August 21, 2014
The FDA’s black box warnings on antidepressants, which incidentally were long overdue, had a negative impact on pharma-psychiatry’s image, and on their business, but had no negative impact on client welfare. Nevertheless, psychiatry continues to resist the reality that their sacred drugs do in fact cause harm, and that the FDA warnings were needed. For psychiatry, business and professional status routinely trump client welfare.
August 20, 2014
It’s not just in spiritual circles but also in psychiatric and mental health circles that fear and anxiety are too often medicated away instead of worked with. It’s not easy to work with it and a lot of professionals don’t know how to hold such space for such courageous facing of the dark parts of psyche and so many people don’t learn that it’s actually possible. For those of us who’ve come off psych drugs and faced severe psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome it becomes a necessary and often heinously difficult initiation . . . Learning to embrace my experience and surrender to it was the way through for me.
August 18, 2014
The idea that our more distressing emotions can best be understood as symptoms of physical illnesses is a pervasive, seductive but harmful myth. It means that our present approach to helping vulnerable people in acute emotional distress is severely hampered by old-fashioned, inhumane and fundamentally unscientific ideas about the nature and origins of mental health problems. We need wholesale and radical change in how we understand mental health problems and in how we design and commission mental health services.
August 16, 2014
With school starting across the country, from the perspective of most kids, the fun is officially done. Summer by youthful definition is basically over. Meanwhile, parents nationwide are basking in this euphoric occasion. No longer will they hear every five minutes the astute yet shortsighted exclamation “I’m bored, there’s nothing to do!” Finally parents can switch their XM channel from Hits 1 back to Coffee House without being berated for being so old. But due to the popularity of the ADHD diagnosis, many parents also are debating whether to extend their child’s ADHD summer drug holiday into the school year, or once again start drugging the child-like behaviors associated with the symptoms of the controversial ADHD diagnosis.
August 15, 2014
What are warm lines? All warm lines are phone lines that can be called by anyone at any time who wants to talk about what is going on for them. Most warm lines are “peer run,” meaning the phones are answered and managed by people who have been through difficult times themselves and may still be experiencing challenging emotions and other types of suffering. Warm line operators, unlike therapists or some other hotline counselors, often share their own experiences to relate with, connect and comfort callers.
August 14, 2014
I’ve been very, very sad lately. Some might even call me “depressed.” There are a lot of reasons. Robin Williams’ suicide is not one of them. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not happy about what has come of him. I have fond memories of Mork and Mindy, just like everyone else over the age of 30 or so. It is unquestionably sad to learn he was hurting so much, and even harder to reconcile that with his relentlessly upbeat public persona. On a personal level, it hurts at least a little to know that someone who experienced that level of success (about which most can only dream) also fell so far and experienced so much despair.
August 13, 2014
Like millions, I am sitting with the fact that one of the funniest people to grace the planet has died by his own hand. Robin Williams’ death has hit people of my generation, Generation X, especially hard. After all, his face flashed often across our childhood screens. Mork and Mindy episodes were a source of solace for me as a little girl, as I bounced around between foster homes and family members’ homes, while my single mother cycled in and out of the state mental hospital, fighting to survive. I could laugh and say “nanu, nanu – shazbot” and “KO” and do the silly hand sign and forget for just a little while about living a life I didn’t ask for.