Must Watch Video!

December 10, 2014 at 4:58 am | Posted in Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Acceptance, Activism, Allies, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Anxiety Attacks, awareness, Bipolar, BPD, Brain, Depakote, Depression, Diseases, DSM-5, Effexor, Emergency Room, Families, Family, Geodon, Haldol, Health, Kristin Bell, learning through film, Lithium, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, MAO Inhibitors, medical, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, psychoanalysis, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, Seroquel, sickness, stigma, Stories, Suicide, Support System, Surviving, symptoms, TED Talk, treatment, treatment of the mentally ill, Video, Zoloft, Zyprexa | Leave a comment

This is a great presentation/speech. I hope you can watch and share it! It really needs to go viral! Hopefully the correct video will play. It is a TED talk about mental illness and community.

New Brain-Neuron Fabric Gift Wrap Wallpaper!

December 8, 2014 at 7:20 am | Posted in 2014, Anxiety, Art, artist, arts & crafts, astrocytes, axon, axon hillock, Biology, Bipolar, body parts, Brain, Cartoon, cerebellum, clothing, craft, creative, dendrites, Depression, design, design your own fabric, doctor, drawings, fabric, fabric design, Fashion, frontal lobe, gift wrap, golgi apparatus, Health, Holidays, Illustrated, illustrator, Kristin Bell, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, myelin, neuron, neuron impulse, neuroscience, neurotransmitters, oligodendrocyte, Paranoid Schizophrenia, pillow, Pillows, Prefrontal Cortex, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychosis, wrapping paper | Leave a comment

Hey Everybody! I recently made this new brain/neuron fabric and gift wrap! I made a giant brain pillow for my psychiatrist too, and he seemed to like it which was awesome! :) Here are some pics! Also, the fabric, gift wrap, and wall paper are available on spoonflower here: http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3713721

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Friends with Mental Illness and Those Who Love Us, Please Take This NAMI Survey!

October 31, 2014 at 4:23 am | Posted in Bipolar, Depression, Emergency Room, ER, Mental Health, Mental Illness, NAMI, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, psychoanalysis, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, survey, treatment of the mentally ill | Leave a comment

ERMentalHealth

This is a survey by NAMI about experiences with ER mental health services. I believe the survey is for both people with mental illness and friends/family who have experienced the ER mental health situation. Please take the survey to help improve ER mental health treatment. I hope by taking this survey ERs will listen to how to improve things!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G5QCPP9

Blog About Mental Illness Disclosure on HealthyPlace.com

November 2, 2013 at 8:39 pm | Posted in 2013, Acceptance, Activism, Anorexia, Bipolar, Blogging, Borderline Personality, Bulimia, crazy, Denial, Depression, Discrimination, discussion, Eating Disorders, Ethics, HealthyPlace.com, Kristin Bell, Lunatic, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, stigma | Leave a comment

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Hey Everybody! I just wanted to let you know that I had a blog story published over at HealthyPlace.com. Here is the link: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/yourmentalhealth/2013/10/30/is-not-disclosing-mental-illness-perpetuating-stigma/ . I hope you read the article and can participate in the conversation. I’m really interested to hear what people think! Thanks! :)

Let’s Talk About Suicide

October 13, 2013 at 5:14 pm | Posted in 2013, Bipolar, Bullying, Dead, death, Depression, Fat, Gay, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Panic Attacks, Queer, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, self-care, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, Suicide | 2 Comments

Suicide

October 12, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Posted in 2013, Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholics, Anorexia, Bipolar, Borderline Personality, BPD, Bulimia, Bullying, Compulsive Eating, Compulsive Exercising, Counselor, Dead, death, Depression, Dyke, end of world, Fag, Fat, Fat Hatred, Gay, GBLT, gender, Homo, Homophobia, Homosexual, Hope, insanity, Lesbian, Lithium, Lunatic, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, ocd, Panic Attacks, Pansexual, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Problems, Psych Meds, Psycho, Psychosis, Queer, Schizophrenia, self-care, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, Sleep Disorders, Suicide, Support System, Surviving, Trannie, Trans | Leave a comment

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International Suicide Hotlines  USA Suicide Hotlines

 

 

You Know Your Symptoms the Best!

October 4, 2013 at 5:56 pm | Posted in 2013, Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Anxiety Attacks, Bipolar, Borderline Personality, BPD, Brain, Bulimia, Compulsive Eating, Compulsive Exercising, DBT, Depression, Eating Disorders, EDNOS, Education, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Happy, Health, Injections, Kristin Bell, Lithium, long-acting injectables, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, negative symptoms, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Prescription Meds, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, psychoanalysis, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, self-care, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, stigma, Stress, Support System, symptoms, treatment, Zoloft, Zyprexa | Leave a comment

pills

Recently I made a medication change (with the help of my psychiatrist), and as you might know from your own interactions with meds sometimes it can cause issues to develop. I was happily strolling along for a couple of months with a few bad days here and there, and then I started to notice the bad days piling up more often. I was really irritable, sad, became unmotivated, and suicide starting sounding better. I became alarmed, because I knew something was going wrong, but how was I supposed to explain to my psychiatrist that “irritable” is a symptom for me?

