searching and something lost

There was a time I was on Kip's Garage. I was 14, lost, confused and in search of something to relate to. Ten years has past and I'm lost and now find myself accused as the abuser as opposed to victim. 24 now, I wonder, what the hell ever happened to that girl I found on a yahoo chat room who told me about this place? Here name was Danielle I believe, in the California area, and she introduced me to RATM, and a story of systematic abuse. Gwen_punk@yahoo.com i believe was her old email, haushinka one of her other user names. I know she posted on Kips in self abuse, but somewhere along the way I lost that friend. I have no idea what my 14 year old intellect once used as a username on there, though I do recall it was about reporting a rape an ex once made up. I cut and hid from the world, because the one I trusted the most, was the one who burned me the hardest. My name is Royce, and I live in Canada, and I wonder what ever happened to that mechanically gifted girl who worked on motor cycles. if you know where I can find her, it would be greatly appreciated..... What the hell ever happened to Kip's garage, the place was definately undervalued in its help?
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saceligious

A reply to another site.

Didn't know where to put this, but felt it should be read. At least by one person, Erin, and I'm not certain she'd see it in the original venue it was posted (http://www.webstripe.com/friends-loveem-but-hatem/)



Erin--

You lost my friendship because you put distance between us far before Mikee shot himself. Also, I do acknowledge that I hurt Mikee but you must keep in mind that he was very mentally ill and what he felt might have happened between us may not have been what had happened in actuality.

Before I went to see Mikee that summer and before I met James Mikee had made it clear he wanted to stop having a relationship with me in an email but stated he still wanted me to visit as it was impersonal to break off a relationship online.

We were not together as a couple when I met James. Mikee seemed to regret this after James and I hit it off so well and started trying to cuddle up to me and such so he and I had a very serious conversation in his bedroom one night about where he and I stood as a couple and his comfort with me being with James. He agreed that he didn't want to be in a relationship as he had said to me before and said it was fine that James and I were enjoying one another so much.

I was young, niave, and selfish enough to believe him so when he saw James and I kissing and ran into his room slamming the door I was actually shocked by this reaction. The next day he asked both James and I to leave then stayed the entire week before our flight to California at his parents house. He was insistent that James and I stay at his apartment. Again, I was young and selfish enough to listen to him.

I was 15. He was 24.

At the time I thought this was fine, normal in fact. I thought I was brilliant and insightful and terribly, terribly mature for my age. Because ALL 15-year-olds believe this. Really I was none of those things and Mikee was old enough to realize this, depressed or not.

I miss Mikee all of the time. I think about him more often than I admit to anyone. When I said goodbye to him at the airport before going back home he wouldn't look at me. He kept looking off to his side. I tried to hug him but he was stiff and cold.

I knew I had hurt him; I thought that he hated me. I was too inexperienced with life to understand how I had hurt him, but I recognized the expression.

He didn't even say goodbye.

And that was the last time I spoke to him. Next I heard I got a phone call from you telling me he had shot himself.

And then it came out that you knew he had a gun and had done absolutely nothing about it.

That all of the core members; "the chosen ones", had known and been discussing what to do for weeks.

How about report to his local police station that a person whom had been recently hospitalized due to mental illness had a gun when it was illegal for him to? How about something immediate instead of twiddling your thumbs and trying to figure out the best option. Sometimes there is not a best option, only the option of doing whatever is necessary to prevent someone from hurting themselves. You guys never did that. This was such a horrendous lack of judgment that it cost someone their life, whether by their own hand or not. Standing by idly without action is just as bad as committing the act yourself.

You learn that in law school. Study up.

Be well.


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5b

ten years.

I'd like to write a nice long piece about this, but today isn't the day. However, I have to say that nothing in the last couple of years has made me any more optimistic about the contemporary state of mental health care, whether online or off.

This is a time of protracted economic crisis, and no matter what anybody says, I don't think that either the course or the duration of this mess is predictable. When an economy shrinks, so does availability of health care, even though from a rational standpoint, that should be one of the last services to be imperiled. As health care contracts, mental and emotional health care is one of the earliest areas to suffer. And mental and emotional health care for adolescents is particularly at risk for disappearing entirely -- I've watched it happen in California several times.

