Cracking the nut of normality…

Posted by on December 26, 2012 in Activism, Alternatives, Commentary, Mental Health, Peer Support | 10 comments

(scroll down to the bottom of the page to see the Feb. 17th video)
Read the latest updates about David in his current location: Craig Hospital in Englewood Colorado. Cards and letters are welcome! Send them to: David W. Oaks, c/o Craig Hospital / 3425 S. Clarkson St., Englewood, CO / 80113


A new message created by David W. Oaks from his hospital bed in Springfield, Oregon…
David W. Oaks Personal Message to the World; “Cracking the nut of normality” Christmas Day 2012 (

Dear Friends, family, colleagues, and supporters,

After 4 decades as a psychiatric survivor human rights activist and 3 decades with spinal arthritis (ankylosing spondylitis), that fused my spine into peanut brittle, I knew I needed a break. The break that I got about 3 weeks ago was not the one I expected. I slipped off a wet ladder in my writer’s studio, and it resulted in a complete break of my neck.

The silver lining in this event has been witnessing the love between us all. I’m overwhelmed by the cards and offers of support for me, for my wife, my fabulous darling Debra, for my family, for MindFreedom, for USICD, OCSC, Opal network and for our movement for nonviolent global revolution.

I love you all so much from the core of my heart. I hope that every single one of you can feel that heat!

With my whole heart and soul, I give thanks for Earth’s free bounty shared w/ all my relations. The word origin for “thanks,” is simply “to think,” and a Native American sign language for thinking is to point to one’s own chest. Truly my heart is thinking of you all. Thank you!

I’m laying here in a special rotating hospital bed with my good friend, Rev. Phil Schulman, using a special trache tube to talk for a few minutes. To finish this letter we are using a word board based on cryptography designed for me by my computer genius brother Tony. Here at Sacred Heart Hospital River Bend I’ve been cared for by an amazing medical team of skilled and compassionate healers. They seem like they are from NASA and as friendly as a next door neighbor.

A few days after hearing that crack of my neck, I laid in a hospital bed here, and I knew that I must find a creative maladjustment. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. many times called for an International Association for the Advancement of Creative Maladjustment. I’m requesting your leadership in launching the first annual Creative Maladjustment Week, July 7-14, 2013 with Patch Adams MD. It may be a way to recover from a broken planetary ecosystem, as well as neck, heart and anything else. Let us finally hear the crack of the nut of normality.

During long nights in this hospital, I have been emboldened by the spirit of Justin Dart Jr., considered to be the father of the Americans with Disabilities Act. His heart radiates into mine. I hear the words he so often echoed: “I love you, Lead On!” He knew that absolutely each one of us who join in this movement for human rights and dignity is a leader.

I cherish being connected to him, and to all of you. It has been my great fortune to have 38 beautiful years in this movement so far without direct funding from the government or mental health industry. Many of us speak out freely and organize for human rights in mental health. Some of us work to change the system from within. Together inside and outside, we are an emergent force of nature, a creative maladjustment to oppression. We are leading humanity into a sustainable way to live on this planet that includes caring and listening to marginalized people.

Many of you have expressed concern for Debra and me, that we will continue to have the financial resources for quality of life and access to full medical care. Below you will find a short note from my brother Tony providing a means for contributions. Thank you, all of you for personal support as well as participation in this movement.

Gratefully in support,
David W. Oaks


Information from David’s brother Tony Oaks about how you can help David:

Through Debra’s job at the Eugene Public Library, Dave has access to health insurance. Given the catastrophic nature of his injury, we expect that eventually his coverage will be maxed out and Dave will switch to medicaid. In order to ensure Dave gets access to the things which may be necessary and yet not covered by insurance or medicaid, my mom, Violet, worked with a local attorney (Mark Williams) to establish a Irrevocable Special Needs Trust for David.

If you would like to contribute to that fund please make your checks payable to:
“David W Oaks Irrevocable Trust” and mail your checks to this address:

David W Oaks Irrevocable Trust
c/o Chase
1100 Williamette St.
Eugene OR 97401 USA

Note: your contribution to this fund, while a gift, is not tax deductible and, of course, it is not refundable.


  1. Ankylosing spondylitis is a member of the group of the spondyloarthropathies with a strong genetic predisposition. Complete fusion results in a complete rigidity of the spine, a condition known as “bamboo spine”..”*..

