By Jeff Balke
By Aaron Reiss
By Angelica Leicht
By Dianna Wray
By Aaron Reiss
By Camilo Smith
By Craig Malisow
By Jeff Balke
Bad experience: When I was 17, I attempted suicide and was institutionalized at the West Oaks Psychiatric Hospital. I honestly believed that if they just sent me home, I would have been perfectly fine. As soon as I got there, I was taken away from my crying mother and aunt and crawled into a cot/bed. The attendants there were complete assholes. They would yell at us if we didn't "act right" (the reason I got yelled at was because I picked up the husk of a cicada and got out of the line we were walking in). This would be followed by LOFTS, or "Loss of Free Time," which meant we were confined to our rooms while the other juveniles colored or read books. I still get upset about this and cry when I think about it.
They yelled at suicidal and mentally disturbed children. They will get away with this murder, just like they got away with the scarring of children.
Name withheld by request
An injustice and a tragedy: My heart breaks for both Mario Vidaurre and his brother Chazz Vidaurre ["Death in a Box," by Margaret Downing, October 25]. Chazz Vidaurre is a wonderful brother with a big heart. It is a shame he could not have kept his brother at home with him. The government should provide full-time, at-home help for people who want to care for their emotionally distressed and damaged family members. Human beings who are ill need help, not punishment. Chazz saw his brother as he was before he was damaged and devastated; the other people who were not there at the beginning and did not provide the hands-on care only see the result.
Mario was truly loved by Chazz. Chazz says the doctors and personnel at IntraCare Hospital always liked Mario, and that was for a reason. IntraCare at Fannin may have treated Mario in a kinder, more humane way, and in turn Mario improved and showed his real self. It's too bad IntraCare couldn't keep the patients longer, because they have a better attitude toward people like Mario who are suffering.
It seems to me that Mario and many other people who become mentally ill are actually suffering from trauma and loss. And that would be a much more humane way of looking at it, because it wouldn't cause the rejection and segregation that a schizophrenic label causes. He was originally diagnosed as bipolar, which is slightly less stigmatizing. Twenty or so years ago, bipolar disorder was called manic-depressive reaction, which was a lot kinder than the bipolar name, because it implied that the person suffering had a story that just might have something to do with loss and trauma.
At West Oaks, a doctor had labeled Mario with schizophrenia. People treat patients with this diagnosis in a more rejecting way. Mario shadowboxing in the hall and flailing his arms may have been because he was a boxer. His flailing his arms and contorting his face may have been symptoms of the tardive dyskinesia, serious side effects of the medication.
This is a horrible injustice and tragedy, and blaming the victim is terribly wrong. My heart goes out to Chazz Vidaurre. He saw his brother as a beautiful person, and he must hold onto that memory and not let anyone take that away from him.
Anne Reese Hernandez
It's the statue: While I appreciate any exposure of art to the general public, it must be a correct portrayal — or, even less likely, a correct review ["Dream On," by Troy Schulze, October 11]. The subject of David McGee's painting Valencia Dulcinea del Taboso is not the infamous Don Quixote's love but a Mediterranean fertility statue that stands 4 3/8" high and is from 24,000 to 20,000 B.C.E., at least 21,605 years before Don Quixote. Reference the real subject, the Venus of Willendorf, at http://witcombe.sbc.edu/willendorf/willendorfgoddess.html. I learned this in Art History 1 at HCC. I think that our reviewer, Mr. Schulze, might benefit from this class.
Charles Clark II
Editor's note: While the painting is based on the statue, it also references Don Quixote's Dulcinea. Note the work's title, as well as the exhibition's theme — Don Quixote.
In the Suer
Keep fighting: I am pleased that more grassroots citizens are speaking out and standing for justice. Our system of elected "leadership" feels threatened and will seek to tone us down to meaninglessness. Watchdog groups must have a legal defense fund in place to defend themselves from such attacks! I constantly battle elected officials and their agencies that harass me at every turn. We are stronger as a group, so keep fighting.
I agree with you, Gladys: Those of us who watch government must have a "legal defense fund," because currently government has limitless use of our tax dollars to retain private attorneys, who then battle against the public's right to be fully informed and involved.
We all need to carefully monitor these private law firms and private attorneys, all funded by our education tax dollars. It appears to me that these attorneys profit most when they convince school districts to withhold public information and punish citizens who speak up.