The problem with mental illness is that even when we fit into a diagnosed category of disorder, we all have our own unique symptoms that we need to pay attention to. I have schizophrenia, but for years I didn’t appear “sick enough” to most doctors, because they expected me to be talking to the walls and completely disheveled. There were times when I was talking to the walls and completely disheveled, but the doctors rarely saw me during those times, so they figured I wasn’t that bad off. Because I could communicate relatively well most doctors dismissed schizophrenia as a diagnosis.

Over the years I have come to realize what my symptoms are (for the most part), and now that I am doing better I can advocate for myself more effectively. However, it still isn’t easy to call up my psychiatrist and say “wow, I’m extremely irritable, this isn’t normal for me, and I need to increase my meds.” Most psychiatrists won’t believe that “irritable” is in any way related to schizophrenia, but for me (and many others) it is. I don’t become psychotic over night, and I don’t believe that I should have to be talking to walls in order to get the help I need. I also don’t believe that people should have to try to kill themselves before mental health professionals take people seriously.

Unfortunately, a lot of mental health professionals won’t take a person seriously unless they are debilitated to the point of needing to be hospitalized. So, as people living with mental illness or people who love people with mental illness, we have to be very proactive about getting the help we need before it turns into a crisis. Think about the good days and what you are like on those days, and compare them to the bad days. What are YOUR symptoms? How do things manifest in your day to day life? You might want to write down what you know your symptoms to be, and take that list with you when you talk to your doctor. It isn’t easy or fun, but we have to advocate for ourselves even when we are not doing our best.

In the end, you know your symptoms the best. Remember that you aren’t “crazy” for wanting to feel better and you aren’t making up excuses. Be pragmatic and straightforward, and get the help you need.

Update on Abilify Maintena Use!

July 22, 2013 at 3:52 pm | Posted in 2013, Abilify, Abilify Maintena, Bipolar, crazy, drugs, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, insanity, Kristin Bell, long-acting injectables, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, negative symptoms, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Prescription Meds, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, Science, symptoms, treatment, treatment-resistant | Leave a comment

Schizophrenia and Negative Symptoms: Q&A with Dr. Potkin

May 20, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Posted in 2013, Abilify, affective flattening, alogia, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, asociality, avolition, Biology, Bipolar, Brain, Depakote, Depression, dopamine hypothesis, Dr. Steven G. Potkin, drugs, Education, Genentech, Geodon, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Health, insanity, Irvine (UCI), Kristin Bell, Lithium, Mania, Manic, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, N-methyl-D-aspartate, NAMI, negative symptoms, neuron, neuroscience, neurotransmitters, NMDA, NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Paxil, Prescription Meds, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, psychoanalysis, Psychology, Psychosis, Risperdal, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, Science, Seroquel, stigma, Support System, Surviving, symptoms, synapse, sz, Therapist, Trazadone, treatment, treatment-resistant, Trilifon, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Zyprexa | Leave a comment

negsymp I have some great news! I was able to ask Dr. Steven G. Potkin, Professor of Psychiatry in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) Medical Center, some questions regarding the negative symptoms of schizophrenia. He is also the Robert R. Sprague Endowed Chair in Brain Imaging. It was a brief, by email interview, but I’m happy to share what I’ve learned with you all! The following is the Q&A:

Kristin: What are negative symptoms?
Dr. Potkin: “Negative” does not refer to a person’s attitude, but instead to a lack of characteristics that should be present. Symptoms include reduced amount and content of speech, even when encouraged to interact (alogia), lack of emotional and facial expression (affective flattening), diminished ability to begin and sustain activities (avolition), decreased ability to find pleasure in everyday life (anhedonia) and social withdrawal (asociality). [1] [2]

Negative symptoms can appear a few years before other symptoms appear in young adulthood in the so-called “prodromal” stage of the illness.[3] Unfortunately these symptoms often go undetected because they manifest themselves as issues common among teenagers: social withdrawal, problems with school work, irritability, depression and sleeping problems.[4]

Kristin: Do all people with schizophrenia have negative symptoms?
Dr. Potkin: No, but at any point in time, negative symptoms can affect approximately 50 percent or more of people with schizophrenia.[5] [6]

Kristin: How do negative symptoms affect a person with schizophrenia? How do they affect their family and friends?
Dr. Potkin: Research suggests that for people living with schizophrenia, negative symptoms are key factors in poor quality of life as well as problems with personal hygiene, school and work performance, maintaining relationships, interacting within the community, and participating in social activities. [7] [8] [9] [10]

