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Separating Yourself From Schizophrenia

Separating Yourself From Schizophrenia

For many years I had wrongly believed that I was a bad person for having Schizoaffective disorder. Many people around me believed likewise. It was not until years later through treatment that I realized Schizoaffective disorder is something that I have, and not something that I am. This is probably why Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective disorder can be treated better than many other mental illnesses, and will be even more treatable in the future.

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For Mental Health Community, Hollywood’s Oscar Is Still A Grouch

For Mental Health Community, Hollywood’s Oscar Is Still A Grouch

It’s been said that Hollywood is the one place in the world where they really do believe practice makes perfect – because, it churns out the same exhausted retreads year in and year out. Indeed, it’s axiomatic in Hollywood that an original idea isn’t merely unwelcome, it’s a career killer.

For decades, members of the mental health community, especially those who labor every day under the burden of mental illness, have looked to the west in hopes of seeing films that address psychological and emotional issues with courage, insight, and creativity. To their horror, only clowns, boiled eggs, and serial killers riding tricycles looked back.

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Mental Health Nurses: You Make a Difference

Mental Health Nurses: You Make a Difference

I recently had the privilege of addressing a group of mental health nursing students at Fairfield University in Connecticut. Their professor, Joyce Shea, had heard me speak with Mary Moller, PRN at the APNA (American Psychiatric Nurses Association) Annual 2011 Conference, and assigned Ben Behind His Voices as required reading for her mental health nursing students.

To my great delight, Ms. Shea shared with me some of her students’ reactions to the memoir, and invited me to speak with them about how mental health nurses can make a real difference in the family experience when mental illness results in hospitalization.

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The Biology of Fear

The Biology of Fear

Fear is a biological response. The fearful stimuli tells our amygdala to release adrenaline (our “fight or flight” hormone). The sole purpose of this is to give us energy to fight or flee. In other words, its purpose is to get us to act, once we act, the fear is pointless. And, usually goes away, since acting has us feeling empowered, not so out of control. Our focus becomes on our tasks at hand, and the worry get relegated to the background.

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BPD and Pleasing People: A Deadly Situation

In order to set boundaries, we have to believe we are worth having boundaries. We must believe that we have the right not to be violated. We must have the self-esteem to say no.

BPD and Pleasing People: A Deadly Situation

I’ve noticed that people with borderline personality disorder (BPD) tend to be people-pleasers. Whether this is due to a fear of abandonment and subsequent desire to be liked at any cost or not, I don’t know. The desire to be accepted, however, is strong and can be dangerous.

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What Teachers Wish Parents Knew About Children and Mental Illness

What Teachers Wish Parents Knew About Children and Mental Illness

There are two sides to every coin, right?

Having offered up my list of what I, as a parent, wish educators knew about childhood psychiatric illness, it seems only fair to play devil’s advocate.

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Managing the Effects of Anxiety

Managing the Effects of Anxiety

Anxiety and worry are a part of life. Properly functioning anxiety helps us find our courage and overcome limitations. But sometimes, anxiety becomes dysfunctional and leads us down a road toward debilitating, circular thoughts and constant preoccupation with past or possible life events (read about anxiety attacks and anxiety attack symptoms). To top it off, when you discover that your anxiety is out of control, you may also feel anxious about your anxiety.

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Why I Would Not Choose to Homeschool My Mentally Ill Child

Why I Would Not Choose to Homeschool My Mentally Ill Child

My response to a recent comment asking, “should I homeschool my mentally ill child?” I, personally, would not. Here’s why:

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Limitations and Rules that Keep Us Safe

Limitations and Rules that Keep Us Safe

My last post was about accepting the limitations that having a mental illness puts on us. The examples I used in that article were:

  • Not watching upsetting movies
  • Maintaining a strict bedtime (not staying out late)
  • Not watching / reading the news

These are three of things I do to maintain stability. As commenter Mary Ann stated, these limitations might be considered enduring the illness rather than suffering per se. But I say tomato, tomahto.

But regardless, these limitations are self-imposed and the rules they bring about are there to keep me safe. In response to a commenter’s question, here are a few more rules I obey:

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What Parents Wish Teachers Knew About Children with Mental Illness

What Parents Wish Teachers Knew About Children with Mental Illness

My oldest son, Bob, is ten years old and in the fourth grade this year. As such, I have been involved with our local public school district for five years. Since Bob’s formal diagnosis (mood disorder, ADHD) in the spring of his kindergarten year, I have been working with–and against–teachers, counselors and school administrators in an effort to allow my son the best quality education possible.

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