Posts Tagged ‘psychiatry’




5 September 2012

At noon Silver, Andre and  Rodent were sitting together on the curb near the park. Andre was soberer than I have ever seen him. He had also recently shaved. “Andre,” I said, “I see cheeks and a chin that I’ve never seen before.”

“I’ve got an appointment with my worker, she’s meeting me here at 1:00. She’s going to check on my O.D.S.P. (Ontario Disability Support Program) and my O.W. (Ontario Welfare). Every time I go there, they tell me it’s in the works, but I never get a check. Then I need my drug card and my Social Insurance card. I’ll just leave it on file with the pharmacy. that way I don’t have to worry about losing it or having it get wet in my backpack.

“You should have seen the bullshit I had to put up with this morning. I went to the pharmacy to get some emergency medication. They wouldn’t give it to me without a prescription. I said to the pharmacist, ‘You mean I have to walk a quarter of a mile to pick up a prescription, then walk a quarter of a mile back here to get it filled? Can’t you see it’s an emergency! Isn’t it obvious! Look at me!’

“I got lucky this morning. I was talking to a guy who had to go to court. He said, ‘I need a cap to go to court. If you can get me a cap, I’ll split a joint and a cigarette with you.’ I walked into the restaurant, looked around and saw these two guys sitting at a booth. There were three caps in front of them. I asked, ‘Does this cap belong to anyone?’ They said, “No, but it’s yours now.’ So, I give the cap to the guy outside, we split the joint and the cigarette and I got the edge off. No more shakes. I hardly had to do anything.

“Do you smell Listerine? Is Serge nearby? I stay away from that stuff now. I hate the headaches, the throwing up, the stomach pains and the smell that comes right through your skin.

“It really pisses me off when I share a bottle or a couple of beer with a guy; he says he’s going to get the next bottle and he brings back Listerine or rubby. That’s not right! You don’t replace a bottle of sherry or a couple of beer with Listerine or rubby. Mind you, if that’s all you got, then that’s what you drink.

“I’ve been staying at the Mission the last two nights. I have my breakfast there and then come down here for about nine o’clock. When I get hungry I head down Bank Street to 507 to get something to eat. Around supper time, I do the same thing.

“I met this guy on the weekend who I haven’t seen for, must be, fifteen years. We grew up together in Cornwall. I was at this apartment building on Cedarview near the Herongate Mall. I have no idea how I got there. I missed my appointment with my worker yesterday because I had no bus tickets and no way to get downtown. Even if I had bus tickets, I wouldn’t have known which bus to catch.

“Anyway, Timmy says to me, ‘Andre, I want you to meet a good friend of mine. We looked at each other. I said, ‘Steve?’ He said, ‘Andre?’ Timmy said, to me, ‘Andre, you know everybody.’ It seems I knew everybody in the apartment building as well, but I don’t remember meeting them.

“I’m glad that Rodent left. I was about ready to punch him. He thinks he’s being funny, just like my uncle Roscoe; but then the comments get personal and it’s not funny anymore. I was getting really pissed off. I think he could sense it.”

I said, “I’m going to the park to see who else is up there.”

Silver said, “I’m staying away from there because Shaggy is barking her head off.”

Andre said, “I’ll just wait here with Silver until my worker comes.”

“I’ll see you on my way back then,” I said.

Nine of my friends were sitting in a circle. Chasing each other around and through the circle, back and forth, were Wolf’s dog Shaggy and Hawk’s dog Dillinger. It was all Anastasia could do to sit upright as she ducked the dogs, or watched them tear around. As she was trying to light a cigarette, she kept tipping backward. “I’m an otter,” she said, “swimming on my back, looking at the clouds.” I was closest, so I offered my arm to pull her upright — all eighty pounds of her.

As Wolf sat down on the blanket, beside Shaggy’s cart he said, “I’ve got a stiff back. All I’ve done for the past week is take Shaggy for her walks, lay on the couch, read, watch TV, get up for a beer and lay back down again. It’s good to make the effort to come down here and socialize a bit. Shaggy’s having fun with Dillinger. Did you see that she actually gave up her spot so Dillinger could lay down?”