All I can say at the moment is: We will only bolster mental health in this country, particularly public care and above all what's made available to adolescents, if we harness the full power of the Internet. In ten years of looking, I've found only the most sporadic attempts to do that. Part of the problem, in the United States, is the balkanization created through state-by-state licensing. Much of the rest is the nearly universal reluctance of therapists use computers, not only as adjuncts to therapy, but for any purpose at all.

We can regret -- and I do -- that online therapy, whether in theory or practice, has shown so little growth in ten years. But we were pioneers, passionate pioneers, and we will never lose that. Certainly, the person I was in the garage was one of my best selves ever. And to all the comrades of the garage, again and as always, thank you.

[crossposted from panterazero.wordpress.com]
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3b

ten years!!

Hi everybody,

It's a time for quiet celebration. Somewhere around here, although the exact date has vanished, is the tenth anniversary of the alphagarage -- that intrepid cluster of a dozen online friends whose bright ideas and incessant conversation made it obvious that we needed some kind of a website for adolescent peer counseling.

Since then, some parts of the equation have made a lot of progress, and some haven't. In June I finished my master's thesis, which was a compilation of literature about therapists' attitudes toward online therapy; it took me an extra year, came out to over a hundred pages, and nobody who knows me will be surprised by either of the above. (My diploma is still hung up by completely unrelated administrative issues, and nobody who knows anything about grad school -- etc.) By the beginning of this winter I should be able to launch a couple of web-based surveys about online therapy, about which more later.

It was fascinating to go to grad school and find out so many of the professional terms for the stuff that the garage arrived at, e.g., that what we used to call the "canary in the coal mine" is universally referred to as the identified patient -- but the principle is still the same: one person, usually under heavy duress, agrees to be a family's publicly disordered person so that the real extent of the family's dysfunction can be hidden as far as possible. No surprise there either, right? But in school, so far as online therapy was concerned, I was only able to arrive at two solid conclusions -- first, that it's vitally necessary, and second, that (in the United States at least,) it's not really happening. Yet.

I could point to a dozen reasons why that's true -- for example, the militant disinterest of most professional associations -- but there are two particular obstacles that will prove very difficult to get over. One is that, in almost every state in the United States, a therapist who resides in one state is forbidden to treat a client who resides in another, especially if treatment is taking place across that state line. This is a logical (but not terribly reasonable) consequence of being licensed, as a therapist, in only one state at a time. The roadblock that it creates to free exercise of online therapy is obvious. Less obvious, but still true, is the fact that most serious research and practice of online therapy is taking place in countries -- like the UK and Australia -- which don't have internal "state lines" that affect the national jurisdiction over therapy.

The second obstacle may be worse. Almost from my first week of classes I suspected, and after writing my thesis I know, that very few therapists are comfortable with computer use, with cyberspace, or with involving computers with therapeutic practice in any way. Again, there are too many reasons for this to look at separately here. But the distaste that the therapeutic community feels for computing impairs more than just online therapy; it keeps therapy expensive and logistically inconvenient, and saddles the practice of therapy with an incredible (and indefensible) administrative burden, especially for clients who pay through medical insurance. Other comparable professions, like law, accounting, and internal medicine, have embraced computing enthusiastically. Psychotherapy isn't there yet, and is still embroiled in tremendous arguments as to whether cybertherapy is appropriate at all. The community of practicing online therapists, and the one professional association to which I belong (the International Society for Mental Health Online, http://www.ismho.org), are much smaller in 2008 than I would have foreseen in 1998. All of this can be discouraging, but it also really defines the struggle for acceptance. And as it becomes more and more clear that we were all pioneers who took huge risks, I'm more and more proud of having been involved with the garage from the very beginning.

