To be human is to be in relationship…

To be human is to be in relationship ,
with other humans and with the world.

-Paolo Freire

Posted in Ideas



we take it upon ourselves to decide for another what they need we take away their power to decide for themselves.

We reduce the space in which they can be human. We reduce the space in which they can be free to make their own choices. We reduce the space in which they get to be who they can be. We reduce the space in which they get to make the kind of choices we value being able to make ourselves in our own lives.

And, we deny them opportunity in which they might learn, to reclaim their power and use it to make choices enabling them to live a life worth living – and worth living on their own terms…

Posted in Uncategorized

Ol Skool – Crack of Dawn

Posted in Uncategorized

Ghost – Depeche Mode

I’m the hole in your heart
I’m the stain in your bed
The phantom in your fingers
The voices in your head

I’m the ghost in your house
Calling your name
My memory lingers
You’ll never be the same
I’m the hole in your heart
I’m the stain in your bed
The phantom in your fingers
The voices in your head
One touch is all it took
To draw you in
To leave you hooked
One kiss, you paid the price
You had a taste Of paradise
Now you’re running in circles
Chasing imaginary footsteps
Reaching for shadows In the bed where I once slept
I’m the ghost in your house
Calling your name
My memory lingers
You’ll never be the same
I’m the hole in your heart
I’m the stain in your bed
The phantom in your fingers
The voices in your head
One thought is all it takes
You lose control
You make mistakes
This pain will never leave Until I die
You’ll always grieve
Now you’re falling to pieces
Seeing my face wherever you go
Talking to strangers
From a place they’ll never know.


Posted in Uncategorized

It’s not about health, its not very caring and it’s not a system.






Alex Jadad:

“The fact is that the stystem is unsustainable as it is.

Even if we’re comfortable, that level of comfort is dangerous
because it could end up consuming everything that we have
and yet not satisfy our needs.
So we need to do something and pronto.

A sense of urgency
is an extremely important thing to develop
especially in areas, as Ontario, where we are already facing some financial challenges.

[Piya Chattopadhyay]     “We seem to be inert” 

“Well we seem more paralyzed, 
and apathetic, or petrified, than anything else.

Change is difficult.
And for a system as big as the one we call “heathcare system”…

It’s not a system , by the way:
Its a bunch of pieces
that don’t work together.
I dont know what is the best term to call it.

Its not about heath
Its not very caring
and its not a system.

Well said, Alex Jadad.

More money
for more of the same
will never be enough.
We need change,
we need different.


Alex Jadad: Promoting Change
TVO The Agenda .




Posted in change, Crazy World, Ideas

Can a Lack of Sleep Cause Psychiatric Disorders?

You’ll see squillions and gazillions of  pieces on how folks said to “have”  a “mental illness” struggle with sleep.

Q. What if that story is all arse-about-face?
Or, if you prefer: “ass-backwards” ?

Matt Walker has been asking similar questions.


Can a Lack of Sleep Cause Psychiatric Disorders?

Study shows that sleep deprivation leads to a rewiring of the brain’s emotional circuitry

By Nikhil Swaminathan
Scientific American, October 23, 2007

There’s no question that people need their sleep: studies have linked a lack of shut-eye to everything from disruptions in the immune system to cognitive deficits to weight controlCredit: © ISTOCKPHOTO/KAREN WINTON 

In fact, psychologist Matthew Walker of the University of California, Berkeley, says that “almost all psychiatric disorders show some problems with sleep.” But, he says that scientists previously believed the psychiatric problems triggered the sleep issues. New research from his lab, however, suggests the reverse is the case; that is, a lack of shut-eye is causing some psychological disturbances.

Walker’s team and collaborators from Harvard Medical School reached their conclusions, published in Current Biology, after studying 26 healthy students aged 24 to 31 after either an all-nighter or a full night’s sleep.

Fourteen subjects spent 35 straight hours without getting a wink before being rolled into a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanners where their brains were observed while they viewed a set of 100 photos that became increasingly disturbing as they progressed. Early slides were snapshots of an empty wicker basket on a table; the scenes changed as the series progressed, however, to more shocking settings, such as a tarantula on a person’s shoulder and finally pictures of burn victims and other traumatic portraits.

The researchers mainly monitored the amygdala, a midbrain structure that decodes emotion, and observed that both sets of volunteers had a similar baseline of activity when shown the innocuous images. But, when the scenes became more gruesome, the amygdalae of the sleep-deprived participants kicked up, showing 60 percent more activity relative to the normal population’s response. In addition, the researchers noticed that more than five times more neurons in the area were transmitting impulses in the sleep-deprived brains.

Walker described the heightened emotional response in the weary as “profound,” noting, “We’ve never seen a magnitude of increase between two groups that big in any of our studies before.”

