invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

burning the t-shirt October 29, 2006

Filed under: pain — clementine @ 8:03 pm
Tags: , ,

today i woke up feeling terrible. for several days headaches have been waking me from my sleep. and not just your average headache. head pounding. sensitive to light. i can’t focus. my only thought is, excedrin, make it stop, now. i thought maybe my sinus headaches were back but now i’m thinking it’s a side effect from lamictal. i’ve had them before but with acupuncture, they quickly disappeared. it looks like i’ll be returning for more acupuncture once i get paid.

the headaches coupled with it’s that time of the month…and a bunch of stress, i’m feeling a bit overwhelmed. the stress would be, me struggling…to let go of something that happened so very long ago. to this day it rears its ugly head and disrupts my life. it makes trusting someone extremely difficult and therefore causes problems in my relationship, my marriage.

i believe most mentally ill human beings are born that way. it’s genetic. that’s the case with me. because there is no other explanation for suicidal thoughts at 13. especially when life wasn’t so bad. my parents worked hard to make sure i had the best of everything. and yet, i didn’t want to live. life to me was hopeless. and that’s why at 13 i saw my first of many psychiatrists. and then just as life seemed painful enough a man entered my life. at a party. age fifteen. this is what i remember. a gravel driveway. my underwear ripped from me. hard thrusts. my head banging against a tire. a struggle. and then. a bathtub. i’m in it wearing only a t-shirt. and there was blood. on my ear. on my face. on my t-shirt. my friend since the age of four leaning over me telling me everything would be ok. except it wasn’t ok.

i was so far from ok that…that night and all memories of that night escaped me for years. it was as if it never happened. until one crisp fall day, four years later. it slowly creeped back. something triggered it, of course. i remembered the man and the night. i allowed the pain and the memories to overwhelm me to the point of escaping them. for years. drinking. alone. quit college. waiting tables. a brief stay in a mental hospital. never in a relationship. men used me and i was just fine with that or so i thought i was. i deserved it, it was how it was to be, i believed that more than anything.

there were periods of light. but mostly darkness. and then one day, i decided i was tired of spinning my wheels, lost. my dream to work in the film industry became a reality. and not by luck. i pursued that dream with all i had. some could say i’ve been successful. my list of credits is impressive. but all along, i was still lost. the work was yet another escape. for eighteen years i’ve been wearing the same t-shirt. it is old, worn and dirty. and yet, it has been comfortable, safe, all these years. until now. this year marked the year i let someone in. i opened my heart to a man and began to tear down the walls. the feelings of worthlessness. the fears. the anxieties. only, that t-shirt is still here. it’s not comfortable and i’ve replaced it with a nice warm sweater or a pair of pajamas but it’s still hanging there begging me to put it on, every once in a while. i want to burn that t-shirt. and i don’t know how. i need to burn it. i don’t know how. my only hope is that my strength will soon defeat this pain. i am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. i do not believe in turning back time, if only we could erase one moment. there are days i would like to, and this is one of those days. but…no, because we are who we are because of these pains. and i wouldn’t want to be anyone else but me.

i am reminded that i am so very lucky. my swain…my love is there, every step, every breathe, reminding me that i deserve this. i am worthy of this love and so much more. i believe it now, more than anything. but that damn t-shirt still taunts me.

 

it’s the great pumpkin… October 28, 2006

Filed under: life,love — clementine @ 1:55 pm
Tags: , ,

if i had to list my top three holidays they would be in the following order: halloween, christmas and thanksgiving. for many reasons, but mostly because they fall during my favorite seasons, fall and winter.

halloween is near…and it’s time to carve a pumpkin…

the jack-o-lantern custom comes from irish folklore. ss the tale is told, a man named jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked satan into climbing a tree. jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree’s trunk, trapping the devil up the tree. jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree. according to the folk tale, after jack died, he was denied entrance to heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to hell because he had tricked the devil. instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness. the ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer. the irish used turnips as their “jack’s lanterns” originally. but when the immigrants came to america, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips. so the jack-o-lantern in america was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.

i’ve spent halloween, alone, or with friends, the last fourteen years. tonight, watching my swain carve the pumpkin brought tears to my eyes.

