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Archives for November, 2015

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Language: Don’t Shame An Ally

I learned an important lesson yesterday. I frequently write about language – the words people use to describe someone who is mentally ill. I want people to stop saying lunatic, psycho, schizo, and referring to people who may be moody, different or difficult as bipolar, schizophrenic, or crazy. Although I want people to stop using these words, because they are hurtful and degrading to those of us with a mental illness, I don’t want to shame...
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Talk Therapy To Treat Schizophrenia?

I recently read this article in the New York Times. The article was written by a psychiatrist and he writes about one patient, Lucy, who has schizophrenia. The doctor explains how he treated Lucy over the phone for many years and that she was able to overcome her symptoms in that way.

The doctor didn’t score points with me when almost immediately in his writing he refers to people with schizophrenia as schizophrenics. He says that...
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A Case To Follow: Doctor Patient Confidentiality Challenged

Yesterday, I was reading the New York Times and I stumbled upon this article.   The article is an one person's opinion, but it links to the trial documents which give more detail.

The article is about a case in Washington State that has relevance to everyone with a mental illness. The case involves a psychiatrist who is being sued for not warning victims of an eventual murder that they were in danger.

The client (perpetrator) never made...
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What If We Treated Other Illnesses Like We Do Mental Illness?

What if it was common for people to make jokes about having a left breast removed due to cancer? What if you heard those jokes in church, on social media, by medical professionals, by people you call friends?

What would it feel like to read a status update on Facebook that said, “Thinking of getting a nipple tattoo! LOL!” or “If my hair doesn’t stop thinning, people are going to think I am going through radiation treatments!...
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Thank You To Those On The Front Line

I am experiencing a time of as-good-as-it-gets with the symptoms of schizophrenia. I always have symptoms, but my symptoms are not always debilitating. Right now, my life looks similar to the lives of most people I know.

During the good times, I try to consciously remember those who have the same illness as me, but who have a much harder time managing their mental illness. Maybe they are without treatment, maybe they are medication resistant, or maybe...
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Is Your Compassion Flexible? If Not, It May Be Wasted.

I used to volunteer at a soup kitchen every Monday afternoon. Many of the other volunteers had been helping out there for a number of years. When the coordinator would give me a task to do, I was often met with resistance from some of the other people. If I was told to put peanut butter in small cups or plate the cheese, inevitably another volunteer would grumble that my assignment was “their job.” If I...
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Preparation For An Emergency: An Active Shooter, Earthquake, Fire, Etc.

Two days ago, the unthinkable happened. There was an active shooter in my neighborhood and I found myself hiding in my bathroom until the police came into my building to get me and my neighbors out.  Our building ended up having the best view of the two windows where the shooter was firing his high powered rifle and the police and SWAT team needed our building free of people.

When the police came to get me,...
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Mental Illness Or Not, We All Need Someone On Our Side

The process for becoming a licensed architect in California used to require a person to have a degree, three years of experience, and then take eight competency tests, and then after passing those, the person was required to go before a board and pass an oral examination. The requirements have changed now, but when my husband was getting his license, this was the process.

The first time my husband went to take his oral examination he didn’t...
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