication, which is administered at the lowest effective dose possible,” he said, “and advised that they have a right to refuse medication without fear of consequence.”

‘All she wanted was to be adopted’

Overwhelming sadness compounded Tasia’s deteriorating physical health at Hillsides. As she watched her siblings find adoptive homes one by one, Tasia would get dressed up in donated clothes and wait for visits from her birth mother. But her mom often failed to show. Grief and frustration would turn to anger, at times unleashed on the group home staff. Tasia was often sent to the padded timeout room.

When she was 14 and on three psychiatric drugs, psychiatrist Dr. Elliot Tressan noted how she “had an extremely difficult weekend, violent, unpredictable. Looks sleepy at times but becomes very angry quickly. Dangerously out of control.” He discontinued one drug but added Depakote and the antipsychotic Risperdal.

“She thought if she was bad enough they’d send her back to her mother, but she didn’t know that ‘bad enough’ would turn her into ‘unadoptable’,” said Tonya Beaudet, who adopted Tasia’s sister and spent years taking Tasia home on weekends. “It was just sad, it was so sad — all she wanted was to be adopted.”

Tasia was cheerful at Beaudet’s home, she said, helping in the kitchen and cuddling with her sister. But Tasia would arrive for visits with a zip-lock bag full of pills. Beaudet said she quickly learned which ones not to give her “so she wouldn’t sleep all weekend.”

Tasia was treated by two psychiatrists before she became Moon’s patient. In her first year in the group home, 10 psychiatric drugs were tried — so many that by age 8, a physician’s notes describe Tasia as so sedated she “fell over ‘like a tree’ on way to school.”

Tasia Wright shared more than 13 years of medical records with the Bay Area News Group from her youth growing up in foster care at Hillsides, a residential group home in Pasadena. Documenting a tumultuous childhood, the records provide a glimpse into how psychiatric drugs played a central role in the treatment plan of a girl who arrived at 6 and “appears bright, answers questions, smiles … no aches, pains or problems.” More than a decade later, she left foster care morbidly obese, with Type 2 diabetes and medication-induced tremors.

As a young teen, Tasia Wright was once on as many as five psychiatric drugs. Dr. Eliot Moon eventually tapered her off most of the medications but introduced Clozaril, an antipsychotic designed for treatment-resistant schizophrenics that is rarely used in children younger than 16. From 2004 to 2008, her records show, the doctor increased Tasia’s Clozaril dosages 11 times.

Questionable diagnosis, treatment

In 2002, when she was 12, Tasia was diagnosed as bipolar, although her medical records show little sign of manic episodes or psychosis. Recent studies have found bipolar disorder is misdiagnosed in children at least half of the time.

Moon took over Tasia’s treatment in 2004, shortly after Dr. Tressan died. She was 14 and had gained 45 pounds in four months. She often refused the humiliation of being weighed, because — at 5 feet 4 inches and 250 pounds — “I knew I was fat,” she said. “That’s all I needed to know.”

Notes from Moon’s predecessor described the young girl as “Markedly Zomboid in manner and function.”

And although there are no studies supporting the use of three or more psychotropic medications at once in children, Tasia was on five, including two antipsychotics. Yet her medical records showed little improvement — and no sign of anyone questioning whether another approach might be needed.

Within a month of taking over her care, Moon did depart from the approach of Tasia’s earlier psychiatrists. He questioned her bipolar diagnosis, and added the phrase “NOS,” or not otherwise specified — a term used when patients don’t quite fit diagnostic criteria.

But while he eventually tapered her off almost all of the earlier medications, Moon introduced what psychiatrists reviewing redacted copies of her records for this news organization described as “the biggest gun” available: Clozaril, an antipsychotic designed for treatment-resistant schizophrenics that is rarely used in children younger than 16. A medication of last resort because of its risk of irreversible bone marrow suppression, Clozaril prescriptions cannot be filled without biweekly blood draws. Moon steadily increased Tasia’s Clozaril dosages 11 times from 2004 to 2008, her records show.

