Monk and Mental Health

Tony Shalhoub played the defective detective in the police drama “Monk” from 2002 to 2009.  Monk is obsessive-compulsive and has a list of 312 prioritized fears and phobias.  But, as the main character, everyone is expected to see and find his mental health challenges somewhat humorous.  However, I like the show Monk for another reason, all the other mental health issues swimming around Monk that nobody understands or even recognizes due to Monk’s fears and phobias being so over the top.monk tv show cast - Google Search | Monk tv show, Mr monk

Monk started a mental health conversation in America, reflecting that even those with mental health issues can be productive members of society if given a chance.  For example, Captain Stottlemeyer, for the majority of the show’s run, has anger issues, and yet he is considered capable and competent as a Police Captain.  Lieutenant Disher struggles with his identity as a person and his value to the organization.  The supporting character’s mental health problems create the drama.  Monk provides comedy and allows the supporting characters to be accepted for their mental health issues, which is essential in this discussion.

TV Reviews - TV Liveblogging: Some Episode Of Monk - KittysneezesSharona struggled with being a mother, her boss was driving her crazy, and her mental health issues stemmed from both her boss and her nursing responsibility.  Sharona plays a problematic role; does she provide nursing care for Monk or provide living assistance as a counselor?  Concluding that stress can be a mental health issue when taken to extremes.  Natalie Teager struggled with loneliness and a desire to be her own person outside of her family.  Both mental health challenges that many people struggle with silently.  Other supporting characters had substance abuse issues stemming from mental health concerns and personal choices, thus Monk’s subtlety and genius.

When Sharona, his nurse, leaves the show, Natalie Teager provides a lesson on mental health, the difference between coddling and helping a person with mental health problems.  Sharona, for all her care and concern, never saw Monk as capable without assistance.  Natalie Teager saw Monk as competent but needing some assistance.  The difference is subtle but very real.  Monk’s behaviors and mental health problems lessen when Natalie Teager enters the show, and the story becomes richer.

Perception vs. Reality in Care Support

Image result for monk tv show cast | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Adrian monkAre you weak to admit you have a mental health problem?  Per society, not as much anymore.  Per yourself, who knows.  Perception versus reality is critical in the person with mental health concerns and in the care-providing staff surrounding that person.  Now, I suffer from PTSD, Anxiety, and Depression, as mental health concerns; but, I thank God for my support (spouse) and those characters in my life that provide the drama, while my mental health provides the comedy.  Not a single person who knows of my mental health struggles has ever treated me capable without assistance, and this makes all the difference in how I approach the world.

The pattern of admitting the mental health challenges, coping with those challenges, and the consequences of those challenges have been made bearable because my supporters never waiver from the foundation that I am capable but occasionally need assistance.  Monk taught me that it was okay to have mental health issues, to see those issues in others, and a pattern of living and approaching others with mental health issues.  The perceptions of the supporting people become a reality in the mental health challenges of the person suffering.

Monk (S1/F12) im TV Programm: 22:35 - 08.11. - Universal ChannelIt is not easy supporting someone with mental health issues, and while mental health sufferers get the attention, Monk taught the world that the mental health of the family and friends is as important to the cure as well as the problem in mental health patients.  Consider the two different approaches of the psychiatrists on Monk, but never forget two other principles in mental health, change is hard, and change is beneficial.

Change and Mental Health

Monk was stuck in a rut, and a change in the insurance policies spurs Monk to change.  As the show develops, change is witnessed as beneficial and challenging.  When Sharona left, Monk experienced quite a shock; the different care styles provided by nurses spurred complex and healthy changes in Monk. Differences in approaches by the psychiatrists produced more changes and spurred growth in Monk and the other supporting characters.  Hence, as a mental health patient and as a care provider, another pattern is produced: am I looking for changes?  Am I open to helping others engage in change?  Do I embrace both the light and dark of change?

