Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 11:46:00 AM

David Webster: criminally insane

Read here the story of David Webster. Mr. Webster seems to be one of those whom we definitely want to be locked away somewhere. He is a dangerous man. He also has some mental illness lurking inside him. Among other things, he has symptoms of bipolar disorder. So, where do we put such a man? Prison? Yes and no.

I have been (as a visitor) on the ward for violently insane men at a nearby mental hospital. I had to go through many locked doors to get to the ward. It was like visiting a penitentiary. It was not a nice place to be, even as a visitor. In fact, to me, it was horrifying.

We need to stop looking at an insanity plea as if it is an attempt to get out of punishment. It is, in fact, trading one kind of prison for another kind of prison -- the prison which is the ward for the criminally insane. This prison is no vacation. It is no different from regular prison with the exception that medical care for the mentally ill is available. This is what David Webster needs. He needs to be locked away and he needs treatment.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 10:25:00 AM
United States: Mentally Ill Mistreated in Prison
More Mentally Ill in Prison Than in Hospitals

An article in Human Rights News -- a publication of Human Rights Watch
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 10:21:00 AM
U.S. Prisons and Offenders with Mental Illness

A report by Human Rights Watch
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:59:00 AM
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal. I cooked a turkey for the first time! Usually I roast a couple of chickens. We had turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc, etc, etc. The kids were VERY impressed. Unfortunately, my husband could not be with us. He works out of town a lot -- especially on holidays. :-(

November is a big month for us. My daughter's birthday is on Nov 12. My birthday is on Nov 16. (I'm 36.) My dad's birthday is on Nov 21 and my husband's birthday is on Nov 23. BIG MONTH!!!

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:51:00 AM
Okay, I'm going to get in trouble for saying this, but say it I must. Based on the facts that I know about the case, I would say that Lisa Snyder is not guilty.

Lisa Snyder has bipolar disorder. In July 2001, emotionally distraught Lisa Snyder, who was off her medication and had not eaten for some time, entered the office of her former psychiatrist and set two fires. Her former psychiatrist was not in the office at the time, however another physician and his patient were there. Ms. Snyder did not know who was or was not in the office. It is not known what her intentions are. It is not known whether or not she intended to kill anyone. Perhaps her intention was to destroy property. Whatever the case, her intentions are not known. Nonetheless, Ms. Snyder was convicted of attempted murder. She will be serving more than two decades in prison for this act and, as the writer of this story points out, this is longer than many convicted killers are required to serve.

I submit that Lisa Snyder is not guilty by reason of insanity. Bipolar disorder is insanity, especially when one is off his/her medication. If her action was to attempt to commit suicide, she would not have been thrown in jail. She would have been hospitalized. But no, her violent action was different, so she was not hospitalized but convicted of a crime. Which is more violent? To attempt to kill oneself or to attempt to kill others? They are equally so, but if she had attempted to kill herself, there would have been no question about her insanity. Why was she considered sane enough to stand trial for attempted murder? Apparently, her attorney(s) dropped the ball on this BIG TIME.

Thankfully, she has at least one advocate in all of this. Her boyfriend is trying to get the word out about her case so that it may be revisited. He's found at least one reporter to help him in this quest. What she really needs is an attorney who will fight for the truth to be revealed.

Okay, so I've had my say. Thank you for hearing me out.

Love from Lisa
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/29/2003 09:13:00 AM
I have been doing a lot better since starting a new prescription called Lamictal. This medication is, to me, a gift of God. I was having no progress at all in my treatment until I started Lamictal. Now, I am able to live life fairly normally. You can find out more about Lamictal by clicking here.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:38:00 PM
Here is some information about some of the drugs we bipolars have to take in order to achieve wellness.

Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:26:00 PM
Justice is swerved -- a story about Lisa Snyder, bipolar disorder and premeditated murder. This woman needs to be in a hospital and not serving two decades in a prison.
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 09:12:00 PM
Mentally ill increasingly fill prisons
Author: Lisa Graas
•11/14/2003 03:44:00 PM
So, where have I been? I just received an email asking that question, so I guess I had better check in and let everyone know that I'm okay. There have been no thoughts of suicide in quite some time. So, what's going on? Well, my husband and I just bought a new house together and we've been quite busy as we've been getting ready for the big move. This is an especially joyous occasion since my husband and I nearly divorced just a couple of months ago. I dare not get into all of those ugly details. I think it's enough to say that we've gotten past that and are trying to start a new life together. HOWEVER, I should note, since this is a blog about educating people about mental illness, that one of the things that was a source of strife for my husband and me has been my illness. It's not easy to live with someone who has bipolar disorder. We are cranky and demanding, at times, among other things. It gets in the way of a couple's ability to have a good relationship with each other. Mind you, he has his faults, too.......and bipolar disorder is not something that I can make go away if I just put forth enough effort. This doesn't seem to lessen the pain very much for my husband, and I suppose that I can see why. That's more than I wanted to say on this topic, but there it is.

The near divorce made me realize that I'm tired of being a victim. I'm a victim of so many things. You know, I think that if you are always thinking of yourself as a victim, you let the evil spirits win. So, I'm going to start thinking of myself as a survivor. I am someone who has battled many demons in order to get to the top of the mountain. That's what I am. A survivor. And I am still battling -- still trying to get to the top. Sometimes it seems that with every step I take, I slide back three. If I begin to think of myself as a victim, I will become one. If I think of myself as a survivor, well, I just might make it.

God bless you.

Love from Lisa