    See you later

  2. Dear David,

    Now you know that when you create your own reality, you have to tell the universe specifically what you want or there can be untoward consequences. You were supposed to tell the universe you needed a break as in vacation, sabbatical, etc.

    On December 2, 2012 I also went into the hospital because of a ministroke. The symptoms were gone by the time I got there but for a few minutes I had no strength in my legs and I could think but could not speak. Scary.

    May I ask what you were doing on a wet ladder?

    You mentioned donations to get you ebook? I am very much into learning about the ebook world these days and if you tell me what authors or genres you are interested in, perhaps I can find them, even for free. There are many authors of interesting novels who put their first works out free to get people interested.

    I am working on an e-pamphlet based on my interviews with Martha Rosenberg, author of Born with a Junk Food Deficiency, which is a great book. Half of it is really devoted to the depredations of Big Pharma. It will be between 25 and 30 pages long and I would be glad to send you one when I am finished.

    If you like MP3s, I can also send you my current work on the forced psychiatry issue. One interview with Lisbeth Riis Cooper and Jennifer Maurer is just out. I have one, possibly two more radio pieces on forced drugging to do, and then I plan an ebook, that will really be book length, on the topic. That is probably something that will get done more toward the end of the year.

    I would be very interested in knowing if I can do something for Creative Maladjustment week so long as I don’t have to fly anywhere. I refuse to be forced to choose between being irradiated and being sexually assaulted to get on a plane.

    I am happy to hear you are improving. You and Debra take care!


  3. My prayers are with you, David, sounds like you’re coming along!

  4. To the Oaks family,
    My continued prayers are said for you all.
    May the Lord give you a healing Peace, & the Grace of Patience that becomes exhausted over time.

    Please feel free to use me anytime, I am eager to help in anyway you need.
    I will continue to connect through your Mother, who I dearly love. But I am here if you need me for anything.

    PH# 541-514-0297

    Blessings & All Good;
    Patty Roland, ofs.

  5. Dear David,
    I think of you every day and look forward to actually seeing you. I’m in the OR waiting room at Washington Medstar. Hospital in Washington DC. Martin has just gone into surgery which is estimated to take 6 to 8 hours…better than his last surgery here which took over 10 hours. I’ll be staying with Martin in his hospital room as soon as he has a room, post surgery. As Debra mentioned, living in a hospital is a marvelous way to experience different nurse personalities.

    I was heartened by the news that you got to go outside, David. Just smelling fresh air was likely healing, certainly for your spirit.
    It has been so great to have my daughter Alison here in DC this time. When Martin went through this surgery almost four years ago, the hospital had a connected hotel for support persons to shower, take a break, etc. That service has disappeared. Where would any of us be without our loved ones!

    I hope you are able to go off to rehab soon Mr. D. Certainly a step ( or a roll) in the right direction.
    Sending love from the bowels of the federal government,

  6. Hi David & Debbie,
    Just a short note to tell you David is in our prayers each and everyday. I hope your recovery is safe and I hope the people taking care of you are Angels. We miss you just being there when we need you but we understand what happened and want you to know and feel our presence. All our love to you and your family and your healing helpers.
    Linda Valentine & family

  7. Hello David: thank you for all your years and your courage there as now! So many, have benefitted from your work and efforts. I never really met you. I never knew your mind. But your work and ideas spoke of your nature and courage as compassion!

    I am wishing you well from Marin Ca, here in the Woods and In School Again but living in the wonder!

    I well keep a candle let for you David! Always proud to know that such human’s exist!

  8. my thoughts are with you david and debra i hope you get better soon

  9. David – i am very sorry to learn of your accident. I am envisioning you healthy and strong so that you can carry on with your life in an auspicious way.

    Peace to you,

  10. Hello Debra and David,
    We don’t really know each other; I live around the corner on 22nd, and know David from a Unitarian SGM about 5 years ago. I happened to be trolling around Facebook friend pages and found your accident page. I’m so sorry for what hurt you’re going through, but bouyed by your spirit of possibility and hope. What you always shared in our group.
    Because I’m sure Debra will be at the hospital often, I just want to offer practical help for Debra and your home, as I’m here in the neighborhood. Walk a dog, water plants, check the mail, etc.
    My phone number is 541-513-3730. I work teacher hours, but if you ever can’t find someone to take care of something at the house, I’m just around the corner! Don’t hesitate to call and ask for the favor, OK?