So I had a meeting at the Los Angeles Department of Mental Health in downtown Los Angeles the other day. They are causing major mental breakdowns with the way they handle parking. There must be 100 frustrated people waiting to get into the parking structure. The mental meltdown down continued when I got inside. I now have a picture in their system where I look pretty thick and like I have no chin.
A chunky beaker from the muppet’s? Or Patrick, the star fish with a little bit hair.
To be fair to LADMH, I’ve seen some great miracles happen on a pretty tight budget. I just recently ran into someone I worked with 15 years ago, diagnosed with schizophrenia. He now has a JD and is a mental health advocate. I guess it’s good they don’t spend tax payer money on unneeded necessities like good camera equipment, or helpful parking attendants. There are lots of other worthy causes that need attention.
After my meeting I took a short walk to grab some lunch and water. While I was walking back to my car a homeless person stopped me on the street, and questioned me about my leftovers. “Will you be eating that any time soon?” He inquired. “No. Would you like some lunch?” I asked. “I would be most grateful, he responded.” “Come, come, come and sit down so we can talk for a minute. “ He persuaded me, and so I did. The home he had built outside the Department of Mental Health was quite beautiful and I commented on it. “Oh, will you take a picture of it? Then email it to me? I would love to have a picture of my home. “ I thought, “Why not?” And proceeded to take one. I asked him what was hanging from the trees. He explained they were tea bags he threw up there for decoration. He also had some plants and was growing his own food.
He asked me for a favor. He was trying to get help through the courts for his disability. He had worked as a fisherman in Alaska when he came to this country, but had sustained an injury along the way and could no longer walk. You can see his wheelchair if you look closely. It no longer works, but it’s leaning up against the tree with what looks like a picture of woman taped to the wheel.
He was in need of an address to have court papers sent to. We talked for a while about the particulars. He showed me his paperwork that had been stamped by the court. I was bound to have another LADMH meeting and thought I could definitely bring his mail by in the near future and drop it off for him.
In my job here in LA I work with many homeless youth. I run a program for 15-26 year olds who are showing signs of psychotic disorders. Homelessness is a big problem among this age group. In 2011 it was estimated that roughly 4,000 youth were homeless in LA. With 80% of them being individuals and 20% being homeless youth with children. That’s a lot of kids sleeping on the streets. Many of them grew up abused or neglected and are products of the foster care system.
I work with many collaborative groups throughout South LA to address this problem. And one of the biggest problems they have is not having an address. No address to use on applications for jobs or housing, or to use for mailing or identification cards. Not having an address hinders you in every way and the homeless in Los Angeles have not found a way around this glitch in the system. Anyway, I told Izaz I would let him use my private practice address for his court paperwork. He was very grateful and bowed to me what seemed like a hundred times.
I then told him I had a website and asked if I could put his picture and email address up on it. He said many people had asked him that “but I don’t understand why?” “Maybe someone else will help you too”, I explained. He said “Ok. Yes. You can put it on your website.”
So here is Izaz Khan.
His home is located at 523 Shatto Place in Los Angeles, 90020. Behind the Department of Mental health building. He is a beautiful and grateful man, who honestly…didn’t ask for much. My leftovers…my mailbox.
He then asked me to get him some cigarettes. I almost immediately said no. Cigarettes are a hard limit for me. But he handed me a box full of the money to cover the cost. “Please. I cannot walk to the store. It is right over there. I would be most grateful.” And to my surprise I found myself walking over to the Walgreens to buy the cigarettes. I had never bought cigarettes in my life, and was 100% sure there would never be such an occasion. But life continues to teach me that when I think I know something 100%, the universe finds a way to turn it upside down and inside out. There are layers of reasons for the things people do. And at that moment I couldn’t find it in me to judge him for smoking. Or it in me to judge me for not being able to hold my hard limit. His gracious, glowing spirit made me happy. And I wanted to make him happy in return.
Feel free to email Izaz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or bring him a cup of tea. He will bow and thank you and make you feel a little less unstable than you may have felt when you started your day.
Lady in Waiting
Serving all the Royalty around me.