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The Hive is a mutual support network based out of Brattleboro, Vermont.  At the Hive we’re all about creating spaces and infrastructures for people to support each other to survive and thrive.  We consider this an unexpectedly subversive endeavor.  Please join us is reclaiming our ability to navigate the conditions of living through mutual support!

Much Madness

The Hive has published its first book! Read all about it here, and watch this space for details of the book launch in Brattleboro on November 18.

Much Madness is a collection of personal stories from eight individuals who experienced psychosis or other extreme states as adolescents or young adults. Our contributors shared what helped them navigate their extreme states, as well as what supports were unhelpful or harmful. Several of our contributors mentioned the need to find meaning behind our extreme states. The psychiatric system often tells us that our states are symptoms of illness. But many of us have needed answers beyond mere pathology. Our contributors found that meaning through various channels: poetry, film making, activism, academia, and friendship.

Read more.

Extreme States and Self-Advocacy for Young Adults

A FREE Webinar Panel Discussion

Saturday, September 7
1:00-2:30 pm
Register at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/7ed18c24cbefc8b48c34be5db4a05ad8

The Hive Mutual Support Network will host a panel of individuals who have experienced early-episode psychosis or other extreme states as adolescents or young adults. Our panelists will share their stories of self-advocacy within and outside of the psychiatric system. They will share what in their lives has been most helpful, what hindered or didn’t help, and what barriers and discrimination they have faced. 

Participants attending the webinar will have the opportunity to ask the panelists questions and participate in a discussion. They will have the opportunity to share pieces of their own experiences with self-advocacy.

Who should attend:

  • Current and former young adults who have experienced extreme states are encouraged to attend and participate.
  • Supporters, family members, providers, and anyone else invited to attend as listeners and learners.

How To Be A Good Ally To Aliens: Hive 4th birthday beekeeping potluck

On February 24, we celebrated four years of the Hive with a talk from local beekeeper Eli Coughlin-Galbraith at the Root Social Justice Center. As members of a group that is named after a beehive, we thought it was about time we learned anything about how bees operate. Eli’s workshop mainly explored the relationship between beehive and beekeeper, which we initially thought might be an analogy for mutual support, but was mostly just cool information!

As it turns out, a beehive is less analogous to a community and more like its own single organism–an organism so unlike a human that it’s hard for us to conceive of. According to Eli, “a hive is a single being with several thousand moving bodies, a constant warmth and music, and a memory that sticks beyond individual bee lifespans.” 

Eli brought lots of show-and-tell, including some frames with honeycomb in them (and a few dead bees who Eli said had frozen over the winter) and some delicious honey samples from their hives.

As if that wasn’t sweet enough, we also spent some time decorating a birthday cake with bees drawn in icing and a candle in the shape of a number 4.

The Hive started out as a series of monthly potlucks, each organized around a different topic or activity. We won’t be doing them every month anymore, so stay in touch with us via email or Facebook to be notified about events and other ways to connect.

May Minutes

The worker bees had a pleasant and productive meeting this month. We’ll be setting up a “bad advice table” on Friday June 2nd in the evening and Saturday June 3rd during the day (Strolling of the Heifers). If you are interested in talking to folks on the streets about the Hive and giving (fake) bad advice, contact us! Read our minutes here.

June 3: “Going Sane” with Pamela Spiro Wagner

original painting by Pamela Spiro Wagner
“FORK YOU, PSYCHIATRY” by Pamela Spiro Wagner

What: Hive monthly potluck featuring Pamela Spiro Wagner with her multi-media presentation “Going Sane”
When: Saturday, June 3, 5-7 pm
Where: The Root Social Justice Center, 28 Williams St., Brattleboro

Facebook event page

Pamela Spiro Wagner, a Brattleboro resident, will be featured at the Hive potluck on June 3 to present her multi-media account of “Going Sane” — her account of how, nearly broken by the treatments and sadistic brutalities accorded her as an inpatient in hospital after hospital, and labelled as hardened and hopeless, she gave the mental health system the “fork you” finger and emerged on the other side, no longer “just another mental patient” but a whole human being.

Wagner was a prisoner of psychiatry for decades, having been diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic as well as personality-disordered by those who believed her prognosis for recovery was extremely poor. Despite “treatment” with restraints and seclusion often for days at a time, and massive doses of medication that made her feel like a “moonrock,” she managed to co-author (with her twin sister, a psychiatrist)  DIVIDED MINDS: TWIN SISTERS AND THEIR JOURNEY THROUGH SCHIZOPHRENIA, a popular memoir that details what happened to her within  the mental illness system. Later, in her book of poetry, WE MAD CLIMB SHAKY LADDERS, she depicts  the varieties of mad struggles from within, in poems as accessible as they are moving. Read More

MAY 6 Self-Advocacy: Using the System to Your Advantage

Join us for our May monthly potluck and gathering. Many have always found the world difficult to navigate, even before national political changes last November. Whether someone is trying to figure out how to avoid eviction/foreclosure, understand charges against them in the court system, or even get a permit for a chicken coop, dealing with bureaucracy, barriers, and other immediate concerns can often seem insurmountable.

At our May potluck, we will learn and support each other with any issues (submitted anonymously) the group wants to deal with. We can discuss strategies for how to survive and/or thrive through these issues and perhaps how to support others in our community as they attempt to survive and/or thrive.

As always, please feel free to bring a dish to share (or not!) and your appetite (or not!)

Remember that The Root Social Justice Center is both fragrance- and peanut-free.

Facebook event details

Saturday, May 6 at 5 PM – 7 PM
The Root Social Justice Center
28 Williams St, Brattleboro, Vermont 05301

What’s the Buzz?

This message courtesy of a Buzzline fan.

~Dear Bees,

We can’t always be in the hive, but there are times anyway when we miss the company of our fellow bees dearly, and our honey pot is low.

Times like that are where the buzzline comes in.

Our New England way can sometimes be ‘everyone for themself’

..which is a big lie, because many hands make life a worth it place to be. The buzzline is here for all of us, if we need an extra scoop of honey to help the medicine go down.

A cup of tea, some company, some puns or dad jokes – any streak of sunshine when days are grey. You give a call on the buzzline, and our fellow hive folk will do the best they can to help out a bee in need. Material or financial too – we are a hive together, and all of our bees do the best they can with what they’ve got. I would argue that we’re a stone soup as well – on the days when you haven’t got much, and someone else has extra, we can help make it worthwhile.

*The buzzline is accessed in several ways – by smart phone app, by email, by website*

Set up your celly account today to join us in this, one of the troves of honey our Hive Mutual Support Network has to offer! ~

Buzzline user guide
Celly signup

Alternatives to Suicide Update!

by Michelle, group facilitator

When I took the training to facilitate an Alternatives to Suicide group back in November, with the Western Mass RLC, I had no idea how many people would be interested. I also had no idea how much of a resource it would become for me on a personal level.

Brattleboro Alternatives to Suicide has been meeting every Wednesday evening since December. In our group, everyone has a voice. As the facilitator, my job is really to just unlock the door and introduce the group. I am there to get support and be supportive just like everyone else in the room.

Some of the core values in our charter are:
– No ‘red tape’ or ‘hoops’ for anyone attending
– Each person is honored as the expert of their own experiences
– Freedom to challenge social norms is present and openly explored
– No assumption is made that suicidal thoughts are connected to ‘mental illness’

People speak up when they want to see a change in the group and we talk about it as a community. We recently decided to make this group a half hour longer. It started out being just an hour long because I definitely was not expecting attendance to be so high. (9 or 10 people at several of our recent groups!)

Read More