It Is Time To Change The Word Depression

I have only once heard someone without a mental illness use the word schizophrenic to describe their actions. A man once said to me, “I’m going this way and that way. I’m so schizophrenic.” But on countless occasions I have heard someone without a mental illness use the word depression to describe a myriad of feelings or emotions. For example, “I am so depressed that Starbucks only serves the pumpkin latte for a short time every...


5 Things To Consider Before Getting A Companion Dog

Getting a companion dog can help reduce anxiety, ease loneliness, bring comfort, and many other positive outcomes, but a companion dog isn’t for everyone. Even with all the benefits, there are many reasons not to rush to the shelter, or pet store.

Here are 5 things to consider before you arrange to make Fido a part of your life.

Are you stable on your medications? This may seem like a strange question to consider when you want to...


5 Ways To Recover Self-Esteem After A Mental Health Crisis

Experiencing a mental health episode like mania, psychosis, a suicide attempt, or any other crisis that causes you to act in ways you wouldn’t normally act, or say things you wouldn’t normally say, can be embarrassing and shame inducing once the episode or crisis is over.

I know it is easy for people to say not to feel shame because 1 in 4 Americans will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime, but just because...


They Got It Right, But Deny The Diagnosis

I have to admit that I have only watched two episodes of the show River (released in November on Netflix), but I am stunned by the portrayal of the main character. River is a cop, a good cop, whose partner dies, and he sees her (and others) and hears their voices. (He suffers from both visual and auditory hallucinations).

Although normally I am disappointed at best and frustrated and hurt at worst with the portrayal...


Six Ways To Become An Ally To A Person With A Mental Illness

With the amount of misunderstanding, stigma, and stereotyping that surrounds mental illnesses, those of us who have one, can use allies. Here are six ways you can fill that role.

One of the easiest ways to be an ally is to speak about mental illness as an illness and not as a way to define a person. Examples of this are: I have schizophrenia. I am not a schizophrenic. Individuals have bipolar disorder, they are not, bipolar....


5 Things To Avoid Asking Someone With Schizophrenia

I often want to talk to people of color about racism, and to talk to disabled people about accessibility issues and discrimination. I also find that I have questions for those people who identify as LGBT.  I frequently don’t know how to start these conversations though, and I am afraid that I will say the wrong thing.  I assume that there are people who would like to ask questions of those of us with schizophrenia too,...


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...


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...


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...


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!...