 

don’t know much about history October 27, 2006

Filed under: life,medications — clementine @ 8:04 pm
Tags: , , ,

i’m trying to deal with my memory loss. soon, i will schedule an appointment with my doctor who will then most likely refer me to a neurologist. it’s not that i can’t remember anything, it’s just frustrating because so many things escape me. for example, say, i don’t understand something, how something works or why it is as it is…i’ll ask the question and i will get an answer. i think, ok, it makes sense and i think, i will remember this. and i don’t. my childhood memories are almost non-existant. finishing a book is a task. i rarely remember historical facts or events, especially those i should. this was not always the case. i’m convinced the years and years of antidepressants, antipyschotics and the like have messed with my brain. we don’t know how these drugs work nor do we know the long-term side effects. i will take a pill the rest of my life, i am fine with that. but i have decided to confront these things i feel i have no control over. maybe i can prevent further memory loss. i can’t say this is unstoppable although most days i feel it is. because i’ve never given up. because i don’t believe in “can’t” and i won’t back down.

and so after a long discussion with my swain, i know he is right. it’s possible there are things i can do. i can “learn” in a different way. i can do something different. i will start with the book, don’t know much about history. kenneth c. davis answers questions on american history. everything from, who really “discovered” america to what were the thirteen original colonies to what happened at wounded knee to who was miranda?

my swain suggested i write things down. on some days this will be the place. we’ll see what happens. and so, what happened at kitty hawk?

on december 17, 1903, two self-taught engineer-inventors named wilbur and orville wright did something that other people had only dreamed of for centuries. in a 750-pound plane powered by a twelve-horsepower motor and launched from a railroad track laid in the sand dunes of kitty hawk, north carolina, they flew the first heavier-than-air craft. surprisingly, their initial success didn’t cause much of a stir. many people, including members of the press, initially did not believe them. even the u.s. army was dubious and refused to offer the wrights a contract for more than three years. but their first flights launched a revolutionary era of aviation heroics. it is astonishing to think that those brief flights would lead to a moon landing only sixty-six years later. in september 1908, orville wright took the first passengers on a flight. one passenger, thomas selfridge, holds an unfortunate distinction. he was the first man to die in a plane crash from injuries suffered on september 17, 1908.

a week or so after september 11, 2001, i traveled to north carolina with my family, a vacation in the outer banks. i was depressed and beyond bored, hanging out with my parents and their friends. playing cards and watching the shocking and sad images on television. one day we drove the short distance to the wright brothers national memorial. the grounds included historical markers of each attempted powered flight, replica camp buildings and a 60-foot granite monument on top of big kill devil hill (a 90-foot dune) honoring the wright brothers. i remember walking the path of their attempted flights, hearing a loud roar and looking above in the sky to see planes patrolling our borders. it was a sad day for me, but this is one memory, thankfully, that will not escape me.

 

seroquel for bipolar depression October 25, 2006

five days ago we saw headlines everywhere reading: seroquel approved for bipolar depression. the fda’s action makes seroquel the first drug to treat both the depressive and manic phases of bipolar disorder, says seroquel’s maker, AstraZeneca. immediately i was disgusted, furious, saddened and concerned. i’ve held off writing this entry because i was hoping i could write this free of anger. and, well, it’s not possible.

seroquel has already been approved to treat the manic phases of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. no problem. but for a few years now doctors have been prescribing this drug more frequently with bipolar 2 patients. those that suffer from more depression than mania. i’ve repeatedly voiced my frustrations with this med. a doctor pushed it a few years ago and i trusted her. within a week i was sleeping 14-16 hours a day. after waking it would take an hour or two to actually wake up. i felt as if i was underwater. i gained thirty pounds in a short period of time. and then i got a job which required me waking everyday around 5am, and working 12-15 hour days. i could not function. i went off the med. two years later, the med was pushed by another doc. i was desperate and she felt it was the only option. again, same thing. four months and thirty pounds heavier, i went off the med for the last time. six months later, a new doc brought it up. this time i took charge and said, no. i’m bipolar. i have more depression than mania. my maternal grandmother died from complications of diabetes and my father is diabetic (seroquel has been linked to diabetes). i told her, i want lamictal. she continued to praise seroquel as the wonder drug for bipolar. i brought up the side effects and she said they were few and far between. i replied, really? odd because of the fifty or so bipolar patients i’ve been in contact with they’ve all said the same thing. and how does one function, live life, if you’re sleeping 14 hours a day? she prescribed lamictal.

