Imagining how Andrew Holland felt
February 28, 2017
Letter to the editor by Sarah Jakle
I was diagnosed with rapid cycling and mixed state bipolar disorder in 1997, at age 22. I felt like something was trying to claw its way out of my body, which I would try to throw out of me in tears that were never enough. Suicidal thoughts hunted me these last 20 years; I’ve been 5150’d many times.
I also received a Master in Public Policy from UCLA in 2004 and a Master in Social Work from USC in 2011, the latter with a 4.0 GPA. I volunteered, then, working with homeless individuals with mental illness and as a program director for NAMI, Westside LA.
I also helped “Laura’s Law” pass in Los Angeles County. I am happily married, and indeed, happy. That is a hard-won word.
I imagine Andrew Holland felt things trying to claw out from inside. And I also imagine Andrew Holland could have gotten a masters degree. I imagine Andrew Holland could have gotten married.
And, without your article, I imagine his murder would have gone unnoticed, like so many other mental health murders in jail.
Thank you so much for your article. True, I am crying as I write this, but I am so damn grateful I know to cry.
Also, you answered a question: My psychiatrist told me not to protest due to the risk of getting arrested, while I argued I refused to let my mental illness silence me. From your article, I now realize the true risks of getting arrested, and will confine my activism to less public demonstrations. I will fight just as hard, but not inanely risk the fate of Mr. Holland. So you may have saved a life.
Thank you again; you make me proud of journalism.