I asked Wolf, “What are you reading now?”

“I just started this book. It was given to me by a lady who gives me books all the time. I was reading the back cover and it seemed to be some kind of romance novel, so I put it at the back of my pile. When I started reading it, I found that it was all about spies and espionage. Four of them get shot in the first few pages — a real shoot-em-up, just the kind I like to read. If I had known what it was about I would have started it a month ago. It was nothing like the Harlequin romances my mother used to read.”

It was time for me to head back to work. Irene asked, “Dennis, would you walk me to the bus stop?”

I said, “Sure, Irene, are you ready to go now?”

“Where?” she asked.

I said, “Don’t you want me to walk you to the bus stop?”

“No,” she said, “I don’t want to take the bus anywhere.”

With that, I said good-bye to everyone, until tomorrow.


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21 September 2015

Reah was squatting against a building, her upturned cap in front of her. She’s a petite, pretty woman with parallel scars on her forearm from self cutting.

“Hi, Rhea, how are you doing? Have you found a good place to stay?”

“I’m at one of the shelters, but I’m not sleeping too good. My roommate is sexually harassing me. I’ve told staff about it and they just laugh, think it’s a big joke. They even tease me about it. When I wake up to a naked seventy year old woman dancing around it’s not funny, it’s disgusting. I also think that she’s schizophrenic. She says that she’s psychic but I think that it’s voices in her head. She talks constantly in her sleep, nothing that makes any sense, just noise.

“Some of the staff are okay, but I’m sure that some of them deliberately put people together who won’t get along.

“I was sexually abused as a kid, so a lot of things can be triggers for me.”

I asked, “Is there any chance that you could see a psychologist to help you with what happened?”

“I’ve talked to psychologists before. They didn’t help. Some of them didn’t even believe me, said I was lying. There’s no way I would have made up stuff like that. I’ve also got problems with OCD and depression. I’m just trying to hold onto my sanity here.”

I asked, “Do you take any medication for that? Are you able to get medication?”

“Yeah, the doctor gave me a prescription. It’s waiting for me at the pharmacy. I haven’t picked it up yet. I don’t like to take pills.

“I’m going to call the Mental Health Crisis Team. They’ve helped me before.

I asked, “Do you know Mariah?”

“Yeah, I look on her as a predator. My friend and I are both scared of her.”

“She can be a scary woman. I’d hate to get on the wrong side of her.”

“My friend is moving. I asked if there was anything vacant nearby. She said, ‘You wouldn’t want to live there. It’s a very bad section of town.’ So, I’ll just keep looking.”

I said, “Take care, Rhea. Perhaps I’ll see you tomorrow.”


Read about my friends here





10 June 2015

“Good morning, Chuck. I wasn’t sure I’d see you this morning.”

“I have to be here. I’ve got no choice. In a couple of months I may have a choice, then you won’t see me.

“It reminds me, a while back I used to go to the next corner at noon. There was this construction guy — work boots, hard hat.  He’d make comments to all the women passing. He’d say things like, ‘I’d sure like to get my hand up your skirt. Nice legs, how far up do they go?’ I was getting sick of his remarks, a lot of people were. One day he was there with all his tools, he’d been fired. I wonder why? He didn’t even have enough money to use the phone. I gave him fifty cents, he phoned a friend to pick him up. He said, ‘Imagine me, a working guy, and I have to beg for money from a bum.’ There was another case when a woman fell down. Everyone passed her by, so I went over and helped her get to her feet. She said, ‘Of all the people walking by, I get help from a bum on the street.’ I thought, She could have worded it more delicately.”