every once in a while if i’m anxious, if i can’t sleep, i’ll take 100mg of seroquel and i deal with the side effects. on some days it is worth it because it knocks the bad shit down. and quick. seroquel is good for psychosis and short-term treatment of depression. but long-term, i’m afraid not.

the fda decision was based on an eight-week study of 1,045 patients with bipolar depression, the drug company tells WebMD. during the clinical trial program known as BOLDER (BipOLar DEpRession) patients taking seroquel showed an improvement in depressive symptoms starting at week one compared to those taking placebo, and this improvement continued throughout the eight-week study. in addition, patients treated with seroquel showed significant improvement on other measures of efficacy including overall quality of life and satisfaction related to functioning. seroquel was generally well tolerated, the most frequent adverse events seen in the bipolar depression trials were dry mouth, sedation, somnolence, dizziness and constipation during the study, so, seroquel was generally well tolerated. i don’t buy that for a second. how is sedation a good thing? maybe for psychosis or schizophrenia. but depression? absolutely not. it’s unacceptable.

AstraZeneca does state: hyperglycemia, in some cases extreme and associated with ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar coma or death, has been reported in patients treated with atypical antipsychotics. in children and adolescents, it increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior. and it’s not approved for the treatment of patients with dementia-related psychosis.

the ad to promote seroquel for bipolar disoder is frightening. we see a screaming woman. face contorted, she looks like she’s being murdered–or doing the murdering. other photos show her clenching her teeth, pulling her hair and screeching into the telephone. the ad is trying to convince millions of healthy women and men they should take a major tranquilizer, an antipsychotic for schizophrenia, because they had a bad day.

in 2005, the new england journal of medicine found seroquel and other atypical antipsychotics except one had no advantage over the older antipsychotics like haldol and thorazine. and they announced that seroquel and a similar atypical antipsychotic were also ineffective in reducing agitation among alzheimer’s patients who constitute 29 percent of seroquel sales. seroquel was found to actually make cognitive functioning worse in the elderly patients with dementia studied.

one young seroquel patient told the chicago sun-times, “it would take me anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour and a half to get out of bed each morning. i couldn’t think, i couldn’t see, and i couldn’t be me,” and that the license of the physician who prescribed her seroquel was revoked. you can read that article here.

so, basically what AstraZeneca has done is what drug companies that put marketing and money before medicine always do: they came up with a new use for seroquel (bipolar disorder) and new formulation (sustained release). and they yelled breakthrough.

dangerous. dangerous. dangerous.

you should read this seattle weekly article on atypical antipsychotics (seroquel belongs to this family), the drugging of the american mind. philip dawdy has been reporting on mental illness for years, he’s bipolar and has twenty years of personal experience.

 

antipsychotics October 17, 2006

Filed under: antipsychotics,mental illness — clementine @ 8:07 pm
Tags: , ,

i know people that take several pills at day. for me, it’s one plus a vitamin and a few omega 3 pills. my prescribed medication is lamictal. 100mg. (my doc recently cut my dosage in half). lamictal was approved to treat epilepsy in 1994. in 2003, it was the first fda-approved medication for the long-term treatment of adults with bipolar I disorder since lithium was approved in 1970. at their website the drugmaker claims, lamictal does not take away the initial feelings of depression or mania you may be experiencing, lamictial helps keep mood episodes from coming back for an extended period of time. and it’s true. at least for me. luckily i didn’t get the “rash”. stevens-johnson syndrome. the rate of serious rash is 0.08% (0.8 per 1,000) in adult patients receiving lamictal as intial monotherapy. before taking any medication for a mental illness i suggest you check out: crazy meds. a website where you will not find “doctors, pharmacists, therapists, lawyers or anyone else with useful credentials.” here you will read information on the meds, information your doctor wouldn’t dare mention or in my experience the last two decades, they sometimes deny these are actually side effects. with lamictal you get: muscle aches, full-body aches, headaches. lots of aches! dry mouth. anxiety or other hypomanic effects. another not-so-common effect is a type of insomnia where you’re tired, but you can’t sleep. if you’re a female, it can also mess with your monthly cycle. this is something i’ve recently noticed, the med doesn’t work up to par the week before and during. how does the med work? according to crazymeds, lamictal (lamotrigine) works on binding to voltage sensitive sodium and maybe calcium channels in the brain. the calcium bit is a matter for debate. it also invokes glutamate which is a major excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain which is responsible for sending messages from neuron to neuron in 85% of the brain. it also lightly brushes the 5-HT3 serotonin receptor and the sigma opioid receptors.