Pin by Smeesmii R on MONK | Monk tv show, Mr monk, Detective monkAdaptation is the only constant in life.  We adapt to the people around us, the social environments, the emotions, and the influences of peers, employers, family, and so much more.  Yet, we often try to control everything to prevent change, even though every new day brings change.  Monk showed he could not handle change, mainly because he and his brother had never been taught to handle change.

Patterns in Family Rearing – Mental Health Challenges

As a kid, I was told that I would never amount to anything since I was raised in poverty and abuse.  I had teachers who made this comment often enough that I got mad!  Nobody was going to curtail my abilities and shoehorn my potential.  Their reasoning was the research that showed those in poverty as children stay in poverty as adults.  That abuse is generational, and that abuse will always influence those raised in abuse to perpetuate abuse to the next generation.

Monk (TV Series 2002-2009) - Posters — The Movie Database (TMDb)Monk showed me differently, proved that individual choices could change preset patterns, and end captivity.  Sure, Jack Junior and Ambrose are typical examples of the generational nature of abuse, leading to mental health issues.  But, Monk overcame, chose, and in choosing and sticking with his choices, he endured and conquered.  Monk overcame even with his mental health challenges, not because of, or as an excuse, but with his mental health challenges as a companion.

While it is true how a child is reared, does dictate how that child will approach the world as an adult.   Individual agency, moral choice, and the choice and consequence cycles also play fundamental roles in that person’s life.  Thus, one cannot, and should not, place blame upon how one was raised for the failures in one’s life; this position negates the agency inherent in each person, and shifting the responsibility of choices is not healthy mental health practices.  More lessons learned from Monk about how to face the world, even if you might not have had the best family environment as a child.

Did you notice that when Jack Junior makes his appearance, Adrian (Monk) has changed enough to know not to gratify and indulge his step-brother in his poor decisions?  Despite the differences in mental health problems, Ambrose, Monk’s other brother, was also not pampered, although he was given special care.  Cementing the theme that people with mental health problems are capable, have potential, and need only the opportunity to show who they are and what they can become, just like everyone else.

I am not my handicap

I have disabilities; disabilities do not have me.  I am not my handicap!  Monk taught me this lesson in spades.  When Monk gets his badge back, he realizes he has learned this lesson as well as learning what his abilities as a disabled person are.  Another subtle theme in Monk worthy of exploration.  Adrian Monk was not “Obsessive-Compulsive, Mentally health challenged, Adrian Monk.”  Adrian Monk was Adrian Monk who lived with obsessive compulsion, fears, and phobias.  The distinction is subtle but essential to living with mental health challenges as a companion, not a ruler!

I am forever grateful for the lessons learned and still being learned from Monk!  I encourage you who read this to ponder the themes herein; change is beneficial and hard, but critical; family and family life is not your life; you are not your handicap or illness.  These themes and more can help open your eyes and mind to new possibilities, freeing you from your captivity of mental health challenges, but only if you choose to open your eyes and mind.

Finally, remember your support staff.  Have you thanked them lately for their support, care, and kindness?  If not, start there, express gratitude to and for the care received from those who live with you, work with you and desire your success.  Never forget, on your bad days, your support staff is still there trying to help, and they need support too.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Clearing up the confusion! – Understanding the Government of America

Bird of PreyRepresentative Deb Haaland (D) sent out an email while a US House of Representatives member claimed America is a “Constitutional Democracy.”  I will endeavor to correct this confusion using simple terms; for Representative Haaland’s benefit, please allow me to elaborate.  Along the way, let us explore a few connected topics, including the plasticization of words and how that breeds tyranny.

A Republic finds its history lodged in the writings of Plato, who called a republic “possessing the structure and composition of the ideal state.”  James Madison provides America with the only definition needed for America to be a republic, “We may define a republic to be … a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people; and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure, for a limited period, or during good behaviour [Emphasis added].”  A republic is a government system where the supreme power rests in the body of citizens entitled to vote and is exercised by representatives chosen directly or indirectly by them.  Finally, a republic is recognized by the head of the government, not being a monarch or other hereditary head of state.

