Sunday, May 17, 2009

The First Week: Days 1-7 of 100.

Day 1/100: Saturday, May 9 @ 10:30 am to 1:00 pm

I started my 100 day protest on Saturday, May 9, 2009 in front of Friends Hospital. I'm on the north bound median on the Roosevelt Blvd. and I will be here an hour or more each day for the next 99 days.

My hands were almost shaking as I first held up my protest sign. It was not so much fear but the angst of anticipation. I have no misgivings and there is no question that this is the right thing to do. My only regret is that I waited so long to speak out - four years of selfishness and fear. How would others perceive my action? Will I be arrested, or taken back to Friends, or ridiculed. Will I be misunderstood? These are all fears I still have. That is one of the reasons I waited so long. I waited while I got a job and an education. I also worked on developing those social skills that were so lacking during my high school years. I had to empower myself before I felt confident enough to do this. There are things in life that are greater than our fears and there are moments when our hearts propel us forth into action, in spite of our doubts and fears. This is one of those.

Two of my former coworkers (Brandon and Walt) came to see me. That gave me a lot of courage. They left after a few minutes but now I know that I am not alone. Sometimes a driver honks or someone gives a thumbs up - and those moments also sustain me. By 12 pm, the combination of standing still and holding a plywood sign was starting to hurt my back. I wanted to stay until evening but decided to wrap things up at 1 pm.

Day 2/100: Sunday May 10, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Today a security guard from the hospital drove up in a van and observed me for 20 minutes or so. He then got out and walked towards me until he was several yards away. He shouted at me "What do you think you're doing man?". He was obviously yelling in a very angry tone and I did not want to get into a interaction with him so my intention was to simply ignore him. He then threatened to call the police and took his cell phone out. At that point, I yelled back "You're calling the police?" and took my cell out and pretended to call the police myself. Of course I did not call the police and I doubt that he did either. Anyway, I felt quite shaken by the incident and I left the protest site soon.

Day 3/100: Monday May 11 @ 9:30 am to 11:00 am.
I spoke with a police officer who assured me that as long as I am on public property and not breaking any laws, I cannot be arrested for protesting.

Day 4/100: Tuesday May 12 @ 7:00 am to 8:00 am.

Day 5/100: Wednesday, May 13 @ 7:40am to 9:40 am.
Met an other psychiatric survivor. He was drugged against his will at Friends Hospital. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Every individual I meet, from supporters to fellow survivors, is part of that journey. Thanks for walking with me.

Day 6/100: Thursday, May 14 @ 9:15 am to 10:15 am. There was a slight drizzle today. I did not want my plywood sign to warp from the moisture so I covered it with a plastic film.

Day 7/100: Friday, May 15 @ 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

1 comment:

  1. I like this:

    I also worked on developing those social skills that were so lacking during my high school years.

    And the mental health workers made absolutely no attempt to teach you interpersonal skills, did they? I know they certainly didn't do it for me.