Just a Bum by Greg Brown

I saw a man, he’s a well-dressed man
He had a tan from the Yucatan
He had a car, he looked like a star
I said, Hey, don’t I know who you are
But when he glanced into my eyes
I saw yes I saw was such a big surprise
He was afraid that he’s just a bum
Someday when all his stuff is gone and he’s left without a dime
Time ain’t money when all ya got is time
And you can see him standin on the corner with a nine-day beard and bright red eyes

I know a guy, he’s a pal of mine
I say, hey. He say, I’m doin fine
I’m movin up the ladder, rung rung rung
I’m gonna get my million while I am still young
But at night when he’s had a few
His eyes say different than his tongue
They say I’m afraid that I’m just a bum
Someday when all my stuff is gone and I’m left without a dime
Time ain’t money when all ya got is time
And I can see me standin on the corner with my nine-day beard and my bright red eyes
Goin hey, hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story, hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey

Some people live to work, work to live
Any little tremble and the earth might give
Ya can’t hide it in a Volvo or a London Fog
Can’t hide it in a mansion with an imported dog
No matter how we plan and rehearse, we’re at pink slip’s mercy in a paper universe
And we’re afraid that we’re just a bum
Someday when all our stuff is gone and we’re left without a dime
Time ain’t money when all ya got is time
And we can see us standin on the corner with our nine-day beards and our bright red eyes
Goin, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story man hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey

The man of sorrow’s acquainted with grief
Stands in line waiting for relief
He will tell ya it wasn’t always this way
One bad little thing happened one bad little day
Heartbreak has bad teeth and a sour smell and lives when he can in a cheap hotel
And he’s afraid that he’s just a bum
Someday when all his stuff is gone and he’s left without a dime
Time ain’t money when all ya got is time
And you can see him standin on the corner with a nine-day beard and bright red eyes
Goin, hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
Hey hey hey hey, come on and listen to my story man hey, hey hey hey hey, ah hey

I said, “Chuck, we’re all the same. No matter what people earn, or what their title is, we all pull our pants on one leg at a time.”

“Yeah, we all shit, and wipe our own asses, except for King Henry VIII, he had people to wipe his ass. He kept gaining weight, so they had to keep modifying his suit of armor, in case they went to war. There was a guy who used a scoop to clean the shit out of his armor. That would have been a shitty job.

Watch this! A cab just cut off that pedestrian, now the guy’s running towards the cab. Oh, he’s getting in the cab. I thought there was going to be a fight. I love to see a good fight with lots of blood, as long as it’s not mine.”

Read more about my friends here



23830791 (1)


How to Kill a Millionaire

This is mystery thriller that will keep you guessing at every turn. The author sets the scene and the planned outcome early in the novel, however nothing is as we suspect. We are given access to the thoughts of psychotic wife, Tammy, as she plots the murder of her husband and his ten-year-old daughter. She is foiled at every turn, getting herself deeper and deeper into the world of the macabre. We learn of her childhood where she smothered her infant brother, schoolyard violence showing that her desires come before the health and safety of anyone else. What is this woman capable of? Will she carry through with her murderous plan or will she be stopped?

Ominous events occur, such as the stabbing of an owl through the eye with a nail file, a fox pelt hanging from a tree, a loss of heat and water at a luxurious vacation cabin. The reader is left questioning these and other mysteries as the complex plot unfolds.

I enjoyed reading this book and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. I rated it 5 Stars.

Following is a message I received on another board. It comes from Christopher in Wyoming.
ok well here we go. i was 8 yrs old when i started to have seizures in went to every doctor imaginable tell i was 14 yrs of age when i went to barrows intute down in Phoenix AZ. Down there they did brain surgry in remove a banana sized brain tumor it stopped the seizgures until 3 yrs. ago when on a drilling rig i had my first seizgure since i was 14 i am 36 now i was 34 then. Since then i cant find a job cause every job that i go to does not want to hire me because of my disablity. which makes it hard to find work in this town of Casper Wy. i did own my own house with rentals. i lost that due to bills i lost the truck i was driving due to my seizgures i cant even afford to look ne where becausae im dumb foded by the lack of respect that paople have now dayz for my illness in for the fact that that i was doing good 3 years ago had my own house my own job that i was at for 8 in a half years. girl friend that i planned on marrying. all that went out the window. that day. i lost everything. includeing self respect its been hard to find a job at X-mas time in that im homeless doesnt make it any better i broke there are times were i wonder if life is worth living at all is there any hope for me people look at me different i now have no friends i have none of anything people want do they even want me around its hard to live this life in keep my head up when theres no one that cares my family dont care they were the first ones to go. my friends next to the point where i have to decepre whos a friend in whos not cause people now days can take you for all your worth in not look back. I dont know ne more they are days when i wake up with a smile on my face in it all goes
Hi Christopher, thank you very much for your message. Life is certainly unfair. All we can do is take it one moment at a time. Try not to dwell on what happened in the past. Now is the only time we can make a difference in our lives. I wish you love and happiness for the future