It may take ten more years, or twenty, or even more time than I have left, for online therapy to be comprehensively accepted in the United States. But it has to happen, or therapy constrained by the limits of "face-to-face" will dwindle to an old-fashioned, arcane, and inconvenient practice that excludes most of the people who need it. I'm going to spend (a lot of) the rest of my life trying to bring therapy into the 21st century; and of course, anybody who wants to join me is welcome.

honor, power, and more than ever, love,
the.cat
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Thoughts, memories, etc.

Darling Garage-ites -

The time has come.  As I prepare for the start of an MFA program at the end of the summer, my mind has begun to wander onto larger writing projects I'd like to undertake.  And, as always, I come straight back to the Garage.  (Funny how that works, eh?)  Once I get my act together, I will be putting together a more official-looking list of interview questions.  But to get this started, I want to hear from you.  About your experiences at the Garage, about what's happened since then.  The state of mental health (as Kip mentioned back in January).  Any of it. 

What kind of questions do you want to be asked?

I truly believe that something very special happened in those years on that site, and it's more than just the gathering of -- well -- instability.  I think it speaks of the things we don't give teens/young adults credit for -- namely their tenacity through the hard times.

I've been using the wayback website to cull some of my information, but, unfortunately, many pages have been lost.  If you would like to offer anything you might have saved, I'd be honored.

E-mail anything/everything to me at newnonfiction@gmail.com.

Something has to be said about mental health in contemporary society.  Why not start with what we know?

So much appreciation and love.

Amy
5b

1999-2008

happy anniversary, everybody! As usual I've got a lot to say about the state of therapy -- and I'll take the liberty of tucking in a little bit on my own progress toward degree and career -- but give me a couple of days to get the current stack off my desk. I'll be back, I promise.
family pic

looking for a book recommendation

Hi. A friend of my sisters is going through a really messed up time right now. As far as she can tell there is no si. She is concerned that he is on the verge of becoming suicidal. (He tells her he's not - but the signs point differently).

He has a successful career. But he's had a relationship that is on and off all the time and very hurtful. He spends all of his spare time getting stoned and sitting at home alone thinking. He insists that the weed just calms him down and helps him, but I think he is using it as a way to block himself away from reality and he's thinking about all bad stuff. He needs to get out of this routine. I'm all for smoking weed for fun, or occasionally to chill. But all the time? That's not healthy.

My sister is a close friend (not her boyfriend - just a close friend) and the only one he'll talk to about this. He won't go to a therapist and she's afraid if she brings someone else into the picture he will feel she betrayed her and not talk to anyone. (It bothers me because this is really worrying her. She's getting that attachment that is so common in this situation where she feels like she's walking on eggshells and she has to help him and that if she can't and something happens it will be her fault for not helping him.)

I was wondering if anyone had any ideas or perhaps a good book for him to read. He loves to write poetry and play guitar. My sister thinks he would be open to reading a book if she bought him one. Obviously reading a book won't solve all his problems. But maybe there is one out there that has something in it that might reach out to him a little.

Any thoughts at all would be appreciated.

Something I wish I'd known back in the days of the garage

Change comes slowly, in small increments - each step cemented into habit through months of repetition and painstaking work. The road out of depression is like that. And before you start, you have to know your destination. It is not happiness. It is optimism.

The Ghost in the House, Tracy Thompson

It's all those children's book that end with 'happy ever after' that set us up for disappointment. Long live realism.

(A very good book, by the way. Focuses on maternal depression but has a wider message.)

(no subject)

Um. Hi.

I just found this community, despite the fact that I've been on LJ since 2001 and I have a former Garage-ite or two on my friends list. Somehow, this slipped past me.

I wasn't a member for tremendously long, and I'm in this remote, far-off land called Canada, so I never met up with anyone "IRL". I just posted a lot (as, I believe "Sidhe"), and received an amazing amount of support.

So.. yeah. Thank you. Thank you all for helping me out when I was a lot younger, and a lot angrier and a lot more (or... maybe equally as) confused.

It's neat to see some familiar names. I'm going to randomly creep through your LJs now, just to see where you've been for seven years, and maybe get a little teary-eyed.

Good to see you all... And seriously - thanks.