If you haven’t been labeled mentally ill by the American Psychiatric Association, you have to ask yourself what’s wrong. Perhaps you were ahead of the game: you knew not to reveal yourself to them, you knew how to avoid them, you found other social support, and if so, a big congratulations. If not, what’s wrong? Why have you conformed? Full Article →
People in roles of power in the mental health system often don’t realize how much complicity they have in actually creating the symptoms they claim are biologically-based in individuals with psychiatric labels. Full Article →
Imagine being able to live harmoniously amongst others without fear. I cannot. Cannot imagine it even a little bit. What can be created for people in my camp? People who are sensitive and had so much trauma in childhood that life among others is highly stressful, scary and worrisome? I’m allowing myself sanctuary-time alone, quiet time, time to write… yet… will things ever be different? Will I ever find my niche in this world, where I feel safe and able, valued and worthwhile, loved, adored and comfortable? I have no idea. Full Article →
Psych meds can not only put weight on regardless of how you otherwise care for yourself, they also tend to make people feel gravely lethargic and vaguely sick all the time. I could not exercise as I had before. Could not. It doesn’t matter how much mental health professionals try to tell us that if we just exercised we’d be okay in the face of neurotoxic drugs that cause weight gain, because the fact is the drugs impede that capacity. This is not widely appreciated or understood and people on psych meds are again traumatized and made to feel guilty for something that is truly outside of their control as long as they are taking these medications. Full Article →
Suicidal torment is magnified by the loss of hope. People in life-or-death survival conditions, such as being lost in the wilderness or being held prisoner of war, will dream and plan for the future in order to make their present conditions tolerable. The critically ill heart patient expresses his faith in his upcoming surgery by making a date to play golf six weeks after the operation. But the depressed person sees no viable future. There is nothing to look forward to, no dreams to fulfill, only the never-ending hell of the eternal present. Full Article →
For everyone who goes on psychiatric drugs, the reason comes back to power imbalances in their personal life. Women who’s husbands “make all of the money” and have an unequal share of the power, kids who’s parents have power over them—frequently people who have less money and security, therefore less platform for authority than those around them. Mental illness is not in fact an illness but an unequal division of power and sense of security in a social group. Full Article →
Jacks McNamara is a genderqueer artist, writer, organizer, and healer. Jacks co-founded The Icarus Project and is the subject of the poetic documentary Crooked Beauty. They are the author of Inbetweenland, released by Deviant Type Press, have self-published 5 zines, and are co-author … Full Article →
Anyone who has used benzodiazepines and sleeping pills knows how difficult it is to get off them (worse than heroin!) and how much time it takes to recover. Although there is a lot more helpful information on the web these days, a lot of it is based on anecdotal accounts, personal stories and theories rather than “real” evidence. Full Article →
I hope this will be of help to people who hear voices and their friends and supporters. I also hope it will be helpful to the voices which are parts of many people’s lives. Many voices I have come across and the people that hear them are convinced that their voices are spiritual in nature. I take an agnostic position on this, and therefore endeavour to respect different spiritual understandings. My intention is not to explain all voices psychologically but to help people make peace with their voices so they can get on with their lives. Full Article →
A few months ago I had the great honor of speaking with Kofi Annan, former secretary general of the United Nations, after a talk he had given locally here in Washington, DC. We spoke about eCPR and there was a moment that I will remember for the rest of my life. He looked deep into my eyes and said, “We are in the same line of work. We are peacemakers.” It was a profound statement that inspired me to think more about eCPR as a tool of peacemaking. Full Article →
A paper in Health reviews how one recovery-based approach, the Whole Life Manual, is applied in clinical practice, finding that “Our findings support the data in studies that show that increasing confidence, hope and optimism are key features of the process and outcomes of recovery based approaches, and in particular in the Whole Life Programme. Respectful and flexible approaches within the relationship with the therapist; an increase in knowledge about other resources and how to use them themselves, and improved relationships and having greater control over their lives were also important.”
The Annual Review of Clinical Psychology presents a review by Boston University’s Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (and others) of “Psychosocial Treatments for Schizophrenia,” encompassing the recovery model of mental health and a range of evidence-based practices including “promising” practices such as cognitive adaptive therapy, CBT for post-traumatic stress disorder, first-episode psychosis intervention, healthy lifestyles interventions, peer support services, supported education and supported housing.
The label of schizophrenia has a chilling ring. It carries with it the suggestion of a wrecked and wretched life. It is also a diagnosis that is notoriously difficult to shed. For this reason, the diagnosis of schizophrenia should not be applied lightly and not without a thorough understanding of the patient’s family and wider circumstances. Full Article →
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica reviews the literature on psychological and biological findings on resilience, finding that secure attachment, the experience of positive emotions and having a purpose in life are three building blocks.
I remember the feeling, one of not exactly isolation but otherness. A sense that not only did I not fit in many places where I used to, but also that I lacked the energy to even try — to, like an actor, wear the skin of the old me for an hour or even a few minutes so that others would not feel uncomfortable in my quivering and clearly perturbed presence. Full Article →
I attended Milt Greek’s educational opportunity at Cooper Riis’ The Farm last February 25, 2013 and it was especially fortuitous for me. What I was able to glean from the presentation, in short, was that it shook me up. Full Article →
In his book, Prayer is Good Medicine, physician and researcher Larry Dossey maintains that praying for one’s self or others can make a scientifically measurable difference in recovering from illness or trauma. It is one thing to understand such a healing intellectually; it is another to know it from experience. Such an experience came to me in the fall of 1996. Full Article →
My public writing has brought my mother and I closer together than we’ve been in decades. There have been disagreements. But now, my almost ninety-year-old mother tells me she reads everything I write. She recently told me that she’s glad I see things so clearly. Full Article →
Now is the time to harness our individual stories, our collective stories, to counter the negative and hateful stories painted about us in the media. We need to push back with stories of our own. Stories that give people hope. We will be filming, for the Obama administration’s campaign to encourage discussion of mental health issues, as many people as possible telling their stories of how they built a life of meaning and purpose; what helped, what hurt, and what they see as promising policy directions. Full Article →
Many of us are taught to fear the expression of strong emotions, and to hide or suppress big feelings. We have also erroneously been taught that only specially trained people or “professionals” are equipped to handle these experiences. But people knowledgeable in conventional treatment often aren’t exposed to community-based, holistic, common sense, person-to-person approaches. Many people have gained wisdom and resiliency by working through emotional distress, and it is helpful to do this with someone who understands the growth potential in these experiences. Full Article →
Family therapists view violent young people in the context of the wider social systems of which they are a part. This typically means the youth’s parents, but it can also include grandparents, teachers, or even friends. Framing youth violence in terms of the social context or family system–rather than as a psychological problem of the individual– is the most effective way of putting an end to the violent behavior.
We have just celebrated the anniversary of the rapidly expanding global Hearing Voices Movement which was founded more than twenty-five years ago following the ground-breaking research of Professor Marius Romme and Dr Sandra Escher. Romme and Escher have advocated for a radical shift in the way we understand the phenomenon of Hearing Voices; in contrast to traditional, biomedical psychiatry which views voices as an aberrant by-product of genetic, brain and cognitive faults, their research has firmly established that voices make sense when taking into account the traumatic circumstances that frequently provoke them. Full Article →
The drumbeat for more “Risk Management” just gets louder. And nowhere is this so alarmingly evident as a new policy proposed by the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH) in November 2012. Full Article →