The team also checked the fMRI readings to determine whether any other brain regions had a similar pattern of activity, which would indicate that the brain networks were communicating with one another. In normal participants, the amygdala seemed to be talking to the medial prefrontal cortex, an outer layer of the brain that, Walker says, helps to contextualize experiences and emotions. But, in the sleep-deprived brain, the amygdala seemed to be “rewired,” coupling instead with a brain stem area called the locus coeruleus, which secretes norepinephrine, a precursor of the hormone adrenaline that triggers fight-or-flight type reactions.

“Medial prefrontal cortex is the policeman of the emotional brain,” Walker says. “It makes us more rational. That top-down, inhibitory connection is severed in the condition of sleep deprivation. … The amygdala seems to be able to run amok.” People in this state seem to experience a pendulum of emotions, going from upset and annoyed to giddy in moments, he says.

“There seems to be a causal relationship between impaired sleep and some of the psychiatric symptomatology and disorders that we’re seeing,” says Robert Stickgold, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who was not involved in this study. He cites research linking sleep apnea, in which breathing is disrupted, to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and the evidence of a connection between depression and insomnia as examples. “It might be that those medial frontal regions tell the rest of the brain, ‘You can chill,'” he says. “Those circuits become exhausted or altered after a lack of sleep.”

Walker says the team now plans to examine the effects of disruption of certain types of sleep, such as REM sleep or slow-wave sleep. “I think we may start to think about a new potential function for sleep,” says Walker. “It does actually prepare our emotional brains for next-day social and emotional interactions.”


Posted in bollocks | Tagged

MADx – Alive n Kicking – Fri 1st Feb 2019

MADx is about life.
MADx is about performance- first timers and experienced
MADx is about voice – finding and using yours, and witnessing others a as they do too.
MADx is about: heh, it’s Friday night.

So, why MADx ?
It’s a bit mad and it has an x in it.

Open Call for Performers


You have a song. poem, short story,  spoken word piece, or want to recite a favourite by someone else, or if you have another performance,  or wtf …

If you want to join us and share it at MADx on our stage

Then drop us a line with a few words here…

We invite you to:

  • Share how you have been challenged, or are being challenged, whether by volition or happenstance, choices you found yourself with, and how its working out so far..
  • How walked in fire, or through darkness and found something, anything  that lights a fire in you soul, in your spirit,  or under just your arse,
    and you want to let it shine.
  • How you’d like to challenge stereotypes without attacking and belittling others.


  • Free yourself from the language of diagnistical boloxupifiction-
    there are tens of thousands of other words we can choose
    – and that’s just in English.So give it a try for ten minutes.
    and show us what you got.

We’d  prefer you didn’t…

  • bring what Pat Deegan calls “restitution stories”, or download tired old, same old routines, and reinforce stereotypes that reduce other people’s lives.
    If you get your kicks that way then you can find it easy enough elsewhere.

Note this event, we will be capturing footage for  a video for a forthcoming MADx kickstarter campaign.
And no, you don’t need to be in the video. [D’oh!]



Posted in Event

Is wokeness robbing us of compassion and replacing it with moral superiority?


“Wokeness has robbed many of compassion and replaced it with moral superiority”

Ayishat Akanbi

”I think wokeness has robbed many people of compassion and replaced it with moral superiority.

Compassion and empathy is paramount to any social movement, and so, any form of progress.

Once you have compassion and empathy, you can often see that you have a lot more in common with people than you do apart, and it’s the system under which we live in that forcefully tries to group us on our differences.

What is radical is kindness. What is radical is understanding.

That’s the one thing they don’t want us to do: is to understand each other.

Arguing with each other isn’t actually radical at all: it’s very conformist actually.

I do think that wokeness does from the risk sometimes in reducing very complex issues. Wokeness tends to be quite reactionary, instead of responsive. And so, when you react, you go off emotions, and you go off of anger, resentment, humiliation…

And that doesn’t necessarily leave much space for nuance. And nuance is important, in order to understand the interconnectedness of the issues.

A lot of us are seeing people who remind us of our former selves and we’re attacking that. It’s hard for me so completely condemn someone as ”problematic”, because of behaviour that I don’t agree with.

I only know what I know and have the insight that I have because I have made a lot of mistakes.
And I interrogate those mistakes.
And I’m not necessarily looking for moral purity, but I’m looking for people who are committed to wanting to be better.

There’s a big element of shaming people.

I look at Twitter, and I look at a lot of the online spaces, and conversations, and it’s just a digital version of the school canteen. People are choosing ”who they’re gonna sit with”, and ”who can’t sit with us”, and ”who can speak on this, and who can’t speak on this”…

And this is completely not the goal of any social justice movement.

