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Myths Halloween Spreads About Mental Illness

Myths Halloween Spreads About Mental Illness

Halloween can be a fun holiday, but Halloween can also spread myths about mental illness. The main ones all have to do with stigma–that we are violent and unpredictable, that hospitalization is traumatic and abusive, and that there is no such thing as recovery. Mental illness is the only medical condition shown for shock value on Halloween–you never see haunted cancer wards, for example. Here are some myths Halloween spreads about mental illness and how to combat them.

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How to Respond to Stigmatizing Costumes on Halloween

How to Respond to Stigmatizing Costumes on Halloween

There are plenty of ways stigma surfaces around Halloween (Mental Illness Stigma And Halloween: A Teachable Moment) and this include stigmatizing Halloween costumes. Typically, we hear about costumes that are promoting hurtful stereotypes for cultural or racial groups and the posts start asking people to not wear those costumes because of the messages they send. Brock University in Ontario, Canada has even banned these types of costumes, as well as costumes that make light of mental health issues, and those costumes certainly are cropping up, too. So far I’ve seen one costume that is supposed to be a “skitzo” and then there is the widely spoken-against self-harm costume that was listed on Walmart’s website before it was taken down and an apology was issued. Here’s how you might responde to these stigmatizing costumes used for Halloween.

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Abuse and Consent–Donald Trump and 50 Shades

Abuse and Consent–Donald Trump and 50 Shades

Can you consent to abuse? Donald Trump’s recent comments about grabbing women have sparked a question: “If his comments are such a big deal, why is 50 Shades of Grey a bestseller?” The problem is that in the novel, the main character consents to the mistreatment (Abusive Relationships – Why do victims stay?). Whether or not Christian Grey’s conduct is abusive is a subject for another post, but it raises a valid question–Can you consent to abuse?

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Find Your Kindness, Improve Your Happiness

Find Your Kindness, Improve Your Happiness

The world can be a nasty place, but it’s much happier when you find your kindness. Lately, I’ve realized that the best thing I can do to improve my happiness is to be kind. This starts by being kind to myself.

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Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions

Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions

Living with social anxiety and jumping to conclusions is like perpetually bouncing on a crowded trampoline: We must be watchful so we don’t cause harm to others; we must avoid bumping into, and thus annoying, others; we know if we do it wrong we will surely ruin things for everyone; and we jump, jump to conclusions that we’re being judged negatively. Social anxiety is exhausting (Social Phobia [Social Anxiety Disorder, SAD]). You don’t have to remain stuck on the social anxiety trampoline, jumping to conclusions that you are somehow lesser than others. To stop jumping to conclusions and soothe social anxiety, to find some peace of mind, you must understand some of the effects of social anxiety. 

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Comparing Yourself to Others Can Complicate Coping

Comparing Yourself to Others Can Complicate Coping

Comparing yourself to others is not beneficial while coping with depression. I live by the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It means that comparing something of yours to someone else’s can steal good feelings. And while it can certainly eliminate joy or gratitude, a comparison can also steal validation (Mental Illness Validation: Tell Me ‘I Believe You’). Mental health is a vast and varied experience that features ups and downs and pushes and pulls that I can guarantee are not the same for any individual. So comparing your mental progress and experience while coping with depression against someone else’s progress and experience can create massive setbacks in your coping.

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One Year After My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis

One Year After My Dissociative Identity Disorder Diagnosis

At one year after my dissociative identity disorder diagnosis, I can say I have learned a lot. When you receive a dissociative identity disorder (DID) diagnosis, your life changes (Criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder in the DSM-5). You learn to adjust your life as a multiple in a world designed for singletons. Those adjustments aren’t easy, but you try and figure it out. Some changes can lead to progress, while other changes can set you back. So does living with DID get easier over time? Is one year after my dissociative identity disorder diagnosis easier than day one?

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Confronting Weight Gain on Psychiatric Medications

Confronting Weight Gain on Psychiatric Medications

Confronting weight gain on psychiatric medications is a major problem for many people consuming these types of medicines (Weight Gain in a Pill). It is almost as if the more your mental health improves, the more weight you gain. However, psychiatric medication weight gain can be coped with.

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Faith and Mental Health Stigma

Faith and Mental Health Stigma

It is always sad when faith and mental health stigma go hand in hand (Abused for Christ: When Religion Becomes Painful). Recently I was interviewed by a reporter about the stigma attached to mental health in a faith community.

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What to Consider Before a Bipolar Pregnancy: Your Marriage

What to Consider Before a Bipolar Pregnancy: Your Marriage

Your marriage is something to consider before a bipolar pregnancy. When you live with bipolar disorder, whether or not you should get pregnant is a difficult decision (Why I Chose to be a Mother Despite My Bipolar Disorder). There is a lot to consider before a bipolar pregnancy, and the stability of your marriage needs to be at the very top of this list. 

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