For caregivers of people with schizophrenia, negative symptoms may cause more burden than do other types of symptoms as they see their loved ones life isolated and lacking in meaning or joy. [11]

Kristin: How are negative symptoms currently treated?
Dr. Potkin: Current treatments for schizophrenia focus on reducing characteristic symptoms and can include both medication and psychosocial interventions.[12] No effective medication treatment has yet been approved for specific treatment of negative symptoms. Despite progress in the medication side of treatment, there are still unmet needs in terms of symptom control. A large study found that despite treatment, approximately 57 percent of people receiving treatment for a schizophrenia spectrum disorder still had at least one negative symptom.[10]

Kristin: What is the research that Genentech is doing regarding negative symptoms?
Dr. Potkin: Researchers at Genentech are pursuing new treatment strategies for schizophrenia, including increasing N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity in the brain in order to target the mechanism that may be a common link between the positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of the disorder.[7] [9] [11] [12]

Specifically, through a clinical trial program, Genentech is looking at an investigational medication for people with schizophrenia, including people who experience mostly negative symptoms of schizophrenia, despite taking medication. For more information, please visit www.SearchLyteschizophrenia.com

Kristin: How can family and friends of someone with schizophrenia help someone with negative symptoms?
Dr. Potkin: Caregivers can talk to doctors about interventions including medication, psychosocial rehabilitation (work, school, relationships), medical care and wellness, and therapy (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy and peer support groups), as well as ongoing clinical trials.[13] They can work with physicians to find the medications and non-medicine therapies that are right for their loved one. Different medicines may have different side effects. Caregivers can also consider programs from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) including:

• NAMI Hearts and Minds

– Online, interactive wellness initiative

www.nami.org/heartsandminds

• NAMI Peer-to-Peer

– Free, 9-week educational course on recovery

www.nami.org/peertopeer

• NAMI Connection

– Recovery support group for adults

www.nami.org/connection

Kristin: Do scientists know the biological mechanisms involved in negative symptoms? If so, what are the areas of the brain and/or mechanisms involved in negative symptoms?
Dr. Potkin: In the 1970s, the “dopamine hypothesis” of schizophrenia emerged, suggesting the biological basis of schizophrenia was an excess of signaling by dopamine, a chemical messenger in the brain. This theory, however, could not explain negative or cognitive symptoms.[6] In the late 1980’s a newer theory suggested positive, negative and cognitive symptoms could all be due to reduced function of NMDA receptors in the brain. This theory is now known as the “NMDA receptor hypofunction hypothesis.”[6] [7] [8] [9]

Researchers are pursuing new treatment strategies for schizophrenia, including increasing NMDA receptor function in the brain in order to target the mechanism that may be a common link between the positive, negative and cognitive symptoms of the disorder.[7] [9] [11] [12] It is thought that NMDA receptor activity is an important pathway in psychiatric disorders, especially schizophrenia.

End of article.

*Note: I would like to thank Dr. Potkin for helping me put together this interview. This research is very exciting and I hope that negative symptoms can be tackled in this decade! I know how debilitating they can be!

______________________________

1.     Gard DE, Kring AM, Gard MG, Horan WP, Green MF. Anhedonia in schizophrenia: distinctions between anticipatory and consummatory pleasure. Schizophr Res. Jul 2007;93(1-3):253-260.

2.     Strauss GP, Gold JM. A new perspective on anhedonia in schizophrenia. Am J Psychiatry. Apr 2012;169(4):364-373.

3.     Stahl SM. Stahl’s Essential Psychopharacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. 3rd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2008.

4.     National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. 2009; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/complete-index.shtml. Accessed July 7, 2012.

5.     Kirkpatrick B, Fenton WS, Carpenter WT, Jr., Marder SR. The NIMH-MATRICS consensus statement on negative symptoms. Schizophr Bull. Apr 2006;32(2):214-219.

6.     Bobes J, Arango C, Garcia-Garcia M, Rejas J. Prevalence of negative symptoms in outpatients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders treated with antipsychotics in routine clinical practice: findings from the CLAMORS study. J Clin Psychiatry. Mar 2010;71(3):280-286.

7.     Ho BC, Nopoulos P, Flaum M, Arndt S, Andreasen NC. Two-year outcome in first-episode schizophrenia: predictive value of symptoms for quality of life. Am J Psychiatry. Sep 1998;155(9):1196-1201.

8.     Kirkpatrick B, Fenton WS, Carpenter WT, Jr., Marder SR. The NIMH-MATRICS consensus statement on negative symptoms. Schizophr Bull. Apr 2006;32(2):214-219.

9.     Kurtz MM. Symptoms versus neurocognitive skills as correlates of everyday functioning in severe mental illness. Expert Rev Neurother. Jan 2006;6(1):47-56.