America has a Constitution that leaves all the power of the government in the hands of its legal citizens.  Legal citizens are not impostor aliens or terrorists captured on a battlefield; thus, US Constitutional Rights do not apply or cover these entities.  A Republic is formed around the principle that through property ownership, freedom is generated.  A Republic requires time, majorities that clearly surpass a simple majority, and when personal property is threatened or removed from individual citizens, that Republic slips into a democracy.  A Democracy cannot climb into being a Republic, but the Republic can be reduced to a democracy.Look

Democracy is associated with the “rule by the people,” or a simple majority wins.  The associations of democracy have become more twisted since the mid-1930s.  Therein lies the problem, democracies have existed under the feudal system of government, the communists have tried to instill democratic changes, and dictators like Maduro in Venezuela have employed democracy for personal enrichment and citizen enslavement.  Democracy, other than being dangerous, is the belief that simple majority rules for everyone.  Winston Churchill is correct, “No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”  The reason democracy is dangerous is the belief that people control the rule when they have nothing to do with the ruling.  The “Rule of Law does not bind rulers of a democracy”; they are only restricted by statistics reported in opinion polls, which Mark Twain aptly called “Damned lies.”Finest Hour

Consider the United Kingdom, which is a “Democratic Polyarchy” as they have a hereditary monarch ruler, and a democratic parliament; when the people demanded an exit from the European Union, the supposedly democratic parliament stymied and thwarted the people’s will to keep the United Kingdom in the European Union.  Venezuela is a democracy where the constitution was destroyed for personal power.  The country was bankrupted for the enrichment of the few, and the people are now left starving, wondering where their country went.

America’s founders were interested in creating a representative democracy under a republican form of government to protect the property rights of individuals that generate the most freedom for the most people.  Under a republican form of government, everyone is first bound by the rule of law; in America’s case, the code we are all united under is the US Constitution.  Even the government must answer to the lowest of citizens.  Important to note, a Republican form of government does not mean that the Political Party “Republicans” are the party to rule exclusively.  The plasticization of words and terms continues to create confusion where politics is concerned.Patriotism

America was never expected to be a direct democracy, where Representative Haaland (D) is basing her erroneous statement regarding America being a “Constitutional Democracy.”  Here is where the fallacy resides, a constitutional democracy would only require a simple majority to enact new clauses in the constitution.  America’s Constitution requires ¾’s of the individual US States to ratify a Constitutional Amendment after the Constitutional Amendment has won supermajorities in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.  Thus, any fourth-grade student who has passed American history can tell how and why America is NOT a “Constitutional Democracy,” as stated by Representative Haaland.  “Constitutional Democracy” is fallacious, deceiving, and meant to create confusion in the populace.  Since Representative Haaland (D) and Senator Udall (D) continue to disregard their constituents, I expect more but have come to realize they will not adhere to providing a higher level of respect for the offices they individually hold, representing their constituents across the political spectrum.The Duty of Americans

Property – It’s Not What you Think!

Since we discuss the rule of law, republics, and other related topics, let us dig a little into an item that is killing America and her freedom, the loss of private property.  Charles Reich, an American legal and social scholar as well as an author who was a Professor at Yale Law School, writes a paper every American citizen needs to read and be concerned over, this paper is referenced below, and the link is active.

Detective 4Starting in the 1930s, during the “Great Depression,” changes were made to America’s methods of governance by the President, a willing media, and sycophants in the Senate and House.  Establishing the Federal and State Government’s ability to rule by largess; picking winners and losers based upon obeisance to a bureaucrat’s whims, wishes, and will.  Reich lays out this history, walks the reader through the laws, and makes the case that because of democratic rule America’s Republic has been reduced to a feudal system where the government decides who gets the largess and who does not.  With the Federal and State Governments making these decisions, businesses do not compete fairly upon their own merits but upon how much taxpayer money they can bamboozle from Uncle Sam.  Unfortunately, the entire system hinges upon reducing private property ownership and the freedoms private property allow to feed the ever-hungry beast of Government consumption.Image - Quote Poltics is Dirty

