When I went to pick up last week's issue of New Times, the first thing to catch my eye were the words "mental illness." My heart sank because I find those words rarely appear in conjunction with anything positive. I was so thrilled with what I read inside!
I just wish to say a very big thank you! I'm one of the SMI (seriously mentally ill) in Phoenix, and Chris' story ("Beautiful Mind," Paul Rubin, July 21) meant so much to me.
Thanks for renewing hope for my own life and showing others that those of us labeled SMI are just people, with the same kinds of fears, desires, and dreams as everyone else. And that given the chance, we can be a positive part of this state.
To your readers, please remember this article when it comes time to vote. Funding for the mentally ill is desperately needed and can do so much good.
Melissa Mattingly, Phoenix
Fellow ex-meth head cheers on Shelton: Chris Shelton's is an amazing story. How he was able to wrest himself off meth to lead a productive life boggles my mind.
I, too, was a meth addict, and I don't have the mental disorder that Shelton has. Yet I found it much harder to kick the demon drug. I had been off and on it for 12 years, until I finally kicked it in 2006. Five years clean and sober makes me believe I've defeated my addiction.
My theory is that it was easier for Shelton, because his [mental illness] makes him compulsive. That is, many people like him, though they can't cope with [the real world], are extremely smart. When you add a compulsive disorder to that, you've got the makings of a genius. How many wicked-successful people have a screw or two loose? Maybe a lot.
The average meth user, I can attest, never expresses the brilliance that Shelton does with his boxing histories. What he's doing is great, but too bad he couldn't [be channeling] his energy and intelligence into something that makes him money.
Audrey Brown, Phoenix
Yet another insane genius: This article is just another example of the notion that some of the most brilliant people are also insane. Their craziness is what drives them.
Would Vincent van Gogh have been able to produce the art he produced if he had been sane? No way! I have met so many extraordinary people in my life who are diagnosed as crazy. It makes you wonder.
Mary Jo Reid, Phoenix
Empathy for drug users: I found this article to be a breath of fresh air. I suffer from bipolar depression, and while I take a multitude of meds to control it, the meds do not always work properly.
Like the subject of the article, I did my share of drugs and alcohol in an attempt to control my symptoms . . . in order to cope. That is, many use by choice; we used because we [at first] didn't understand that we were ill.
Mike Thrash, city unavailable
More love for Mr. Shelton: Chris, I absolutely loved this article. Thanks for putting your life story out there for us all to read and relate to.
[It's amazing] that someone with [Chris'] disadvantage quit the drug — that's quite an accomplishment. Chris deserves recognition in a positive way.
I had the pleasure of being Chris' classmate at Central High School, and he was a most kind and gentle soul. He seems to be a person who requires very little from people other than some friendship, and I am happy to oblige.
Chris always is the first to offer support to me and another mutual friend from high school. He pays attention, and it's nice. Nice makes the world go 'round.
There are many more positive life experiences for you, Chris, because you are thirsty for [them]. If you need some support, just give a shout. We all need to be supported and lifted up at times.
You should be proud of how accomplished and independent you are, given the circumstances of the meds that they put you on. You didn't ask for this, and you are coping to the best of your ability. Unfortunately, the [Arizona mental-health] system is not the best, and you get shuffled. For this I am sorry.
Michele Dahl, city unavailable
Talk about missing the point . . .: Interesting that the article quotes Chris Shelton as someone "who didn't hurt people" [when he was on meth], but he actually did put many people in danger.
You mean to tell me that this ass-clown never stepped behind the wheel of a car during his meth addition? Typical liberal journalism that misses the point that you don't need a gun to be a danger to innocent people.