10.   Milev P, Ho BC, Arndt S, Andreasen NC. Predictive values of neurocognition and negative symptoms on functional outcome in schizophrenia: a longitudinal first-episode study with 7-year follow-up. Am J Psychiatry. Mar 2005;162(3):495-506.

11.   Provencher HL, Mueser KT. Positive and negative symptom behaviors and caregiver burden in the relatives of persons with schizophrenia. Schizophr Res. Jul 25 1997;26(1):71-80.

12.   National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. 2009; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/complete-index.shtml. Accessed July 7, 2012.

13.   National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. 2009; http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/complete-index.shtml. Accessed July 7, 2012.

Unica Zürn, Hans Bellmer Presentation

March 10, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Posted in 2013, Academic, anagrams, analysis, Art, art history, artist, artists, Bipolar, bondage, College, death drive, drawings, female, fetish, Freud, Hans Bellmer, History, Homosexual, Kristin Bell, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, obsession, outsider art, Photography, presentation, psychoanalysis, Psychology, repression, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, school, Surrealism, Surrealist, Unica Zürn, University, Video, YouTube | Leave a comment

Sign the Petition to Increase Funding for Research for Mental Illness

December 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Posted in Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Bipolar, congress, cure, democrat, Depression, Health, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, petition, politics, POTUS, President, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Psychosis, republican, Research, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia | Leave a comment

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Hi! Just wanted to post this to ask people to please sign the petition to the President and Congress to increase funding for research related to finding cures for mental illness. It only takes a minute! Please share with your friends too!

https://www.change.org/petitions/to-the-president-and-congress-fund-research-to-cure-mental-illness

BTW: Save Your Pennies and Make Change! :)

October 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Posted in Bipolar, Bring Change 2 Mind, Collection, Depression, Kristin Bell, Licoln, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Pennies, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, Shame, stigma | Leave a comment

Attach this handy printout to a jar and take it into work and/or keep one on hand at home! Change your mind about mental illness and make change at the same time! :)

 

Bring Change 2 Mind!

October 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Posted in 2012, Activism, Allies, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, awareness, Bipolar, Bring Change 2 Mind, Depression, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, neuroscience, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, stigma | Leave a comment

Hi! As you might know if you have scanned my blog, I make it a point to talk about mental health/illness, because I have schizophrenia and I believe in stomping out the stigma of mental illness. Well, I have this cute story to share! I was waiting outside of the classroom for my biology lab class to start this fall and started talking to a supernice girl who was in my class. We got to talking and to try to explain why I had been in school so long I decided to tell her that I have schizophrenia. Lo and behold she says “oh yah, my mom has bipolar and my brother has schizophrenia too!” What a small world!!! It turns out her whole family is active in the mental health field in advocating for the erasure of stigma related to mental illness and they have a website called http://bringchange2mind.org/ . I am always surprised when I talk to people about my own illness and then they also know someone or are someone with mental illness too! It is such a big thing in peoples’ lives and when we talk about it, it is surprising/amazing/wonderful that we aren’t alone in our struggles. So, I just wanted to share this little story and a link to the Bring Change 2 Mind website. It was a wonderful feeling to meet someone else at school who knows first hand about mental illness and to be able to talk openly about it! :) Three cheers for no more stigma!!! :)

Genetic Testing! Yay!

August 24, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Posted in Abilify, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, benadryl, Biology, Bipolar, Body, BPD, Buspar, Depakote, Depression, dna, drugs, Effexor, genetic testing, Genetics, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, MAO Inhibitors, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, metabolic pathways, metabolize, Mood Stabilizers, Navane, neuroscience, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Paxil, plavix, Prescription Meds, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Psychosis, Risperdal, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, Science, Seroquel, Technology, testing, Trazadone, Trilifon, warfarin, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Zyprexa | Leave a comment

http://www.genemedrx.com/

Hey Everybody! I wanted to share with you this cool genetics testing that is available to people. I just got it done, because my nurse practitioner ordered it and Medicare pays for it. (Medicare pays for this testing, because it saves a LOT of money and can save lives!) It is really cool, because it tells you how medications will interact with your specific genetic makeup! It is extremely important if you are taking really any kind of medication. For example, had I known about my results before I took Wellbutrin years ago, it would have saved me from basically having a manic reaction to the medication. It turns out that I metabolize differently than normal on some of the metabolic pathways. This means that I will metabolize the meds on those pathways different than people without this issue. If you have Medicare, I strongly urge you to get this testing done. It could save your life from a bad genetic-medication mistake. I think many other insurance carriers might also pay for it. It also explains why I can take a lower dose of many medications and still get the desired effect from the medication. I would say that anyone who is trying to figure out their psych meds should really get this testing done too. It doesn’t just tell about psych meds though, it tells about stuff involving all other sorts of meds. Seriously, this is pretty awesome! Again, here is the link: http://www.genemedrx.com/

Got My Cure Alliance Schizophrenia Magnet Today! Yay!