One night, for a matter of hours, he agreed to allow Tasia off her meds.

On June 12, 2008, after a 10-minute office visit, he noted in her medical records: “Client is attending grad night this evening and wishes to hold medication so she will not be sleepy. Hold both evening meds for tonight only. (resume both meds on 6/13/08).”

“That was the one time I know of that I stood up for myself and refused my medication,” she said. “I was not about to fall asleep at my prom — that’s embarrassing!

What’s best for the kids’

Hillsides’ main campus in Pasadena — where Moon still works — houses 50 children on a spacious 17 acres with stately cream-colored dormlike cottages, a swimming pool, playground and library. The group home, flanked by palms in an upscale residential neighborhood, is rated a “Level 12” — which means it is not designed to treat the state’s most seriously disturbed children.

Yet Rosa Martinez, who worked at Hillsides as a child care counselor from 2013 until February 2016, said many children took multiple drugs

Martinez said the flow of information that led to the high prescribing often concerned her: The staff would complain in meetings about kids acting out, and a therapist would take those complaints to Moon as prescription recommendations.

“I can understand there are those days where it’s really difficult and very challenging,” she said, “but they’re not thinking about the long-term benefit of the child. What I saw is everybody just trying to get through their shift, versus what’s best for the kids.”

Lorraine Triolo, a Hillsides volunteer and benefactor, had other concerns about prescribing at the group home. After learning of Moon’s ties to drug companies in this news organization’s 2014 investigative series “Drugging Our Kids,” Triolo — a professional photographer who grew close to Tasia throughout her teenage years — began asking critical questions about Moon. Last year, she sent a letter to Costa, the Hillsides CEO, threatening to rescind a five-year, five-figure funding commitment she had made for a new campus construction project.

“It appears to me that there is an ongoing conflict of interest between Dr. Moon, his pharmaceutical vendors and the children at Hillsides,” Triolo wrote Costa. “This conflict leaves children like Tasia vulnerable to inappropriate medication with profound, lifelong consequences. I strongly object to this practice and cannot continue to support or fund the organization until Dr. Moon is removed from your staff, and all future psychiatrists serving at Hillsides do not receive payments from pharmaceutical manufacturers of psychoactive drugs. I hope that you will see this as I do.”

Costa defended Moon and his approach to medication in his correspondence with Triolo, so she withdrew her pledged support.

Triolo insists she has never seen the violent behaviors from Tasia that the staff described, or the psychiatric conditions her doctors seemed to be treating. “In all that time, there was never a moment when I was concerned for my safety,” Triolo said. “She was always a sweet, sensitive kid.”

So, now, Triolo continues to try to help Tasia find a way through life. But it has not been easy.

A terrifying emancipation

In her final days at Hillsides, Tasia was terrified of leaving — weepy and unsure how to function on her own after 13 years in a group home. She also was left saddled with lifelong health problems from the medications she received. “She is a client that will require monitoring closely for many health risks,” a final note from her nurse predicted in 2009.

Since being discharged from the group home, Tasia has been homeless and in and out of jail for minor offenses, living meagerly on monthly $889 disability payments.

In his final visit with Tasia, Moon noted in her medical records she would need endocrinology follow-ups, given that she was barreling into a life with diabetes. She should try to lose weight, count her carbs and monitor her blood sugar, he wrote. Three months earlier, he described her anxious mood “associated with her upcoming emancipation” from foster care, adding: “Yesterday, she had an episode of tearfulness concerning this issue.”

Tasia’s send-off from Hillsides launched new struggles. “I go to counseling, but every time I go, it’s like where do I start? I have childhood trauma that has never been resolved, but now that I’m an adult, it’s like what do I do now?” she said. “I was treated like an adult when I was a child, but now that I’m an adult, I have a ticking time bomb inside me of all the pain that I buried away.”

Closing

Mondays off is usually a good thing.  And, I had the last 4 days off.

The best was spending the day with mum.