Sunday, January 17, 2010

Thinking of Judy

Forgive me Judy, I need a hug now that your gone.

I heard Judy Chamberlin speak in 1986 at an Alternatives Conference in South Carolina. It was my first Alternatives Con and I was almost overcome by the amount of survivors/mental patients/ex-patients that attended. 1,600 of us.

I was one of the small group of P.M.C.A. members that were there. Luckily Janet Foner was there to give us the scoop on who was who and who did what. After hearing Judy speak I asked Janet to introduce me to Judy. When I approached Judy later that night I tried to give Judy a warm friendly hug. I made a big mistake. She blew me off saying "please don't do that, it's not your fault, I don't do hugs." I found out later from Janet that Judy was so badly abused during her time in the mental health system she couldn't stand being touched by strangers.

That seemed very weird to me at the time because I once did three days in a seclusion room for hugging a friend who was having a bad day when we were on the tenth floor of WPIC. They called it sexual stimulation.

Some of Judy's Accomplishments and Awards.
Her book and some of her Ideas helped Jack Barry and myself found WellSpring Drop-In Center.

Psychiatric Survivor - Judi is a psychiatric survivor and a long-time activist in the survivor/consumer/ex-patient movement. She is a co-founder of the Ruby Rogers Advocacy and Drop-In Center, a self-help center run by and for people who have received psychiatric services, and she is a staff associate with the National Empowerment Center. Judi has been a devotedNARPA member since the organization's earliest days.

Author - Judi is the author of On Our Own: Patient Controlled Alternatives to the Mental Health System, which was originally published in 1978 and has recently been republished in Britain and Italy. She has also written numerous articles about the movement, self-help and patients' rights.

Consultant - Judi is currently affiliated with the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation where she directs a research project on user-run self-help services. She is also on the staff at the National Empowerment Center.

Activist - Judi is a long-time board member of NARPA and the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS). Other boards and committees on which she serves include: the Massachusetts Mental Health State Planning Council; the Disability Law Center Governing Board; the Coalition for the Legal Rights of People with Disabilities; and the Consumer/Survivor Mental Health Research and Policy Work Group.

Speaker/Lecturer - Judi has spoken at conferences and meetings throughout the U.S. and has appeared on many radio and television programs such as Oprah, Sally-Jessy Raphael andGeraldo, discussing the topics of self-help and patients' rights. Her international appearances include Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Sweden, Holland, Portugal, Italy, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Awards - In 1992, Judi was awarded the Distinguished Service Award of the President of the United States by the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. She also received the David J. Vail National Advocacy Award and the 1995 Pike Prize, which honors those who have given outstanding service to people with disabilities.

Here is a little song that Janet Foner taught us a long time ago.

The Hug song

I wanna hug when you say hello
I wanna hug when it's time to go
I wanna hug because everyone knows
Hugging is good for you
I wanna hug, it's a wonderful feeling
Wanna hug, it helps with (it's part of) the healing
Wanna hug, because hugging feels
Like a natural thing to do

Doctor Dan, he's a friendly man, big and round like a bear
He hugs his friends, they hug him - any time, anywhere
Now the patients came for therapy to drive their blues away
And sooner or later they would feel better when they heard Dan say

When the boss of the hospital heard about this he was most annoyed
He said, Hugging is sexual sublimation - according to Doctor Freud
You can hide them, you can keep them down you can calm them with your drugs
You can slap them, zap them with electric shocks, but you can't give them a hug

He said, Now Dan you'll have to go, this behaviour is no good
Any deviation from the medical practice could easily get us sued
Now Dan doesn't feel too bad for himself, in fact he's kind of proud
But he's sorry for the folks who are locked away where hugging's not allow

Judy's blog Life as a Hospice Patient

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