August 4, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Posted in Activism, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Bipolar, Brain, Cure Alliance, Depression, insanity, Kristin Bell, magnet, Mania, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, ocd, Psychiatry, Psychology, Psychosis, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia, sz | Leave a comment

Hi! I’m happy to report I got my Cure Alliance schizophrenia magnet today! Strange that my bumper wouldn’t hold the magnet! haha. Anyway, please check them out at the Cure Alliance Facebook page here. Also, see the related post I made about their campaign here.

50-50-50 Magnet Campaign for Mental Illness

August 1, 2012 at 8:31 pm | Posted in Activism, Bipolar, Depression, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Paranoid Schizophrenia, Psychiatry, schizoaffective disorder, Schizophrenia | 3 Comments

Hey everybody! The Cure Alliance has launched their 50-50-50 campaign to raise awareness about mental illness. It stands for 50 states, 50 magnets in 50 days. They want to get their mental illness magnets in 50 states in 50 days! YOU can participate! The first person from each state to contact them gets their choice of a free magnet for their car! Just email them at this address: info@curealliance.org. Also, you can buy them from their store HERE. I think they are good for other things too, like to stick on lunchboxes or bikes or anything a magnet will stick to!!! Please also like their Facebook page HERE.

New Abstract Art by Me + Discussion

March 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm | Posted in abstract art, Art, art journal, Autobiography, Bipolar, Borderline Personality, BPD, DBT, Depression, drawings, EDNOS, Handmade, Hope, Illustrated, insanity, iPad, iPad Art, journal, Kristin Bell, Marsha Linehan, Memory, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mindfulness, pain, Painting, Photography, process, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Sculpture, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, sketchbook, Stress, Suicide, Support System, Surviving | 2 Comments

Process:
I was reading a book by Marsha Linehan, the creator of Dialectical Behavior Therapy treatment for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, and I was struck by the theoretical concepts that she was discussing in the book. At the same time, I had been thinking about my friend who has BPD. I thought about the unending pain she suffers and how there is so much rage and turmoil in her life. I wanted to incorporate both Linehan’s concepts and aspects of my friend into the art journal that I just started working on as a collaboration with my friend, John.

So, John began the journal by preparing many pages and providing inspirations and prompts, then he mailed it to me and it was my turn to lay down something on the pages.

The first thing I did was use a handheld scanning pen to scan vertical snippets of text from the Linehan book. I then printed out the scans and cut them up into various pieces. You can just make out some of the text, like the words “dysfunction” and “BPD” and “DBT” if you look closely at the first piece.

Next, I began by glueing down the various text scans onto the journal…all over the top of what my friend John had already done. You can see bits of the yellow wash that he had laid down already. I added handwritten elements with text that expressed how I felt about my friend with BPD. Some are “rage and flounder,” “escape impossible,” “improbable at best,” and “hermedically sealed” (which I spelled wrong, but ends up being seen as “medically sealed” in the final product which I think is just as good and apt).

I colored over parts with a reddish pen, because for me, reddish colors always seem to represent pain and suffering, if not outright blood. I also used my label maker to add “A FACE TO YOUR PAIN,” because I felt like this was my way of giving her pain a face. There is also a scrunched up scribble of a face contorted with pain on the journal page just above the label. Then I started adding layers of cut out graph paper, because I wanted part of the image to have some linear and quantifiable aspects, like the discreet squares of red in contrast to the smudgy blob of red elsewhere. I also added a cut out plastic sleeve that I applied color to.

I then decided that I wanted to cut out some of the page and expose the treatment that was done on the other side of the page by my friend John. I likened this to an escape hatch to relieve the immense pressure and pain of the page and my friend’s actual pain. I cut out “hermedically sealed,” which is how it seems my friend’s pain is stored, and I pasted it onto the next page so that it could be seen as “medically sealed” through the cutout. A lot of my friend’s history involves intense and traumatic encounters with the medical establishment, so I thought this was appropriate. I cut out and folded over some of the page to make more linear elements and to add to the color use on the page as well. I also wanted to do this to incorporate the idea of overlapping aspects of our lives and our histories.

When I cut out “hermedically sealed” it left an opening that for me seemed like a window and represents the hope I still have for my friend despite what seems like endless suffering. I painted the page that can be seen underneath with blues and greens to represent the sky and grass, and I placed a puffy Hello Kitty sticker in the window as a kind of whimsical “hello” with friendship. Part of the other cutout seemed organic and flower-like to me, so I also added a stem of a flower for more aspects of light and living, but also change and death. With some of the folded over cutouts I felt like there was too much color and light, so I blacked out the spaces with a magnum black Sharpie.

Throughout the process, I was concerned not only with symbolic aspects of representation, but also with the aesthetic elements of line, color, space, balance, etc. So, part of the experiment was definitely symbolic, but I also spent time adjusting the image elements to try to make an interesting and unifying picture.