6 November 2014

“Good morning, Dennis. I have something to tell you. It just happened. There’s a woman who passes every morning. She always says hello, but never drops me any money. That’s okay. This morning I said to her, ‘I’m going to say something to you. You may think I’m bad. You may even call me a sexist pig, but I think you’re beautiful. I wanted to say it.’ She laughed and handed me a five dollar bill. So what do you think? Am I a sexist pig?”

I said, “Well, Chuck, if you’re a sexist pig, so am I.”

“I have to laugh sometimes when I see these women’s groups. Their extremist views alienate many people who would otherwise support them. I know that some men are bastards, they beat women. I don’t know why the women stick around.  I know some prostitutes that come by. Some of them get beaten by their pimps. There’s no way a hundred pound woman can stand up to a two hundred pound, six-foot man.  I tell them, ‘Look, do your tricks, hand over the money to your pimp. Do that a couple of times. Go out again, do your tricks, collect the money then high tail it out of town. Take the first bus and get the hell away. That’s the only way to survive.

“Do you remember Rachelle, she died about four years ago?”

“No, I didn’t know her. What did she die of?”

“Cancer, but that’s not the point. When I was living downtown, I was on street level. Often she’d come by my place, it might be three o’clock in the morning. I’d invite her in, she’d take a shower, hop into bed with me and we’d sleep until morning. Then she’d be on her way. That went on for years. I was single. We both got what we wanted. What’s wrong with that. Like I said the other day, ‘The one who supplies the booze, controls the screws.’ Well, I was controlling the booze.

“These new prostitution laws are only going to make things worse. Prostitution has been around forever. It’s not going to be legislated away.”

“I agree, Chuck. By the way, I saw Magdalene last night, the former girlfriend of Alphonse who committed suicide.”

“I know who you’re talking about. Yeah, she’s lost weight.”

I said, “She was straight and sober and has a new boyfriend now.”

“Yeah, his name is Allan. He seems decent enough. I also saw her drunk with three other guys.

“What do you think of the Fort Lauderdale men who face sixty days in jail and a $500 fine for feeding the homeless?

“The world is going crazy, Chuck. What more can I say?”





Income Spitting: Huge Tax Cuts for Rich Families

“How’s your leg today, Chuck?”

“I checked it last night, it was looking better then. This morning it’s looking better still. I wasn’t very good company yesterday because I was worrying about it.”

I said, “I was listening to the news this morning, our Prime Minister is offering a tax break for people earning over fifty thousand a year. It will cost all taxpayers 2.7 billion dollars.”

Income Spitting: Huge Tax Cuts for Rich Families

The chart below shows how much couples at different household income levels are estimated to get from federal parental income splitting in 2014. Each decile contains 10% of all families, arranged by family incomes. Couples in the first decile have average family incomes of $30,600 or less. These couples will get an estimated $9 per year from these new tax cuts to help them give their children a good start in life.

The tenth decile contains the 10% of families with the very highest family incomes. Couples with children who fall into this decile will receive federal tax cuts worth an average of $1,914 per year, up to the maximum of $6,600 per year for those living on single incomes of $187,000 or more.

But, if parental income splitting is to help make sure all children get the best possible start in life, why should parents who need the most financial assistance raising their children get small federal benefits like $9 or $74 or $104 per year – while those who need it the least will get an average of $1,008 or $1,091 or $1,914 per year, and as much as $6,600 per year? Why should parents who can already do virtually anything they want to help their children off to a good start need such generous help from the federal government?