A perfect example is found in K-12 Schools.  When a school insists they need more money from the taxpayer, they blame poverty and race as to why their students cannot learn unless more money is poured into a failing school to purchase a “magic bullet,” e.g., an expensive new toy, technology, or program—providing three lies in one, and excusing designed incompetence for the failure of students who the teachers have abused.  Race governing ability is the first lie.  Poverty dictating intellect forms the second lie.  More money needed in K-12 Education is the third lie.  The designed incompetence that allows or encourages a teacher to pass a student that does not meet the standards of learning is an abuse of students, not a problem of funding, and not a problem of the teacher, but a lack of parental involvement and student engagement.Government Largess

Here is government largess in action; if the school board does not adhere to the lies of race and poverty affecting intellectual ability, that school does not get more money.  Repeatedly, we see these lies vociferously declared in the media that poverty and race are holding a school/student back, and the government needs to spend more money.  In reality, leadership in the school, reinstating the teacher’s authority, and respect is required for those schools, not more government largess.  Indeed not another program or technology that no one can afford will fail to achieve the sales pitch.

ApathyThus, America needs to demand change through the ballot box, insist that freedom and private property are returned to the people. Those representatives who have no moral center, or cannot serve their constituents from both parties equally, are removed from politics; indefinitely!  Since America is a Republic and not a democracy (yet!), the problems in representation can be solved.

Plastic Language is Tyranny!

Stretched WordsShakespeare (2016) used Hamlet to relate a line that frequently applies, especially when communicating online, “… thou doth protest too much, methinks.”  Too often, those intent on misusing words are protesting too much about something.  On social media, every communication, every interaction, and every person is a threat to the intellect of the one protesting and must be lorded over, trolled, and publicly shamed.  A recent example of this the world witnessed during Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation process, where the judge’s children were physically and verbally assaulted—using a warping of legal rights, guaranteed justification for the assault.  A careful review of any newspaper, news broadcast, and many politicians speaking will evidence the plasticization of words to justify actions, e.g., President Clinton, “Depends on what your definition of “is” is.”  Words to couch a threat while seeming to be helpful and friendly, or worst of all hide abuses of others through twisted logic.  Every time words become disconnected from standard meanings, society crumbles, language becomes useless, and the consequences are multi-generational, which is precisely what transpired in recovering Germany after Hitler’s demise.

Andragogy - LEARNI had the great personal pleasure of speaking to a senior citizen from Germany who lived through Hitler’s oppression and the recovery of Germany post-WWII, and the person I spoke with affirmed the most challenging social problem was relearning words and definitions to communicate without the taint of Hitler’s Germanic Language.  Hence, we can draw several lessons from this experience; language is trained.  It can be retrained; relearning language is a social problem fixed through social interactions and personal knowledge, and personal responsibility and accountability remain pre-eminent in communicating correctly.  Another lesson from my experience, history repeats itself, and those with dastardly designs will always corrupt language to gain the advantage before showing their true colors as tyrants.  Every single despot in recorded history has employed plastic language to lull the population into acquiescence before demanding loyalty and destroying that civilization, society, or culture.

Word Plasticity is LIC!LIC 2

I cannot stress this point enough; LIC (Low-Intensity Conflict) is a type and style of warfare hosted by a wealthy or politically protected party for the demise of a population through “diplomatic, economic, and psychological pressures.”  Language is a social construct.  As discussed above, where Germany had to rid itself of twisted words and phrases from the Nazis, the social construct of language is generally the first step in advancing psychological warfare against a population.  Recognizing the plasticization of language is the first problem in fighting LIC.  How was Maduro able to lull the entire population of Venezuela into false security while he destroyed their constitution?  He employed psychological warfare through the plasticization of language.  Cuba, China, USSR, and every other tin-pot dictatorship employ the same strategy, twist the language, and conquer the people.

