I created this blog in order to empower the members of Pathways Drop-In Center to tell their stories in their own words and artwork about what their lives are like. Pathways is a drop-in center that serves the mentally ill, most of whom are on Social Security. Pathways offers its members a wide array of services including a meal, computers with internet access, an address if they are homeless, showers, a washer and dryer, TV, a phone and a pool table. Pathways also has a half dozen apartments for a few of its members.
A word salad is incoherent speech where the words in a sentence or phrase have no relation to one another. It can be a symptom of a serious mental illness like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. I use the title “Word Salad World” because I’m trying to show readers the world of people living with serious mental illnesses. And the word “salad” in the title pertains to food, which is what Pathways always provides for its members no matter what. Although Pathways offers many services, preventing its members from otherwise starving is Pathways most important service.
I got involved with Pathways as a board member while I was pursuing my BA. When I graduated I took a job there as a general manager and worked there for two years. I have bipolar disorder so I have some idea about what its members go through on a day to day basis. I want to give them a voice with this blog and educate people about what it’s really like to be mentally ill and desperately poor.
I use pseudonyms and omit identifying information from their stories in order to protect their privacy. I hope this blog will raise awareness of people who are often shunned and silenced.