When I felt like I was done with the journal page, I took a photograph of it and posted it to Facebook to keep track of the process aspect of the journaling project. I was then compelled to go further with the image by enlarging parts of the image and cropping them in interesting ways. I took snapshots of the screen with my iPad and then emailed them to my desktop machine where I processed them in Photoshop and then printed them out. I really didn’t know how they would look printed out or if I would use or like them at that point.

I liked how the prints looked, but I felt they really should be juxtaposed somehow, so I combined them.

The closeup crops that I made were deliberate. I based my decisions on aesthetics and also on what words would be incorporated into the image. “A FACE TO YOUR PAIN” was cropped into “TO YOUR PAIN” for one image and “OUR PAIN” for another image. I wanted to bring together these two aspects of the experience of pain, the self and the other, and comment on the interaction between the two. For my friend who suffers, it seems that her pain is hers alone and that it is an isolated state of suffering, but she also has friends, family and care providers who care about her and interact with her pain and suffering. We, of course, have our own pain and suffering, but seeing her in pain is also difficult and informs our own pain and our own worldview.

When I combined the crop prints, I was “mindful” of the tension between the different images on the page and wanted to incorporate Linehan’s ideas about thesis, antithesis and synthesis in the overall picture. For me, the synthesis is the final completed work, but up until then I felt that I was going back and forth trying to find the finished piece. I felt that I needed to bridge the piece to make it more cohesive, so I added a red ribbon that tied the gaps that I saw together, also tying my friend to the world and people outside of herself. I then added sculpted copper wire to put back in a bit of the organic that I thought was lost and to act as a core and a crowning jewel.

For the second image, I employed much the same process. I printed out crops of the journal and then cut and fit the pieces together like a puzzle. For me, the second piece is more about hope, so I used the “A Window Opens” text in part of it and the overall image is less dark and red. The border of the image is a handwritten excerpt from Linehan’s text that talks about dialectics and how it is a process that persuades and encourages movement. I used the red yarn to imply some movement, but also tension. The yarn is tight, but not so tight that it tears the page. It also helps to unify the image I think, adding that aspect of synthesis.

The journal page.
The first finished piece.The second finished piece.

Review: Loud In the House of Myself by Stacy Pershall

February 20, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Acceptance, Anorexia, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Ativan, Autobiography, Binge Eating, Bipolar, Black & White, Body, Body Image, Books, Borderline Personality, Bulimia, Compulsive Eating, Compulsive Exercising, Depakote, Depression, Eating Disorders, EDNOS, insanity, Internet, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Loud In the House of Myself, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, MAO Inhibitors, memoir, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Navane, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychoactive Substances, Psychology, Reading, Review, Self-Harm, Self-Injury, Stacy Pershall, Stories, strange girl, Suicide, Surviving, Thin, Weightloss | Leave a comment

Loud In the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl is a new book by Stacy Pershall. Of course, I was immediately drawn to this memoir, because it is a) a memoir b) about a “strange girl” and c) deals with mental illness. Yay! Since I’m undoubtably a strange mentally ill girl, I knew I had to read this. Pershall writes about her life growing up in Arkansas and her morphing from an über-sensitive child into a teenager and young adult with Borderline and Bipolar issues. Anyone familiar with the mental illness memoir genre will certainly have heard of Elizabeth Wurtzel, and I just bring her up, because UNLIKE Wurtzel, Pershall is not whiny in her writing! Pershall is matter-of-fact about her trials and symptoms, even though the reader can imagine the actual playing out of illness to be much more harsh and unbearable.

Pershall describes her unrelenting eating disorder, mood swings and suicide attempts with a steady and precise hand. This book seems really accessible to me, because Pershall speaks not only to those of us who have been through the mental health care system, but also to people who might not really understand this special weirdness. The only thing I would like to see more of in this book is more OF this book! haha. Seriously though, I enjoyed reading this memoir and would love to read more from Pershall. I would especially recommend this book to people struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder. There is a special misery only known by Borderlines that is never really represented in the books that ostensibly deal with Borderline Personality Disorder. I really wish there were more accounts like this that show the uncrazy through the crazy of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Go All the Way or Go Home: Name-calling in the Media

January 14, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Acceptance, Arizona, Bipolar, Culture of Violence, Denial, Discrimination, Ethics, Gabrielle Giffords, gunman, Guns, Hate, insanity, Kristin Bell, Lunatic, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Nutcase, Psychiatry, Psycho, Psychosis, rhetoric, Schizophrenia, shooting | 1 Comment