How is this tax cut fair? With children all across the country going to school hungry every day, how do such extremely unequal benefits help give all children in Canada the best possible start in life? (Canadians for Tax Fairness)


Chuck said, “That reminds me of a cartoon I saw a while back. It showed an alley with garbage cans, one of the seedier parts of town. There was an upturned cap on the ground and a sign above it that read ‘Wintering in Florida, please leave donations in the usual place.’ What I can’t figure out is why the government is doing this. It just doesn’t make any sense.”

I said, “The government isn’t required to make sense, only to get reelected.”

“I shouldn’t have even bothered to get out of bed today. I got another letter saying they’re going to cut my TV off because of that disputed $54 bill. I have proof that it’s been paid, they just won’t listen. If they cut me off, I’ll take all my business to another company. They can take me to court, shoot me, do whatever they want. I don’t care.”

I asked, “Do you have any plans for Halloween?”

“Yes, I’m going to be disguised as a magician. I’ll have my slippers on, I’ll turn off all the lights and I’ll disappear.”


5.0 out of 5 stars
Great, October 23, 2014
mother of 4 (Pocahontas, IL) – See all my reviews
This review is from: Gotta Find a Home: Conversations with Street People (Kindle Edition)
This was a great heart warming story to read. It is one of those things that really makes you sit back and take stock of the things in your own life. It is full of kindness and you can tell from the writing that the author has a real passion for the subject of the homeless. He is not only telling their story but trying to open up the eyes of the world to these people and what they have and are still going through. I was very humbled by this project and would really recommend it to anyone. It does kind of restore ones faith in the human race. I was also pleasantly surprised that the writing is not preachy in its message about the homeless nor is it condescending to the people who it is written about. Very nice work Mr. Cardiff.




20 October 2014

Construction was taking place at Chuck’s corner. Covered scaffolding had been erected, above the sidewalks, to protect pedestrians from falling debris. Chuck was sitting precariously close to the street. Goldie was shivering. “Hi Chuck,” I said, “how do you like being on this side of the sidewalk?”

“I don’t like it, but there’s not much I can do about it. They will be doing brickwork on this building for most of the winter.”

“Did you go to the mall on Saturday?” I asked.

“Yeah, I was there. I met my friends, had a coffee and some of that great chicken. I noticed that the Greek place isn’t happy with the number of customers they’re losing. They’re a tough lot. I knew a guy who worked for them one time. They let him go for no reason.

‘Saturday night I went to the hockey game. The game was fine. Our team won against Columbus 3 – 2. It was after the game that I had problems. There was a long line of people waiting for busses after the game. I tapped this guy on the back and said, ‘Would you please move, so I can pass and get to the front of the line?’ He said, ‘Why should I move? You’re nothing special.’ I said, ‘Move you stupid fuck, or I’ll run into your ankles with this chair!’ He didn’t move so I rammed him, not as hard as I could have, but he felt it. He let me by and I got nearer to the front of the line. There was this big guy blocking my way. I tapped him on the back and said, ” Would you mind moving, so that I can move to the front of the line?’ He said, ‘Sure, no problem, and I’ll get the rest of these people to move as well.’ So I got on the bus, backed into the special section they have for wheelchairs. Then the first guy I talked to got on. He said, ‘I see you got on okay.’ I said, ‘Yes, fuckface, I got on, no thanks to you. Do you see this big blue sign above me with the wheelchair symbol? It’s there to show that wheelchairs have priority on entering the bus, so they don’t run over passenger’s toes while trying to get positioned. Then people needing priority seating are allowed on, like pregnant women, people using canes and the blind. Then the remainder of the passengers are allowed on. Does that make sense to you?’ He didn’t say anything, but when he got off he waved to me.”

The construction crew started banging metal above us. Goldie hid her head under Chuck’s arm. “It’s okay, girl, we’re leaving soon.” To me he said, “Soon, it’s going to be too cold to come out here. I was hoping to get a few more hours here, but it’s not going to happen.”

I said, “I’ll check back tomorrow, Chuck, to see if your here. Take care.’

“Bye, Dennis.”





17 October 2014

As I was walking towards the park I met Mariah and the two Alberts. I asked, “Mariah, are you leaving?”