Knowledge Check!Representative Haaland (D), now Interior Secretary, was employing plastic words to hide her tyrannical ambitions, calling America a “Constitutional Democracy.”  The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic with democratically elected representatives.  If America is to survive as a Republic; the citizens need to understand where plastic language is employed, understand their government form, and insist that the democratically elected representatives will realize the same.  Recognizing LIC is the first step, and the depth of LIC being enacted against America has been allowed to grow until America is in dire straits and dangerous waters!  The American Republic must re-embrace private property and refuse what has been done since the 1900s by presidential fiat and complicit Congresses under the heading of “progressivism.”

Reference

Charles A. Reich, The New Property, 73 Yale L.J. (1964). Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/ylj/vol73/iss5/1

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Poverty and Race Do Not Dictate Ability: Shifting the Educational Paradigm

Government Largess 4From the 1960s, educators began believing and living a belief that poor minority students cannot succeed or learn to the same quality of rich white children.  This belief changed how K-12 Education was funded, supported by the government, and directed resources for education in America’s cities and towns.  Back in 1995, Milwaukee, WI., Douglas B. Reeves forever sundered the fallacious belief that poverty and race do not chain a student’s mind.  Except in 2019, the lie continues that if you are not white and rich K-12 education is going to be forever out of reach, that your poverty status means you cannot achieve, and your race will dictate how smart you are.  Race and poverty are still the demographic drums used to bleed resources, damage education, and stifle educational innovations.  Well, I say it is past time to cease the madness and demand those in education either reform or leave; for they are committing child abuse with their racist lies for personal gain and political power.

Referring to the Standards for Teacher Competence in Educational Assessments of Students (1990), a parent can find five areas of scoring a student’s teacher for quality of classroom efforts.  These five standards include:

  1. Is the teacher prepared before they instruct the class?
    1. This includes support from the school principals and the administrative staff at the school board level.
    2. The student should be evaluating themselves for preparation before classroom instruction for their personal desires to learn and work assignments completed.
    3. The teacher’s preparation should include written activities to measure student performance and be graded against a standardized scoring system.
  2. Does the teacher use a variety of activities and approaches during the instructional time to aid student comprehension? If so, what activities are being used?  If not, why?
    1. Get this answer early and check with the student often for compliance.
    2. Use the teacher-parent conference to obtain the teacher’s input.
    3. Never allow a teacher to single-mode and done a learning activity, this is a sign of a lazy teacher.
  3. What is the teacher doing to connect with students after instructional time activities?
    1. Student aid with long and short-term goal attainment.
    2. Communicating student strengths and weaknesses clearly to students and parents.
    3. Being engaged in curriculum correction with the principal and the school board.
  4. Are the teacher’s advice, comments, and suggestions being sought by the school principal and their administrative staff for both the local school and the school board? If not, hold the school board accountable and the principal responsible for ignoring the needs of the teacher.
    1. Teachers have first-hand accounts of how the environment, building facilities, technology, etc. are influencing and affecting the student learning process.
    2. Teachers are not the sole reason student’s fail, struggle, or succeed.
    3. If it takes a town to raise a child, then the teacher should be considered as a tool, a small part, in building the child, and while the teacher is often the face of the school, the teacher is part of a team. Know who to hold responsible!
  5. What is the teacher doing in the broader community of educators?
    1. This question goes beyond simple professional development and continuing education.
    2. This question points to the support the school and the district provide time to the teacher for involvement, and encouragement to pursue professional opportunities.
    3. Ask the teacher how well they are encouraged and supported to pursue professional involvement. Just do not lay the blame with the teacher if they express they are not fulfilled professionally.

Nowhere in those assessments of a teacher is the race of the child considered, the financial aspect of the children’s family regarded, or any other demographic considered.  The Standards for Teacher Competence provides for measuring teachers, why does the lie regarding race and poverty remain so prevalent; the answer lies in the school administrations, the amount of money available, and the expensive cars parked at the school district headquarters.  The school administrations have become fat and stifling upon the tax dollars used in education, the size of the school administration is killing education, robbing teachers of funds for the classroom, and ruining children’s opportunities for growth; precisely the opposite of the job the school administrators was hired to perform.