lamictal is probably the last of the anticonvulsants you’ll see approved to treat bipolar, because all the money is in atypical antipsychotics.

antipsychotics. risperdal, zyprexa, abilify, geodon, clozaril and seroquel. of the six i’ve been on one, seroquel. it was a love/hate relationship in the begininng. the anxiety was gone. the depression, gone. but, so was my life. soon, i was a walking zombie. i would take the pill at night and ten minutes later find myself drooling and barely making it to bed, only to crash and crash hard. twelve to fifteen hours later i would wake. only i wasn’t really awake. my eyes were open but my mind was numb. and a few short hours later it would be time to take the pill again. i also gained thirty pounds. the antipsychotics family could be summed up by saying: you’ll gain five pounds just by filling the prescription. you’ll sleep 10-16 hours a day. you won’t care about anything. you might come down with type 2 diabetes.

taking these meds long term is dangerous. we do not know the long-term side effects, and judging from the short-term side effects, i would guess it isn’t pretty.

during a seven year study at vanderbilt hopsital, from 1995-2002, there were 5.7 million office visits by u.s. children during which an antipsychotic was prescribed, and more than half (53 percent) of the prescriptions were given for behavioral indications or affective disorders, conditions for which antipsychotics have not been carefully studied in children. the study also found the overall frequency of antipsychotic prescribing increased fivefold in just six years — from 8.6 out of 1,000 u.s. children in 1995-1996 to 39.4 out of 1,000 u.s. children in 2001-2002. almost one-third of those prescriptions were written by pediatricians or family medicine doctors. in the uk, the annual use of antipsychotic drugs increased by 16% the last decade.

and now there’s this study: widely prescribed anti-psychotic drugs do not help most alzheimer’s patients with delusions and aggression and are not worth the risk of sudden death and other side effects, the first major study on sufferers outside nursing homes concludes. “these medications are not the answer,” said thomas insel, director of the national institute of mental health, which paid for the study. he said better medications are at least several years away. the study tested zyprexa, risperdal and seroquel — newer drugs developed for schizophrenia. doctors are free to prescribe them for any use. however, the drugs carry a strong warning that they increase the risk of death for elderly people with dementia-related psychotic symptoms, mainly because of heart problems and pneumonia, and that they are not approved for such patients. and yet, roughly one-quarter of nursing home patients are on these drugs. the study tested the drugs on 421 patients at 42 medical centers. about four in five patients stopped taking their pills early because the medications were ineffectiven or had side effects that included grogginess, worsening confusion, weight gain, and parkinson’s-like symptoms such as rigidity and trouble walking. five deaths were reported among the patients on the medication. neurologist john morris, director of the alzheimer’s disease research center at washington university in st. louis says, “too often, these antipsychotics get overused or misused. these drugs should be the last line of therapy, and they’re for short-term use.”

a person who is psychotic is out of touch with reality. people with psychosis may hear voices (hallucinations) or have strange and illogical ideas (delusions). they may be unaware that their condition is an illness. schizophrenia is an example of a psychosis. antipsychotic medications assist in a number of ways. they often calm down the hallucinations and delusions, or at least make them more manageable. some antipsychotic medications also help the person interact more normally with others. they may become more social and less isolated, and begin to take an interest in their grooming and appearance.

my swain has questioned several times, why are we treating millions of men, women and children who are not psychotic with antipsychotics??? and it’s a damn good question. something we should all question.

i’m simply a frustrated thirty-something girl tired of the mental illness stigma. tired of the doctors prescribing dangerous medications without blinking. tired of the insurance companies laughing all the way to the bank, covering a physical illness and not a mental illness. and the evil pharmaceutical companies. they send former-cheerleaders out to pimp their nasty drugs. and they all sleep well at night, otherwise, we would see a change. instead, it’s getting worse.

as writer/reporter philip dawdy over at furious seasons points out, “this is an especially crucial time for such a rethink, since the fda is on the verge of approving seroquel for use in bipolar depression, which would allow the company to actively market the drug as a “mood stabilizer” a la lithium. zyprexa is already approved that way—and we know just how much that has helped patients.”

it’s time we, the patients and families, say something. we need a voice and we need several. thousands. millions.

to read more on the alzheimer’s study, click here.

