Hoppin' on the Band Wagon


          I was introduced to NAMI in 1997and was deeply impressed by many inspirational people.  That's what drew me in hook, line, and now...sinker. Through my association with local affilliates, their members, I've grown.

          I went to a NAMI Conference in Anchorage after attending the Alaska Mental Health Associations "Building Bridges" campaign in Juneau, where I met up with Jan McGuillvery and was inducted into the Political machine.

          I am becoming one of the visions I saw before me, four years ago.

The heart-wrenching beauty of individuals who suffer mental illness symptoms (and boy do they vary) because of brain disorders. You Know,

the "nutty" ones, "crazy as a loon" ( loons are truely magnificiant birds), I personally prefere "goofy", although I have been called "Parrott" by an empoyer and that hurt.

          I have the pleasure of currently serving as Secretary of NAMI Wasilla in the Mat-Su Valley. What a joy!  Finally, I am able to implement all of my life experience, college training, professional knowledge toward a common goal - passing it on - cause that's what we must do in Life.  Be able to use it and PASS IT ON.

          I want to go to work, like, get a job - so now I find I have one.  At this point in my life, I am ready, willing and most importently  ABLE.  My future might look bleak, though because I need medical insurance to equally cover Mental Health. The problem is the state of Alaska will not pass an Insurance Parity bill. This is deplorable, as over half of the states in our nation are ahead of alaska with this life saving bill.

          Mental Illnesses are treatable. Recovery is possible, but in this fast paced, instant gratification, I want it now - kind of world we live in, we forget that getting well takes time.  We did not get sick over night, for some of us it took years to get so ill we prefered death.  As I have experienced, it may take years to get healthy. Don't let this stop you from seeking counseling, therapy, medication and good association.  Make the effort to reach out for help, knowledge and understanding. We welcome all visitors at our meetings for we all have a story to tell.


Crystal D. Choate

 LOL June 16, 2001