Reeves (2003) cites Peters and Waterman (1982) “In Search of Excellence” for the role and duties of the school administrators.

  • Focus upon academic achievement
  • Provides clear curriculum choices and support teachers
  • Opens the schedule for frequent assessments which provide students multiple opportunities to improve
  • Emphasizes nonfiction writing
  • Employs collaborative scoring of student work using standard grading guidelines
  • Builds a learning environment focused upon persistent, consistent, and reliable assessments reflecting student efforts and teacher support

Nowhere in Peters and Waterman’s (1982) work is race a contributing factor in brains or abilities.  Nowhere is the financial situation a student arrives at a classroom from reflecting a causal variable in classifying a student who can and cannot handle workloads in K-12 education.  That the belief that race and poverty influence abilities to learn is a lie has been known since as early as the mid-1960s; yet, this pernicious belief continues to saddle minority and poverty students with ever-decreasing standards, less focus in education upon factors that can improve the student’s ability to learn, and activities that challenge the student to excel.

Government Largess 2Here is what the lie regarding poverty and race looks like in practice, using Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) as an example.  Please feel free to use your public schools as an example to rate the school district, the school principal, and the teachers of your communities’ children.

  • APS is the 31st-largest school district in the US
    • 20% of New Mexicans age 16 and older have literacy skills at level 1, the lowest level on a scale of 1 to 5.
    • New Mexico ranks 50th out of the 50-American States with a D- or a score of 66.2%.
    • As the biggest school district in New Mexico, APS has nothing to crow about as they are central to the low scores and literacy problems in NM.
  • Capital budget: nearly $1 billion in both new educational facility capital projects as well as improvements and refurbishments in the district’s schools between 2010 and 2016.
  • Current Projects: FD&C currently has 146 projects in design or construction totaling approximately $378 million
  • Square Feet: approximately 15 million square feet of traditional school buildings, portable classrooms, and administrative offices and facilities
    • From the Bernalillo County website, there are several graphs worthy of attention. Specifically, Figure 12: Bernalillo County, NM Detailed Education Attainment Breakout by Race (Age 25+).
      • 9% of Hispanic populations do not have a high school diploma or GED equivalent.
      • 3% of the American Indian population does not finish high school or attain a GED.
      • 3% of the white demographic does not complete high school or attain a GED.
    • Speaking volumes of the efficacy of the school board to address the problems in APS, and even more about the “10% dropout” rate APS crows about as a success factor. How many of those graduating are functionally illiterate and unable to obtain work after graduation?
    • Having spoken with teachers, it is blatantly evident that APS passes students who do not possess the skills, because of the restrictions placed upon the teachers to teach to the students, and not to a program, a system, or a process.
    • With nearly 50% of the population in Bernalillo County identifying as Hispanic, and almost 50% not finishing high school, when Reeves (2003) cites the equity gap caused by the lie that poverty and race dictate educational ability, here is the gap illustrated.
    • Yet, for all the billions of dollars APS oversees for education in Bernalillo County, the gap has not shrunk, ever.
  • APS believes in “magic-bullet” programs to “fix the gap;” proving again that insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results. New in 2019 in APS school systems is yet, one more sure-fire, quick-fix, strategy to fix the poverty and race gap in education, and the results will be the same next year and the year after that, ad nauseum, ad infinitum.

Image - Eagle & FlagAmerica, you are the power that keeps the school districts alive.  Use the five points provided to assess the teachers, use the six-points above to evaluate and measure the school board, school administration, and principal, and then every time you see a school board, teacher, or principal out of compliance, demand change!  There is no excuse for an almost 60-year old lie to continue to thrive.  There is no valid excuse for failing to teach students in the K-12.  Poverty and race do not hamper or hinder when teachers are prepared, and schools are appropriately led, focused, and each student is assessed for consistent, persistent, and reliable growth.  Demand better; our kids deserve more!

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain, this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.