I went to a CLE (continuing legal education) thing at my alma mater last week. The theme was restorative justice, basically the idea that there may be better responses to crime than just throwing people in jail. It was good to see the work being done, and also that it was being done by people actually in a position to do something (some of the speakers included a local trial judge and a prosecutor). The last speakers were a couple of guys who had only recently gotten out of prison for murder, and who helped co-found a local group trying to stop street violence before it starts. They were really amazing, and I had a good conversation with one of them afterwards. You can tell when people get It, even if you couldn't explain what It is, and these two get It.
The keynote was given by Dr. Johonna Turner, who is with the Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice at Eastern Mennonite University, just up the road. To start with, and I recognize the unfairness of this, she was the first person I've ever heard use words like "intersectionality" without making it sound like all the ills of the world are my fault as a white cisgendered male. She managed to talk about these things and somehow make it feel like everyone in the room (or me, when I was talking to her later) was in it together. I probably spent an hour talking to her after the main event ended, and even ended up giving her a ride back to her hotel afterwards. She was very patient with my fumbling attempts to talk about issues of gender and race.
Meanwhile, I'm in the market for a new psychiatrist, as the one I had is leaving practice (or at least the local one). I was able to get in with one earlier this week, but I was not impressed. Apropos of nothing he started talking about how when he did inpatient work, most of his job was in sussing out fraudulent requests for hospitalization, and spent a good chunk of our appointment bemoaning drug-seeking behavior. He doesn't take depression seriously as a thing, totally blowing off my own issues with that particular condition (which are getting worse of late). He talked about the low success rate of a given antidepressant as if that were meaningful, especially given that it's basically impossible to know if a given drug will work for a given person ahead of time (and objectively measuring the effectiveness is super difficult). It was all very surreal, and I get the impression that he's out on his own because of anger at The System. But it's also clear that he's very stuck in his ways, and is more interested in them than listening to me. (This was further supported by the fact that he kept talking about out-of-pocket costs despite my having insurance, and that we spent half my appointment going through the questions that I'd already filled out on the intake paperwork.) Ironically one of the things that I was excited about was that, according to his intake person when I made the appointment, he typically avoids stimulants in treating ADHD. I'd be glad to change, because the med crash is a bitch. He instead prescribed a stimulant. To be fair, he did say that this one tends to be a more gradual come down, although I'm skeptical of his statement that I wouldn't notice it wearing off. I still have a couple months of meds from my previous doc, so at least I have some time.