 

timothy’s law

Filed under: mental illness,stigma,suicide — clementine @ 8:02 pm
Tags: , , , ,

seven weeks before his thirteenth birthday, timothy o’clair completed suicide. the youngest of three children in his family, timothy hanged himself in his bedroom closet on march 16, 2001.

i do not remember much from my childhood (or recent years for that matter…) but certain memories will never be erased completely. i remember thirteen. i vaguely remember my thirteenth birthday party… my friend of 29 years recently told me i was extremely depressed that day, i remember my parents bought thirteen gifts. as i opened each gift and saw it wasn’t what i REALLY wanted…i was upset. many tears i think. anger. i imagine i glared at my parents as if the presents were wrapped by satan. i have no idea today what it was that i wanted…i think, a diamond ring. and i think…it was the last gift i opened. but it was too late…the day was a disaster and i made a scene in front of friends and family. and then the guilt and shame hit. i probably spent the rest of the day, crying, in my room…embarrassed. i spent many days like that in my room. a bright yellow room with rainbows, colorful posters on the wall and every toy a girl could dream of. and me, so very dark.

that year my parents drove me to a psychiatrist’s office ten miles away (there were no head docs in our small town and people whispered about people like me in that town…shhhh…she’s depressed.) i remember i was in the backseat of the silver plymouth turismo that would be mine in three years…on the floor behind the passenger seat, crying, screaming….no, i don’t want to go. i can’t imagine their pain…i know now my mother saw her mother, who had a mental illness, she saw her mother in my eyes. she heard her mother in my voice.

my parents heard (over and over…) “i want to die.” “i don’t want to be here.” “you would all be better off without me.”

they were trying to save me and i was pushing them away. i remember sitting at the doc’s office. i remember big headphones over my ears, sitting in a large brown leather chair, listening to soft, soothing voices, bird chirping and whatnot. i remember telling her i wanted to die but thinking i did not want to die. i was not suicidal. it only appeared that way. i was crying for help. i was screaming, someone please listen to me and understand me! someone please make this stop! killing myself was not an option. i secretly hoped (and believed) that the pain would eventually go away. and i always, as soon as the darkness lifted, got busy…busy seeking the beauty in life.

there were many days like my thirteenth birthday to follow. i remember banging my head against a wall on several occasions (those were the…please make it stop moments…) curling up on the bathroom floor or in the tub…locking myself in a room for hours, crying. always escaping but never going too far…always pushing but really wanting someone to hold me and tell me…it’s ok, i understand. you’ll get through this. after those moments, i remember my head feeling very heavy. but soon, the clouds parted and i could see the sun.

two years after my thirteenth birthday and a lifetime of living with a mental illness, i was raped. three years later i remembered that night. not every detail but enough to frighten anyone and enough to shut me down for many years. i asked a friend for details (she was there that night and found me in a bathtub, bleeding…wearing only a tshirt) the rape was so brutal that i actually erased that night as if it never happened. the day i remembered was a painful day. a very sad day. for years i felt worthless. i felt unworthy of anything good, anything beautiful, anything real. and yet, i kept going. i continued living. when i saw the sun, i embraced its warmth. and the sun embraced me.

i am thankful for that. i am lucky…lucky to see the sun. timothy o’clair did not. the darkness, the very real illness… destroyed him. and so i write about this because it’s healing. and i hope to open just one set of eyes. a mental illness is complicated, yes, but it is an illness. like any other illness. it is an illness of the brain. it should be treated like any other illness. people need to understand this in order for the stigma to be erased. we must understand this to prevent the countless suicides per day.