I seem to be one of the few liberal-ish people who thinks that the Arizona shooting had more to do with mental illness than politics, and I think it is kind of ironic that a great majority of the Left is talking about “dangerous” rhetoric while simultaneously throwing pejoratives about mental illness and the mentally ill around like “crazy.” Everything from “nutter” to “nutjob” to “lunatic,” “crazies,” “wacko” and every other euphemism for the mentally ill that you can think of—except a plain “mentally ill.” If the Left is really so worried about a culture of bad rhetoric, then I say they should go all the way or go home. In other words, stop calling mentally ill people disrespectful names (of course, the Right is rampant with this too). This kind of vilification of the mentally ill does exactly what the Left is talking about the rhetoric of gunning people down does—it objectifies people and dismisses their humanity. But, I guess that it is okay to diss the crazies, because we aren’t really people afterall are we? We are just wild animals that need to be chained and shot for the good of everyone. Well, that is what a lot of people seem to believe, especially when something tragic happens like the shooting in Arizona. What happened in Arizona was wrong and awful, but despite peoples’ desires to paint the tragedy into black and white terms where there is good on one side and evil on another, in reality the good and evil don’t exist. They are words we’ve made up to downplay and deny the complexities of situations that we have a difficult time understanding. We can do better.

Suicide

December 9, 2008 at 3:42 am | Posted in Acceptance, Alcoholics, Anti-depressants, Anxiety, Ativan, Bipolar, Counselor, Cry, Dead, Depression, Fat Hatred, GBLT, Kristin Bell, Manic-Depressive, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Panic Attacks, Psych Meds, Psychiatry, Schizophrenia, Self-Injury, Suicide, Support System, Surviving, Xanex, Zoloft | 1 Comment

I’m just going to say it: GOD DAMN DEPRESSION!!! It is so horrible that words cannot describe it, right? You know what I am saying. And, at this moment, I have no idea how many people out there are thinking about or attempting suicide. It is the great loss, the tragic loss…every suicide. I’ve tried wrapping my head around it. Tried thinking of it as someone’s way out of pain, but the truth is, each attempt, every moment spent toiling over it: TRAGIC.

I know that it feels like the only way to relieve the pain. Looking back on my own suicidal ideation and attempts, I can only wonder: WHAT WAS I THINKING!?! Okay, I know what I was thinking…tired. tired of being tired. tired of having this huge pain that I couldn’t really describe, this unending sorrow swallowing me whole. Tired of being a failure, and broke, and stupid, ugly, horrible, disgusting, friendless, and every other bad thing I could think to call myself. But, I don’t know, mostly I didn’t even care if I lived or died. These few pills will take away the pain? Okay, I’ll be dead and it won’t matter anymore. My big dillema was getting rid of my body without horrifying other people. Continue Reading Suicide…

Poll Time Again!

December 1, 2008 at 5:22 am | Posted in Anxiety, Bipolar, Depression, Kristin Bell, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Polls, Psychiatry, Schizophrenia | 2 Comments

“Manic” A New Memoir of Bipolar Disorder

May 11, 2008 at 1:55 am | Posted in Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Books, Depression, Drama, Health, Kristin Bell, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, memoir, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Problems, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Schizophrenia, Surviving | 1 Comment

I just finished reading “Manic: A Memoir” a few days ago, so I thought I’d share my opinion with you. The book is the memoir of this high-powered female attorney from Los Angeles who has bipolar disorder. I’m usually really interested in most Continue Reading “Manic” A New Memoir of Bipolar Disorder…

NIMH Schizophrenia Research Participation

February 4, 2008 at 6:39 am | Posted in Amblify, Anti-psychotics, Ativan, Bipolar, Family, Geodon, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Health, Kristin Bell, Lunatic, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Navane, Paxil, Prescription Meds, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychosis, Research, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Seattle, Surviving, Trazadone, Trilifon, US Government, Zyprexa | 2 Comments
labratme

Oh, so I haven’t blogged about this yet, but I went up to Seattle with my family about a week ago and participated in the National Institute of Mental Health-funded research project regarding schizophrenia. I had a really great time and the research team was totally fabulous and wonderful!

So, we arrived on a Wednesday afternoon. They took blood samples from Continue Reading NIMH Schizophrenia Research Participation…

I Feel For Ya, Britney!

January 31, 2008 at 9:43 am | Posted in Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Britney Spears, Bulimia, Buspar, Drama, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Mania, Manic, Manic-Depressive, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Prescription Meds, Problems, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Support System, Surviving, Therapist | 6 Comments
bald britney

Okay, I rarely write about celebrity gossip, but overnight Britney Spears was taken into the hospital for psychiatric evaluation and I guess I feel the need to comment. From what I’ve heard on the news, she hasn’t slept since Saturday and she’s now on a 72-hour hold. I have also been Continue Reading I Feel For Ya, Britney!…

A Book Everyone Should Read!

