Re: Sorry if you were offended, here is the point reworded
From: monica briggs (
Date: Sun, 24 Jan 2010 10:57:13 -0800 (PST)
Dear Melanie,Thank you for your insightful and compassionate response to this 
"reworded" assessment of "People who are crazy." (and who "can not function 
well enough to hold jobs, thus will not qualify for mortgages.") As a person 
with lived experience of mental illness who will soon be a mortgage-paying 
member of a cohousing community, I am stunned to read about Rob's limited 
experience that has led to the statements he has made about "the pathologically 
mentally ill." I am sad to hear this in a cohousing context. I look forward to 
being a member of a diverse and compassionate cohousing community despite my 
"questionable sanity". As a mental health care provider myself, I promote the 
awareness that those of us with diagnoses of mental illness, even with 
histories of hospitalizations and joblessness, can be productive members of 
society. As you pointed out, Melanie, the list of "famously functional" people 
(who haven't had their sanity approved by banks) is impressive. Please, let us 
leave inflammatory words like "crazy" out of these productive 
discussions.Sincerely, Monica

> Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2010 15:41:27 -0500
> From: melgrif [at]
> To: cohousing-l [at]
> Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Sorry if you were offended, here is the point reworded
> As someone who works in the mental health field, I know there is a lot of
> misunderstanding and stigma related to mental illness. Obviously, since
> Abraham Lincoln, Virginia Woolf, Patty Duke, Vincent VanGogh, and many other
> famously functional people have had serious and persistent mental illnesses,
> and could nonetheless qualify for mortgages, the two groups (those with
> mental illness and the underemployed) are not the same group. Same with
> those who perpetrate violent acts or are victims of violence and those with
> mental illness.Because poor people have fewer resources to hide and
> accommodate and treat their illnesses, they are more visible when they
> display symptoms; poor people are also disproportionately represented in the
> prisons, but nobody would say that they are less moral than rich people.
> It's probably more accurate and helpful to name the behaviors that make
> someone unable to function in community, and inaccurate to say that poor
> people have more of those behaviors. Having a habit of running around with a
> knife threatening people, whether motivated by anger, psychopathy, or
> paranoia, is not a welcome behavior in a family, community, or workplace and
> might lead to a less than ideal work history. It's also important to
> remember, too, that people who are mighty dysfunctional at home can be seen
> as normal at work (vis., just about every serious perpetrator of domestic
> violence I've ever known) and vice versa (the ideal family man or woman who
> is a monster of a supervisor)
> It's true that some people with mental illnesses don't do well at work and
> can't sustain a good credit rating; it's also true that some can.  I
> understand that there are behaviors that preclude working well in community.
> Can we stick to describing those behaviors and not make assumptions about
> how much money you should or can have if you don't exhibit those behaviors
> or call people crazy????? The original point, that those who are poor do not
> have whatever it takes to survive in community, may have some statistical
> support, but certainly does not apply to any given individual and strikes me
> as elitist. Excusing it by saying poor people are crazier than rich people
> just makes it worse. Finally, i think the real issue is that people who are
> poor or even middle class can't afford to live in many communities,
> including many cohousing communities, and that's just a fact. It's not
> because they have character flaws or mental or physical disabilities.
> Melanie
> On Sat, Jan 23, 2010 at 2:16 PM, Rob Sandelin <floriferous [at]> 
> wrote:
> >
> > People who are crazy can not function well enough to hold jobs, thus will
> > not qualify for mortgages. In the mid to late 90's I did workshops and
> > mediations in over 100 intentional communities all around America.  I was
> > usually called in because the group process had broken down to the point
> > the
> > community needed outside help to resolve it.  I experienced some very
> > pathologically mentally ill people who seriously disrupted the communities
> > they were part of. For example, a man who saw invisible monsters and ran
> > screaming through a crowd of children swinging a large kitchen knife.  In
> > my
> > work in 35 cohousing groups I never experienced anything at the same level
> > of mental illness, in fact almost all cohousing issues revolved around a
> > lack of understanding or commitment to cooperation.  It was always in
> > communities with no financial buy in required that had problems with
> > mentally ill people.  Thus my experience leads me to the opinion that
> > having
> > to qualify for home ownership via a mortgage with a bank screens out most
> > seriously mentally ill people, since they are unlikely to have the job
> > history and income to qualify, and this is a good thing for cohousing.  I
> > never said, lower income people are mentally ill. If you read that into my
> > previous email you misinterpreted my point.
> >
> > Rob Sandelin
> >
> > _________________________________________________________________
> > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:
> >
> >
> >
> >
> _________________________________________________________________
> Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: 

Hotmail: Trusted email with Microsoft’s powerful SPAM protection.
  • (no other messages in thread)

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.