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Archives for October, 2015

General

Writing Can Lessen Symptoms And Alter Our Lives

People often call mental illness an “invisible illness.” For people with schizophrenia, the illness is frequently obvious especially if the person is not in treatment. Someone not in treatment who suffers from schizophrenia may be seen talking to voices no one else can hear, or waving their arms, or acting in a way that seems out of the ordinary. For those of us in treatment though, schizophrenia can be an invisible illness.

I like the fact that...
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General

Hate Change? Read This.

Some people hate change. Change can be uncomfortable, it can be awkward. It can make us feel a little lost and out of sorts. Change can take time to get used to, and in the process we can make mistakes and end up feeling a little foolish or self-conscious.

Forty years ago, having sexual harassment training in the workplace was unheard of. The first case of sexual harassment was handed down in 1976, but the issue didn’t...
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General

Letter to Future Americans

Dear Americans living in 2100,

I am writing you from the year 2015. Those of us living now, often look back upon the past and wonder, “How could people live like that?” or “How could people do that to one another?” or “How could people have believed that?”

Since you are reading this letter 85 years after it was written, I am sure you have some of the same questions for those of us living now.

First of all...
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General

It Can’t Be Paranoia If It Is Really Happening.

Seven months ago, I had no idea what the consequences would be of telling people I have schizophrenia. The information that I had kept secret even from most family members, I made public by writing about it in a book, on blogs, and in online magazines and forums.

Today I learned what some of the consequences are for exposing my illness in such a public manner.

I bought some pants from an online shop. Several days passed and...
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General

This Halloween Give Up Those Harmful Costumes

There is a movement in the mental health community to remove “mental patient” Halloween costumes from the inventory of stores. I first found out about these costumes, and then the movement, from a woman I know, Gayle, who is an incredible advocate for the mentally ill.

There is a similar situation for people of color called blackface. People have lost their jobs for dressing in blackface and most recently (this week)there were protests on the...
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General

Creative Genius? Violent Criminal? Let Them Both Go.

There are two popular beliefs about mental illness – the creative genius and the violent criminal. The creative genius is romanticized by both people with a mental illness and without.

Not being able to sleep, thinking people are out to get you, believing you are Jesus, or hearing voices tell you to take all your medication or jump off a bridge, there is nothing romantic about any of those things. Most of them are terrifying. Those are...
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Stigma & Discrimination

Culture Changers (Artists) And The Mentally Ill

I must be naïve. I always get the most hurt and disappointed when good writers show their mentalist attitudes (think racist or sexist but referring to the mentally ill). If a good writer, one who gets on a best seller list like the New York Times or Los Angeles Book Review, were to write something racist or something sexist or homophobic, people would be outraged, but when the same writer allows their prejudices and derogatory...
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General

Stop Scapegoating The Mentally Ill

When I think about the social issues surrounding paranoid schizophrenia, and mental illness in general, it makes my mind swirl. There really are no easy answers to the problems that plague our society.

For instance, people are screaming and fighting to get background checks for firearms in order to prevent people with a history of mental illness from owning a gun. I am all for strict laws regarding gun ownership – in fact, I’m so heartsick and...
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General

Supporting the Mentally Ill

I envy other minority groups. I don’t envy their struggles (I know firsthand what many of those are like) but I envy their ability to be seen, heard, gather support, and organize.

When marriage equality was being voted on, social media turned into a rainbow of color. There were millions of people ready to show their support for the LGBT community. I thought it was amazing to watch.

Earlier in the year, after many unarmed black men were...
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