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Roger N. Meyer "...of a different mind "
Puzzle Pieces Image

THANK YOU FROM A CLIENT'S BIG SISTER

and my Email in Response

 

 

[During my years of advocacy, I've received and thoughtlessly deleted hundreds of thank-you's.  I'm not the kind of person who collects testimonials, and I certainly don't trot them out in my promotional literature.  I'm embarrassed by thanks.  However, here's an exception, and it stays here, on my web site.  Below my client's older sister's thank-you Email is my response to her.  I sent copies of it to the appellate attorney and trial attorney who took my initial work on appeal, won a remand, a re-hearing, and finally, an award of benefits for her brother.  I figure interested persons would have to work to find this, so it's not as though I'm flaunting my success.  I'm proud of my work on this case, and my work with this family.  You, dear reader, can only form your own conclusions.]

 

The Sister Writes:

 

     P called and told me he won his SSI.  I am so relieved it's silly.  You once said that we were the most secretive family you ever met, and there was good reason.  The psychological knowledge of the 50's and 60's was poor, and easily translated into power over the sufferer.  Our family valued, most of all, a sense that the understandings of mankind about himself was an evolutionary process, subject to misunderstanding along the way.  We had a firm base that we were meant to be as we were, whether or not current ideas held designated such as being anomalous to a mainstream idea.  Humans tend to average themselves (as science does) and in doing so they define variations in boxes of value, and feed these ideas to those who are at variance.

 

     In the late 70's, P had an schizophrenic episode in which, over a period of 11 days, he became Jesus Christ.  He was watching a satellite, as he reported it, and it came directly overhead, then came down and into him.  He was never a person who did drugs, and this was an event without them. In that 11 days, we experienced him as a person with a feverish look.  He reported that he felt scales, or feathers, or hair on his skin, and toward the end of that 11 days, he spoke as Christ, with a Christ like voice.

 

     On the 11th day it reached a crisis. He focused on my brother M as being the Devil.  Ma called the police, and they took him to OHSU, and she went with him.  She spent much of the evening constantly repeating to him that if he didn't gain control, she couldn't stop the commitment process.  She came home, exhausted.  But in the morning, OHSU called and said he seemed perfectly normal.  He came home, but he double blinked for a year after that, and he was unstable. We were constantly treating him with kid-gloves, supporting his control.  Over time, he returned to his now normal demand that the world be as he thinks it should be, but, unlike the thinking of the 60's- that a schizophrenic never is cured, he is without that stigma.  We didn't tell you because we were loyal to his wishes, and unsure that such disclosure would put him into a position where he had no freedom to choose for himself.  It was the value of such freedom that made him climb out of that episode.  He worked hard to come back.

 

     You must value freedom too.  I saw it in you.  I want to thank you for what you have done for my family.  Maybe in another world diversity will be equally valued. I firmly believe that it is, outside all human judgment.  What you do is champion the value of those who do not fit the current judgment of a changing society.  In that, you share the sense that diversity has a right to freedom too.

 

     You are the greatest man I have, so far, ever met, because you do what you do outside all but your sense of right and wrong.  Such an existentialist!

Thank you, Roger

Yours,

[P's sister]

 


 

MY EMAIL BACK

 

Dear _,

 

     I haven't yet had a chance to talk with attorney B who handled the re-argument on P's behalf.  I know him to be fair, competent, and even-handed.  I also know him to be a compassionate and dedicated attorney, convinced of the merit of each and every case he handles.  It has been a pleasure to have served both of your brothers well.  No one could have been more surprised than I when I learned that D's case was awarded so quickly and with nary a ripple. What made his award so unusual is the very high presumption that must be overcome in any case where addictive behavior follows on the heels of a pre-existing condition so devastatingly painful that individuals must self-medicate to have any peaceful quality of life, however slim and short-lived a peace others believe that to be.

 

     In P's case, I, like Mr. W who wrote P's appeal, and Mr. B who argued it upon remand, have seen fairness and decency once again prevail.  My only regret, and I have very little in P's case, is that his silent suffering was not earlier brought to light by those in the only position to know the true depth to his suffering.  I've always known P to be a special person, and in my heart I knew that justice and common sense would win out. I'm so heartened to know that at long last, it has.

 

     As I awaited Mr. B's re-argument, I visited P and [his landlady] simply as a friend.  I watched him finally receive the mental health attention he had so long avoided, but also knew that while late, and never enough, nothing could bring back to him that feeling of internal peace whose loss he has mourned over his many years of silent suffering.  P is a simple man, with a simple heart of immense warmth, wrapped in an enigma that others can only begin to imagine.  As his family, you observed him as a young man in the prime of his youth become ravaged by something we've only just begun to understand.

 

     If not for a daring, gutsy licensed clinical social worker who broke most of the rules of her agency because she had to, your brother would never have started on the road to help that her successors have finally illuminated for P.  She believed in her profession, as I believe in mine, that risks must be taken to expose the naked truth as only she experienced it in the two times she saw your brother.  All I had was faith that others would, in time, see your brother as she saw him.  I was not prepared for the stark, daring statements she made, seemingly from nowhere.  No one could have predicted when I brought your brother to her that he felt safe, for the first time in his adult life, to lift a corner on the dressing covering his deep wounds.

 

     It was time, and P finally knew it was time.  My greatest reward lies with the knowledge that I and others were there just at the time your brother's inner soul started to finally speak for him.

 

     And that, ultimately, is all it took to start the wheels to grind, however slowly towards some partial resolution and social recognition of your brother's inner terror and pain.

 

     When I spoke with [his landlady]on Friday, she was completely nonchalant about P's medication and what it has meant to him.  So, indeed, was P, although I didn't think to inquire about such mundane matters as he shared his joy with me.

 

     Over my visits to P and [his landlady], I've seen P increasingly acknowledge, openly, the grip in which his previously so well hidden inner terror has wrapped him.  We all have her to thank for her special sense since she first met him, that P is a specially touched person.  Her life with him has not been easy as she is first to admit.  Her steadfast faith that others would see in your brother what she has sensed all along has many times sustained my hope for his future.

 

     There are special living conditions available in Portland, conditions that may allow you, [his landlady, and your two brothers D and M] the peace of mind you would may welcome to feel assured that P's's needs will be competently overseen.  While your brother may need "special handling," as do all of us, each in our unique way, he will forever remain his own man, and woe betide anyone who dares deny him that right to his dignity.

 

     With a back-award of benefits extending at least as far in the past as the date of the application I helped him complete, I hope that P will have a small cushion that he and others can manage to assure him comfort and some of the simple luxuries of life that befall most of us, luxuries that managed to escape your brother's grasp for so long.

 

     Thank you for your kind expression of gratitude and for baring secrets long held hidden by your family.  We should all thank P for the special gift of patience and hope he has brought to each of us.

 

Roger N. Meyer

 

 

Copyright Issues

 

This article is copyright, all rights reserved by the author, Roger N. Meyer.  It may be reproduced in single copy once for personal use, and in no more than ten copies total for educational purposes.  Fair Use is authorized for all purposes and under conditions established by US Statute and the International Copyright Convention, to which the United States is a signatory nation.  No person shall publish, distribute, copy, or by other means make this material available to others for purposes of personal gain or professional self-aggrandizement.  Individuals wishing permission to exercise other than fair use or limited distribution as outlined above must contact the author, in writing, and receive explicit written permission from the author prior to engaging in further use of this material.

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