i also write about this because last night terrified me. sitting at the dining room table playing 80s trivial pursuit with my swain and two friends. of the many questions, i knew maybe one answer. the defining moment was a question for someone else—about the film “spaceballs” this is a film i probably saw twenty plus times in the 80s. i didn’t know the answer and even more so i couldn’t remember a thing about the film except that rick moranis and daphne zunica starred in it. during the game, when it was my time to read the questions, i couldn’t pronounce several words and i was uncomfortable the entire evening. and yet, i didn’t quit. and sat there paralyzed by my insecurities. i felt stupid and worthless. and with every minute that passed it got worse. the voices in my head telling me…they think you’re stupid. he is going to leave you because you are an idiot. i was cursing my small town education and the meds that slowly cripple my brain. i feel like a 33 year old woman with alzheimer’s disease on nights like last night. but…again, i am lucky…because i let those moments pass, with the help of others…i let them in…the compassionate ones….my swain, who even after i told him to leave me alone, telling him there was nothing he could say to make me feel better or smarter….his hand found my leg under the covers as my back was to him (tears streaming…) and his touch made the pain seem so small. my friend, that friend of 29 years, today on the phone, reminded me were are all unique. she helped me find the humor in the situation (telling me, next time you’re playing trivial pursuit do what i do….stop mid-game and start playing cards, solitaire or something…laugh at the situation…) because, yes, i do know…i know there are many qualities i have that others don’t have…those that are unique. those that make me…me. i know my heart is good. and kind. my intelligence lies elsewhere, and which wkrp actor was later cast in some commercial (i already forget which one…) is trivial. and i remember words…from a scene in basquiat… what my swain sees in me, what i know to be true:

he’s jealous of the moon
because you look at it
he’s jealous of the sun
because it warms you

we need more compassion (and compassionate people) in this world.

today i am angry, thinking about last night and the loss of so many memories…history, films, facts… thanks to, i believe, the medications. most insurance companies, governments and pharmaceutical companies ignore the mentally ill. i’ve been medicated my entire adult life, fifteen plus years. many medications. all approved by the fda but most we know very little about. we don’t know the long term side effects because there is little or no research.

but even in my anger, as i type, i have been listening to the amelie soundtrack. it’s the simple things in life. it’s seeking the beauty in life whenever possible. loving and being loved. understanding and feeling understood…compassion…it’s these things that keep me going.

timothy was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for a week and a day. after that time, the insurance company stopped paying for the hospitalization, and he was sent home. the medications worked temporarily. he would become violent, and it all came to a head the night he died. he refused to take his medications. he broke all the trophies he had received over the years, which he’d collected in his room. he dumped all his dresser drawers and the clothes in his closet on his bedroom floor. he told his brother he’d kill himself, as he had threatened suicide many times before. the family did not know how serious he was, as he had claimed this so many times in the past. while his father was working and his mother was out with his brother, timothy was in his room. when his mother returned home, she found that timothy hanged himself in his bedroom closet.

we need research. we need drugs that work. we need compassion. (i also believe patients need to take control, it’s their body and mind…)

and now we have timothy’s law…named after timothy o’clair, his parents believe his suicide was attributed to the discrimination that he faced at the hands of his their insurance company, discrimination that exists throughout every private insurance plan in new york state. in order to help prevent other families from having to live through this scenario, they have taken on a personal crusade to change the laws as they relate to the provision of mental health and substance abuse services in private insurance plans throughout new york.

yesterday in new york, after years of resistance, the republican-led senate unanimously passed legislation to require that insurers provide equal coverage for mental illness as for physical ailments. “if you have a cancer, if you have a serious heart condition, there is no question that you get treated from the ailment to getting better or going on with your life,” senate majority leader joseph bruno said. “with mental sickness, that has not been the case. some companies cover for limited periods. some companies cover more broadly and some companies for insurance cover nothing, none of it.”

the bill, which passed 55-0, provides for a minimum of 30 outpatient and 20 inpatient visits a year for mental illness, and the state would pick up the extra cost of premiums for businesses with fewer than 50 employers. large employers would have to provide additional coverage for adults and children. the law would not apply to companies or governments that are self-insured.

new york gov. george e. pataki, who has vetoed other mental-health laws this year, was noncommittal friday. “we’ll need to see what happens with that and then take a look,” said the republican, who is stepping down at the end of the year.

“mental illness is a common affliction, but many people can’t come to terms with it,” said timothy’s father, tom o’clair. the law would correct the disparity. “it will help eliminate the discrimination that is faced by those seeking treatment for a mental illness by evening co-pays, eliminating the arbitrarily set disparities in co-pays,” o’clair said. “because somebody has a mental illness doesn’t mean they should have to pay more for care. … because somebody has a mental illness doesn’t mean they should be treated any less than somebody with a physical illness.”

this is a step in the right direction. i can only hope we see big changes soon.

to read more on timothy’s law click here.

timothy o’clair (may 5, 1988- march 16, 2001)