‘Yes, I’m not feeling so good. Cramps, I’ve just started my period. Albert is going to walk me home.”

The usuals were in there, in their usual place.

Marcel said, “Hi Dennis, I haven’t seen you for a long time. I’m not drinking now. I haven’t necessarily quit, but I’m a binge drinker. I’ll get drunk for a few days then I’ll stay off it for three months. I still have my weed. I won’t give that up. In fact I have a court appearance coming up for that, but the judge knows me. You see, I’m supposed to be getting workmen’s comp. for a back injury and the judge knows that. He knows that I’m self-medicating. Last time I told him, ‘Your honor, I could go to my doctor and get opiates for the pain in my back, but if I did I’d eventually become addicted, then I’d have another problem. Or, I could sell them on the street, to pay for my marijuana, but if I was caught I’d be in more serious trouble. He didn’t like where I was going with this.

“I changed social workers, and every time that happens they cut me off my meds. I have to go in, explain everything to them, get a letter from my doctor. Then I’m reinstated. I waited three months and hadn’t received a letter from my worker. She had been sending my mail to the wrong address. My old landlord hates me. He was probably throwing my mail in the garbage. Anyway, I told this to the judge. I said, ‘Your honor, I had no pain medication for three months. What was I to do?’  It was only a probation breach, so he had it dropped.”

I asked, “What is the charge for marijuana possession?”

“It all depends on the judge. If you’re caught with a gram, they may give you thirty days in jail. If you’re caught with an ounce, that’s a different story. They can charge you with trafficking. You could get sixty days to two years, whatever the judge decides.”

“How did you injure your back?” I asked.

“I was working at the airport. Every so often the 737’s suffer from what is called metal fatigue. The only thing to do is to take them completely apart, then put them back together again. It’s a big job and takes about two years. At the end I had a really easy job. I was doing the final inspection. I had a checklist that was color coded, from red that meant life threatening, yellow was hazardous, but not life threatening, and all the way down. So I didn’t have to do much, just make sure that everyone else had done their job. Near the ceiling of the hangar is where all the gasses collect, from the generators, the welding equipment, exhaust fumes. One day I passed out and fell about twenty feet to the cement floor. I had multiple spinal compression fractures in my lumbar region and neck.

“Why was there a delay in getting workmen’s compensation?”

“It was a grey area. First of all,  I lived in Quebec but worked in Ontario. They couldn’t decide which province should cover my injuries. Second, it was an international airport, so the federal government was involved. Third, for safety reasons we were only supposed to work eight-hour shifts. The union, without permission from the government, changed it to four twelve-hour shifts, with three days in between. According to the government, I shouldn’t have been working when I was. I raised a lot of shit. I became a whistle-blower and pointed out twenty-one safety violations that were taking place.  Things like guys going out for a smoke and propping the door open with a brick. The inspectors were aware of these things, they just chose to ignore them. That didn’t make me very popular with the union. Heads rolled, but I’ve been waiting fourteen years for my compensation. They say that I’m going to get my money, but I tell them, ‘It’s been fourteen years. My kids may get my money, but I’ll be dead by the time this is resolved.

“I really ruffled some feathers higher up. One night cops came to my door with a search warrant. They took every piece of paper in the house, photographs, even my kid’s drawings on the fridge. Now, why would they take a kid’s drawing? They also magnetized my house. Do you know what that means? They took a powerful magnet to every piece of electronic equipment I had,  computers, cameras, erased everything. They were gone within an hour, but they were thorough.

“There’s something else I did that upset a lot of people. I set up a union for panhandlers. It’s still active. We have a list of lawyers we can call, to appear for us in court, at no charge. They’re good lawyers.”

I asked, “Is there any way that you can go back to the kind of work you were doing at the airport?”

“No, my doctor says that I’ve developed a sensitivity to certain gasses. Even a whiff could trigger my brain into falling asleep. It’s the body trying to protect itself. If you’re asleep, then your breathing is shallower. I get ODSP (Ontario Disability Support Program), but because I was in a high paying job, I’d get a lot more from the Compensation Board, but, that’s life.”