When I was a boy, I became obsessed with a Civil War officer named Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain. I acquired and devoured every biography written about him that I could find (there are a LOT), watched Ken Burns’s epic “The Civil War” documentary around four times (it’s eleven hours and thirty minutes) watched “Gettysburg,” featuring Jeff Daniels as Chamberlain, many, many times. I dutifully memorized facts about his pre-war life (fluent in 10 languages, sang in choir, mother wanted him to become a preacher), his military career (hero of Little Round Top, shot six times, one of only two battlefield promotions bestowed by U. S. Grant, commander of the surrender ceremony at Appomattox), his post-war endeavors (president of Bowdoin College and Governor of Maine for four terms, died in 1914) and I visited Chamberlain’s stomping grounds in Maine with my wife, years after the intensity of the obsession had, I guess, somewhat subsided. (more…)
Christa Godillot is a Registered Nurse at Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc. (MCES), a private, non-profit crisis psychiatric hospital located in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Recently, she sat down with her friend and former colleague, OC87 Recovery Diaries editor Gabriel Nathan to talk about her career and her life. In Part two of her interview, Christa talks about her past and her experiences with trauma and how those experiences shaped who she is today. Please click here to read Part one of her interview. (more…)
Here at OC87 Recovery Diaries, we focus primarily on stories about mental health recovery from the perspective of the individuals engaged in recovery. Sometimes, we shine the spotlight on the individuals who help folks along on that road of recovery—often, those are mental health professionals, like Christa Godillot. Christa is a Registered Nurse at Montgomery County Emergency Service, Inc. (MCES), a private, non-profit crisis psychiatric hospital, located in Norristown, Pennsylvania. For several years, Christa worked on the inpatient unit with OC87 Recovery Diaries editor Gabriel Nathan. Gabe recently spent some time with Christa, interviewing her about her career as a psychiatric nurse, and as well about how her past helped shape who she is today. We hope that you enjoy Part I of this two-part interview, the next installment of which will run on January 25th. (more…)
Jeff Shannon is veteran police officer for the City of Berkeley and a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist. He specializes in mental health-related calls within the police department and he frequently works with police officers as a therapist on issues relating to or stemming from their career in law enforcement. In Part Two of his interview, he talks with OC87 Editor Gabriel Nathan about issues surrounding law enforcement suicide, retired officer suicide and mental health crisis intervention and de-escalation and the overall state of mental health in America. For Part One, please click here. (more…)
Routinely, law enforcement officers in the United States are tasked with becoming the de-facto street-level mental health workers, responding to increasing numbers of mental health-related calls. This requires more training, more effort placed on de-escalation and crisis intervention, and it also requires a shift from more traditional methods of policing. Police officers are also at risk for a variety of mental health-related challenges themselves. Here to talk about all of this is Berkeley, California Police Officer and Marriage Family Therapist, Jeff Shannon. This is Part One of a two-part interview. Follow this link to read the second part of the interview. (more…)
In May of 2016, dozens upon dozens of mental health workers gathered together at a cemetery in suburban Pennsylvania to mourn the loss of a coworker and dear friend, psychologist Israel Paltin, who had passed away from cancer. He was a giant of a man, painfully gorgeous inside and out, and as honest as his favorite catchphrase, “NO BULLSHIT!” The rabbi who presided at his funeral met with Israel a few weeks before he died, and the rabbi told us that Israel warned him that his funeral must be short and simple—“just the basic prayers.” The rabbi then added, with a wry smile, “No bullshit.” (more…)
Mid-way through my freshman year of college, the girl that I had longed to be with for years was nearly killed in a viscous, ice-slicked car wreck that claimed two other young lives. I sat, trembling, on my best friend’s bed, talking haltingly to her on the phone as she lay in a hospital bed, hundreds of miles away, nearly completely blitzed from painkillers and sedatives. I told her that I loved her, and she said it back. That’s what happens when you drug people, I guess.
I had been messed up for a long time — awash in anxiety and depression — but you need that tipping point, I guess, to motivate you to stand up and do something about it. I don’t know what I was hoping to find in that therapist’s office, under the couch cushions or in the tissue box or between the hands of the fifty-minute hour clock, but I knew something had to be there: answers, or at least different questions. The receptionist set me up with an appointment and she said to me, “You know, we do have a back entrance you can use.” I was puzzled.