I think that we’re doing now is seeing people for their groups: white men, gay women, black women… We are talking about what we are rather than who we are.

If someone is talking about race, and a white person intercepts and are met with, maybe, defense, or are met with a slur of some form… That is going to reinforce what they believe of that black person. And that black person is going to cement further their belief about what they think about white people.

We’re just confirming previous biases. And I think it can just be a place where it can quite easily make people feel as if they are not smart enough.

Identity politics exist because everyone wants to feel like they matter.

But sometimes, identity politics can run the risk of playing what they call: ”the oppression Olympics”, ”who has it worse off”, and ”who suffered most”, and  ”if you have privilege, that means your life has been inherently good” ─ which is very oversimplified notions of anyone’s existence ─ which are not true.

I think if people were honest about their feelings, as opposed to their political opinions, we would see that we have more in common than we do apart.

Once that is achieved, then we can focus on our common oppressions.

Because although we are all different ─ we are black women, we are white men, we are gay people, we are lesbians, we are trans ─ underneath the anger, the depression, the stress, the race conversations, and the gender issues, is that we feel a great big void.

Labels are helpful in helping us understand each other, in finding communities.
But I think at some stage, we should be able to do away with labels.

A man and a woman takes many forms; a black person takes many forms; whiteness takes many forms…

And there is no one way to do it.
One thing that wokeness has done is to arm me  with a community of people who care about what I care about.

However, I always want to be accountable.
For me to outsource all of my issues to sole white supremacy is to give it too much power. For me, to outsource all of my issues, as a woman, to men, is a little bit too disempowered for me.
Just as much as women are oppressed by patriarchy, men are oppressed by patriarchy
and I can’t not see that.

I’m always skeptical that I don’t want what I’m saying to come across as those Generation X baby boomers who are talking about “wokeness” in a very critical way, because they are sad that they no longer have their time when they can say things with impunity, where they could be racist and make homophobic jokes. That’s not it.

I’m just asking for us to be more honest with ourselves.
To think about why these issues are happening and to not be so reactionary.
To be responsive and to be critical.

You know, maybe, in wokeness 2.0, which is the second stage of the anger; in this new stage, the focus is a lot more inward.

Once you understand yourself, it’s very easy to understand everyone else. So easy !

Because we’re actually not that different.

We’re actually, painfully, quite ordinary.

How our ordinariness, and our traumas, and our pain, manifest is very different.

But the root cause is to why we act in the ways that we act often is security.
We want belonging. We want acceptance, fundamental things to a human.

If we are more understanding of, at least, ourselves; you know, it’s so hard to judge other people. ”

Posted in Ideas, Use The Force | 3 Comments

Hearing Voices Cafe – Jan to Apr 2019

Toronto Hearing Voices cafe is based in very simple premise: that we can meet and talk about difficult human experiences in ordinary language and in ordinary places, so we do.

Join us for a different kind of conversation about what it means to be human in this world.

The HV cafe is for everyone, especially those who are”just curious”.

Starting Jan 2019 we will be especially welcoming those who support  alove done struggle, families caregivers, friends, fellow humans.

Mon 7th Jan we will welcome Clayo Laanemets who leads a project working to develop online peer navigation platform for young people struggling and their caregivers .

6pm to 8pm
Coffee And All That Jazz
72 Howard Park Ave

POSTER [pdf]  Hearing Voices Cafe Toronto – Jan 2019


Posted in Uncategorized

On being deemed “too different” and “psychosis”

by Kevin Healey

I live in Toronto a city where, more than other places I’ve lived in or visited, it is easier to see what “diversity” means,  at least at one level.

For example, according to information reported on the City of Toronto website:

  • Half of all  those living here were born in another country;
  • 47% of Torontonians report themselves as belonging to a visible minority.

Not that by any means things here are all sorted, not at all, just that this is a place where there is more diversity than most and where there exists at least some degree of acceptance that diversity is a good thing.

Still, here too there are undoubtedly many people, and many groups still waiting, demanding and “fighting to be included in the idea of equality” as much as in any other place.

Where I grew up there’s a colloquialism “same difference” and perhaps those words are  imprinted within me and inform how, for a long time I have believed that we are each as different as we are the same.

More recently though, I have come to see how experiences of being deemed “too different” and “psychosis” are intertwined,  part of the same experience.

For me, experiences that get called “psychosis” are at the heart of the difficulty of living with human difference. For whatever reason we find ourselves deemed “too different” – and it seems we are constantly making up new ones – we can find ourselves overwhelmed and struggling in ways that affect every aspect of our being.

That inner struggle expresses itself in many forms and from time to time it can overwhelm us,  and it comes to the surface in ways others use to deem us even more different: “disconnected from ‘reality’” whatever that means; and “in-psychosis” again, whatever that means.