December 24, 2007 at 3:06 pm | Posted in Acceptance, Activism, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Books, Counselor, Discrimination, Elyn R. Saks, Geodon, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Haldol Decanoate, Kristin Bell, Lunatic, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Navane, NIMH, Prescription Meds, Problems, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychosis, Reading, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Seroquel, Surviving, The Center Cannot Hold, Therapist, Trazadone, Trilifon | Leave a comment
saksbook

I just finished reading Elyn R. Saks’ book, The Center Cannot Hold, and I highly recommend it to everyone, especially people who are touched by someone who has mental illness. The book is a memoir of Ms. Saks’ life and coming to terms with schizophrenia. From an early age she recalls having strange thoughts, but Continue Reading A Book Everyone Should Read!…

Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #10

October 17, 2007 at 6:38 am | Posted in Acceptance, Amblify, Anti-anxiety meds, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Anxiety, Anxiety Attacks, Ativan, benadryl, Bipolar, Body, Buspar, Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder, Depakote, Depression, Effexor, Geodon, Haldol, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Maintenance, MAO Inhibitors, Medicine, melatonin, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Panic Attacks, Paxil, Pot, Prescription Meds, Problems, Prozac, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychosis, Relaxation, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Seroquel, Sleep, Sleep Disorders, Surviving, Tips & Tricks, Trazadone, Trilifon, Wellbutrin, Xanex, Zoloft, Zyprexa | 1 Comment

sleep

<Sleeping graphic from HowStuffWorks.com>

I don’t know why I didn’t think of this tip before. Probably because I haven’t mastered this and should really follow my own advice about it. Plus my dad likes to harp on me about my problem with this a lot…which just irritates me. On with tip 10. Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #10…

Common Fallacies of Psychiatry Deniers

September 20, 2007 at 8:53 pm | Posted in Acceptance, Amblify, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Buspar, Denial, Depakote, Depression, drugs, Education, Geodon, Haldol, Haldol DEC, Health, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Lunatic, MAO Inhibitors, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Paxil, Prescription Meds, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psychiatry Denial, Psycho, Psychosis, Schizophrenia, Scientology, Seroquel, Shame, Support System, Surviving, Trazadone, Trilifon, Video, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Zyprexa | 12 Comments

rob

The following videos are by Rob aka deidzoeb, a person from YouTube. His wife, Melinda, aka melsbasketcase, is also a YouTuber and Melinda has schizophrenia. She does well when she is properly medicated, but a lot of people go on her channel and try to convince her that her drugs are poison and that she should stop taking them. I hope you will watch all three of Rob’s great videos about Psychiatry Denial. He does a great job of showing how psychiatry deniers are simply wrong and how they try to take choice away from people with serious mental illnesses. I have included all three videos here. Please click to find them. Continue Reading Common Fallacies of Psychiatry Deniers…

Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #9

September 5, 2007 at 1:20 am | Posted in Acceptance, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Books, Depression, Eating Disorders, Education, Haldol, Health, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Lunatic, MAO Inhibitors, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Prescription Meds, Problems, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psycho, Psychosis, Reading, Schizophrenia, Scientology, Surviving, Therapist, Tips & Tricks, Zoloft, Zyprexa | 1 Comment

neuron

Well, I think I have covered most of the basics regarding mental illness, or at least the ideas I had right off the top of my head. But, I haven’t covered this next topic yet, so here we go with number nine: Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #9…

Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #8

August 25, 2007 at 10:17 am | Posted in Amblify, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Buspar, Cat Stories, Cute, Depakote, Depression, Family, Friends, Fun, Haldol, Kristin Bell, Lunatic, MAO Inhibitors, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Paxil, Pet Care, Pets, Psychiatry, Psycho, Psychosis, Relaxation, Schizophrenia, Seroquel, Tips & Tricks, Wellbutrin, Working Animals, Zoloft, Zyprexa | 2 Comments

catbrain

Ah, it has been awhile since my last tip. This tip may not work for everyone, but it is a personal favorite of mine. On with the tip. Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #8…

Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #7

August 17, 2007 at 2:09 am | Posted in Acceptance, Amblify, Anti-depressants, Anti-psychotics, Bipolar, Buspar, Counselor, Denial, Depakote, Depression, Discrimination, drugs, Effexor, Geodon, Haldol, Health, Kristin Bell, Lithium, Lunatic, MAO Inhibitors, Medicine, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Mood Stabilizers, Navane, Paxil, Prescription Meds, Problems, Psych Meds, Psychiatrist, Psychiatry, Psycho, Psychosis, Risperdal, Schizophrenia, Scientology, Seroquel, Surviving, Thrive, Tips & Tricks, Trazadone, Trilifon, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, Zyprexa | 9 Comments

limbic

I don’t know if I am just stating the obvious with all of these Tips & Tricks, but sometimes it is the most obvious things that we forget when illness hits. This next tip is something that I have personally struggled with for years and sometimes a glimmer of it still pops up every now and then. Continue Reading Tips And Tricks For Surviving A Mental Illness #7…

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