#ForMiriam I Advocate: World Mental Health Day

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When I think of what happened in DC last week, I keep coming back to the same feelings of anger, frustration and sadness.

Her life shouldn’t have ended that way.

There is something called Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Training, which is a training program developed in a number of U.S. states to help police officers react appropriately to situations involving mental illness or developmental delay. The Washington, DC chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness has a page on their website describing the District’s Crisis Intervention Officer Program, as having “had 5 graduated classes of officers so far, as well as new recruit trainings.”

I can’t help but wonder if the officer {or officers} who pulled the trigger had gone through CIT training.

If they had, or maybe had remembered the training during the incident, maybe the outcome would have been different.

Maybe not.

The only good thing that can happen as a result of this tragedy is advocacy in Miriam’s memory.

Advocacy to prevent something like this from happening again.

We can speak out. People like myself, who have experienced the hell of an inexplicable train of discombobulated and paranoid thoughts running through our heads. The hallucinations that come and go as fast as the minutes flying by on the clock next to the bed. The feeling that we’re invincible and don’t need sleep.

I’ve been there and I will continue to speak out about my experience in an effort to raise awareness for the signs and symptoms of postpartum psychosis. Because if even one person is helped through my writing, than it is worth all the effort.

Just because I experienced postpartum psychosis doesn’t make me a bad mother. It doesn’t make me a monster. It is an illness and my brain was sick. The important thing is that I got well and I made it through with treatment and support. I’m now able to help others by my work as an advocate.

And Miriam should have had that same chance.

But instead her friends and family are left to mourn this beautiful person who touched their lives and left behind is a constant reminder of her legacy, her baby girl.

It is my hope that once the darkness of their grief begins to dissipate, however far in the future that may be, the family will assume the role of advocate in their dear Miriam’s honor.

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. – Maya Angelou

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