Whatever the roots of and route towards our own personal “too-differentness”, living through difficult experiences that get lumped together under the heading “psychosis” is where many of do us find ourselves.

We are now further down the road to being cast-out, trapped and seemingly condemned to remain stuck there.

“Madness is supposed to be the beginning of a journey, it’s not supposed to be the end result”
–Jeanette Winterson.

If we are fortunate, this can be a blessing, for those of us who are able to take advantage of it and see that the energy we were using up trying to fit-in, or being some version of ourselves that others would have us be; and that we can better invest that energy into breaking-free, learning and being who we can best be.

Sadly, not everyone is offered that opportunity, or able to create it for themselves and even then many are not lucky enough to be able take advantage.

My own experience has shown me that life is often about surfing that precarious, dynamic balance between fitting in just-enough and also being free-enough to be who I am.

Straying too far from either side of that can be uneasy, scary and lead to me becoming exhausted, and if I’m there long enough, not well.

A couple of years ago I was part of organizing a conference Psychosis 2.0, where one of the keynote speakers was Keris Myrick. At the pre-conference get together the evening before, I well remember hearing her talk of how pleased she was to see the city dressed up, and making a show of being very welcoming.  It was, I think, the week before Toronto Pride which was also that year hosting World PRIDE. So it was quite a show, even more than the usual show. I remember her saying something to the effect “I don’t know if it’s always like this…”  and that giving rise to rumblings in the audience that no, it wasn’t.
More particularly I remember, as she was drawing to a conclusion, speaking to her personal experience of living as a black woman in a world run and dominated by people not many of whom as she said, “look like me”.

”Difference is difficult and dealing with difference is not easy – yet we have no other option but to learn how.”
– Keris Myrick

Difference can be challenging enough when it is at the surface. Perhaps, though it is the differences that lie beneath that are most difficult – how we are affected by our difference, our too-differentness.

Whatever the nature of our own differentness we can be driven or trapped into concealing, withholding, and protecting it: from a world that does not understand and does not know how to accept, our too-differentness.

We can also be driven to protecting the world from our too-differentness, our very being, by wearing a mask or masks that show us in ways that do not cause opprobrium to be aroused in others.

Of course, we can only struggle like this so much, and for so long.

The energy it requires to live like this is just too much to sustain. From time to time it surfaces, and manifests in many ways, some of which stray beyond the boundary of what society regards acceptably different.

I can only imagine how difficult and exhausting it is to live in this world as non-male, none-white person: I only know how difficult it has been and is for me sometimes.

Hearing voices is one of the ways I am different – though, truth be told, even though some people talk of it as “unusual experience” it is really not all that unusual. Three-in-four of us will hear a voice no one else does at least once, usually around significant life events and about one in seven of us of us do regularly.

Like Tom Jones sang, admittedly in a wholly different context, “it’s not unusual” – hearing voices is, actually, remarkably bloody common.

It is, though, another of the ways we can be too-different in a way that our society has yet to develop the capacity to understand, to accept,  and to accommodate such differences, and so instead we construct stories that would have us fear what is a not that unusual at all but very human experience.

It strikes me that within the many ways that we can be different, there is perhaps some shared experience in the many ways we might find ourselves  deemed  too-different.

For whatever reason we that are first deemed to be too-different, that we don’t fit in, and that we’re not good enough to be worthy of being considered as a being-being, as fellow human, the pain that we can feel as a result sits deep within us.

The wound is embedded within every fibre, every synapse and every fleeting second of our being.

William James, who first coined the term psychological trauma, also described this effect as like “thorns in the spirit”.

At those times when life overwhelms us, and which for some of us can be a near-constant experience, the pain from those thorns pops-up to the surface and expresses itself into the world, often in one of the many ways that come, at some point, to be called ‘psychosis’.

And so, once we have been deemed “too different”, we become a sticky target- to which other sticky labels stick themselves all-to-easily.

We too easily find ourselves boxed into categories of others’ making and it can easily happen that we find ourselves cast out to what Franz Fanon called the “zone of nonbeing”, outside of “self”, even beyond “other”, beyond worthy of being regarded as human, more a denial of existence and right to exist as human.

Eventually those cast out there come to believe: “I deserve this”.

This zone serves a function: it allows us to separate ourselves from those who have now been placed within it, so that we can feel ok about whatever is done to them.

And then, one day, we find that we too have been placed within this zone –   or that it’s boundary has been extended far enough that it now includes us too.

I’m interested in dialogue, so I’d like to sign off by asking you to share something:

Q. In what ways have you found yourself deemed “too different”?
Q. And what helped you find your way?

Kevin Healey




Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments